Watch Gang Platinum Review: Higher Cost But Is It Higher Reward?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. We received compensation and courtesy product from Watch Gang in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own.

86%
Excellent

While Watch Gang’s Platinum Tier raises the stakes, it also offers better resale value, while still providing watch enthusiasts with the same incredibly fun way of exploring new watches on the regular.

The rundown:
  • Quality of Products
  • Curation
  • Value for Money
  • Subscription Management
  • Packaging
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Ever since my review of Watch Gang’s middle-level-offering, Black Tier, I’ve been ever-so-curious about the watches on offer on the brand’s premium Platinum Tier subscription.

And like a cat taking the leap of faith to climb up the neighbourhood’s tallest tree, I’ve finally acted on my curiosity.

Let’s see if I fare better than the cat with my first Platinum Tier watch from Watch Gang.

And don’t you worry—that’s the last cat metaphor in this article.


What is Watch Gang?


Founded by Matthew Gallager in 2016, Watch Gang is a monthly subscription service and online community for watches.

This above clip of Gallagher gives a touching insight into his motivation for starting the company.

How Does it Work?

After starting the sign-up process, you’ll be asked to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” a bunch of different styles of watches.

Watch Gang Sign Up Watch Quiz Screenshot

You then choose from one of three tiers of subscription:

  • Platinum Tier – $299.99 (super luxury, with list prices up to $1,500) [this review]
  • Black Tier – $99.99 (affordable luxury, with list prices up to $500) [read our review]
  • Original Tier – $29.99 (stylish and fashionable, with list prices up to $150)

And then choose your frequency—monthly, quarterly, or on-demand. And that’s it.

What Do You Get?

As a Watch Gang member (for any tier, including Platinum) you’ll get:

  • A watch sent to you every month/quarter/on-demand in line with your style choices and with a list price of up to five times the cost of your subscription.
  • Free entry into Watch Gang’s weekly Rolex/TAG giveaways.
  • Membership into Watch Gang’s private community for buying, selling, trading, or simply talkin’ watches.
  • The ability to earn reward points which you can spend on promotions, flash sales, or put toward your membership fee.

For a more detailed overview, check out my in-depth review of Watch Gang’s Black Tier where I set out a more detailed overview of the sign-up process and comparison of each tier.


The Review: Platinum Tier


In line with the ‘tiers explained’ article on the Watch Gang blog, Platinum Tier members can expect to get watches from premium microbrand or large name brands with list prices of between $500 and $1,500.

They’ll also have Japanese or Swiss automatic movement, and come with an authenticity guarantee.

So, did my watch live up to the brand’s promises? Drum roll, please…


Unboxing


Dufa Bayer Sitting on Black Background Front On

I got a Bayer Automatic Swiss DF-9016-02 from German watchmaker DuFa (or Deutsche Uhrenfabrik). To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the brand before. A quick check on the official DuFa website has it listed for €679. And it’s currently going for a similar rate on eBay, new.

Converting to around $750 USD at the time of writing, it gets a tick for meeting the list price promise.

The Box

Dufa Bayer Watch Box Open Outside and Booklet Envelope

Opening the white solid outer cardboard box revealed a sleek little envelope containing the warranty and instruction manual.

Dufa Bayer Instructions and Warranty

The watch box itself is also white and a little more solid (but still cardboard) with the DuFa logo on top. While it’s not the most elegant watch box exterior I’ve ever seen, I do like the minimalist black and white style. It suits the branding nicely.

Dufa Bayer Watch Box Open Outside with Instructions and Warranty on Display

The box opens from the top to reveal an inner felted box with ‘DuFa’ capitalized on the underside of the lid. The cushion is also felted and branded, and sitting below it is a branded polishing cloth—a nice touch.

The Bayer itself first presents with a tag and fastened to the cushion.

Dufa Bayer Watch Box Open Showing Watch On Cushion

Overall, I’d rate it at a slightly above average boxing for the price point.

The Dial

Onto the watch itself and my first impression was good. I like the simplistic Bauhaus influenced design—it’s striking, and the sunken circular channel pattern of the dial is quite unique and adds depth.

Model Wearing Dufa Bayer on Wrist Showing Dial

The white dial, blue colored hands and hour numbers/markers combine elegantly to match with the light brown of the genuine leather strap. The dial also has a circular date window, seconds markings on the outer rim, and a crisp looking logo.

Model Wearing Dufa Bayer from Watch Gang Platinum Tier on Wrist on Angle Showing Dial

My only critique of the design is that the second hand and minute hand look almost identical at first glance and so you have to wait a moment to distinguish between them.

Dufa Bayer Sitting on Vintage Wrapper Front On

The dial is covered with a K1 hardened mineral crystal which is a bit disappointing given its $750 odd price point. While K1 is harder than a standard mineral crystal, it’s still not as scratch proof as a sapphire crystal.

That said, at the $299.99 cost of my Platinum Tier subscription, I’m content with the value for money I’m getting on this timepiece so far.

Size and Fit

Model Wearing Dufa Bayer In Suit Side On Hands in Pocket

The watch fits nicely on my modest-sized wrist with its 40mm stainless steel case diameter and 11mm thickness. The size is pretty much spot on. It has a minimal bezel which really brings the dial to the fore and gives it a strong wrist presence.

Model Wearing Dufa Bayer In Suit Side On Showing Cuff

It feels nice and light at 70 grams and I found it really easy to wear all day long. Its relatively low thickness allows it to slip nicely under a cuff, as you can see.

The band width is 18-20mm and it was perfectly aligned with the lugs.

Dufa Bayer Sitting on Vintage Wrapper Top Down

The genuine leather strap is nice and supple and features a strap buckle.

