Review of the Kronen & Sohne KS069 Automatic Watch
One of the first watches I reviewed was the Kronen & Söhne’s KS04. I really liked this timepiece and decided to purchase another watch from this company. I chose the KS069, which retails for $34.99 on Amazon.
The timepiece arrived earlier than expected but was, unfortunately, broken. The dealer promptly dispatched a replacement.
Most Chinese watches arrive tag-less and wrapped in a layer of bubble wrap. The KS069 was packed in a proper watch box lined with foam. Included were the watch, a buffing cloth, tag, international maintenance guarantee card, and an instruction manual.
This automatic watch includes what is described as a tourbillon cage. This infers the cage rotates and that the timepiece’s balance wheel and escapement are contained within. This type of gravity-defying mechanism is fitted into a selection of expensive watches and used to improve accuracy.
The KS069 is not a Tourbillon. What Kronen & Söhne did was cut a hole in the dial, exposing the balance wheel. Since this wheel and its associated hair spring are bouncing back and forth at a rate of eight times a second, it is fun to watch.
Two subdials are located near the top of the watch face. The left dial displays the time in twenty-four-hour format. The second features a rotating dial onto which the sun and moon are painted.
The KS069’s third subdial is crammed between the center of the face and the opening that displays the timing wheel. A tiny, bright red pointer indicates the passing seconds.
Silver hands are easily identifiable against this watch’s white dial and are coated with luminous paint. The dial is nicely engraved, and four shiny studs mark several of the hours. Time is adjusted by pulling out and rotating the crown.
Tom Adelstein authored an interesting article concerning KS watches. Mr. Adelstein notes that Liaoning Watch Factory in Andong, China manufactures movements for Kronen & Söhne. I removed the back of the watch but could not confirm the manufacturer of the movement. Kronen & Söhne is engraved on the rotor, which indicates this mechanism was produced for this specific watch company.
The band is reasonably thick and constructed of PU leather. This is not a band you will need to replace right away.
Kronen & Söhne is a German company established in 1992. They are run by NCN Group, a company that specializes in marketing. Other brands controlled by NCN consist of SHARK, HOTARU, AGENT.X, and TAYLOR COLE. NCN Group operates under the umbrella of SOWATCHES and appears to be based in the orient. The official KS website no longer in operation.
Kronen & Söhne do not actually operate a watch factory. They purchase the required components from a variety of Chinese manufacturers. These parts, in turn, are assembled into watches and packaged by other companies.
KS watches are sold via internet vendors and are widely available through outlets such as eBay and Amazon.
Brand: Kronen & Söhne
Condition: New with box and tags
Part number: KS069 Navigator Series
Model year: 2013
Place of origin: China
Features: Open heart dial displaying balance assembly
Functions: 24-hour time and rotating sun/moon display
Band material: PU Leather
Band width: 24mm
Dial color: White
Dial window material type: Hardex
Case material: Stainless steel
Case diameter: 48.5mm (including crown)
Case thickness: 15mm
Water resistance: 3 ATM (Not suitable for swimming, diving, shower etc.)
The KS069 features an attractive dial, although I found the heavy use of unnecessary numbering to be a distraction. A flat crystal ensures glare is kept to a minimum, and the glass cover on the case-back allows a view of the watch’s rotor. I found the rising sun and moon, viewed against the white backdrop of the main dial, to be quite striking.
The twenty-four-hour clock and day/night indicator worked fine.
I tested the KS069 in my Diplomat watch winder for ten days. During this period, the timepiece gained an average of 71 seconds per day. Accuracy is extremely poor.
After being removed from the winder, I measured how long the watch continued to keep time. Power reserve works out to 27 hours.
The original test watch arrived broken. I suspect the problem was associated with the main spring or gear assembly. The replacement KS069 functioned properly but accuracy proved poor. These difficulties suggest less than adequate quality control.
The watch case is composed of stainless steel and glass surfaces are scratch resistant. There is noticeable sloppiness when adjusting the time, however, this does not affect operation.
The band, while composed of PU leather, is of reasonable quality and should last for several months.
While support at Kronen & Söhne is extremely good, this model suffers from a lack of quality control and exhibits poor accuracy. The KS069 is not recommended.
Unlike many Chinese watch companies, Kronen & Söhne makes the effort to package their timepieces in watch boxes and provide tags and documentation. The following poll is an attempt to gauge how important packaging is in relationship to the extra costs the manufacturer must pass on to its customers.
When you purchase a watch do you expect it to be tagged, packaged inside a watch box, and to include operating instructions?
© 2017 Walter Shillington