The concept of “handmade” in watchmaking typically only exists within the very highest levels of the luxury segment, and even having small amounts of hand-finishing on components virtually guarantees that you will be paying somewhere north of a thousand dollars. With that in mind, “handmade” doesn’t only refer to detailed engravings or polished precious metal components, and when it comes to the timepieces produced by Resin Watch Lab, what you are getting is a handmade polymer composite case with integrated sapphire crystals that is crafted by a guy named David Martin, who lives in Colorado, right here in the United States.
The model featured here is the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS, and it’s the second piece from the brand that I’ve had the opportunity to test out and wear for an extended period of time. The first was the brand’s inaugural model, which is known as the V01.0X-Clear, and it is essentially the smaller, quartz-powered, date-displaying version of the V05.0X-RIMISS (at least from an aesthetic standpoint). The overall case profile has been carried over from the V01.0X-Clear, complete with its integrated octagonal bezel that surrounds its front sapphire crystal. In addition to being larger and powered by a Swiss automatic movement, the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS also features a redesigned case architecture that promises superior durability, greater serviceability, and an increased water resistance rating of 60 meters.
The names of Resin Watch Lab’s models are fairly easy to understand, despite just being combinations of letters and numbers. In regards to the V05.0X-RIMISS, the first part signifies that it is the first generation of the brand’s fifth model, while the second part of the name is an acronym for “reaction injection mold integrated sapphire sandwich” (a brief description of its case structure). A flat sapphire crystal is molded directly into the resin of the upper case, while a second sapphire crystal functions as the caseback and is fitted with a gasket into the reverse side of the watch. The clear urethane resin used for the case of the V05.0X-RIMISS is what forms the foundation for the vast majority of Resin Watch Lab’s materials, and it is cast around the front crystal and compressed in a mold at 60psi before being hand-finished to provide it with it its final appearance. The brand is capable of producing either clear or matte/opaque finishes, and while Resin Watch Lab is certainly able to produce perfectly transparent components, I specifically requested one where the bezel was formed with bubbles, as I felt that it better represented the handmade nature of the product, rather than appearing like something that could have just as easily been created by an industrial machine.
The case of the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS measures 37.5mm in diameter at its thinnest point (or 40mm from the tip of the crown to the 9 o’clock side of the case), while the total thickness comes in at 11.3mm. The gap between the lugs is a standard 20mm, while the overall lug-to-lug profile of the watch measures 45.5mm. A split-stem setup is used for the crown, while the winding crown itself sits between two angular guards and is hexagonally shaped with a clear blue plastic cabochon embedded in its tip (similar to the aesthetic of what can be found on a number of different Cartier watches). Due to the small size of the crown, gripping it can be a bit difficult, and this is especially true when trying to manually wind the watch, where the crown is largely obstructed by the two guards that sit on either side of it. Since the V05.0X-RIMISS is powered by an automatic movement, instances when you will need to manually wind the watch will be relatively minimal, although even setting time might be a little bit difficult for those who have thick fingers.
The Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS isn’t exactly a skeleton watch, but rather it doesn’t have any type of dial whatsoever. The only thing between the movement and the hands is a thin chapter ring, which is actually just part of the interior of the middle case. In addition to supporting the front side of the movement, this chapter ring section also has small indexes etched into its surface to signify the position of the hour markers. Meanwhile, the trio of centrally-mounted hands appears as a simple set of white-finished batons with green-colored luminous strips on the hour and minute hands. Given that there aren’t any other dial markings (or even a dial surface on which to present them), an approximation of the time is all that the V05.0X-RIMISS provides, although the same can be said about virtually any other watch that doesn’t have a minute track.
Powering the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS is the Sellita SW200-1 AJ automatic movement, which is the open-heart version of this highly popular self-winding series. Just like other versions of this rather ubiquitous Swiss movement, the Cal. SW200-1 AJ runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 41 hours. In addition to omitting the date disc and calendar mechanism to expose the balance wheel on the dial-side of the watch, the Sellita SW200-1 AJ fitted to the V05.0X-RIMIS also features gold-plated components for a more ornate and elevated overall appearance. Realistically speaking, this is a more expensive movement than what you will find powering a decent number of entry-level luxury watches, and the juxtaposition of a nice Swiss movement inside a somewhat crude plastic case is highly intriguing, even if the resulting aesthetic can be a bit mismatched and disjointed.
