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WULF EXPO WF02.01 WATCH REVIEW

Posted on January 06 2020

WULF EXPO WF02.01 WATCH REVIEW

Wulf is a brand hailing out of Singapore, creating Swiss Made watches. The Expo is a perfect example of a modern take of the traditional skeleton timepiece; it’s larger and “cooler” than many offerings available today.

However, you may be concerned by the fact that they’re not a Swiss company, and in fact, the movement provider (Swisstech) isn’t either. Rest assured though, one thing that impressed me on the site is the steps they have taken to reassure buyers – including attaching the certificate proving the watches are made in Switzerland.

I find it can be difficult for a skeleton watch to not look cheap and tacky. At $698 / ~£535, I certainly hope this is not the case with the Wulf Exo! Let’s check it out.

THE SPECS

THE VIDEO REVIEW

THE CASE

43mm is certainly on the large side for a dress watch; however, the shapely curvaceous case allows the Wulf Expo to feel more like 40-41mm, which is more of a reasonable size.

The case is primarily brushed; which allows it to be more of a casual wearer. The only polished facets are the top shoulders of the lugs.

Looking at the case at all angles, it’s a pleasantly soft, gently rounded shape.

The flat sapphire crystal provides excellent legibility of the wonderful exposed dial and movement.

The crown is a little bit on the small side; if you like to hand-wind your watches then you may find it a little difficult. However, due to the compact size, it stays out of the way whilst wearing the watch; so you don’t get it jabbing the back of your hand or wrist. The Wulf logo is deeply and accurately engraved on the end.

The caseback is relatively uninspiring – a central exhibition window is flanked by several engraved specifics.

THE DIAL

The dial is all about that awesomely skeletonised movement. It can be difficult to make an exposed movement look good (and not cheap and tacky), but they’ve certainly managed that here.

The Wulf logo is gently etched on a bridge on the left side at 9, in a pleasantly subtle fashion.

Whilst the dial can be seen as being all about the exposed mechanism of the movement, there’s more to it. I especially like the attention to detail on the surrounding edge, rehaut and hour markers. The edge is multilayered and the lower level features the minute track and a concentric circular pattern within.

The hour markers are attached to the top layer and descend past the lower level, with a square lumed flat top and a polished plane.

Legibility could be seen as an issue for some, due to the pitched polished hands on top of the busy dial. I like the design of the hands, rather angular and modern. The second’s hand is blued which provides a splash of colour and has a lovely elongated arrow pointing in the opposite direction as the counterweight.

Yes, the hands and hour markers are lumed, but the strength is poor and you can’t rely on it to be able to read the watch in low light situations.

THE STRAP

To go with the larger than expected case diameter of 43mm, the lug width is also larger than I would have imagined at 22mm. Still, this larger size all round makes for more modern wear, and it all goes together well.

The calf leather of the strap is a jet black, which offsets the silvery dial well. I also appreciate a matte finish, rather than a shiny patent; I feel it’s a lot classier and contemporary. The quality of the leather is average – nothing outstanding, but it’ll do.

The matching black stitching is well hidden, keeping the strap dead simple in appearance – vitally important as you want the dial doing all the talking.

The butterfly clasp is easy enough to use and is also rather comfortable due to the size of it. It’s brushed like the majority of the case, so it should hold up reasonably well again hairline scratches; and the Wulf logo is deeply engraved on the top bar, to match the crown.

THE MOVEMENT

Swisstech is officially a Hong Kongese company (so the name is a bit of a swerve ball), and whilst they do offer movements built in the Far East, they also make Swiss Made movements.

The movement found within the Wulf Expo is the “Wulf Calibre 02”, which is a modified and re-worked Swisstech movement. They don’t mention exactly which one, but after a bit of detective work, I believe it’s the S12-031. I must say, they do a lot of work on it – they state that the “date disc is removed and the movement main plates and bridges are modified and decorated to become a skeletal movement”.

The modification is all completed in Botyre, Switzerland. This includes the custom CNC crafted rotor with Wulf’s logo which is very well designed and executed.

Specs include 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second), 42 hours power reserve, 24 jewels, hacking seconds hand and hand / automatic winding.

FINAL COMMENTS

It can be difficult to come across skeleton watches which genuinely look awesome, without costing the earth. Whether you feel $698 / ~£535 is on the high side or not, there’s no denying that Wulf has done an amazing job with the movement here. Taking a stock calibre and converting it to what I have in front of me is no mean feat – simply put, it looks fantastic.

The overall build quality is pretty great too. Things to keep in mind are firstly the average leather strap; and secondly and most importantly, the legibility of the watch in general. The hands tend to merge into the complexities of the dial, and the lume does not help in lowlight situations. That being said, dress watches for many don’t need to be that legible in the dark – otherwise, you’d buy a diver with copious amounts of lume.

With the negatives considered, I still think the price is on point for a Swiss Made skeleton. The Wulf Exo looks and feels great, and has a modern twist to it thanks to the size and heavily brushed case.