Review By aBlogtoWatch: Peacock Climber Tourbillon

Review By aBlogtoWatch: Peacock Climber Tourbillon

Today, I review the Peacock Climber Tourbillon — an entirely Chinese-made mechanical watch from a watchmaker who most timepiece enthusiasts outside of China or nearby countries probably haven’t heard about. Years ago, when I first visited the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, I recall spending time at the Peacock booth and marveling at the variety of high- and low-end watches the company produced. A lot of their historic production seemed to be for other companies, but an assortment of Peacock-branded products seemed to be out there for people who could muster how to get one of these watches. Now, Peacock watches are apparently becoming slightly more available, and today, I review a relatively affordable and halfway decent Chinese-made mechanical tourbillon watch with a sporty demeanor.

Chinese tourbillons are not all created equal. For years now, aBlogtoWatch has dedicated space from time to time to reviewing Chinese tourbillon-based timepieces as a sort of check against what the Swiss are up to. I don’t think even the best Chinese watchmakers will argue that their tourbillons are better than those produced by the Swiss, but they get pretty close for a real fraction of the cost. Chinese tourbillons have gotten better and better as the desire to keep improving and honing in on “Swiss style” keeps Sino-horologists busy at their benches. When I say “better,” I mean three things. First, the tourbillons themselves look better, with nicer parts and better finishing. Second, the tourbillon-based movements perform better, with more accuracy and reliability over time. Third, the tourbillons last longer with movements that need servicing less often and are built with more durability in mind.

If you are familiar with legacy Chinese tourbillon watches, I think you’ll be pleasantly impressed with the quality of the caliber SL5215D automatic Peacock movement inside of this Climber Tourbillon watch. For one thing, the tourbillon itself is produced from far better parts that are crisper, smaller, and better finished. Thus, the actual visual look and feel of the tourbillon is more impressive and feels closer to European tourbillons. Another good thing is that the hour and minute hands are actually in the center of the dial. Some legacy Chinese tourbillon movements were designed so that the hour and minute hands are actually just above the center of the dial, which made for odd-feeling, slightly asymmetric dials. The movement also includes a power reserve indicator, which is a welcome complication and uncommon to find in Chinese automatic tourbillon-based movements.

The SL5215D movement can wind with both the automatic rotor and manually turning the crown. I believe it operates at 3Hz with a power reserve of 45 hours. The movement itself is rather large, and the architecture seems to be somewhat inspired by IWC movements (the design of the automatic rotor, for example). The same thing goes for the Peacock Climber Tourbillon case, which is visually similar to one of the late-generation IWC Ingenieur models. I wanted to review this watch mainly because of its sporty looks and sophisticated movement, but I’ve also come to enjoy its wrist presence, even if the overall composition is on the larger size.

The Peacock Climber’s steel case is 45mm-wide and 13.5mm-thick. The lug-to-lug distance is about 57mm long, and the case is water-resistant to 50 meters without a screw-down crown (adding one would have been nice, I think). Over the dial and caseback are flat sapphire crystals. Overall, the Peacock Climber Tourbillon is a larger timepiece, but it can be worn snugly with the supplied silicone strap. The case requires a specially fitted strap, which can limit your strap options if you want to venture out beyond the stock strap Peacock supplies. My suspicion, however, is that if you reach out to Peacock they can recommend (or offer) alternative straps that fit the Climber case.

The watch dial itself is on the more legible side and tries to combine the feeling of a high-end sports lifestyle watch with a “technical dial” that shows off parts of the movement. The hands and hour markers are painted with luminant and the hands themselves are prominent enough to be easily readable from a few feet away. While the overall design is very nice, it isn’t quite as refined as that from an old-world Swiss horological maison, and the finishing on the individual components isn’t going to quite match watches costing several times the price. That is understandable, of course, because a watch like this is decidedly about the strong value proposition, so it would be unreasonable to think Peacock could match a Patek at a fraction of the price. For the money, I think there is a lot of timepiece in this product. One final thing to mention about my experience with the Peacock Climber Tourbillon is that the movement remained relatively accurate. One often expects Chinese-made tourbillon watches to not be paragons of accuracy. This was a different experience, and when I would compare the time on the Peacock watches with a digital clock in my home for a few days in a row, I was impressed with how reliable the Peacock tourbillon was by comparison.

Peacock currently offers the Climber in four different color variations, including this reference P509-8 in green, along with a Peacock Climber in blue with a black-coated steel case, brown and natural steel, and black with a black-coated steel case. I felt that the deep green would match the mountain climber spirit of the watch and also be trendy given that green is still very much a popular color (alongside blue), these days.  While not everyone here in the U.S. will immediately like the Peacock brand name (though it is fitting given why men often enjoy luxury watches), the company is certainly not new and does a pretty decent job of producing Western-friendly mechanical timepieces for enthusiasts at fairer prices.

Originally Published on A BLOG TO WATCH by Ariel Adams

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