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Start Your Engines! The SYE MOT1ON Range!


Here we are, back at it again with another review! Albeit a slightly different one to the Direnzo review. To set the scene, I was going through our email a few weeks ago, and happened across an email from a new French startup called SYE. It included a press release and a load of information about their upcoming two releases. It was attached to a note expressing an interest in us reviewing said watches, which of course we jumped on! And after having worn these watches for a few weeks, we thought it was about time to tell you what we thought, so here goes!

SYE are, as previously mentioned, a French watch company. Their ethos is centered around bring to the masses watches which embody a masculine elegance. They do this by bringing "sports tailoring to the world of watches by creating a perfect marriage of a classy yet relaxed style." SYE have instilled a lot of car influences into their racing inspired watches, and this is something they pride themselves on with the sporty watches that they offer.

The two watches that the are currently offering are the MOT1ON Automatic Twenty Four, and the MOT1ON Chronograph. We were lucky enough to receive both in the post, so in true racing form, Cal and I wore them for a week or two and took them for a test drive. The MOT1ON Automatic Twenty Four is their time-only automatic, and the Chronograph is... well... the chronograph!

MOT1ON Twenty Four Automatic

Case:

  • 5 part stainless steel case construction

  • 40.5mm diameter

  • 13.4 thickness

  • Scratch Resistant sapphire crystal with AR coating

  • Water resistant to 50mm

Dial

  • Silver and Smokey Grey Brushed Steel

  • Diamond shaped hands with Superluminova Coating

Movement

  • Automatic Miyota Caliber 8217

  • 42 Hour power reserve

Strap

  • Fastback Premium strap

  • Full grain italian calf lining in SYE blue

  • Brushed stainless steel deployment buckle

MOT1ON Chronograph

Case:​​​​

  • 5 part stainless steel case construction

  • 40.5mm diameter

  • 13.4 thickness

  • Scratch Resistant sapphire crystal with AR coating

  • Water resistant to 50mm

Dial

  • Silver and Smokey Grey Brushed Steel

  • Diamond shaped hands with Superluminova Coating

Movement

  • Hybrid Meca-quartz chronograph movement

  • 1/5s sweep second hand with true mechanical reset

  • Caliber Seiko VK63

  • Power reserve of approximately 3 years.

Strap

  • Fastback Premium strap

  • Full grain italian calf lining in SYE blue

  • Brushed stainless steel deployment buckle

Felix - SYE MOT1ON Chronograph

Once again, I was in the lucky position of the watches being delivered to my office, so I had the pick of which one I wanted to test drive! And as a result I chose the MOT1ON Chronograph. I must admit over my years of 'Collecting' I have never owned a chronograph! So naturally I decided to pick this watch to see whether a chronograph was something that I actually liked and found useful.

The first thing that struck me when putting that watch on is the unique strap mechanism that the watch utlises. I have not seen anything like it on another watch before. How it works is that there is a disc that is attached to the case back. You use a special tool that comes with the watch to remove the disc from the back of the watch. The disc effectively replaces the traditional lug mechanism that would keep a strap in place. As you will see below there is a demonstration of how exactly the mechanism works. This means that you can very quickly change straps to whichever of the four colour options SYE provide. Whilst you can obviously only use these specific straps, the colour options and the fact that the straps are made by none of other than Jean Rousseau helps to sweeten the deal. These straps are made superbly well, unsurprisingly. They are wonderfully soft and supple, and the rich burgundy colour pairs superbly with the white dial on the Chronograph version that I got to play with.

A showcase of the strap changing in motion...

This watch, despite being a meca-quartz, is still brilliant. The benefit to mecca-quartz is that you get the reliability of a quartz movement but the look and feel of an automatic. The added benefit to the SYE is that there is no running seconds sub-dial. The beauty of this is that for anyone looking at it they would be none the wiser, especially when activating and using the chronograph. Whilst Chronographs are something I have not spend much time with, I actually found myself timings things whilst wearing this watch. Pasta, time between tube trains and other mundane activities were made exciting by the use of this funky little watch, and the contract between the silver dial and the blue accents give it an understated look but also a little pop of colour. This pop of colour is carried through the case back screw. A subtle features, but something very pleasing once you realise.

