Sunday, November 03, 2013

Gruppo Gamma G-5 a review

Finally I got around to reviewing the Gruppo Gamma G-5. This after the small problem in Middle Earth (OK, this is a private joke). As I posted earlier, my initial impression of the watch is good, very good actually. Great value for money. The watch I am reviewing comes in standard configuration.


There is no getting away from comparing the watch design to that of Panerai. The G-5 case is more akin to the 1940s case design by Panerai. The case is of the 3 piece case design, the parts being the bezel, the middle (case proper) and the case back. The case comes in at 44 mm without the crown, 48 mm with the crown and 54 mm lug to lug. The lug width is 24 mm. The case is made of 316L stainless steel.



The case has a polished finish. It is well made and well finished, very smooth with no sharp edges. There are no tool marks anywhere to be seen and fit is good. The problem with an all polished finish is finger prints. :)



The crown is large, coming in at 7.5 mm and it is 4 mm thick. It is knurled, of the screw-down design and is easy to grasp and use. As with the case, it has a polished finish. The crown is signed 'Brevet' and a 'plus' logo. Brevet is of course French for Patented and the 'Plus' refers to Switzerland. It is a 'homage' to Rolex of old where such crowns were first used.



Even though the crown is large, knurled and easy to use, there is a grinding feel when you unscrew and lock the crown. A tad rough. Perhaps some lubrication may help resolve the problem. Also I believe the crown is not really a spring loaded crown as the crown does not 'pop' out when unscrewed. On the plus side, it takes about 5 turns to lock the crown down.


The Gruppo Gamma G5 has an exhibition or display back. The crystal used is mineral crystal. The case back is devoid of marking other then the 3 'Brevettato' legends. Brevettato is Italian for Patented. So you have French and Italian words for Patented on the watch. Cool.


A closer view. Very good finish. 


The case back has a brushed finish unlike the rest of the case. It has the 12 sided edge case back design akin to the case back found on Panerai. The case back as with the rest of the watch is well made and finished, no sharp edges. I would have like the case back to have a 'lip' that provides a more positive contact to the middle case and also prevents the case from being scratched when you remove the case back.


The crystal fitted to the watch is a domed mineral crystal. I would prefer the use of acrylic crystal to complete the vintage feel, but mineral is OK as well. Scratches on the crystal would just add character to the watch. The crystal, I believe, does not come with any anti-reflective coating. The crystal 'extend' about 2 mm beyond the bezel.


From a different angle. 


The design of the crystal, being single dome, does cause some distortion when looking at the watch. More so at certain angle. This is much like the vintage watch from the 40s that this watch is based on. A nice touch.


The dial. Again there is no getting away from the fact that it looks like the dial from the Italian/ Swiss watch brand. :) The dial is black, matte black and is of the sandwich design. The dial is void of any legends except the brand name 'Gruppo Gamma' at the 12 o'clock position. The printing is good.


The matte black sandwich dial. 



The hours are marked with the now familiar 12, 3, 6 and 9 and the rest with baton markers. These markers looks like as if it has been filled with luminous material but are in reality cut-outs. There are no minute markers and the seconds is displayed via a sub-dial at the 9 o'clock position. The cardinal points on the sub-dial are cut-outs and luminous.





There is a date window at the 3 o'clock position. It is very small, very discrete. The window can be a tad small, especially when the date is in the teens. The spacing on the date wheel seems to be the problem as it is fine when the date is in the twenties and thirties. The date turns at exactly 12 midnight. Nice.


I like the hands on the watch. The watch hour and minutes hands are of the pencil design but with angled cut surface. Very bold of Gruppo Gamma to use this design as it can show any flaws on the hands. The angle cut provides maximum reflection or reflects at any angle. While this is a plus point if the hands are well made, it is a negative point if not as it will show any defects.


All three hands have a polished finish or silvered. Nice. I like. All the hands are filled with luminous material. The hands are well made. The hour and minute hands are sufficiently differentiated by length. Telling time at a glance is not a problem.


The luminosity is one of the selling point of the watch. It is very very good as the luminous material used is the C3 green SuperLuminova. It is used on the hands and also on the hour markers. The luminosity is very bright for about the first half hour and slowly degrades over time. But it is still easy to tell time in the dark after 8 hours. So a full charge will last over the night. A definite plus.


The watch is powered by a Chinese made movement. It is the Seagull TY 2555 Grade 1 Automatic movement It is a simple 3 hand movement offering a date complication and a sweep seconds display via a sub-dial at 9 o'clock. The movement comes in at 30.4 mm in diameter and is 7.4 mm thick. It beats at 21,600 A/h and have 30 jewels. Power reserve is 45 hours, but I have gotten longer, almost 50 hours.



Since the movement is a Grade 1 Seagull movement, it comes with a very nice finishing (perlage) and blue screws. I have not timed the movement but I have been told that it is pretty accurate.



The watch under review comes with a standard leather strap. It is brown in colour with white stitching. The strap is 24mm across the length of the strap. It is soft and comfortable. The strap is signed on the under side of the strap and have raw edge finish. I like raw edge finish on straps.


Signed strap. I like. 


Raw Edge. 


The strap is 120 mm on the hole side and 80 mm on the buckle side. There are 8 holes providing 5 cm of adjustment. There are two strap keepers and both are of the floating type. The strap keepers comes in at 1 cm wide and as with the strap, the edge finish is raw. The keepers are easy to use as the loop is big enough.


Well made and very soft strap. 


The straps are attached to the watch via screwed pins. This makes changing straps easy. I like. But it would be great if the straps came with tubes. The other issue is the length of the screw pins. It is a tad short. 1 mm longer would be great.



The buckle is made of stainless steel. It has a polished finish on the top but not on the underside. The buckle is signed. The buckle is held in place by spring-bar. 


Nice signed buckle.


The watch comes is a very nice pouch. It is an impact resistant pouch. The pouched is signed with the Gruppo Gamma logo. The pouch is zippered to prevent the watch and warranty card from falling out. The watch is held in place inside the pouch via an elastic strap. The best part about the pouch is that you can use it for other things once you remove the watch.



Conclusion.

As earlier indicated, there is plenty of watch for the money. There are a few things that can be improved (nit picking) but overall I like the watch. It is comfortable on the wrist, performs well, and is well made. Not much against it actually.


For more information:


G-5


Thank you Gruppo Gamma watches for the review watch. 

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