Penarosa Hands-On Review Penarosa makes me believe in design-flexibility again by Franziska Bücker April 30, 2020 MIN READPenarosa Hands-On Review
I have to say, I am not often a fan of DIY stuff. And so it follows that I didn’t expect to be a huge fan of a build-your-own-watch kit. But after wearing this Penarosa for a while, I was forced to reconsider my position…
My appreciation for design, art, fashion, and watches begins with the designer(s). I’m interested in the thoughts that have crossed their mind during the creative process. Was there an aim? A purpose? Or is the design simply a stroke of genius? A moment of inspiration?
Oftentimes, watches come across as exceptionally considered. As such, one could argue they are made to be worn as the designer (more likely the brand) intended.
But that would mean that you shouldn’t really change a thing — not even a strap. But I don’t always want to stick to the “rules”. Nothing should be set in stone when it comes to design really. So Penarosa giving us the option to decide which watch to wear is highly appreciated on my side. (If you do not like to make decisions yourself, you should consider buying a ready-made watch to wear).
The whole package
As a PR-consultant, I am always very interested in everything that goes into building a brand. How effective is the Corporate Design? Does the logo make sense in relation to the product? Does the style of language on the website speak to me as a customer?
In this regard, I must say that Penarosa did quite a good job. The website is nicely made — the logo, the colors, and the general style match the product. And what I am a huge fan of is the personalizable aspect of the design. The good thing about it? It is easy to understand and to handle.
The brand sets out with a well-pitched goal. “Penarosa wants nothing less than making wristwatches for the most fashionable wrists.” It identifies the brand’s target audience as those that place design above labels. It is not for those that would say, “I am wearing a highly luxurious watch and I want to the whole world to know about it.” It is positioned more like a well-made accessory — a colorful joy on the wrist to match an every-day-outfit.
The watch itself
Putting the logo decentralized on the dial seems like a good idea. It caught my attention immediately when I unpacked the watch. But it did take some getting used to at first. I sometimes got a bit confused about the time. Well, humans are creatures of habit. After a few days, telling the time became easier. That is thanks, in part, to the quality of the display components themselves.
The dial itself, the indices, and hands are nicely made. They are sharp and appear to have been given appropriate attention (and budget) in the planning phase. You can order the dial in white, black, or rose. So at this point, the decision-making process starts already. And we are definitely not finished.
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable element of the design is the changeable bezel. It can be switched around. Penarosa is offering it in seven (seven!) different colors. So you can have a go at various color combinations of really all the parts, that can be moved around on a watch — the case, dial, bezel, and strap. You often find interchangeable components look a bit cheap, but the Penarosa team did a good job of keeping the quality high throughout. That is, in large part, thanks to the simplicity of the design. Watches attempting to do what Penarosa does well, often overcomplicate the manufacturing side of things, sapping the budget for the cosmetic appearance of components. That isn’t the case here.
They are polished in a nice sparkly way…
You can easily turn the bezel around so it “unlocks”. It could not be simpler or easier. The whole movement drops out of the case without any confusion. That means all components can be shuffled around in a matter of seconds.
Assuming you only have one case — you can choose the watch-body in either silver or rose gold plated — that element will remain the only necessary constant of your design (although you could just as easily build a design around a single dial/movement capsule if you prefer). The corners of the cases are decorated in an unusual fashion. They are finished in a nice sparkly way (a bit like tiny diamonds). Penarosa calls this a “frosted-gold finish”. It’s not quite the level of frosting seen from Audemars Piguet, but, from a distance, it achieves a similar effect.
Quartz movement inside
I was looking at it, trying to figure out, how to set the time. After changing the bezel for the first time, I finally realized how the whole mechanism works, and to be honest: It is incredibly easy. I almost blushed! After taking the bezel off you can just flip the whole dial/movement capsule out. And there it is — the crown clearly presenting itself to the user.
Admittedly, the dial/movement capsule doesn’t look that impressive when removed from its more decorative housing, but it is incredibly intuitive to operate. And this simplicity has a hidden benefit. It should be very easy for a third party watch technician to change your battery should it run flat.
Straps all over the place
Even though I am not the cutest person on this planet — and trust me, my boyfriend would definitely agree upon that — I do love nice cakes. Especially when they appear pastel-colored. So that lovely composition of colors reminded me immediately of a beautifully decorated cupcake.
…I’m very happy about it.
Penarosa decided to offer the watch with nine different straps to choose from. The pastel-colored Italian calf is my favorite style. The baby blue one looks great against the champagne dial and pink bezel and was my first choice. The second? The lilac in the same material.
I’m not at all a fan of alligator straps at the best of times. And so the shiny white alligator I got to test drive was not for me. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the alligator straps are the most expensive option. Happily (for once) my tastes align with the budget option. It isn’t very often that happens, but in this case, I’m very happy about it.
Fashion on your wrist
The Penarosa range starts at €725. This is like the “basic“ model with a calf leather strap (my preference). Considering it is powered by a quartz movement it is not the cheapest watch I’ve ever seen in my life, but when thinking about shoes I bought for about €300, the Penarosa watch suddenly seems a good value product with a lot of scope. Refreshing the design if you ever get bored is a piece of cake. And it also happens to be a lot of fun in the process. Learn more here.
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About the author
Franziska Bücker is a PR Consultant working for a well-known agency in Dresden, Germany. Her interest in watches was stoked by a stint working in the International Sales Department of NOMOS Glashütte. Her interests go beyond the aesthetic appeal and… read more
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