Among the countless small-scale independent brands, Colorado-based Resin Watch Lab is undeniably a bit different, as it produces its own cases, entirely by hand, from various different polymers and composites. Additionally, while anything handmade in the watch industry typically only exists at extremely exclusive price points, Resin Watch Lab’s products typically sell for a matter of hundreds (rather than thousands) of dollars, and the brand’s latest new release to kick off 2024 is easily the most original model that it has ever put forward. Crafted from two different types of transparent resin with a gray 3D printed nylon skeleton suspended inside the material of both its case and strap, the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ represents a major step forward for the brand, and it ultimately offers a design and aesthetic concept that couldn’t be achieved with any traditional case material.

Similar to the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS that I previously reviewed, the case of the new Resin Watch Lab SUBQ is largely constructed from a clear polymer composite, and it features a reverse monobloc design where a flat sapphire crystal is molded directly into the front of the case, while a secondary sapphire crystal is mounted with a gasket into the reverse side of the watch to function as its caseback. With that in mind, rather than being made entirely from clear resin, the case of the SUBQ features an angular 3D-printed gray nylon frame that is suspended within the clear material itself and serves as the skeleton of the watch. The shape of the frame is somewhat reminiscent of the roll cage within a car, although the appearance of the nylon within the clear resin is almost soft and organic, which creates an unusual visual contrast when combined with its angular and geometric structure.

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For those who might be wondering about the name of the SUBQ, many of Resin Watch Lab’s previous models featured some type of acronym as the basis of their names, although “SUBQ” is simply short for “subcutaneous” (meaning situated or applied under the skin), and this is a reference to both the design and manufacturing method of the watch. To call the 3D-printed nylon skeleton “internal” would be inaccurate because this would imply that it resides inside the case, when it is really suspended within the case material itself. Therefore, the skeleton is more accurately described as “subcutaneous” since it sits under the surface of the case material but not inside the case, and the entire case itself it produced in a subcutaneous manner, where clear resin is injected inside of a closed soft platinum silicone mold that has been previously loaded with the nylon skeleton.

In terms of its dimensions, the faceted tonneau-shaped case of the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ measures 35mm in diameter by 11mm thick, with an overall lug-to-lug profile of 46mm and 20mm lugs integrated directly into its upper and lower edges. Just as you would expect, a crown on the 3 o’clock on the side offers access to the movement, and while the stainless steel crown is entirely unadorned, it does feature a double gasket system to further ensure the model’s 60 meters of water resistance. Additionally, while every single SUBQ watch passes a 60-meter pressure test before it leaves the brand’s workshop, there is a good chance that this model’s actual depth rating may be greater than its on-paper specs. While chatting with Resin Watch Lab founder and David Martin, he confessed that his pressure test machine only goes up to 6 bars, although the case construction of the new SUBQ is quite a bit more robust than the brand’s previous model (which was also rated to 60 meters), so this one should be even better protected against daily moisture contact.

Just like the vast majority of Resin Watch Lab’s previous analog models, the SUBQ doesn’t feature a dial, and its face essentially consists of the entire front side of the movement, along with a simple handset that is finished white with green luminous inlays on the hour and minute hand. With that in mind, the chapter ring surrounding the movement does feature small recessed indexes that serve as the markers, and this helps to provide an orientation of the time, which is especially useful when setting the watch. The white ring of numerals that appear around the perimeter of the face is actually the calendar disc, and the current date is the single number that appears right-side-up, which will always be located directly at the 3 o’clock location. Being able to see the entire calendar disc is hardly the most intuitive way to present the date, although it does create an unusual aesthetic, and it is also something that Resin Watch Lab has done on some of its previous models.

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Powering the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ is the Chinese Seagull ST2130v automatic movement, which is essentially an exact clone of the ETA 2824-2 and therefore runs at a frequency of 28,800vph with a power reserve of approximately 38 hours. Rather than opting for a Swiss caliber like many of its other models, Resin Watch Lab specifically chose the Chinese equivalent of the ETA 2824-2 in order to keep prices for the SUBQ as affordable as possible, while still offering a proven design with ample options for repair and replacement. Since the greatest issues with most affordable Chinese movements are typically related to their variable range of quality control, Resin Watch Lab checks the movements in-house to ensure that they are running properly, and the difference in cost is passed on entirely to the buyer, with a complete breakdown in price included for each watch on the brand’s official website.

Fitted to the lugs of the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ is a matching strap that is made from flexible transparent silicone with the same type of 3D-printed gray nylon skeleton that can be found within the case. Unlike the skeleton for the case, the frame within the strap is somewhat asymmetric, although it consists entirely of straight lines and sharp angles that are somewhat reminiscent of a mix between the facets on a diamond and the structure of a spider web. The strap itself features a cut-to-fit design, with the internal nylon skeleton extending to include reinforced sizing holes for the springbars. Each side of the strap tapers from 20mm at the case down to 16mm on the bottom of the wrist, and the two sides are joined together by the Delugs CTS Deployant Clasp in brushed stainless steel, which features a spring-loaded design that takes the place of a traditional latch or push-button release.

The strap for the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ perfectly complements its case from a visual perspective and it transforms the model into a complete aesthetic concept that really doesn’t look quite like anything else within the industry. The outer side is smooth and glossy, while the internal surface features a subtle ice-inspired texture to help promote comfort, and while the strap is thoroughly striking from a visual standpoint, my initial hopes for its comfort were relatively minimal. When I first handled the SUBQ, the strap’s edges didn’t feel especially smooth, and its surfaces almost seemed slightly sticky to the touch. However, none of this has ever really been noticeable while wearing the watch, and I’ve actually been quite impressed by how well this handmade silicone strap wears on the wrist.

As mentioned, one of Resin Watch Lab’s goals when creating the SUBQ was to make the watch as affordable as possible, and despite having a significantly more involved case design and being paired with a matching strap, not opting for a Swiss movement has allowed the brand to significantly lower its price, and the SUBQ is over 30% less expensive than the band’s V05.0X-RIMISS watch that I previously reviewed. Given that the case and strap are both made by hand right here in the United States, the USD 528.45 retail price for the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ ultimately seems rather fair, especially considering that is only slightly more than what you would pay for a mass-produced horological novelty such as one of the Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms watches. Additionally, the SUBQ offers a truly unique design that really wouldn’t be possible with any other case or strap materials, and it truly feels genuine to Resin Watch Lab as a brand from both an aesthetic and conceptual standpoint. For more information on the Resin Watch Lab SUBQ, please visit the brand’s website.

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