Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trias Regulator Review




The subject of this review, the Trias Regulator, came to me second hand by way of a fellow member of the Poor Man's Watch Forum. With the exception of the strap, which is not original save for the clasp, the watch arrived in virtually new condition (it even still had the protective clear plastic sticker on the back). As such, I think that it fairly represents what a current model would be like for anyone else.

Trias is, apparently, a German company whose watches have generated a fair amount of buzz on a number of watch enthusiast forums. Some Trias models are powered by popular Swiss watch movements like the ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanism and the Unitas hand wound movement while others use movements that are made in China. The latter practice has led to Trias being labeled a "Germasian" brand as their watches say Germany on the face and case back but some of their movements come from Asia. According to one Trias re-seller, the watches have their final assembly and casing done in Germany but the individual components come from all over the world. This, it seems, is acceptable under German trade laws but has led some watch collectors to shun the brand for seeming inauthentic and misleading with its place of manufacture label. I'm not sure I would go that far as many watches use components sourced from other countries but Trias should be more forthright about its products (at the very least name the movement). All the more so in my mind as their watches are not junk at all and would probably be better received by enthusiasts if the details of their manufacture were better disclosed. It is not as though the "Made in China" label has hurt China's trade balance after all and I doubt that a quality watch at a good price would be criticized for it either.

On to the watch itself. This model is a regulator watch, of a style that is not terribly common these days but was at one time considered a good layout for a clock face. I have read that the design was originally meant to make seeing the individual hands easier. (see Timezone Jacques Lemans Review See also here and here) The polished stainless steel case measures 39mm in width (43mm with the crown), 11mm in thickness, 51mm lug to lug and 20mm in band lug width. The watch has a "coin edge" bezel design (which I admittedly find quite attractive) and the face appears to be made of engine turned metal (steel or brass perhaps). As is obvious, the watch has a three-face design arranged vertically as hours, minutes and seconds. The movement is, to my knowledge, a Chinese made Tianjin Seagull TS17 20 jewel automatic that hand winds but does not hack. The domed crystal and display back are made of mineral glass. The see-through display back gives a good view of the movement that is decorated both with Geneva stripes and a rotor engraved with the Trias name. Water resistance is rated at 5atm, and is thus probably not suitable for prolonged exposure to water. Overall, the Trias appears to be very well assembled and everything about it works perfectly. It is also reasonably accurate for a mechanical watch, gaining approximately 20 seconds a day for my example.

My thoughts about this watch are somewhat mixed. It appears to be a well-made watch that offers an upscale complication at a very low price. It is certainly one of the least expensive mechanical regulators available and given my budget, probably the closest I will ever get to one. The mixed aspect of Trias is that the company projects an image of pretentiousness that frankly seems absurd (I really don't think any watch company should behave in such a silly way, irrespective of their heritage and craftsmanship). The musical ebay listings complete with baroque chamber music and the excessive sprinklings of German words in supposedly English language ad copy are simply silly. They are also completely unneeded, the watch is really good enough to stand on its own without all the frills. (In fairness, not all Trias sellers do this. LongIslandWatch.com seems to be a class act in this regard. Their site is largely devoid of the excess that mars much of the other sales listings and they really seem to know the product well.) My final take on the Trias is simply this, look at this watch for the interesting timepiece that it is and ignore the bulk of the ebay marketing (among others) you see. Trias offers a great deal of watch for the money and that is really all that counts.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Scott said...

Ed-

Thanks for the great write-up and insights. I'm a burgeoning watch accumulator and have been looking at the Trias collections on LIW.com. (Marc is very helpful.)

I wanted a flieger-style automatic, and while the heart says "Fortis" the checkbook says "Trias". I hadn't read anything in depth on the Trias brand at all until finding this review on PMWF. Now, I'm optimistic about the arrival of my first Trias in a couple of days.

Thanks again-

Scott in Ohio

3:38 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Glad to be of help. I know what you mean about the checkbook speaking louder than the heart :) Good luck with it.

