Thursday, April 21, 2016

Practical, Useful, and the SHIT THAT KILLED ELVIS!

This is an overdue review of the Gavox Aurora.

To give you some background on how this review spooled out, it was Monday night at BaselWorld and Michael Happe, fellow writer Martin Green and I were hanging out at the bar at the Ramada looking at Michael's newest dive watch.  We then got to speaking about the Aurora.  
But this was not my first face to face encounter with the Aurora.  Wendy and I had seen it up close and personal in Brussels back in November of 2014.  It was still in the development / not quite yet ready for prime time phase.

Flash forward a year and a few months and here we were looking at the Aurora in real time!  Michael asked me to check it out and give some feedback, and I started out with good intentions to simply check it out and lend some feedback.  But that was before I started wearing it.

The Aurora was not what you would call a "straight forward" proposition, although the idea/s behind it were.  At the time we sat down to lunch on the day after Thanksgiving in Brussels back in 2014, Michael explained to me all that he had gone through in getting the movement and the functions just the way he wanted with Soprod.  Because this movement, as such, did not really exist anywhere other than the imagination of Michael Happe.  It is quartz, but the number of refinements required made this well beyond your every day quartz movement.

Essentially, we are talking about a watch that provides time, day, date, UTC/second time zone, timer, chronograph, perpetual calendar and because, well it made it extra cool - a moon phase indication.

The Aurora can be had in three different finishes - Gold PVD -

Courtesy of Gavox
Black PVD -

Courtesy of Gavox

And in stainless steel -

Courtesy of Gavox
And it is a very, very good looking watch!  The case measures 43 mm wide,  50.5 mm lug to lug and 12 mm thick.  The watch has been unbelievably comfortable and it has truly been a pleasure to wear these past weeks.

The watch is substantial, but rational.  The lugs just reaching the edge of my wrist.   Like all of the Gavox watches I have seen, the quality of the finish is beyond reproach.  Every edge smooth and neat and incredibly pleasant to the touch.

I was lent the gold version.  This was an interesting style choice for Gavox, as the codes are often of a military inspired nature.  It was, in hindsight, a great decision as the gold tone provides a fantastic frame to the dial and hands.

The case back is solid stainless steel, no PVD treatment which makes sense as that portion of the watch is what sits on your wrist.

The strap is black, stitched and padded and finished off with a Gavox buckle.

And the Gavox logo also graces the crown.

Okay, so that takes care of the look and feel - but really what this watch screamed to me was how functional, useful and (although it took me a wee bit of time to get my small brain wrapped around the set-up) it is incredibly simple and FUN to wear and use!

But what Michael Happe went through to get all of the functionality of the Aurora into one watch was in the end, time very well spent.

Hours, and minutes are pretty straight forward and easily understood.  But if you notice the register and hand down at 6 o'clock, you will soon realize that this is not a retrograde second hand ; )  This is, in fact, the nerve center of the watch itself.  By pushing the crown in, you move from function to function.  So with Home selected, you will see the time in the normal way - small hand for the hour, big hand for the minutes.

Push the crown in and it then moves you to a moving seconds counter at 9 o'clock -

When you move again to UTC that is then your second time zone -

Timer provides a measured (once you set it up) time period -

And the minute hand will actually run counter-clockwise. Once the timer has completed its countdown all of the hands will return to 12 o'clock. In the chronograph mode the Aurora works pretty much whatever every other chronograph does. But this also offers a split and fly back feature.

For the perpetual calendar aspect - i.e. day, date, month? Simply push the crown again to get to the date function -

It is a wee bit hard to make out owing to the light in this picture, but the outer most chapter ring indicates the month (as you can see January printed in a lighter color. The minute hand now points to April.

The hour hand points to the day of the week - Thursday

And the actual day of the month is indicated in the scale at 9 o'clock.  You will also notice a bright white dot just north of the number 15 on the same scale. This is where the moon phase indication lives.  You can notice the subtle shades of the various stages of the moon's progress across the night sky -

And one other interesting feature is the "return to Home" function.  Whatever function you are in, simply press the crown down for 3 to 4 seconds and the function returns to Home.

And that is that ; )

So how do I sum up a watch that overwhelmed me in so many ways?  Not easy, to be sure.  I think in order for you, the reader, to have some perspective on why I am so emphatically impressed by the Aurora is to understand that I am perhaps the last person in the world who would be too interested in a technical watch.  During interviews and BaselWorld appointments my eyes tend to glaze over as soon as the conversation turns "techie".  Moreover, you could certainly get just about all of this functionality out of a G Shock or a connected or smart watch.  But this is special.  This movement was painfully fretted over by Soprod, and Micheal Happe was not willing to accept merely "good enough".  And this wonderful watch is the result.

So truthfully, if you have the funds and the inclination, you will be very, very happy with this purchase.

Here are the pertinents -

Gavox Aurora 446.3 rose gold

Technical specifications:
  • Measurements  Ø 43 x 50.5 x 12 mm
  • Measure between lugs 22mm
  • Autonomy between 4 to 7 years depending on mode usage
  • Analog watch with 4 hands (1 for the mode, 3 for the information).
  • Day and night visibility thanks to luminous hands and markings. Swiss Superluminova DGW9.
  • UTC time reference, and local time by increments of 15 minutes.
  • Countdown from up to 31 hours, with visual alarm.
  • Mission chronograph to 31 hours, with split and flyback features.
  • Perpetual calendar with simultaneous indication of date, day, month and leap year.
  • Moon phase.
  • Surgical 316L stainless steel, highly impervious to salt and sweat.
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflection coating.
  • Water-resistance to pressure of 10 ATM (333 ft).
  • Serial number.

No comments:

Post a Comment