The RZE Valour delivers a titanium build and head-turning looks for a great priceLuke Benedictus
Although RZE would consider themselves “modern vintage”, the Valour just oozes retro charm, with its most modern traits being its quality, technological upgrades and colour schemes. Pushing forward compelling watches in titanium really puts RZE firmly in a value niche, expertly navigating the lines around originality and quirkiness.
The RZE Valour doesn’t shy away from being a slab of a watch, but the manner in which its bulk is formed gives it great character. It’s inspired by the wedge-shaped supercars of the ‘70s and ‘80s like the Lamborghini Countach, Lotus Esprit, and the Aston Martin Lagonda. Those shared curves and lines are evident, as is the motoring spirit that exists throughout the whole watch. RZE pride themselves on their use of grade two titanium for all of their watches, and for good reason. The slightly darker shade of grey metal appears more industrial than stainless steel, but it’s actually more elegant in practice with its weight being significantly reduced. The entire case and bezel has a matte grainy texture, diffusing the light across its flat angles to accentuate its stance even more. Although it looks like the size may be intimidating, its 42mm diameter, 12.5mm thickness, and 49mm lug-to-lug ensures a comfortable fit on an average wrist.
The proprietary UltraHex coating is definitely worth discussion, as case coatings are generally only ever mentioned as an aside. Hardness comes up all the time in debates around sapphire versus acrylic crystals, but it’s also important to know what your case material can handle in terms of dents and scratches. RZE uses the Vickers hardness scale to reach a figure of 1200Hv, which means that the surface of the Valour’s titanium case will actually be as scratch-resistant as quartz. For a sense of reference, the rating for zirconium dioxide ceramic is around 1350Hv, while the titanium beneath and the ever-popular 316L stainless steel hovers nearer to the 150Hv mark. If you like keeping your watches pristine, then the UltraHex is definitely for you.
There are three dial variations, each with unique personalities. The most versatile option is the Crusader White — a classic panda dial layout with electric blue highlights. It embodies the classic vibe of a racing chronograph without being overly kitsch, and the dark grey hands keep things easily legible in awkward lighting where it’s not quite dark enough for luminous paint to help. The GT Black option is a reverential homage to the early Heuer models such as the Monaco “Dark Lord” which featured a black PVC coating and vibrant orange details. The most interesting dial though, is the Vintage Salmon. It’s a true salmon tone, blurring the lines between pink and orange, which really goes well with the faux-aged lume on the hands and markers. The beige-toned hands aren’t incredible for legibility, but they really take off above the jet-black subdials.
Seiko’s VK64 movement is blowing up in popularity as mecaquartz technology gains more recognition for its reliability, accuracy, and none of the single-second tick that watch romanticists despise. Its 24-hour display at three o’clock means that there’s no running seconds hand, and when you engage the chronograph it will sweep across the dial in steady ticks similarly to a mechanical movement. Its maintenance costs will extend only to a new battery every three or so years, and the date window at six o’clock makes the bicompax layout appear like a much more expensive watch at first glance.
The RZE Valour arrives on either a high-quality black FKM rubber strap, or an UltraHex coated titanium bracelet to match the colour of the metal. The H-link bracelet matches the vintage flair of the head of the watch, with slightly rounded centre-links giving it an undeniably ‘70s feel. The rubber is simple, but keeps the attention on the watch where it belongs and emphasises the lightness of the titanium case.
For an original design with throwback inspirations, it’s hard to go wrong with RZE. The Valour is a great example of this, with their modern interpretation of classic design given mecaquartz technology, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, and 200m of water resistance.
Made in partnership with RZE. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.