SISU Guardian Watch Review

SISU Guardian Watch Review

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This watch is the 800 pound Gorilla in any room - and it isn't even the largest model that newer California-based watch brand SISU makes. Welcome the SISU Guardian timepiece. At almost 1 pound in weight, this steel beast is a hell of a watch and wrist statement. Half of you are gonna love it and the other half are undoubtedly going to complain in some manner about the size. The first half loves hearing that from the second half.

The original SISU concept was to produce watches for athletes and other larger active guys. They have this interesting picture where a burly guy is wearing a Rolex on one hand and a SISU on the other - just for size comparison. Clearly the larger SISU matches his large wrists better as the Rolex seems petite by contrast. There is a certain fun to wearing big watches - but the enjoyment is all about the design. A big watch only makes sense when it is comfortable.

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The first time I put on the SISU Guardian (version A2 as reviewed) I was actually amazed at how well the large case wrapped around my not-very-large wrists. The 54mm wide case has stubby lugs and a bracelet that does not really jut out. Don't get me wrong - the watch is big, but not to the point where it is actually oversized. The largest watch SISU makes is the Bravado. That model is 55mm wide and does weigh a full pound. It has a different style case and bracelet that I will say are only best for people who have larger wrists. I wouldn't even consider the Bravado model unless your wrists are 8 inches or more. The Guardian on the other hand is much better suited to small and medium wrists - along with larger ones of course.

The Guardian case is made from an inner body with attached lugs and a cap style bezel that goes over the entire body. The construction is very solid and the case is water resistant to 100 meters. For ergonomic purposes the crown is located at 10 o'clock. An interesting aspect of these watches is the crystal. Most people don't think about it, but sapphire crystals are rather expensive compared to mineral crystals. Due to the diameter of the case, SISU watches utilize some of the largest sapphire crystals around. I believe that SISU needed to special order these and it is a compliment to the brand that they stuck with sapphire despite the high expense of these large crystals. The crystal is of course AR coated.

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Guardian dial design is modern and clearly inspired by the aviator look popularized by Bell & Ross. The outer dial is visually enlarged by having the flange ring literally overlap it. The ring does have a full set of hour and minute markers, and the inner dial presents a new space that does not make the dial feel empty or too vast. You'll notice the cut slits revealing parts of the automatic movement - just a nice hint of skeletonization for those who like it and not obtrusive for those who don't. The placement of the date disc needs to be located closer to the center of the dial due to the actual size of the movement. SISU appropriately does not leave the date window floating in the dial and puts it alongside the inner ring.

The lume-filled hands are large and easy to see. They are clearly aviator inspired, but not direct analogs of what you see all the time. It is true that they could be a bit longer, but there are weight issues that SISU needed to contend with given the size of the dial. There is a sporty hint of red as part of the second hand's counterweight. The overall proportions of the dial feel good and the design is unique, but at the same time very approachable. SISU offers a few dial variants for the Guardian. In addition to the silvered dial, there is a black dial, and one with a floating double indicator layer called the Eclipse (A3 model).

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Inside the Guardian automatic models are Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movements. SISU opens up the back of the case with an exhibition window. There is no hiding that the case is much larger than the movement. It is a solid Swiss work-horse automatic, and nothing particularly more fancy is needed here. SISU also offers Swiss quartz movement-based versions of their Bravado and Guardian watches. Some large watches try to pretend they aren't so big, but SISU pieces are large and proud of it. It is their theme and the brand plays it well. They make large watches for guys who like large things.

The bracelet is quite comfortable with a push-button deployant clasp. While the links are large, there is a half-link to help size it properly. In addition to metal bracelets, SISU offers quite nice rubber straps. Those can help if you don't get a good fit with the bracelet, and obviously make the watch lighter. Larger watches can often benefit from having a rubber strap because the friction-based fit will help the case from moving around.

SISU Guardian Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I've always mentioned how I don't understand the "debate" about watches being too large or too small. You like what you like - that is it. Further, you don't need to only wear large or small watches. People who like smaller watches seem to get almost get offended (personally) when they see watches that violate how big they think a watch should be. They get angry. I should know, I see exactly what they say. On the other hand, a guy who wants a larger watch usually calmly laments an otherwise nice piece that simply isn't made in the diameter they prefer. "Too bad it isn't XXmm in size or I would get one". Weight can be an issue depending on the person. SISU watches are heavy, but you get used to it - at least I do. Wear the piece for an hour or two and you don't really even feel the weight. Worst case scenario, you are getting a bit of exercise.

In the end the Guardian is a fun watch. It takes itself seriously enough and is comfortable to wear. People who like the idea will surely find it and enjoy it. For the rest of you it will be a good talking point. "54mm?!!!" Each of these has a limited production run, and as an automatic the SISU Guardian is $1,495 ($695 for the similar Swiss quartz movement version).

What do you think?
  • I love it! (3)
  • I want it! (2)
  • Thumbs up (2)
  • Classy (1)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Kris C

    Probably too big for my 8.25″ wrists, but I do think it is an attractive design, and layout. Can’t tell for sure until I try one on, but with this presence and this pricepoint, I think a notable amount of success can be accurately predicted.

