Here are two fresh TechnoMarine Cruise Sport watches for you to enjoy. I first covered the 2010 Cruise Sport collection here hands-on while meeting with TechnoMarine. Now, after having some more intimate time with the watches I am proud to offer a full review of the new Cruise Sport collection. I checked out the TechnoMarine Cruise Sport Chrono (45mm wide) and a smaller unisex Cruise Sport model with a day/date complication that is 40mm wide. The latter is going to be for men who like smaller watches, and women (most of the 40mm wide Cruise models comes in feminine colors). This blue and black version is likely the most unisex version they have.
I want you to refer to the original post above for more details on where this watch came from any why. Basically, it is the first project of new TechnoMarine CEO Vincent Perriard. He has lots more planned for the future, but the Cruise Sport was his first move in revitalizing the brand. It is also part of his clever "Ocean Addict" ad campaign for the brand. It involves the suggestions that TechnoMarine watch owners have this inherent need to be around or in water - but the watches themselves aren't purely meant to be just in water.
After looking at the new Cruise Sport watches and wearing them, I must say that they actually look better while on the wrist. That is a rare quality, but I feel that it is correct for this collection. For example, once you put the Cruise Sport Chrono on your wrist, you realize how nicely its curved round case with integrated strap, has a nice flowing look on the wrist. You just don't get that view of it sitting on a table.
The curvy looking case changes at the dial, where you have a more technical look. The dial is balanced and has a good mix of symmetry and a play with asymmetry. At least on the chronograph that is. The three-hand model is more straight forward. Then again, all the models plays with asymmetry when it comes to the application of colors on the dial and the chapter ring on the periphery of the dial. The colors are sharply bold, and you can visit TechnoMarine's website to see all the varieties available. I opted for a white on black Cruise Sport Chrono because I thought it would be the most neutral version. It is a the most serious of the pieces in terms of stature and demeanor as well. I figured there might be days where this color combo is OK, and orange or blue would not be. Though I did want to share the colorful possibilities of the collection with the blue on black version of the Cruise Sport.
Actually, when you get one of the watches, TechnoMarine throws in an extra strap. The straps are done in silicone. That makes them very flexible and comfortable, but they will attract dust and particulate. When this happens, you can simply wash them off. The Chrono comes with a black set of straps, and a white set of straps (for the right man!), while the three hand model comes with a blue strap and a blue strap. Changing the straps couldn't be easier. In fact. the idea of these watches is to easily be able to change the strap and the case armor if necessary. There are easy tool-less quick-release pins in the straps for this purpose. It should take 20 seconds to do if you practice a few times. You'll notice the mirror polished steel on the watch, along with the chunky looking bracelet clasp.
I like that the dials look a bit three dimensional. The chapter ring is applied, as are the hour indicators - where there is lume, in addition to it being on the hands. I feel that for a sport watch, the hands could have stood out just a tiny bit more, but overall the pieces are a good mix between style and legibility. The dials feel like they have just enough going on, without going overboard. Styling overall is fun, youthful, yet tasteful. While you don't get the impression that the watches have a low-rent look, these aren't luxury timepieces either. Best as casual sport watches that can take some abuse.
The silicone and rubber on the watches should take wear pretty well. The case is water resistant to 200 meters on all Cruise Sport models, and they offer a snug, no slip wearing experience on the wrist. I easily consider them an upgrade over the last generation TechnoMarine Cruise watches. Only minor parts are carried over from previous models. The crystal is mineral, but that is OK at this price level. Then again, Mr. Perriard had very little time to make a new collection in time for Basel 2010 - so what he was able to accomplish was impressive. He has me excited for what he will feature for next year.
Inside the Cruise Sport watches are Japanese Miyota quartz movements. Cheaper than Swiss movements, and arguably as reliable. The movements help the watches remain at prices that are highly competitive with the competition. Using Swiss movements would have made the collection less attractive in terms of price. The Cruise Sport Chrono movement (Miyota FS20) has the time (without seconds indicator), a 60 minute chronograph, the date, and a synchronized 24 hour scale (useful for AM/PM indication, as well as reading military time). Not having a ticking seconds hands sort of allows you to forget that it is a quartz based watch. The piece features large chronograph pushers that are curved, and relatively easy to operate. My unit has hands that align nicely with the indicators - so I appreciate that a lot.
On the 40mm wide three hand model there is a more basic Miyota 2105 quartz movement with a day and date indicator. The baton hour markers are complimented with some Arabic numeral as well - all integrated nicely. There is also a less busy design on the rotating bezel (chronographs always have dials with more markers on them - just the way it often is). It is a cute watch. Very reasonable and prudent looking. It can be played up by choosing it in quirky colors, or you can retain it as very useful little watch that feels like it takes being a timepiece more seriously than it does being a fashion item - a quality I can appreciate it as a watch lover.
When I learned about the new Cruise Sport watches a while ago - even before I was the watches, I wanted to like them. TechnoMarine really tried to hype their "comeback," and they didn't hold back much. With a more public and charismatic CEO, the brand looks to be off to a great (new) start. I do like their new stuff and feel that is fits their target demographic nicely. It is hard to be disappointed with the Cruise Sport watches, and I look forward to what comes next. TechnoMarine has always been known to have higher end stuff, so they will expand this genre with more ceramic and mechanical watches in the future. For the time being, the 45mm wide Cruise Sport Chrono retails for $425, and the 40mm Cruise Sport retails for $325.