I must be honest and say from the outset that I’m really not an homage sort of guy. I suppose I would have to accept that I’m lucky enough to be able to afford to adopt that stance but I’ve always taken the philosophical high ground and assumed that I’d sooner opt not to have a watch at all if I couldn’t have the real thing.
The Time Factors Speedbird III (PRS-22) has become my first – and probably only exception to that rule. Time Factors is a brand owned by Eddie Platts of TZ-UK fame, and his watches (which include the Precista line) are becoming famous way beyond these shores for providing genuine testament to an age gone by whilst in most cases substantially enhancing the quality of those watches to which they pay tribute. In fact, they represent possibly the best value for money of any brand, anywhere.
The SBIII is an homage to the IWC Mark XV. The XV is quite recent, of course, in that it only went out of production in 2006, but the SBIII follows the I and II which were modelled on far earlier IWC “Mark” variants. There’s a really good review here and if you have the time I recommend reading it from start to finish as it really does demonstrate the quality of this watch.
Anyway, I’m delighted with mine – fantastic quality, magnificent bracelet, uber-comfortable and unbelievable value for money. Can’t argue with that!
3 thoughts on “Top-notch from Time Factors”
I’m lucky to own both the Mark XV and the Speedbird III. The III really is good value for money, but in the end it does not beat the real thing to my opinion. The XV on (brown) leather strap wears much lighter and hence more comfortable than the III on a bracelet (have no experience with the IWC bracelet). The XV also looks more refined. A few observations to support my view:
– The case of the XV is significantly thinner and of the bezel is less high; more refined and understated,
– Font and minute marks on the dial of the XV are less bold; more refined and understated,
– The hands of the XV are more shiny; more luxury
– The minute marks on the XV a located a bit more inward; more refined,
– The date at 3 gives more room for the numbers and is in my view a more logical and ballanced,
– The XV has double AR (on both sides of the sapphire) and a more convex shape giving it a much clearer view on the dial from all directions,
– Last but certainly not least the XV (ETA 2892-A2, IWC modified) gains < 4 sec/day while the III (ETA 2824-2 standard) gains almost 20 sec/day (will need to get it regulated).
For above reasons I consider the XV more than worth the extra investment (approx x 5). I wear and enjoy it (allmost) every weekday. All the above does however not mean that the III get's no wrist time. I use it primarily during weekends and outdoor activities, because usage marks do matter less and the bracelet allows wearing it in water / wet conditions. Hence the III is certainly worth its money. It's probaly the best value for money around and the service of timefactors is excelent (received the watch within 48 hours from UK to NL and in great condition). Note by the way that, allthought the diameter is only 1 mm more, the III wears significantly larger compared to the XV. All in all the combination an IWC Mark XV for general & special use and a Speedbird III for outdoor activities is quite perfect!
Enjoy your great Speedbird III (and when you can / want to afford it also go for the Mark XV!)
Thanks Nils – that’s a really useful comparison from one who should know!
I don’t doubt what you say in respect of the Mark XV being worth the additional investment, and an homage isn’t normally something that would interest me. That said, I’m glad I bought this one; it may lead me down the path of buying an IWC, and it may not. for now, I’m just going to enjoy owning the SBIII.
Weekend today, so I’m enjoying the Speedbird, really a worthy homage and great watch!