Dufa Bayer Close up of Strap Buckle

Movement and Case Back

The Bayer runs on a Swiss Automatic movement with three hands and a date. The crown pushes and pulls with ease and the hands feel solid while winding to set the date and time.

Dufa Bayer Case Back On Angle Sitting on White Background With Strap

The case back is stainless steel to match the rest of the case and features a cool looking custom rotor with the DuFa logo on a black sticker.

Dufa Bayer Case Back Sitting on White Background With Strap

It looks classy and shows good attention to detail.

Other Features

Model Wearing Dufa Bayer In Suit Holding Arm Out

The watch has a water resistance of 3ATM (or three metres), so obviously this little guy isn’t made for doing backstroke with. It also comes with a 2 year international warranty.


My Overall Thoughts On the DuFa Bayer


What I Like

  • I love the Bauhaus style of the design. It’s simple, but the uniqueness of the hour numbers and the circular channel and date window combine really elegantly. It’s a compliment magnet.
  • The size is perfect—it doesn’t look like a plate on your wrist, but it doesn’t hide either—it has a nice presence. The minimal bezel allows the dial to pop.
  • It’s easily wearable all day and fits nicely under a cuff. The genuine leather strap is supple, and connects flush with the lugs.
  • The overall build quality is high and DuFa have clearly paid attention to the finer details. It’s simple to adjust the time and date and the hands feel solid while adjusting.

What I Don't Like

  • Use of K1 hardened mineral crystal over sapphire crystal is a disappointment at this list price.
  • The seconds and minute hands look almost identical at first glance which means you have to wait a moment for the seconds hand to move to clearly distinguish between them.

Will I Wear It?

In my review of Watch Gang’s Black Tier, I concluded that the Charles Hutton Aristocrat that I got in my first box probably wouldn’t get a lot of wrist time.

And that ended up being true—well, for me. I gifted it to my Dad and he loves it.

Different story here—I dig this little watch. My DuFa Bayer has already earned plenty of wrist time. It looks great dressed up with a suit, but given its ease of wearability I’ve often caught myself wearing it all weekend without even realizing.

Yes, the lack of a sapphire crystal is disappointing, but here’s where you can get value out of a service like Watch Gang.

Even though it looks stunning, I’d be hard pressed to pay $750 for this watch knowing what I know about crystals. But for $299.99? I think at that price it easily pivots toward a solid value for money pick-up given all the other positives I mentioned above.

(Use code ADL10 for 10% off your first watch)


My Overall Thoughts on Watch Gang Platinum Tier


Dufa Bayer Sitting on Top of Watch Box

Heads up: several of these points are consistent with my review of Watch Gang’s Black Tier which I recommend checking out if you’d like an even deeper insight into the service, and/or if you don’t quite have the budget for Platinum.

What I Like

  • It’s a lot of fun. There’s so much variety in the watch world and so you truly never know what to expect when you open the watch box. It’s exciting to learn about a new watch every month or quarter, and even to look up the list price to see what kind of value you’re getting.
  • The community is active, and it’s a cool experience to be part of an exclusive group that all share a common interest. There are some knowledgeable members and it’s a great way to learn more about watches, or buy, sell, or trade timepieces.
  • You have a genuine chance to win a Rolex/Tag every week, and given the frequency of the draw, the odds aren’t lottery-level-bad for you to actually win.
  • Given that the watches will be from premium microbrands and large brands, the watches will likely have better resale value than you might see on the lower tiers, which should, at the very least, insure you against the cost of your subscription.
  • The cost saving you make against the list price can allow you to much easier rationalize any negatives that would otherwise reduce your perceived value of a watch (assuming it’s a watch that regularly retails at a figure close to its list price).
  • This was definitely the case with my DuFa Bayer and its K1 crystal.

What I Don't Like

  • For most guys, $299.99 is a significant investment for any purchase, let alone a subscription service where you don’t know precisely what you’ll be getting, but the fact you can now choose between monthly, quarterly or on-demand frequency adds some flexibility.
  • The watch quiz you take up-front is consistent across all tiers and it’s quite generic, and based only on your aesthetic preferences across popular watch styles. I’d like to see the ability to specify your wrist size or preferred case width for all tiers, but especially at the Platinum Tier where the investment is higher. That said, my first Platinum Tier watch was a fit for my wrist size perfectly.

The Verdict: Is Watch Gang Platinum Tier For You?

Having now tried both the Black and Platinum subscription tiers, I’ll confidently say this:

The real value you get out of any Watch Gang subscription (regardless of tier) is in the exploration and the pure fun-factor.

I may be biased because I love watches, but no other subscription box has matched the excitement I get when I see that little WG package sitting on my stoop.

If I was trying to put my finger on why that is, I think it’s because of the sheer variety of watches available to you as a watch enthusiast. Both old and new. And of course, there’s also the list price variance, and the potential to get a great deal. And the wheeling and dealing, if you’re into that.

I’ve personally had a better first-box experience with the Platinum Tier compared to the Black Tier. But which tier you go for should ultimately come down to your budget. The beauty of watches is that they’re completely subjective. And that’s where the value of exploration truly kicks in with Watch Gang.

Because by giving up some control and getting a new and unexpected watch in the mail every month or quarter, you’re not only learning something new about watches. You’re also learning something new about yourself.

Specifically—which watch (or watches) resonates with you the most? In watch nerd terms, what’s your grail watch?

I think once you’ve nailed that down, Watch Gang loses some of its value, because you can simply shop around for it yourself.

But until then, if you have the budget, Watch Gang is an incredibly fun journey to take. Just ask its 20,000+ other members.


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