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Watch Review | Sugess Panda ST1901 Chronograph (38mm)

Updated: Jun 27, 2023


Welcome to the review for the Sugess Panda, featuring the well regarded Seagull ST1901 movement under the hood, it's Chinese you know, it's got that gooseneck regulator you know. So, what we also want to know is, how will this Chinese watch stack up against those that came before it? The Sugess Moonphase Master, the Sugess Tourbillion, and the Lobinni 'LoHang' Microrotor, they were all pretty good if you recall, even if the Tourbillion did let us down. Two out of three isn't bad, I guess the Tourbillion brought forth the reality of Chinese watch quality and testing to the table. Such a shame, but what about this much lauded Chinese movement in the popular panda clothing, how does it fair?


Sugess Panda chronograph Chinese watch
The fact that I haven't taken the protectors off probably tells you something...

Purchase / Post / Packaging

This is another AliExpress job, I ordered it at the end of August and it took a couple weeks to arrive. Prices at AliExpress, like everywhere else, have been on the rise. I picked this up for £172.56, but I reckon it was under £150 at the start of the year. Is it worth it, it's not a bad price for a manual wind chronograph, if it's quality. If? The packaging is different to other's I've bought, it's comes in a plastic clippy peli-type case, which looks good and protects well. Saying that, it would have been nice to have a foam cut-out where the watch sits in the case, just adds a bit of class.


Case, Dial & Hands

It's a standard looking panda, 38mm, no date, two dial chronograph, applied numerals at 12 and 6 and markers for the rest with some pretty useless lume. I do love the 'Zenith' style chrono seconds hand with the star on it, and the star on the crown - it aligns with the styling of the original Seagull 1963 military watch, which utilised the star logo. Saying that, here is what I think has gone wrong, it starts with the 38mm case, which gives you a pretty small dial. If that dial has an outer ring that is black, it makes the dial as a whole look smaller than it is, which is already pretty tight. The design takes many direct cues from the (circa £7000...) Breitling Premier B01 - see it here - and the TAG Heuer Panda, the key difference is that that is a 42mm case, which gives a certain balance to the design. There is a 40mm version of the Sugess Panda which is even more similar in dial design to the Breitling (still no date), but I think it would fair better in the design stakes. In addition the 12 o'clock marker/baton is not on straight, a not unsurprising quality assurance issue that people fear when buying Chinese watches.



Movement / Complications

The somewhat legendary Seagull ST1901 sits inside the 38mm case, I have the Seagull SU1908 movement in the Sugess Moonphase Master and it hasn't missed a beat. From the back end it looks great, the caseback and movement are very cool. You can see exactly why these movements and watches that feature them are so popular.


Unfortunately, I had a few more issues here. The chronograph pushers don't have the quality feel of the moon phase and while the chronograph functions work well, the reset pusher has a terribly cheap and almost malfunctioning squishy feel to it. When you wind it, you don't get a tactile sense of something magical happening inside the case, it's a kind of flat and loose feeling. It feels broken. Oddly, it isn't, it works well and keeps time accurately (it may have been better if it was broken). It just seems off when you have to interact with it, and that is a problem. I don't know if I got a sloppy one or if they're all like this, but it's a real shame.


Sugess Panda chronograph Chinese watch

Sugess Panda chronograph Chinese watch seagull movement

Strap / Wearability

This is a great watch for skinny wrists, it measures in at around 47.5mm lug to lug, though is quite thick at 13.5mm. The word is stout I think. It's a sporty chronograph, so that presence works quite well. It is pretty comfortable on the wrist but there is an issue, the strap width is 18mm, which is narrow. The quality of the strap is poor, but a replacement at 18mm, no matter the quality, is going to lack presence. It's great if you're after a watch with a small wrist-print (that's a real thing, ok...). Obviously I don't have any other watches with an 18mm lug width, so that's annoying - it didn't say it on the advert either.


Sugess Panda chronograph Chinese watch

Competition

As I mentioned there is a 40mm version which comes in at a similar price but with a few differing details, and there are a number of different colours alongside the panda - green, salmon and blue - which give a single dial colour, and look good, with possibly more attention to detail than the 38mm. I would say these are worth looking at (link in footer). If you are interested in the colour variations, there is another in the 38mm model, which is available with an all black dial.



Conclusion

As is sits sadly with its protective stickers still in place, the one thing this watch has definitely done, is made me miss another watch. While you might think this is a bad thing, which it kind of is, the good thing is that that other watch is Chinese as well. The aforementioned Sugess Moonphase Master. So, it's not all bad for Chinese watches.


Interestingly, the fails for this watch aren't just related to the lack of quality and that feel, it's also about the general design. It's personal preference too, of course, but I think it misses the mark. It has some nice touches, and isn't at all a bad watch, the size especially is a draw but unfortunately, there are likely too many issues with it for it to remain in the collection.


I don't know if these watches are all made to the same level of quality, but I hope they aren't and I got a dud. The are some very similar alternatives that might fit the bill, not sure if I'll be picking one up any time soon, but if you choose to, returns to AliExpress are usually hassle free if a little time-consuming.

Sugess Panda chronograph Chinese watch

This Chinese watch didn't fair too well, so at present we are two and two, Lobinni 'LoHang', and Moonphase master are winning, Panda and Tourbillon are the let downs. Really though, when I first bought the Moonphase master and then got hands on the LoHang, things were looking up, the bar has been raised. A tourbillon, I guess, has to stand apart a little due to the technical and maintenance aspects. So, in general Chinese watches are still winning, let's see what comes next and where it lands.



Yours Disappointedly,


Alvin



 


38mm Sugess Panda with movement and size variations - Click here.


40mm Sugess Panda with colour variations - Click here.










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2 comentários


S Queme
S Queme
18 de jan.

already had two (38mm) of that precise model 😍 lovely & simple panda dial ♻️ still searching/buying non-working ST19 chronographs (possibly movements), please get in touch with me if in europe ♻️ youtube.com/@squeme

Curtir
Alvin
01 de mar.
Respondendo a

Hi, thanks for reading and for supporting the Sugess movement!!

Curtir
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