When I have my usual conversation with friends in the watch world we usually debate the same brands all the time, it gets repetitive and to be honest quality on high end pieces is a given, it doesn’t get us surprised when is there. What really does get our radar going is when someone drops the ball, for example Rolex with a bad painted GMT hand or a Grand Seiko with a sloppy printing, these things don’t happen very often but when they do… it’s a free for all. Lately I have the feeling that watch enthusiast really inspect their products and with macrophotography at the edge of our fingertips they can really be critical about the finished product. When it comes to microbrands people usually take another approach, they are surprised when everything is nice and tidy as it should be, we all start saying :'' looking the finishing of the hand..'' or '' look at dial pattern..'' and this is because of the price point, it is still amazing (at least for me) how with so little budget and margins in small brands are able to deliver such a good finished product.
I came across Gavox watches because of their beautiful Avidiver with inner rotating bezel and sandwich dial, it’s a beauty but I wanted to check what else was in their catalogue and if there was a chance to get a hands on with some of their pieces. I contacted Michael because I couldn’t resist one of those Spitfires in 36mm, they kindly sent us a demo unit together with the Courtiss P-40 and the Legacy field officer. As you can tell we had a blast with the watches and below are our thoughts on this military inspired range which really tackles the quality and affordability at the same time, lets begin.
As per the intro you can tell that I was looking forward to this watch, who cannot fall for the charm of a 36mm case with sunburst black dial?
I just couldn’t resist the look. With a small 6.25 inch wrist the watch felt like a glove. Being simple, elegant and robust this watch really took some time on my wrist, the crosshair patter in the sub seconds dial at 6 o'clock looks like you are looking inside a target scope ready to shoot plus the hands and markers complete the vintage look without feeling cheesy. The movement is a Seiko VD75 which incorporates this small seconds complication not only to give a more period correct look but also an accuracy of 4 minutes per year.
I paired the Spitfire with a Flieger brown strap and it does look ready to get on a plane, our watch came with a beautiful milanese strap which also gave a sense of dressiness and luxury. I would say this watch is for everyone who appreciates good design and also to buy their first real enthusiastic piece.
This is a special watch plain and simple, one of the beauties of quartz watches is the amount of complication they can pack, their reliability and my favorite: the thickness. I understand that a flieger should be easy to read but when it comes to a field watch brands and in this case Gavox can let the hair down a bit. The Courtiss P-40 is an homage to the American Volunteer Group (AVG) and also Michael's grandfather who joined the Flying Tigers in China in 1942, I bet if the technology was available at that time they wouldn’t mind having a seconds sub dial, 24 hours and day of the week complication in a very light case which only measures 8 mm thick (I told you that quartz have it's benefits).
The Seiko Caliber VD78 is a accurate as the one we encounter on the Spitfire but packing more technology inside a 40mm case which is brushed and finished to perfection. I went jogging with the watch which I put on a green nato strap and it did made me imagine how far technology has come since 1942, with the Courtiss P-40 we have the best of 2 worlds, great heritage with modern robustness.
The Legacy Field Officer
We are going to end with a bang, this is a good looking one. The Legacy Field Officer ticks as many of my boxes as I could think of : cathedral hands, sub seconds, display case back, automatic movement, PVD case, aged vintage leather strap and a price that doesn’t break the bank.
This is an irresistible 41.4 mm package, I will definitely have a hard time to return it. The watch just screams vintage with toughness, an all black case with a curved logo on the dial makes a great fusion between new with old, turn it around and a gold plated rotor visible trough the case back which makes you think: '' how much did the watch cost again?''. The reliable Miyota 8218 inside is a workhorse that will keep the accuracy in place but the most beautiful part is the dial. Those cathedral hands with the sub second at 4 o'clock give the watch an attitude that vintage modern pieces cannot give,
to add to the list of details we have a crown at 2 and a date window at 6 making the asymmetrical dial feel clean but nostalgic, this watch one of a kind, a beauty that punches way above its price weight.
Even that these 3 watches are a small part of the Gavox catalogue I can really see that time and dedication were put into creating their watches, all of them are flawless in execution and the attention to detail is present through and trough. When reviewing these watches I felt more and more critical towards big brands and their quality, if Gavox can perform at this level together with other microbrands and deliver an incredible finished product, then why do we keep finding sloppiness in high end pieces? This to me is raising the quality bar in the watch scene and I am glad that we have started to question the big boys in the industry demanding better products.
More information at www.gavox.com
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