The Starking AM0184 – What’s The Catch?
They say if it looks too good to be true then is most probably is too good to be true. So, when the specification of the Starking AM0184 is seen in the light cast by its incredibly low price I am already looking for the downside that explains everything. For this watch has, on paper at least a very impressive specification and yet the leather strapped version may be purchased online for an amazing $51, that’s less then £50. The version reviewed here with the black dial and stainless steel bracelet comes in a little more at £???. But these are low prices for a what that boasts.
• Automatic, ‘Lots of Jewels’, Hi-Beat, Hacking, movement (28,800 bph)
• Highly polished Stainless Steel Case
• Exhibition Caseback
• Date Function
• Quality Stainless Steel Bracelet with solid links and machined (and polished) Deployment clasp
• Sapphire Crystal
All of the above you will routinely find in a new Rolex or Omega but ‘affordable’ brands rarely have all if these high quality components. Some have one or two … but never all of them. Not so the Starking AM0184.
So in this review I am going to discover if there is a catch, I am going to do a thorough watchmaker’s inspection of the piece and give my verdict on whether or not there is a catch. In doing this I will test the watch on the timegrapher and partly dismantle the movement to check on the quality therein.
Starking AM0184 – Watchmaker Review – The video
I recorded the whole process of this review for my YouTube channel which so you can also actually watch me conduct the analysis.
Having given the watch a thorough examination I will score it under the following categories …
• Engineering Build Quality
• Value for Money
… and I will start with Looks
Aside from a small niggle I have about the small size of the date window in comparison with the dial size this watch looks great. In profile from the side view the case is scoped upwards towards the bezel housing the sapphire crystal. It looks like a very shiny retro lunar landing module. And the polishing is really very, very good. So good is it that whilst filming for the video all I could see when shooting the side of the watch was my own reflection. The dial design is ‘classic cocktail’ watch, reminiscent of the Tissot Visodate and some of the more plain Grand Seiko models. It is, apart from that date window, very elegant. The sapphire crystal, the applied indicies completed with applied Arabic numerals at the 12 and 6 o’clock position all make for a very pleasing effect. The printing of the dial is also bright and sharp even at high magnification.
Even the bracelet looks great. The fit at the lugs is spot on and the contrast between lightly brushed outer links and highly polished inner links is really very impressive as is the machined and highly polished deployment clasp.
So, this watch looks great and I score it 9 out of 10 for looks.
Score for Looks: 9 out of 10
Engineering Build Quality
So, we already know that at $51 dollars unless there is a disaster with the engineering build quality this watch is going to score highly in Value for Money. We also know that the watch looks good so everything now hangs on the quality. If on inspection the watch looks as if it going to fall apart or stop working at any moment then the low price would start to make sense, if not we must deduce that we have a real bargain here. It is tin this part of the analysis that I need to do my job well and this is where being a full time watchmaker really comes in useful.
Let’s start with the movement ….