Adley Fixi T1 twilight grey watch review

Published on 30 December 2023 at 19:34

Every year the period between mid November, when Black Friday sales starts, until the end of the year when the last Christmas sales ends, can be quite hectic for all watch lovers. All web shops you were ever shopping at or even just registrering to are sending exclusive offers, discount codes, etc.  

This year there was no exemption so one day after receiving a special code for the Christmas discount from the Italian web shop I decided to make a deep investigation of this shop to see if I would be able to find something interesting for my collection. Since the shop has quite a big portfolio of different watch brands, that was not an easy job! A lot of brands are less known to me, for some brands I have never heard of, there are a lot of brands which are not interesting to me at all, but still some interesting watches popped up. For some interesting brands I was surprised when I realized that this shop is basically the only EU shop where those brands are available and what was even bigger surprise was the fact that prices for those brands are more than competitive for EU customers (much lower than if one would need to import it from non EU based watch shop and paid all duties and taxes). 

One of the brands I was not familiar with but attracted me at once was Adley with the three models from FIXI - T1 collection. I immediately asked google about this brand and the FIXI collection and found the official web page of this microbrand based in the UK which was established not a long ago. As a passionate cyclist I was exited that Adley's FIXI -T1 watch is dedicated to cycling. OK, there is a small tiny detail, watch is dedicated to a very special type of the bicycle with fixed gear, but still, it is a watch that incorporates my two hobbies, watches and cycling.

What I also noticed immediately is that most probably this watch would be too small for my wrist as it has a diameter of only 40mm with the bullhead construction of the case. Plus on the official pictures it looked as if lugs were hidden somewhere beneath the case. So, all classic indicators, that watch is suitable only for smaller wrists, therefore not for me. But that was not the end of my story with this watch. For your better understanding I must do a small detour ...
I have one really close friend. In fact our families are closely connected, our kids continue our friendship. Even though we live about 80 km apart, we are in contact daily, sometimes with just short notice. If some of us need help, that distance is no issue. And what is important for this review - there is more. I am the one who got him excited about cycling, because of me he purchased his first bicycle, later his first road bike, because of me he upgraded his first road bike to a carbon version. He has now become a much better cyclist than I am. We try to arrange joint rides as often as we can, enjoy them very much and help each other. In my Garmin I set him as the person who follows my every move when I ride alone, beside my wife he is the only person I can be sure of that he will react at once if something goes wrong on my ride.
He was not very keen on watches, but now he is for sure THE most loyal reader of my reviews! He has even bought himself an automatic watch which he wears with great pleasure. The most important thing for this review is - he has a much smaller wrist than I do! So, when checking the Adley watch I got the idea for the perfect Christmas gift for my best friend. The perfect gift which shows my gratitude for his support!

When the decision about the purchase was made, the even more problematic task was in front of me - which color version should I take? At the beginning my light favorite was the blue "Champion White" version, "Midnight black" was not an option at all, at the end the "Twilight Grey" was the final choice. 

For your better understanding of what am I talking about, I copied the photos of all three models from the web shop...

At the end I had to pick where to order from. Even though I checked all over the place, I found just the Adley's official web shop where the price was/is 340 GBP (cca. 400 EUR) and already mentioned orologichepassione web shop where those watches were and still are on sale and the price was reduced from 395 EUR to 298 EUR. Having in mind that the official web shop is based in the UK, so additional taxes have to be added for EU customers and that orologechepassione offered an additional Christmas discount, the price difference between two options was huge! For EU customers, watches are almost twice cheaper in orologichepassione shop! So, no brainer, right?

To be fair, there is one important difference. The official store offers two straps of customers own choice, while at orologichepassione you just receive one strap, which is given as a default one. Just to be sure, before the purchase I sent a question about the strap situation to orologichepassione. Very soon I received an honest answer on behalf of the shop from Massimo (probably the shop owner or shop manager). 
So, everything was clear and I ordered the watch. Even though the watch shop is based in Sicily :)  everything went smooth and just a few days later the watch was in my hands.

Unpackaging was an interesting experience. First, the watch is packed in a quite normal cardboard box with the big "twilight" sticker on it, and a hand written serial number. Probably this was written by the shop itself. But the real package of the watch follows inside. Nice box with a magnetic lid on one side. Inside lies a leather roll-over pouch where in one pocket a watch is finally hidden (within a kind of a textile sock). As a gift another twilight sticker is also added. Even though I opened huge amount of watch packages, this one is one of the most cute ones. Noting prestigious yet efficient and well made. Inside the box also the short story is written about the Adley and the FIXI watch, I didn't want to rewrite everything, here is the picture of it:

If the first impression was positive, I must admit that the first contact with the watch was a bit of a disappointment. The watch in person does not look so good as in pictures. The main problem is not the watch itself, it is more the rubber strap which basically looks like a cheap Ali express version of the FKM strap. And the color of the strap (and the dial) is light grey, strap is almost whitish, far from the dark grey as it is in the picture of the web shop. On top of that, strap has a black buckle! Steel case with the black pin buckle is a strange combination. Ok, the watch has a lot of black details on the the dial, however, I don't feel this combination is appropriate. Buckle should be in line with the case. Howg! But, I also must be honest and admit that strap is very soft and comfortable. And it has a quick release lugs (20/18 mm lugs/buckle), so you can easily replace it with more suitable one.

So, let's forget about the strap issue and move on to the watch itself. Let me start with the case.

The bullhead construction of the case is far from being new in the market. With diameter of just 40mm the bullhead construction makes watch visually smaller.

Yet, this case construction is not specific just by that. The shape of the case reminds to an UFO and goes inwards from the top to the bottom. Above the 12 o'clock a quite big crown raises up. As a counterpart to the crown on the top, the much smaller "nipple" is placed on the bottom. I can't figure out what is the meaning of this nipple, I also can't decide if I like it or not. But what I like is the fact that the nipple is used for the serial number engraving.

