Trias Regulator Review

February 3, 2006




The subject of this review, the Trias Regulator, came to me second hand by way of a fellow member of the Poor Man’s Watch Forum. With the exception of the strap, which is not original save for the clasp, the watch arrived in virtually new condition (it even still had the protective clear plastic sticker on the back). As such, I think that it fairly represents what a current model would be like for anyone else.

Trias is, apparently, a German company whose watches have generated a fair amount of buzz on a number of watch enthusiast forums. Some Trias models are powered by popular Swiss watch movements like the ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanism and the Unitas hand wound movement while others use movements that are made in China. The latter practice has led to Trias being labeled a “Germasian” brand as their watches say Germany on the face and case back but some of their movements come from Asia. According to one Trias re-seller, the watches have their final assembly and casing done in Germany but the individual components come from all over the world. This, it seems, is acceptable under German trade laws but has led some watch collectors to shun the brand for seeming inauthentic and misleading with its place of manufacture label. I’m not sure I would go that far as many watches use components sourced from other countries but Trias should be more forthright about its products (at the very least name the movement). All the more so in my mind as their watches are not junk at all and would probably be better received by enthusiasts if the details of their manufacture were better disclosed. It is not as though the “Made in China” label has hurt China’s trade balance after all and I doubt that a quality watch at a good price would be criticized for it either.

On to the watch itself. This model is a regulator watch, of a style that is not terribly common these days but was at one time considered a good layout for a clock face. I have read that the design was originally meant to make seeing the individual hands easier. (see Timezone Jacques Lemans Review See also here and here) The polished stainless steel case measures 39mm in width (43mm with the crown), 11mm in thickness, 51mm lug to lug and 20mm in band lug width. The watch has a “coin edge” bezel design (which I admittedly find quite attractive) and the face appears to be made of engine turned metal (steel or brass perhaps). As is obvious, the watch has a three-face design arranged vertically as hours, minutes and seconds. The movement is, to my knowledge, a Chinese made Tianjin Seagull TS17 20 jewel automatic that hand winds but does not hack. The domed crystal and display back are made of mineral glass. The see-through display back gives a good view of the movement that is decorated both with Geneva stripes and a rotor engraved with the Trias name. Water resistance is rated at 5atm, and is thus probably not suitable for prolonged exposure to water. Overall, the Trias appears to be very well assembled and everything about it works perfectly. It is also reasonably accurate for a mechanical watch, gaining approximately 20 seconds a day for my example.

My thoughts about this watch are somewhat mixed. It appears to be a well-made watch that offers an upscale complication at a very low price. It is certainly one of the least expensive mechanical regulators available and given my budget, probably the closest I will ever get to one. The mixed aspect of Trias is that the company projects an image of pretentiousness that frankly seems absurd (I really don’t think any watch company should behave in such a silly way, irrespective of their heritage and craftsmanship). The musical ebay listings complete with baroque chamber music and the excessive sprinklings of German words in supposedly English language ad copy are simply silly. They are also completely unneeded, the watch is really good enough to stand on its own without all the frills. (In fairness, not all Trias sellers do this. LongIslandWatch.com seems to be a class act in this regard. Their site is largely devoid of the excess that mars much of the other sales listings and they really seem to know the product well.) My final take on the Trias is simply this, look at this watch for the interesting timepiece that it is and ignore the bulk of the ebay marketing (among others) you see. Trias offers a great deal of watch for the money and that is really all that counts.

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14 Responses to “Trias Regulator Review”

  1. Scott Says:

    Ed-Thanks for the great write-up and insights. I’m a burgeoning watch accumulator and have been looking at the Trias collections on LIW.com. (Marc is very helpful.)I wanted a flieger-style automatic, and while the heart says “Fortis” the checkbook says “Trias”. I hadn’t read anything in depth on the Trias brand at all until finding this review on PMWF. Now, I’m optimistic about the arrival of my first Trias in a couple of days.Thanks again-Scott in Ohio

  2. Ed Says:

    Glad to be of help. I know what you mean about the checkbook speaking louder than the heart 🙂 Good luck with it.Ed

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I recently bought, from an authorized German dealer, a beautiful new Trias skeleton tank watch. It came with directions and a properly filled-out warranty card (2 years). All looked well! The movement is a T282-13 with 20 jewels. The problem is the watch drops 3 minutes per day. I can’t find a Trias warranty station in the U.S. and the German store hasn’t answered any e-mails. I wrote Long Island watch and also have received no answer after 24 hours. At this point I would say, you need to be sure not to buy one with a non-swiss movement as you may end up with a paper weight like I have. Anyone have any advise?!

  4. Ed Says:

    Could be just a simple matter of regulation. Any decent jeweler should be able to do that for very little $. Still, they should honor the warranty. I would write Trias directly with this matter.

  5. Lawrence Bradford Says:

    On May 17, 2007, I mailed a Trias watch back to the company for repair. I sent them a letter on August 19, 2007 and recently an email, with no response. I tried sending another email with the address info@trias-watch.com,returned not found. At this point in time, I have come to the conclusion that I will never see that watch again. I noticed that anonymous had the same no communication problem. Have you any suggestions? If they are looking for negative feedback, they certainly will receive that from me.

  6. Ed Says:

    Try contacting Longislandwatch.comThey are an authorized Trias dealer. Someone there may have some better contact information at the company. Not a good sign thoughEd

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I bought a Trias Senator Watch from a German E-Bay Retailer, spent about 120 Canadian Dollars. My watch has turned out to be a great deal, and keeps good time. No problems to report.

  8. Ed Says:

    Good to hear. Mine is still working fine as well.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    My Trias is also taken more and more delay until more than 3 minutes per day after less than 2 years old now

  10. Ed Says:

    Sounds like a regulation might be in order.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I too bought a Trias watch and wanted to send for exchange as the 24-hr dial was not what was shown on the website. It also has an error. I send it to the address given with my watch and for one month no reply. Repeated email also got no reply. Then another month later, the watch was returned untouched by the Germany Post Office because I registered the item and wanted to claim insurance. So do not trust Trias.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I also have send a watch to trias around Feb. 2009 after working well for 6 month then the date stop working. I have not seen a single replay to this day. My seller on E bay clams he has talked to them and they have been emailing me. 5 months and nothing yet. I would not send anything to Germany nor deal w any one from Germany ever again.

  13. Ed Says:

    Oy…not good at all.

  14. trias watches Says:

    its a question of luck with triaswatches if you have luck will go for manyyears


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