Review: Nezumi Loews “John Player Special”

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First of all, I told Nezumi that I’d publish an unbiased and unfiltered review. They were perfectly fine with that and sent me a press edition of the Loews LQ1S.622, aka the John Player Special to review anyway.

That shows honesty, and it means that they believe in the quality of their products.

Specs

  • Diameter – 40mm without the crown
  • Height – 11.75mm without the crystal
  • Lug to lug – 47mm
  • Lug width – 20mm
  • Case material – brushed DLC gold
  • WR rating – 5 ATM
  • Crystal – Double domed sapphire crystal glass with AR coating on the inside
  • Movement – Seiko VK64 Hybrid mechanical quartz movement
  • Edition – 50 pcs
  • Price – $510 within the EU and $455 outside the EU – Including shipping

Origin

The Loews chronographs are designed with vintage racing chronograph coolness in mind. The name immediately makes that clear because the Loews was a hotel along the Circuit de Monaco. During the Monaco Grand Prix, the drivers make use of a tunnel underneath the hotel.

Technically, the Loews doesn’t exist anymore because it was renamed the Fairmont Monte Carlo in 2004.

The LQ1S.622 chrono is nicknamed the John Player Special because it’s black and gold. Just like the JPS livery from Team Lotus, which is one of the most famous liveries in F1 history.

Team Lotus JPS livery

Dial and bezel

Dial

The dial is almost identical to the other Loews watches, but it’s black with gold-colored features. It also says – Specials – so there’s no mistake that this is a special edition.

Similar to the other models, it has two subdials, which add some depth because they’re slightly lower than the dial itself. The gold subdials with the black hands create an excellent contrast, just like the gold lettering on the black dial.

Bezel

Unlike most (vintage) chronographs, the Loews LQ1S.622 has the tachymeter scale on the inside. It’s part of the dial.

This is a unique feature that creates some extra visual interest because the gold-colored scale is right next to the black dial. The surface of the dial and the scale is bigger because of the sleek bezel, so the watch looks wider than it is.

Case and case back

Case

The case shape is very similar to the other Nezumi chronographs, but it’s brushed gold. An excellent choice because a polished gold-colored case would be way too blingy.

The diameter is 40 mm without the crown and pushers, with 47 mm lug-to-lug, and the height is 11.75 mm without the crystal. Including crystal, the height is around 14 mm — a good compromise between a modern watch and a vintage one.

The pushers are 5 mm in diameter, and the signed crown measures 5.5 mm.

Case back

The case back is almost the same as the Nezumi Baleine, for example, except for the color and some different features listed around the edge.

Hands

I like the polished gold-colored syringe hands. They’re perfect for this watch because they have that vintage chronograph vibe. Obviously, that’s what they’re going for. They also add some contrast because they’re polished, and the rest of the watch is brushed gold.

The lume seems a little bit darker than the lume on the other Loews models, but that could be a trick of the eyes. In any case, don’t expect it to lit up like a Christmas tree. Then again, it’s not supposed to on a vintage style chronograph, in my opinion.

Crystal

There’s not much to say about the crystal. It’s a sapphire crystal, and it’s double-domed. That means that both the outside and the inside are domed, so it doesn’t distort the dial if you look at it from an angle.

The crystal also has an AR coating on the inside.

Movement

The movement is the Seiko VK64 hybrid mechanical quartz, also called a mecha-quartz. A battery powers it, but you control the chronograph with hammers and levers, just like a mechanical movement. So, you could say that it has the best of both worlds. The accuracy of a quartz watch and the feel of a mechanical one.

It’s also a lot thinner than a Valjoux 7750, for example. So, that means it’s possible to design thinner watches.

Finally, you can buy these movements for around $30. This means that the watch can be produced for a lot less than if you’d use a Valjoux 7750. Even a Sellita SW500 still costs around $445, which is nearly 15 times more than the VK64.

So, the mecha-quartz has some pros, but it has some cons as well.

For one, it’s not a mechanical movement, so it’s not a watch for the purists. Watches with a mecha-quartz movement also lose more value in the secondhand market compared to similar watches with a mechanical movement.

A mecha-quartz could also be difficult to service in the future and might not be available anymore. Quartz movements or parts for them are often tough to find after ten years or so.

Final thoughts

I think this is a cool watch. A black and gold watch sounds outrageous, but it’s quite classy.

It’s a fantastic timepiece for a younger watch enthusiast who doesn’t want to choose between a good quality watch and a fashionable watch. If you’re the type of person, who rocks black leather jackets/bomber jackets and black sneakers with golden accents, this one’s for you.

Nezumi John Player Special

Would I buy it? No, but that has nothing to do with the watch. It simply wouldn’t match my wardrobe, and I prefer a mechanical movement.

Don’t let this stop you. Nezumi has only produced 50 of these watches worldwide. $455 or $510 is a steal for a watch that’s truly rare in contrast to all the “rare watches” on eBay.

Check it out on the Nezumi website.


What do you think of the Nezumi Loews “John Player Special”? Let me know in the comments below.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Avatar
    Martin Lee
    Reply

    I like the design of of the watch..and remember well the great JP Formula 1 black and gold colour scheme of the 1970`s.
    The strap style is very 70`s too..probably most known on Tissots of the time.
    Sticking to just the two register design is good too but I agree with you that a mechanical calibre would be better.
    I`m an old geezer- so the same design in stainless steel would be my preferred option :0)

    • Melvin Hollenberg
      Melvin Hollenberg
      Reply

      Yup, that wouldn’t be the John Player Special, though. Perhaps one of the other Loews models?

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