Ed

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently bought, from an authorized German dealer, a beautiful new Trias skeleton tank watch. It came with directions and a properly filled-out warranty card (2 years). All looked well! The movement is a T282-13 with 20 jewels. The problem is the watch drops 3 minutes per day. I can't find a Trias warranty station in the U.S. and the German store hasn't answered any e-mails. I wrote Long Island watch and also have received no answer after 24 hours. At this point I would say, you need to be sure not to buy one with a non-swiss movement as you may end up with a paper weight like I have. Anyone have any advise?!

12:17 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Could be just a simple matter of regulation. Any decent jeweler should be able to do that for very little $. Still, they should honor the warranty. I would write Trias directly with this matter.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Lawrence Bradford said...

On May 17, 2007, I mailed a Trias watch back to the company for repair. I sent them a letter on August 19, 2007 and recently an email, with no response. I tried sending another email with the address info@trias-watch.com,returned not found. At this point in time, I have come to the conclusion that I will never see that watch again. I noticed that anonymous had the same no communication problem. Have you any suggestions? If they are looking for negative feedback, they certainly will receive that from me.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Try contacting Longislandwatch.com

They are an authorized Trias dealer. Someone there may have some better contact information at the company.

Not a good sign though

Ed

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought a Trias Senator Watch from a German E-Bay Retailer, spent about 120 Canadian Dollars. My watch has turned out to be a great deal, and keeps good time. No problems to report.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Good to hear. Mine is still working fine as well.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Trias is also taken more and more delay until more than 3 minutes per day after less than 2 years old now

3:02 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Sounds like a regulation might be in order.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too bought a Trias watch and wanted to send for exchange as the 24-hr dial was not what was shown on the website. It also has an error.
I send it to the address given with my watch and for one month no reply. Repeated email also got no reply. Then another month later, the watch was returned untouched by the Germany Post Office because I registered the item and wanted to claim insurance.
So do not trust Trias.

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have send a watch to trias around Feb. 2009 after working well for 6 month then the date stop working. I have not seen a single replay to this day. My seller on E bay clams he has talked to them and they have been emailing me. 5 months and nothing yet. I would not send anything to Germany nor deal w any one from Germany ever again.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Oy...not good at all.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous trias watches said...

its a question of luck with trias
watches if you have luck will go for manyyears

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently purchased 3 Trias skeleton models. One came with a fancy metallic box and a German warrantee. Two of the pieces needed regulation of time. I unscrewed the backs and carefully adjusted the regulator which surrounds the upper cap jewel on the balance bridge.do not try to do this unless one has experience otherwise the hairspring can become misshapened and tangled.So far so good. The third model was missing a case screw. The problem is that many of these watches go from hand to hand depending upon where they are bought and from whom. Often times the authorized dealer is bypassed by purchasing from Europe. Where in the US can these pieces be sent for repair? Does any one know?

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me continue.The skeleton watches rre usually the TY or ZH movements made in China. They are very classy looking for the skeleton design and come in the plain or with 3 and 4 subdial motif. The name on the dial means absolutely nothing as any importer can make a design and have the piece imported from China. Lucien Piccard, Marcel Drucker, Anne Klein, Troika, Stuhrlng, Akribos,Trias,Tremont are just a few of the names that exist. WEhat is interesting is that the Trias are more expensive than the other brands. Is the "German" name more desirable than the Chinese when the movement is Chinese and not German.By the way ,two of the Trias Accapella models needed time regulation as I have described in the previous note. My advice, look for ther other brands with the same movements.
P. S. Where is the US warranty service center?

12:34 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I'm selling a Trias pilot watch on Ebay, starting at 45.00. I'm not a dealer, just trying to clean out my drawer so I can buy more Seiko divers. It's a nice watch with a Fortis type face. It keeps good time and as Ed says the build quality is good.

I love these reviews and I'm happy to have found Ed's Blog. By the way, based on the Seiko Monster review I just ordered one from Amazon.

Bob

10:51 PM  
Blogger Bob Eddington said...

Ed.
Thanks for the review on the Trias Regulator.
I picked one up at a Estate sale in mint condition and was unable to find one listed ANYWHERE.
I ran acroos your blog in my Google search of this watch.
Very helpful but still doesn't indicate what its worth.
Since I know now its a Trias Regulator that may prove helpful.
Great post!!

3:02 AM  

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