Roebuck Alpha

No, not that Roebuck. It is true that the venerable Sears Roebuck Company has sold more than a few watches in its day (including some surprisingly nice Swiss mechanical chronographs under the Tradition brand in the 1960’s), but this is not one of them. Rather, Roebuck is a new microbrand out of Texas that is preparing to launch later this month. For this review, I tested a blue and black Alpha prototype.


The Alpha is a bold, stylish watch. Two features immediately grab your attention: the colorful multi-layered dial, and the bricklike square case. The watch is only 40mm wide and 49mm long, but it is 14mm thick with slab sides and hard angles to give it an imposing presence on your wrist. The top is polished, and on the final versions, an etched stripe will run down its brushed sides, but on the prototype, the tall profile is broken only by a nicely signed, but woefully undersized crown. I wouldn’t want it to protrude any farther, but even with the accent stripe, a larger diameter would have been better suited to the case’s expansive flanks. A domed sapphire crystal tops it off. The case is rated for 100m water resistance.


The Alpha runs a tried and true Seiko NH35 automatic movement. You can get a glimpse of it through a sapphire porthole in the case back, which is more than enough. NH35s are quality units, but not particularly pretty.


Of course, the dial is the real star of this show. Inside the white chapter ring, polished markers and numbers are applied to a brushed black dial with football-shaped cutouts revealing an intense, royal blue, textured surface. A 3 o’clock date window currently displays a white disk, but these will be black on the production models. Black skeleton hands mark the time, made visible by their C1 SuperLuminova ends. The second hand is tipped in red. It is a fun layout. I particularly like the way the 12 and 6 extend beyond the black layer to float over the blue. Roebuck will also offer white and gray dials, as well as a striking pale blue in a PVD black case with yellow markers. 




In spite of its prodigious thickness, I was able to wear the Alpha quite easily on my 6.5” wrist. The 20mm black leather strap is comfortable, and I like the way the contrasting stitching coordinates with the dial. A bracelet is in the works as well and is likely to be offered as a stretch goal.



The Roebuck Alpha may have some quirks, but it is a fresh design with some very cool elements. It is expected to launch mid-May on Kickstarter. List price will be in the low $500s, and early bird rewards will be lower, but the pricing is not yet finalized. To keep informed, sign up at RoebuckWatchCo.com. [Update 5/14/18: The Kickstarter campaign is live.]









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