You can buy the 2020 Rolex Submariner for £7,300 if you are looking for a lifetime wrist companion. OK, you can’t really buy one because they are so hard to come by, but some people give up their souls to sit on waiting lists for years on end and so the choice is yours if you have the money.
You can buy the 2020 Bersigar BG-1651 for £79.99 and you do not have to sit on a waiting list forever because Amazon will deliver it to you the next day.
So, we have a watch that is 91 times more expensive than the other and yet for many people (those strange people who do not obsess over watches) they will look largely similar.
In fact there is an argument that the Bersigar looks more relevant than the Submariner, a watch which has barely changed over the decades. It used to be that people viewed a Rolex as a Granddad watch and to some this perception remains, and I don’t think Rolex helps that by making so few aesthetic changes to their most popular models.
The tool watch vibe of many of their watches has been lost in favour of decoration and for many, myself included, the GMT Master and Submariner are now a little too flash to be palatable. The Bersigar looks like a tool watch throughout.
So, for many people they look similar and for most (98%?) that is all that matters. £79 vs £7,300 is a no brainer.
And I must say that the Bersigar has impressed me greatly which I really did not expect at all. Indeed, it is proving to be superior to many watches that have cost £500 and upwards to me.
Some of the specifications are dubious. Synthetic Sapphire is not sapphire, the movement (I think) is from Miyota and it has hacking and hand-winding. Remarkably it is running at approximately 3 seconds fast a day which is really impressive and not far out from your average Rolex.
The actual look of the watch is way beyond what could be expected in a homage watch and there are few reasons for this. While it is definitely a homage watch, some of the design aspects do not site with each other and that is a good thing. The bezel has a Rolex Yacht Master feel to it while the rest of the watch is Submariner all of the way through. I included the measurements in the main image because the size and weight are perfectly Submariner and anyone who knows Rolex, and watches, will know that this specific collection of measurements wears incredibly well on most wrist sizes. The Bersigar obviously wears just as well due to the mimicry at play here.
If there is one area that needs improving it is the bezel which has a wide margin of movement when static. You literally can move it left or right at least two clicks.
This is annoying because the actual feel of the bezel is superb and I would argue to be almost equivalent to the Tudor Black Bay. It is also not very legible so this cannot be classed as a true dive watch. Then again, £79.99.
It is hard to write much more about this watch. We know what it is; a watch that copies Rolex, which is made in China and which has no chance of competing with the most powerful watch brand in the world. The problem is that it is really very good indeed and everything I have learned about watches over the past few years gets turned on its head by models like this.
When I look at watches from Tudor, Rolex, Oris, Omega and so many others at all price ranges a watch like this does not fit in. It sits outside of the value structure we expect to see and on build quality and technical performance alone there is an argument that it should be in the £3-400 sector at a minimum. Fix that bezel and it could sit higher.
We know that facts do not dictate the price of a watch. That little ‘Rolex’ word on the dial is worth the extra £7,220 to some people and I am almost ashamed to say that I kind of feel the same way. For everyone else, this is a fabulous watch for the price. Just fabulous.