All in all this watch is unusual and brilliant. It is a totally original design and a unique twist on a lugless case. It is an eye-catching design and I had more compliments on this than any other watch I have owned. All in all I am a big fan of this,and I strongly recommend that you check it out.

Cal - SYE MOT1ON Automatic Twenty-Four

The issue, is Felix gets his side of the article in early and therefore makes a lot of the good points first which is tricky when these two watches are aesthetically based on the same idea. For example, the extremely stream line case shape and accompanying Jean Rousseau strap, achieved by the lugless case design, is consistent between both the chronograph models and time only models. Therefore, to avoid repeating too many points made by Felix, my personal experience with this automotive inspired piece is as follows: Firstly, I found the case size to be very comfortable and non-intrusive on the wrist. I also found the strap to be excellently constructed achieving a structured fit that enables the lug less case design to be succesful. By this I mean, a thinner, poorer quality strap would simply not have the structure to support the watch in place, allowing for a crease to form between strap and case. This lug less design isn't new as both Porsche Design and Ikepod have pulled it off already but the quick change strap feature is new. I thoroughly enjoyed the clear nod to automotive racing intended with this feature. As a big fan of F1 fan, I greatly appreciate the idea that you can imitate an F1 pit stop tyre change when changing up the colour and style. Furthermore, I greatly appreciated the fact they were using a mechanical movement. Although a basic Miyota non-hacking movement, I am always impressed by these micro-brands in this price category that prioritise mechanical movements. For me and many watch people that these brands are supposedly appealing to, a mechanical movement is the basic requirement. Felix may feel differently, but as soon as I see a quartz movement, regardless of design, I am simply not interested. Therefore, the presence of a Japanese mechanical movement pleased me.

I enjoyed the colour schemes, with my particular piece sporting a slate grey dial with electric blue accompaniments and dark tobacco leather strap. All of them had very automotive-esque colour schemes: Solid single dial colour with splashes of colour in the shape of second hands etc. This also reminded me of 60s/70s driving watches. One gripe I have with the dial though is the presence of the 24 hour indicator sub dial. This is a bit of a strange addition as it doesn't really add much utilisation to the watch but it does succeed in clustering up the dial. I think the overall look of the watch would be much better and clearler if this were removed.

the official marketing video demonstrates the strap changing feature better ad clearer than the video of me doing it...

Improvement would come, in my opinion, from the more subtle technical and mechanical components that sre minor alone but when all together elevate a watch in this price bracket significantly. Firstly, I am always a massive advocate for double anti-reflective treatment on the sapphire crystal. It seems like a minor point, but time and time again it separates the perception and feeling of quality between a low tier watch and a higher tier piece.

This photo demonstrates how the anti-reflective treatment on the Omega Seamaster prevents the glare present on the SYE. This is a small detail but really maximises the clarity and pristine of the dial.

Secondly, a screw down pusher would again give the watch that solid, secure feeling of a high quality modern sports watch. This is also one of my only gripes with the Seiko Sarb, so it happens to the best. However, I really feel that, as an overall package, a small detail such as a screw down crown in a modern sports watch, really evokes that feeling of quality. Finally, I think the shape or positioning of the butterfly clasp could be improved as over the course of a week of wearing the watch, the end of the clasp was digging into my wrist. Again another small and easily fixable issue that just elevates the overall quality of the watch.

In conclusion, this is another great example of a new affordable brand that are delivering innovative designs without compromising on quality or going for entirely quartz based movements. I genuinely believe this is a brand that with a second generation of models with some of the minor issues ironed out and a strong marketing strategy could catch the eye of the major publications and develop the traction of the likes of Autodromo and Baltic.

We would like to thank Arnaud and the team at SYE for trusting us to review two of their flagship pieces. We have had a lot of fun with these watches and we really encourage you all to both check out their watches at their website and support them with the current line of watches that they have, as they really are brilliant.

Felix Arnold & Calum Moore

Founders and Editors

The Young Horologist


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