Crown is - as expected - signed.

The most debatable point of the case construction is by my opinion the lug placement. Namely the lugs are dragged below the watch case. The side effect of this is the fact that L2L is less than the diameter of the watch. As a result, the UFO sits higher on the wrist and it seems as if the strap lies beneath the case. Even though the case itself is just 13,5 mm thick, it is worn as a much thicker one. I must admit that I don't like that, everything also makes the watch smaller than it actually is. So, as a result the watch looks small and thick, a real UFO on the wrist.

I believe the main concern of the designers was the efficient crown manipulation. But as the watch has an automatic movement, the manipulation is only needed for the initial setting of time, which can easily be done out of the wrist, when bullhead construction is not an obstacle. So, I would understand lugs placement if the watch would have used manual winding movement. 

The back plate is for the cyclist's soul. Very nice engraving of the (FIXI) road bike, racing in the circle (same motif is seen beside the text on the pouch). And some technical details: British design, stainless steel case, automatic Seiko NH35A movement and a water resistance of 10 ATM (100m). The only important technical detail that is missing is the fact that glass is sapphire.

So the back plate reveals that the watch has all the elements one expects from the quality made watch. Seiko NH35A is a cheap yet reliable working horse for which it is known that precision is not among the best ones. However, for this type of watch such a movement is a perfectly good choice. So, I really can't complain about the components used. Thumbs up!

Let me now focus on the dial or the entire front of the watch itself, which is actually the most attractive and interesting part of the watch. 

The most dominant part is the middle black pentacle circle which probably represents the crank. For non cyclists I placed just one picture of the bicycle crank for comparison. Together with the minute hand we have a perfect crank set. I took the picture with the exact same position of the crank  as is on a demonstration picture. So in general I really like the idea of the crank copy. 

I am a bit less enthusiastic about the pink color of the second hand, but it is far from being annoying. Since the pentacle circle is fixed, it would be much more interesting if the rotating circle would replace the second hand. Than we would have a perfect crank imitation. I know that technically that is not easy to do (second hand would have to be placed on the lower level instead on the upper...

Around the chapter ring we can see tiny circle lines. The same can be seen inside the crank. Those circle lines are not so obvious, you can clearly see them only when you watch it from an angle. That's why I used an angled photo to show the dial details. I am not quite sure if those lines have any specific purpose, at least the ones on the chapter ring reminds me of high carbon wheel rims used on racing road bicycles. And the hour markers look similar to spokes. But this is perhaps just my imagination... The black outer ring might represent the tires however hour markings does not feel right. There are no spokes on tires..

I like that the dial is otherwise very clean. There is in fact some text on it, but for most of the text a very subtle light rose color is used (in line with the second hand) which is hardly visible. It's a very good choice that the dial has no numbers as they would totally ruin the bicycle feeling of the dial. I also like that there is no date, even though movement of course allows it. There is even an empty first position of the crown, which is normally reserved for quick date setting. Now, on this position crown just rotates freely without any function.

Watch has quite a good luminova. As you can see the luminova is applied on hands, chapter hour markers and outer ring markers. It does not last the whole night but still it is better than expected.

Let me now discuss probably the most important thing - how does this watch look and feel on the wrist. Before I continue, let me remind you that my wrist size is 19,4 cm which puts me into the bigger size than the average user has. This watch is FOR SURE not intended for such a wrist size. Check the wrist photos...

As you can see, the watch on my wrist does not look good at all! Lugs end in the middle of the top instead of gently hugging the wrist edges. So the watch just sits on top of my wrist. Adding the height of the watch and the already stated additional raise that the lugs make, the final result is strange (if I use a polite expression). Some small 34mm vintage watches looks much better on my wrist than this 40mm watch. Yet no vintage 34mm watch is so thick or better say looks so thick. I can hardly wait to see how this watch will fit my friend's almost 2 cm smaller wrist. Since we will spend a New Year night together, I will give him my present then and I will also take some more of his wrist shots, update this review with the pictures of the watch on his wrist and only then will I be able to give the final conclusion about wearability of the watch. 
For now I can only say - avoid this watch if your wrist is big. And by this statement I will start my conclusion. I am very happy that finally there is a watch which is dedicated to a bicycle. A big community is a target market for such a watch. Adley gave us a very interesting watch with many great and interesting details, with good technical characteristics of the watch. However there are also some design flaws which makes this watch totally useless for quite a big part of the cycling community. Usually one can't miss by choosing the 40mm size of the case as this is the most universal size. However this watch is a typical example of how the diameter of the watch is not the only important thing. Is it true that usually cyclists are tiny guys and have tiny wrists, maybe the designers had this fact in mind. 
I also have to comment on the price, which is at the time being very reasonable. Of course I am referring to what I have paid. 340 GBP for the UK customers is still a fair price. But if I would have to pay additional EU taxes on 340 GBP, that would be too expensive. So, if you are a cycling fan, have a small wrist, grab the chance of getting a very interesting watch for a more than a fair price.
And for the end, I have to express my very positive impressions about the web site and the guys that are behind that store. This is not the first watch that I purchased there but it is the first one that I also reviewed so I use this occasion for my compliments.
As promised, here are the pictures of the watch on my friend's wrist.

You can see that watch sits much better on his wrist than mine. However the optical height is still present and even though watch is not height at all, it does looks like that even on the smaller wrist. It is logical that height does not cause problems while on wrist as the height is more an illusion than the fact. If the intention of the designers was to create a very unusual, even strange looking watch, well they succeeded.... But for sure this design is not suitable for everybody.

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