REC Watches Review: Taking the 901 RWB Rotana for a Spin

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jul 16, 2020
REC Watches Review: Taking the 901 RWB Rotana for a Spin

REC’s limited edition RWB Rotana 901 Series watch has a ton of design elements that will excite any Porsche enthusiast. But do the specs support the look?

Our review takes an in-depth view into this limited edition timepiece so you can decide whether the RWB Rotana is right for you.

Any Porsche lovers out there?
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image Source: REC Watches

REC Watches 901 RWB Rotana

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Bottom line: REC’s 901 RWB Rotana offers a well-designed piece of engineering history. Fans of the RWB Porsche tuning shop will probably love the look, and while the focus isn’t on the movement, the story and aesthetic behind this timepiece drive the value.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • One-of-a-kind design: if you’re an RWB fan, you need to check this watch out
  • Printed logos on the sapphire crystal are clever, and so are many of the other design elements that recall the Porsche 911
  • The 44mm (46mm with the “body kit”)size and 130g weight lend a masculine edge
  • 3-year extended warranty is generous and REC has excellent customer service

Cons:

  • Miyota 9100 movements are rated to a -10 ~ +30 accuracy rating, though actual lost time is closer to + or - 5 seconds a day
  • The flat sapphire crystal doesn’t carry the same elegance as a domed crystal

I was nine years old when it first happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

The next town over had a big car show and my dad took me to see what the hype was all about. 

There were some cool classics. Interesting to look at, but nothing special. And then the street-racers showed up. 

Now the show had my attention. Since then, I’ve been a fan of modded cars, decked out both for speed and style.

So when I saw the REC Watches 901 RWB Rotana—a watch built from one of the most iconic Japanese Porsche tuners, I was drawn to it. 

I took the 901 RWB Rotana for a test drive and my verdict is in. 

What is REC Watches?

REC stands for “recover, recycle, reclaim,” and that’s exactly what they do. The brand has several models, all made with reclaimed parts of iconic vehicles. 

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Their designs recall classic elements of each vehicle, and the inspiration is clear. 

Their RJM watch is made with parts of old Spitfire fighter aircrafts, the REC P-51 is made from Ford Mustangs, and both the Mark 1 and Cooper models are made from recycled mini-coopers. 

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The RWB Rotana I’m reviewing here is from REC’s 901 line, made from the Porsche 911. But this one has a little something extra. 

Like with any classic car, there’s a group of enthusiasts who love to modify it. One of the greatest Porsche 911 tuners is Akira Nakai-San. REC has taken parts of his iconic RWB Rotana Porsche, and turned it into a limited edition collection. 

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There are only 305 of these watches, and that’s roughly the same volume you’ll find on other REC lines. Their P-51 line (made with classic Ford Mustang parts) has just under 500 pieces per colorway, so you can expect an element of collectability from any of REC’s products. 

REC Watches

Reclaimed, recycled, reused: this is what REC stands for. Each REC watch is made with a piece of engineering history. Whether the dial is cut from a Spitfire part or the caseback includes a recycled wheel well of a Mini-Cooper, each design is inspired by iconic vehicles.

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REC 901 RWB Rotana Unboxing & Review

Packaging

REC watches come in a decorative black and grey tin with a sticker seal across the top, which lends to the anticipation factor. 

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Inside the tin is a simple sturdy cardboard box with plenty of padding. The watch is neatly packed into the padding alongside a series of cards, which include the certificate of authenticity, user manual, and QR code to watch an interactive story behind the making of the REC 901 RWB Rotana watch. 

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This was easily the best unboxing experience I’ve had with a timepiece: there was a bit of performance with the tin, but otherwise it’s very simple. That said, it’s also the most pricey watch I’ve had the pleasure of unboxing, so that likely plays a part. 

Case

The case is constructed with four pieces of PVD coated stainless steel. It’s 44mm wide, but if you include the “body kit” (the purple wings along the side) the watch measures 46mm. I like that REC has incorporated some of Akira Nakai’s design principles, adding extra width along the sides. 

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At 14mm tall, this takes a lot of wrist real estate. It’s hefty, too: I weighed it at 130 grams with the strap. Both the size and weight lend a masculine vibe that I think speaks to a lot of classic motor enthusiasts. I certainly enjoy it. 

REC’s 901 RWB Stella watch is very similar though it has gold accents rather than purple. The most noticeable difference besides the gold accent is the chapter ring. Instead of marking every hour, the Stella marks every 15 minutes, but the designs are otherwise similar. 

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The RWB Rotana has a screwdown case back with a design that mimics a classic Porsche 911 hubcap. REC has sacrificed some water resistance with the screwdown case back, but with a 5ATM rating, this timepiece should be fine with an accidental water contact. 

I wouldn’t wear it in the shower, but it’d likely hold up if you had to do something heroic like dive into a lake and save a puppy. 

Dial

The centerpiece of the dial is a handcrafted metal cut from the bonnet of Akira Nakai-San’s personal Rotana Porsche 911. REC has done a nice job of leaving some of that rustic cross-hatch pattern you might expect to see on a piece of salvaged metal. 

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The chapter ring is interesting with Japanese numerals at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. At 12, there’s a power indicator for the movement’s 40-hour power reserve. 

