A Chronograph on a Journey – Review: Aries Gold Journey 1025

In the blink of an eye, we’ve somehow reached October and the end of the year looms near. Strangely however, it feels like an entire passage of time has just magically vanished. Under more normal times, I’m sure I would have seen multiple Instagram stories of friends holidaying in far off, exotic locations, as colleagues scramble to clear their annual vacation leave. These however, are not normal times, and I doubt anyone’s going to be travelling anytime soon.

Regardless, in the off chance that covid-19 disappears overnight, I’ve got my bags packed and ready to go. And could there be a better watch to bring along with me, than one literally named “Journey”?

While ironically the only journey this one made was from the shop to me, the Aries Gold Journey G 1025 BK-BEI appealed to me with its distinctive visual, which helped it to stand apart from the crowd. Aries Gold however may not be a brand that many are familiar with; myself included. Prior to buying this model, I’d heard about the brand once or twice, but never really looked into it. So here’s a quick dive into the brand:

The Brand – Aries Gold

(Note: As much as I’d like to be, I’m not sponsored.)

So it turns out that Aries Gold is a local brand, which was quite a pleasant surprise; I do enjoy supporting local brands. The brand’s founder had initially started off as an apprentice in 1959, and received a request from a customer to engrave his late wife’s name on the dial of a dive watch. The founder managed to do it, and thereafter received referrals for similar personalisation requests. This eventually started him on the path of creating his own brand.

While you won’t see Aries Gold beside the likes of Rolex boutiques along Orchard Road, make no mistake; the brand isn’t just stocked by your friendly neighbourhood watch stores, it’s international. Aries Gold has collaborated with the likes of Aerosmith and Foo Fighters, coming up with limited edition pieces inspired by the bands. Talk about causing a scene!

The Case & Specifications

Getting back to the watch itself, the watch measures roughly 44mm including the crown, a lug-to-lug around 48mm, and a lug width of 22mm.

While my previous review was of a smaller piece, the Journey 1025 comes in with more modern proportions and should comfortably fit most. The watch sits snugly on my wrist without any overhang, and has a thickness of 11.6mm. The watch isn’t exactly slim, but it never intended to be. With a slightly domed sapphire crystal, the dial is brought to the forefront and the piece holds its own in terms of wrist presence.

Complementing the use of sapphire, the case is constructed with black coloured, solid stainless steel, weighing in at 68g. When worn, there is an overall sense of robustness and a satisfaction of knowing that no corners were cut.

Caseback

The caseback is simple and undecorated, with some specifications found on the back. The caseback is polished though; when untouched, its as shiny as a mirror though wearing it just once is enough to leave smudges.

The crown is located at 3 o’ clock, signed with a simple “G” which I assume stands for gold; a decent touch. The edges are slightly knurled, making it easier to grip when setting the time. Two additional pushers are found at 2 o’ clock and 4 o’ clock, which are used to set the second timezone.

The watch offers 5 ATM of water resistance, which is definitely more than enough for daily use.

While I have no gripes with the case, I personally would have preferred a smaller lug width with more tapered lugs. In my opinion, a 20mm lug width with slightly curvier lugs to round off the profile may elevate the look further.

The Dial

The Dial

For the Journey 1025, the highlight is definitely the dial. The watch adopts a vintage chronograph styling, inspired by designs from the 1960s.

Hour indices are marked by Arabic numerals, printed with a thin yet legible retro-looking font. A subdial at the 3 o’clock position indicates the 24-hour time, while a subdial at the 9 o’clock position displays your second timezone. At 6′, a window bordered in white houses the date, with the subtext “Sapphire Glass” and “Dual Time” written above it.

Silver, tapered hands with some lume have been selected for the hour and minute hands. Depending on your viewing angle, the hands appear in varying tones of grey. The elongated seconds hand is also tapered, starting from a wide base and ending in a thin tip; almost like a hammer with a really long handle. The seconds hand design reminded me of the Tissot PR100, though I would say that’s the only thing these 2 have in common.

If you look carefully, you will notice that the dial is split in 2 parts: an inner ring up to the numerals, and an outer ring for everything beyond.

Rehaut & Chapter Ring

The inner ring is actually raised, helping to create more depth. Considerable detail has also been paid to the chapter ring and the rehaut, with minute and second markers finely printed in different colours.

Lume Shot

While having proven to be of sufficient visual interest, the Journey 1025 hides one more trick up its sleeve: the 1025 BK-BEI’s underlying watch dial is fully lumed, along with its hands and hour markers.

This is a rather unique and seldom seen feature; it was part of this watch’s draw for me and I was pretty excited to see it for myself. Unfortunately, I found that the lume doesn’t hold for long, which was regrettable. Nevertheless, if this piques your interest, note that only 2 colourways/SKUs have this feature, so do check before you make a purchase!

The Movement

Second Time Zone Subdial

The Journey 1025 uses a Japan Quartz VD31 movement rated to +/- 20 seconds a month. The movement features a second time zone as well as a 24 hour complication. Clicking the pusher at the 2 o’clock position sets the second time zone 1 hour back, while clicking the pusher at the 4 o’clock position sets the second time zone forward by 1 hour.

In terms of tactile response, the pushers aren’t exactly the best out there. At times, I find it difficult to tell if I’d pressed on the pusher already.

While I would have preferred an actual chronograph movement over the dual time zones function, it is still a useful complication, especially for those who travel a lot.

The Strap

Default Watch Strap

The watch comes with a genuine leather strap, and both the strap itself and the buckle are signed with the Aries Gold branding. The watch strap comes with a quick release buckle, making changing straps an ease. The leather is soft and comfortable; keeping the watch on for the whole day will not be a problem. I’ve yet to try matching other straps, though I’m happy to keep it on the stock strap for now.

A Look at the Journey 1025 on Wrist

The Price

On the Aries Gold website, the watch retails for USD160 while on Lazada the watch goes for anywhere between S$180 – S$250. On a big sale however, certain colourways go on promotion and prices can fall to around 100, so if you’d like to try your luck, you could wait out on that. Regardless of whether you get it at the original retail price, or at a discount however, I would say you are getting quite a bit of watch for this amount of money, so don’t go beating yourself up if you miss a sale.

Overall

The Journey 1025 is a watch that definitely packs a lot punch for its price; sapphire crystal, solid stainless steel case, dual time zones and a fully lumed, albeit underlying, dial are all features that could easily drive retail prices up way higher for any other watchmaker. Aries Gold has also included several smaller touches normally reserved for more expensive pieces, such as a signed crown and buckle. Attention to detail is also evident from the dial design, and I’d say you’re getting pretty decent value here.

The quirky thing about the Journey 1025 however, is that it’s a little of “neither here nor there”. While styled as a vintage chronograph, it doesn’t actually have a stopwatch function, substituting it instead with a dual time zone complication. While the watch looks a bit dressier, it also looks casual at the same time; I’d reserve it for smart casual outfits.

That being said, the Journey 1025 is definitely an interesting one with the specifications to justify its price. Hopefully, the dual time zone will come in handy soon, but in the meantime, stay safe folks!

“Vintage Styling in a Modern Package”

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