Rather than being fitted with a strap, Resin Watch Lab sells the V05.0X-RIMISS as the watch head by itself, and the brand instead encourages its customers to find a strap that suits their individual lifestyle and aesthetic preferences. With standard 20mm lugs that have drilled holes, a virtually endless list of straps will be compatible, and most enthusiasts probably already have a number of extra 20mm straps that they can attach to its case. That said, Resin Watch Lab also produces its own straps that it sells separately, and the orange leather strap featured throughout the majority of the photos in this review is actually one of its own creations that has been produced for the brand by the strap manufacturer Wristwatchme. The material used for Resin Watch Lab’s strap is incredibly soft and comfortable, although, in the spirit of embracing the choose-your-own-strap theme of the model, I tried the V05.0X-RIMISS on a number of different options, with my favorite being a yellow sailcloth strap from the French company Avel & Men.
Like the case, the packaging for the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS is also completely handmade, and it is designed to mirror the appearance of the molds that the brand uses to create its case components. Opening up the box is intended to simulate the process of removing a freshly constructed case from its mold, and the actual material used for the box is a unique mixture of whatever composites the brand was most recently experimenting with on the research and development side of its operations. Not only does this mean that the packaging is made almost entirely from recycled materials, but it also means that no two boxes are identical and each one represents a tangible snapshot in history of what Resin Watch Lab was planning for its future models.
Although there is nothing about the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS that feels particularly luxurious or expensive, that is hardly the objective of this particular watch. The brand could easily follow the same blueprint as countless other microbrands and simply have a big overseas factory produce its watches; however, that would largely go against the entire concept of the brand and its goal of creating handmade cases that highlight an incredibly versatile and highly misunderstood material. There is a bit of a prejudice against plastic because it can be inexpensive and brittle, although the word “plastic” is like the word “metal” and it can apply to an incredibly diverse assortment of different polymer materials. For all the various types of plastic that are used for lightweight packaging and children’s toys, there are also countless other kinds that are incredibly durable and resilient, such as what gets used in the construction of automobiles and firearms. Yes, plastic can be cheap and brittle, but it is also important to remember that “plastic” serves as the basis for materials such as bulletproof glass and forged carbon, which are both specifically designed for their durability and high-performance properties.
While I originally had my reservations about how well a handmade plastic case would hold up to daily wear and use, I’ve ultimately been pleasantly surprised by how Resin Watch Lab’s timepieces have performed. In addition to being far more resistant to scratches than I initially anticipated, I’ve also gone swimming with the V05.0X-RIMISS, and its handmade case has successfully prevented water from entering the watch. Additionally, despite the fact that nothing about the V05.0X-RIMISS feels particularly refined or elevated, and both its concept and aesthetic are inherently rather divisive, the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS is ultimately a lot of fun to wear. Not only does it feel like you are wearing an early-stage prototype on your wrist, but you are also virtually guaranteed to never see another one out in the wild. Additionally, explaining to people that the plastic case is actually handmade and set with sapphire crystals is quite amusing, as the entire concept is impossibly different from what you get with any other watch brand.
While the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS is no longer in production, the brand is a small-batch operation, and I imagine that it would still be willing to produce additional examples if you were to make the request. With an official retail price of $777.14 USD, the V05.0X-RIMISS is the absolute most expensive model that Resin Watch Lab has ever put forward, although this is largely due to its Swiss open-heart movement, which accounts for more than a third of the overall cost of the watch. Like its clear polymer cases, Resin Watch Lab is also entirely transparent about its prices, and on the brand’s official website you will find a complete break-down of the various costs associated with manufacturing the V05.0X-RIMISS. Additionally, Resin Watch Lab has plans to produce a more affordable automatic model in the future, and rather than keeping its upcoming operations secret, the brand frequently shares its development process on its social media channels. At the end of the day, the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS certainly isn’t a watch for everybody, although even if you aren’t personally a fan of this particular model, I still highly recommend checking out the brand, as it offers a wealth of information about the rather nebulous category of “plastic,” and it is doing something truly unusual within the watch industry. For more information on the Resin Watch Lab V05.0X-RIMISS, please visit the brand’s website.