It was about three years ago that I first wrote about Erroyl, an Australian microbrand that is close to my heart. At that time, I asked that someone, please explain me the Australian enigma, how come so many fantastic watch microbrands are based there? I still could not get my head around it and I can tell that in the meantime, I discovered even more Australian brands through the Microbrand Watches Facebook group. I love Erroyl and I liked every one of their models because we share with Wes Knight, the founder of the brand, a deep admiration for Glashutte watches and ever since their debut model, the E30 Heritage, or the Regent collection, the Glashutte inspiration was unmistakable.
With their latest models, part of the Duke collection, I find that there is a slight change of style. I’m under the impression that for this collection, Erroyl drew design inspirations from another watchmaking region, Schaffhausen. Apart from this change, it is important to mention that the Duke collection represents a new milestone for the brand. It is not just their first collection to use a Swiss movement, the automatic ETA 2824-2, but they also qualify as Swiss Made watches. There are three dial versions in the Duke collection: black, dark grey and white and they all come in a stainless steel case and bracelet. In this review, we will take a look at the Duke Oskar that has a white dial.
Among all the microbrand watches that go through my hands, ever since their first model, Erroyl had the most elegant packaging by far. With the Duke, they managed to upgrade it to a whole new level of luxury — it looks nothing like a watch that costs CA$875, but more like a mid-range Swiss watch that is three or four times more expensive. And I’m not talking only about the box but every little detail, even the manual that comes with the watch, it has a beautiful design and the printing quality is top-notch. Maybe for the average watch aficionado or microbrand collector, these details bare little importance, and unfortunately, many brands, and I’m not talking only about microbrands, will cut corners when it comes to packaging, just to save a few bucks. Some say that the only purpose a packaging has is to get the watch to the buyer in perfect shape. TimeCaptain wrote about the role of packaging in the experience of owning a watch:
Now, I’m not saying to choose your timepiece based on its packaging. But, for sure, the right box can really add to your VIP experience and enhance your enjoyment on the big day.
May I add that when it comes to a microbrand this experience is even more important. Usually, a customer buying a microbrand will only see the watch online. Their first real contact with the watch will be after the mailmen left a box in the front of their door. What will they get after opening the shipping box? Will it be cheap and ugly, or it will look special, making them feel like a VIP? With the Erroyl Duke, you get the full VIP, red carpet treatment. And it also protects the watch.
At 39 mm the Duke has a sweet size, in line with the new trend of watches with smaller diameters. Some parts of the case are polished while others have a circular brushed finishing, matching the stainless steel Jubilee bracelet. The shape of the case, the rounded bezel and the domed sapphire crystal give this watch a rather rounded profile that is complemented by a pumpkin-shaped crown.
The dial is surrounded by a chapter ring with a train track index that has 12 tiny lume-filled dots as hour markers. The dial has Arabic numerals printed in black, the font and their size make them clearly visible. The Duke reminds me the high-contrast dials of field watches because reading the time on this watch is extremely easy. The black dauphine hands have a generous coat of Swiss BGW9 lume that will glow with a light blue colour. Even the second’s hand is filled with this lume, not a common feature among watches. The Erroyl logo at 12 is well balanced by the date window at 6. The central part of the dial has a circular guilloche decoration, a detailed that connects the Duke to the other Erroyl models. The back of the watch is quite impressive, the rotor is decorated with Geneva stripes and the Erroyl logo.
On the wrist, the watch sits very and it actually looks and feels slightly bigger than its actual size. The bracelet is super comfortable and the butterfly clasp seems to be well adjusted, I did not notice any issues with it, plus the Erroyl logo decoration is a classy touch. This watch makes me forget that I’m handling a microbrand.
I was trying really hard to find something to complain about, but the Duke checks all my boxes, the design, the size, the bracelet, everything is superb. A dress watch that has an adventurous side, a versatile design that can handle any situation. With the Duke, Erroyl is demonstrating their maturity as a brand and as a business. They delivered a Swiss Made watch that is actually very well made, with a beautiful design and… fantastic value. The Duke can be purchased on the Erroyl website for $899 AUD (about $875 CAD / $700 USD) that includes international shipping. When you check out, make sure to use the WATCHPAPER100 discount code, to save $100 AUD.
Are you in the market for an everyday watch that can handle anything, office meetings, a night at the opera or a chill weekend? The Duke should be on your shortlist. And it can very well be an elegant gift to someone dear, you won’t have to worry about your choice.