Posted on November 30 2020
Ingersoll Reliance Automatic I05501
The Ingersoll Reliance is an inexpensive automatic watch very much in the Rolex Oyster Perpetual or Datejust vein. It’s a mid-sized watch that is powered by a reliable Japanese Miyota movement. There are blue and black dial variations, and I recently picked up the black version. I’d like to take you through my first impressions of the watch, a little of the company’s history and then present a more detailed look at the watch.
First Impressions of the Ingersoll Reliance Automatic
I have mixed feelings about Ingersoll.
If I pop to their website for a browse I’ll be underwhelmed. A quick peek there and I see 87 men’s watches for sale. It’s no exaggeration to say that I don’t like 80 of them.
Here’s the issue. I really like the other seven.
I’ve probably looked at the other seven on and off for months. The majority of the fussy, skeleton designs don’t appeal to me at all. But of the others - The Scovill, Trenton and New Haven - there have been designs over the years that I’ve really liked.
I recently wrote a post about my 10 favourite Ingersoll models. As part of that research, I bought the model that currently excites me the most. It was about time that I stopped browsing and pulled the trigger.
The best way to give you an idea of my first impression of the watch is to show you the package that arrived. Take a look at my unboxing video.
As you can see, the presentation box is great. It’s probably best to let you know at this point that I picked this watch up for quite a bit less than the RRP. For the money I paid, I’m really impressed with the packaging.
Along with the wooden box, there is a substantial instruction manual, a metal warranty card, and a paper tape measure. The initial impression is certainly of a more pricey watch.
And my first impression of the watch?
It’s as I’d expected. It’s a comfortable size, with a reasonably basic black dial. The indices are applied and have attractive gold accents. There are a neat date window and a plain bezel. The bracelet feels a little light and I would have preferred a signed crown.
On the whole, its a very nice watch.
At full RPP? You’re getting a good-looking dress/tool watch that resembles a Rolex. The movement is a Miyota automatic and is on par with what other brands use at a similar price-point.
At the price I paid? I got this for less than half RRP in a black Friday sale - check the price on ebay. At that price? I class this as a steal. I’m chuffed.
The History of Ingersoll watches.
If you’ve read much on this blog before, you’ll know that I love the stories behind brands. The Ingersoll story can be a bit convoluted - see more here - but these are the basics.
In one form or another, Ingersoll has been continuously producing watches since the late 1880s. They’re probably best known for their innovation around the mass-production of watches, their licencing deals with Disney and their association with Timex.
Founded in New York by two brothers, the Ingersoll brand was originally a mail-order business that morphed into a watch company. Initially, this involved having Waterbury Watch Company produce the watches for them.
In 1896 they released their ‘dollar watch’ - the world’s first truly affordable watch and the companies first big success. By the early 1900s, these watches were being produced in their millions.
After this initial growth and some success in making military watches during WWI, the company went bankrupt. They were bought by Waterbury Clock Company, which later rebranded as Timex.
The Ingersoll name continued to be used in Britain after the board of directors here purchased that arm of the business. This British connection and its link to Smith’s watches is probably why I’ve paid excessive attention to Ingersoll.
Where things really got interesting for me, was the 2016 relaunch of the brand. What I particularly like is the focus on the brand’s history. For example, the Trenton model is named after the Trenton Watch Company that Ingersoll purchased in 1908.
The Reliance is named after a previous pocket watch.
Ingersoll Reliance Review
Firstly, let’s discuss what attracted me to this specific model.
I’m a big fan of affordable versions of iconic luxury watches. Not necessarily full homages. Rather, watches that have taken inspiration from some of my favourite designs.
The Reliance reminds me of a number of Rolex’s. There’s a little of the Explorer and the Datejust, without it trying to replicate either. It’s an aesthetic that appeals to me. A watch that is smart-casual rather than dressy.
But this watch ticks more than just the Like-a-Rolex box. Aside from the brand history, there are also another couple of factors that influenced my purchase.
- The Reliance is an automatic. I wouldn’t have bought a quartz version.
- It’s 40mm wide. That is spot-on my preferred size.
- There’s a bracelet rather than a strap.
But let’s begin with the styling of the watch. The case is as I wanted. A straightforward design with a plain bezel and no crown guards. It’s not overly thick so wears well under shirt cuffs. The case back has an exhibition window through which you can see the Japanese movement. The rotor is decorated with the Ingersoll logo.
The dial is crisp and utilitarian. It’s a simple black, with a small amount of text in gold. The text just confirms the automatic movement and 100M of water resistance, without anything superfluous. Gold is used to subtly accent the hands and markers, adding a little flair without compromising the simple design that I wanted.
The bracelet looks nice but feels a little less substantial than I would have liked. At full RRP I may have preferred something a little more meaty - at the price I actually paid I’m happy.
Although I mentioned that I wanted a bracelet, that’s mainly for ease. I’ll often swap out the bracelet for a strap - but I always like to have the bracelet as an option. It’s not so easy to buy a model with a strap and then later source a bracelet.
Below is the watch alongside a similar Parnis I have. As you’ll see, the distressed leather strap compliments this type of watch and that’s probably my next move for the Ingersoll.
If I had a wish-list for this watch, there’d be a couple of minor changes that I’d make. I would have preferred a sapphire crystal to the mineral one used and I’d have liked a signed crown.
Other than that, this is a really good watch for the money. At the time of writing, there are a couple of sellers on ebay with the watch listed at less than £150.
I’ll stick to my assessment after my first impression. At that price, this is a steal.
The Ingersoll Reliance is an inexpensive automatic watch very much in the Rolex Oyster Perpetual or Datejust vein. Personally, it’s a style that I love. This watch is a comfortable, mid-sized piece that works well in a dress or smart-casual setting. Powered by a reliable Japanese Miyota movement, it represents good value for money - particularly if you can get it under the RRP as I did.
Other Ingersoll Watches
| Ingersoll Trenton Ltd Ed T07601
This limited edition piece is a beautiful Swiss-made retro design. Although quartz rather than mechanical, it’s still a very authentic watch. At first glance, it really looks like an early diver from the era of the original Fifty-Fathoms and others.
Ingersoll The Scovill I05005
This watch ticks a lot of boxes for me. It’s a vintage-style diver’s watch, with a Japanese Miyota automatic movement. And it’s very affordable.
Ingersoll The Bateman I01802
The Bateman is another smart automatic watch with a design that looks to have been mined from Ingersoll’s own back catalogue. It’s reminiscent of a classic military watch, albeit with a larger, modern 45mm case.