With the standard Miyota 9100, there’s a day, date, and month complication. The month reads at 3 o’clock, date at 6, and day at 9. 

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Overall, the design makes for an impressive street racing watch. It has a late 2000’s edgy street style look and blends REC’s recycling mission well with the Japanese twist on German engineering. 

If that sounds a little convoluted, it’s because it is. But that’s the beauty of a timepiece like this: it pays homage to an iconic car while also honoring a street-racing legend (Akira Nakai has a lot of fans, and just as many haters—some people think it’s sacrilege to change a Porsche 911). 

Crystal

The crystal is flat sapphire with Nakai’s signature “RAUH Welt” logotype printed under twelve and REC’s logo printed above six. 

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When light hits this watch just right, both logos cast a shadow on the dial below, which is a cool effect I’ve been enjoying. 

Considering how rounded the design is, I felt that the flat crystal was a missed opportunity. Even a modest dome would have been a nice addition to this timepiece given its price. 

The sapphire has three layers of anti-reflective coating and it’s effective—it’s difficult to get a glare from this watch even when you’re trying to. 

Movement

At the heart of the REC 901 series is an automatic Miyota 9100. It’s a well-respected movement amongst enthusiasts as an alternative to the much more expensive Swiss ETA movements. 

REC Watches Review: Taking the 901 RWB Rotana for a Spin

The 9100 has several interesting complications—even more than the dial shows. The month shows at 3, which you can change either by adjusting the date with the crown or use the hidden pusher at 2 o’clock. The date is at 6, and the day of the week is at 9. 

Miyota’s 9100 also has a 24-hour subdial, though we don’t see that displayed in this watch. 

It has an accuracy rating between -10 ~ +30 seconds a day, which is fairly broad. 

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I like the complications of the 9100, but I don’t think the movement is the appeal of REC’s 901 series. You can find the same mechanics in watches for half the price, so the value here is in the design, story, and the history of the timepiece. 

Strap and Wearability

The 901 RWB Rotana comes with a debossed Viton Fluorocarbon black rubber strap. This rubber is more durable than silicone and has a sturdier feel. RWB logo flank both ends, and you’ll find REC logos on the underside. 

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Weighing 130g, this watch is hefty. Pair that with its 46mm size, and this watch dances on the line of being too large for average-sized wrists. 

Because of the size and the purple accents, it’s not an everyday watch for me, but I like that it’s bold and heavy. It’s eye-catching. The size lends a masculine edge that goes well with the street racing aesthetic. 

What do Other Reviewers Think?

At the time of writing, the 901 RWB Rotana hasn’t been released yet, so there aren’t any reviews. But REC has been around for years and professional watch reviewers enjoy their commitment to their niche. 

I looked at the reviews on their Facebook page (you might know already, but watch customers can be ruthless).

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REC averaged a 4.8 out of 5 with over 70 reviews, which is excellent. 

Most folks bought their watches from the brand because they were fans of the Spitfire, Mustang, MiniCooper, or Porsche 911, and there’s nobody else that uses recycled materials from these vehicles. They were fans of the vehicle, and they became fans of the watch brand. 

But one story stuck out, which speaks to REC’s customer service. 

One gentleman dropped his watch and shattered the crystal. He reached out to see if he could pay to send it back and have the crystal replaced, fully expecting to pay a fee as he recognized it was his fault. REC replaced the crystal free of charge without asking any further questions.

My Thoughts Overall On the REC 901

What I Like

  • The design is one-of-a-kind. REC built a great looking watch with their 901 series, but the RWB series adds another level of complexity and edge to the design. 

  • The printed logos on the sapphire crystal are great. They cast interesting shadows on the dial and the parallel with RWB’s windshield logo is clever.

  • At 46mm and 130g, this watch is a masculine statement piece.

  • Unboxing this watch was an excellent experience, and REC’s 2-year warranty is generous. If you register your watch with them, you’ll get a third year at no extra cost.

What I Don’t Like

  • The Miyota 9100 is a solid alternative to more expensive Swiss movements, but the possible -10 ~ +30 seconds of accuracy range could be better.

  • A domed crystal would have added another layer of sophistication to this timepiece.

Who is the REC 901 for?

Undoubtedly, the REC 901 series is for fans of the Porsche 911, or any motorheads out there looking for a timepiece that recalls the design elements of classic cars. 

The Verdict

I’ve had a lot of fun with REC’s RWB Rotana 901 series watch. 

The brand has done an excellent job of designing their watch in a way that recalls elements of the 911, while also paying homage to Akira Nakai’s RWB tuning shop. 

Anyone who’s into street racing will likely love the aesthetic—it’s a hefty watch and the black, purple, and grey accents give it a dark and sleek vibe. 

The movement is solid, though you can find other watches at this price that will keep better time. Heck, you can find watches for far less that keep better time. 

But if you want a piece of engineering history and you’re a fan of RWB, this is the watch.

REC Watches 901 RWB Rotana

Based on the design by legendary Porsche tuner, Akira Nakai-San, the REC 901 RWB Rotana is a tribute to the legacy of street racing.

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FAQs

Where are REC Watches made?

REC watches is a Copenhagen, Denmark based company.

What is a reclaimed watch?

A reclaimed watch is made from recycled materials. REC uses a piece from the Porsche 911 in the dial of their 901 series.