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  • Ulysses31

    It’s not the size itself that gets me.  It’s that men with less than Schwarzenegger-esque proportions think they look good wearing it.  Athletes, body-builders and the like can probably get away with it.  Someone with eight-inch wrists or more would look good with this watch, assuming you like the design.  Personally I like to see a little bit of the strap above and below the case for the sake of proportionality, and if I wore a watch like this it definitely wouldn’t happen.  It’s the same reason why I wouldn’t wear a pair of pants that were six inches longer than my leg – i’d look like a tool (or a trendy teenager).  Based on the pricing it looks like they’re trying to enter in to TW-Steel territory (oversized, mid-priced), but design-wise it looks like any number of Chinese-made oversize fashion watches found in flea-markets.  That class of Swiss movement deserves a better case design.

    • Ulysses31

      Just watched the video.  To me, “oversize” simply means a watch that is significantly larger than the accepted norms of the time.  Like an awful lot of words in the English language it isn’t meant to be broken down to its literal meaning.  Also, i’m noticing that the hands are quite short, and yet no mention of this common complaint at all.  Finally, I really like the workmanship; all that steel is attractive to me, even if I do think it’s a bit ridiculous overall.  Can’t believe i’m saying this, but Invicta do this a lot better, with Swiss movements, more interesting designs and at a lower price.

  • dspaulson

    Honestly, I’m squarely in the hater camp mentioned in the review.  I’ll accept that sometimes a watch case needs to be substantially larger than it’s movement to accomodate say, a massively overbuilt diver case to withstand a lot of pressure.  Even then, the +1000m dive watch scene has a bit of absurdity built into it as well (different convo altogether), but at least in that example, it’s not a completely superfluous design concept like this piece.  The porthole like see-through caseback on this watch makes it look even sillier given a case that’s literally 2x the size of the movement.  The crown stem on this watch must simply be ridiculous.  At best, this is an overpriced fashion watch for someone with large wrists that doesn’t appreciate anything other than case size.  Setting aside size for a moment, let’s just imagine this watch reduced down to 42mm….it still doesn’t look good imo.  Sorry for the negativity, but the large watch trend has lasted several years longer than it should have…

  • Dennix

    Please educate me but how the hell they charge $800 for a ETA 2824-2?

    • dspaulson

       @Dennix The same way that Bell & Ross charge 5k for watches with ETA movements that cost a few hundred bucks.  Marketing, Marketing, Marketing….it’s entirely about brand perception.  These days you can spend $2000 on a manufacture Nomos, a company with little marketing presence, or you can spend $8000 on a Panerai with an ETA movement and lots of marketing about the brand’s pseudo-history.  

  • DonaldEvans

    Ariel, where did you get the price for this. On their website it lists it at $3000, Watchismo has it listed for $2500, and you say $1500 for the auto version. Which one is right? LOL.

    • Yea, the pricing is a bit all over the place right now. The $1,500 price is the new price and should be reflected soon at retailers.

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  • CG

    Steroid watches are stupid, especially when they look like a group home of manufacturing defects as this watch does. What an obvious outlandish cash rip-off.

  • Greblixx

    I have nothing against the size, but the design is horrible. Why did they mutilate the numbers when there is so much space on the dial? Embarrassing amateur work.

  • orangedoxa

    This is the perfect watch for someone with a micropenis.  I just don’t understand the appeal of uber-huge watches.  It’s so tacky.  People who wear stuff like this obviously are overcompensating for a shortcoming in another department.

    • PriyadarshanGajbhiye


      Yep, just like bodybuilders have small penises and therefore need big arms right?

      As a bodybuilder, I always find that argument really childish. Same applies to your conclusion about someone as a person because of the watch they choose to wear.

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  • drummie01

    I LOVE this watch, as the blog states, you like what you like, and should wear what you enjoy wearing, no excuses no justification to anyone! It would be a sad if everyone had the same taste in everything! Thanks Ariel for the detailed description, think I’ll get one!!! (0;

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  • PriyadarshanGajbhiye

    Haha gotta love the “I hate the large watches trend” fanatics. Well, the majority of people now like large watches. Deal with it.

     And you can’t really get into the practicality issue because mechanical watches are pretty much redundant in any case. We only wear and cherish them BECAUSE they are impractical and beautiful and enchanting. There are different watches for different states of mind. I can wear a 36 mm Patek one day with a suit and wear a 54 mm Invicta the next day when I go to the beach wearing shorts and a tank top. That’s the fun of having a variety of watches.

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  • jkothanek

    Why do some men wear big watches? 2 reasons 1 because they want to and it is their money. 2nd reason are men like me I am 6’5 260 lbs and if I wear a 43-45 mm watch they litereally look like a woman’s watch on me. I have some classics that my dad passed on to me but even if I weren’t preserving them I wouldn’t wear them as they look “wrong” somehow on me. 

    I wear a Breitling while traveling abroad and I had one of
    my guys who is smaller but in good shape wear it and he constantly got comments
    about how huge it was. Even had a guard in Romania pick it up out of the tray as
    were going through security to meet with some of their security forces for a
    day of discussions and he started hefting it and commenting. But when I wear it,
    no one gives it a second glance. It is 50mm in diameter and not a tiny watch by
    any stretch. My wrist bones are pretty big so I think it fits me well and I
    enjoy it. That is all that matters.
    If someone has a watch larger than you like to
    see keep the comments to yourself. You look goofy asking an adult WHY they
    spent their own money on something.

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