Paint It Black (the watch review)

Whether you read the previous slip shot post as to how I came to the watch will be irrelevant, its merely for reading (pleasure or not). This post is long, I digress alot.

Recommended songs to listen whilst reading this post would be:
Love Me Sexy by Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell)
Any Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis song

The New Star
The name of this watch is called GGOC L.E. stands for Gruppo Gamma Owners Club Limited Edition. Later the website published the name of the watch to be GGOC Exclusive Edition which indeed is one of their most exclusive pieces the brand has yet to offer, it includes many firsts for this brand, but due to the long production time, these 'firsts' features came out on other watches that was offered later but produced first.

The other name of this watch is Type G Mk II, Ref. G-61G as listed on the web. Owners gave it some of their own name, more officially the black beauty (coined by Naoki, one of the founder of the brand, not sure if originated from him too), black beauty (to me this also refers to a Gibson Les Paul custom which wholly emcompasses the word swag ever since its first production).

Me, to be pretentious and interesting, I called it PAM GRIER

This poster says it all, sex goddess of the 70s. Many more obvious yet coincidental reasons why this watch should be dubbed Pam Grier (you heard it here first).

Things this watch have in common with Pam Grier:
Conceived in the 40s (literally born in 1949, panerai radiomir 1940 is the basis of this watch's design)
Black (technically she is mixed with various ancestries)
Loved by men
Wives and girlfriends have no idea why we obsess
Like that poster's slogan: A New Kind of Hollywood Star
Last but not least, the most obvious link: PAM

Fore-play and the first Strap-on
The watch was released online, with input from members of the owners club, hence, it pre-ordered prior to any prototype being shown to us. (We were promised something unique and although many make that claim, not many can live up to the hype)

Stock pictures:
 the all important face

rendered image of the caseback

This was the basis of the design. Fast forward a few months, 6 months actually, production line had some issues but the delay was reported to owners accordingly, some discount on the final prices was given as well as an option to cancel orders and take back the initially non-refundable deposit.

On the day itself of collection, we were invited to a cafe to get our time piece as well as meet up with other members/owners of the watch and the owners of the brand. On the owner's club in Facebook, this event had an incredible response, everyone was raving on about this unique way of presenting watches to the consumer. Allow owners and watch lovers to interact with each other as well as all the other stuff, blah blah passion for watches, hiding purchases from wives, straps, checking out some chicks that passes by, most impt, the watch. Did I also mentioned that the each watch collected came together with a beverage (coffee/tea) and a tiramisu cake (which happens to be one of my favourite cake) all sponsored by GGOC.

Here is some dirty pict taken moments after getting the watch
the glossy bezel is because of the protective film on the crystal

When I arrived to collect the watch, Naoki tells me the bulk of the collecting people has left, so I was able to grab a chair and admire the watch abit while sipping thé camomille au miel (camomile honey tea in french, because I'm atas, I use european languages in my blog).

The Case
The exterior of the casing has this smooth pencil lead colour PVD coating on stainless steel. This offering is not typical on homage watches currently offered by other brands. 

I'm using iPhone to take pictures and I find that using phone, its very hard to capture the colour, so I tend to use the 'fade' effect of iOS own photo editor to achieve the colour.
the unique anodized metal look

The casing oozes cool, it has plenty of wrist presence, partly because the watch is thick. The casing boasts a 200m water resistance, which was good because I dive and this is one sexy watch to be in water.

The casing has a nice feel to it, this is definitely better finished than other casing with that satin feel, only you have to see it and touch it to understand. Owners of this watch, the PVD  finishing on this watch is really something to boast about, so please let other people have a feel of this watch. 

For this point, the word "stain" is used alot, it is not a dirty kind of stain, but a characteristic of this coating not seen in other PVD coated watches. This staining effect is very similar to that of iPhone 5/5s back case. If you do not have this watch, touch an iPhone 5 raw casing now to see what I mean.

Another point to take note of is that, this watch coating is unique and it retains abit of moisture stain from fingerprints and water. This is due to the satin finish of the watch, its a love/hate affair, the staining is not permanent and very easy to wipe. I think it gives the watch a unique shade when it is completely covered in this "stain". 

The PVD coating is one of the reason why this watch is so cool, and yes, people is going to say that we are copying the ceramic look of Panerai, but I like to think that this watch is actually more similar to the slate colour of anodized metal seen on iPhone 5 which I've compared this watch to, many times. 
the buckle below is the GGOC pencil lead PVD coating

This watch also has a solid case back, this is one of the many unique parts about this watch. The solid caseback features the brand's skull and rose logo and GRUPPO GAMMA OWNERS CLUB as the centrepiece.

Caseback cannot be too smooth or too rough, has to have that perfect middle ground to 'grip' the wrist nicely. 

This watch seems to be much thicker than what has been previously offered from Gruppo Gamma. The brass (ascent series) is the thinnest of the few, although the polished casing had this GGOC LE has similar bezel and mid case, solid casebacks tend to be thicker

The stacked watch photo belongs to fellow GGOC member, Mr Foo Yuk Weng, who immediately send me the pictures upon my request. He has what I call the Trifecta of Gruppo Gamma.

As above, you can see the differences. I have owned all 3 pieces, but never altogether, I traded the brass away for the polished casing after awhile because I find that it doesn't really suit me and it clashes with the ring on my finger which is polished tungsten (silver surface).

I've spoken to Naoki, the brand founder, he told me that watch cases is very important as well as the dials. No doubt the dials have been changing, but the cases remained the same all these while, only difference is the colour and finishing.

He then takes these same case-shape, make a few minor detailed changes, shorter lugs, thickness of the middle case, slightly beveled crown area so that when screwed in the crown is more integrated into the case and etc.

Face Value
The watch has a sapphire crystal and AR coating on the underside. As a result, it becomes more modern looking with the bluish tint so ever slightly beaming once in a while
the special love I had for you, my baby blue

The clarity of the sapphire sets it apart from the mineral crystal in previous offerings, the dial looks ever-crisp and clear.

close up whole dial  (crappy iphone image)

Dial is simple and nice. I think having the number 9 and the sub dial for seconds is nicer than having the subdial replacing the number 9 entirely. By having the number 9 and subdial, it makes the subdial look like a nice complication. Whereas if it is just the subdial, during lume, it looks weird and unbalanced.

The sandwich dial is not very sandwiched but more like lume filled indices which is historically more accurate and the colour is abit yellow-ish to achieve the vintage look. I feel that by making it abit yellow-ish, it achieves colour balance as the white will stand out too much, see rendered images in its design stage to find it looking like a china replica by comparison to the actual watch. The hands are black like the dial, a very nice subtle look and feel. Overall, this dial is balance and the colours used belong to the same pallette, nothing here is eye-catching in the bad way like how some people wear neon coloured clothes (fell into a vat of highlighter liquid?) It is soothing to the visuals, aesthetically pleasing, nice to look at and sexy (PAM F-ing GRIER!)

Crown is screw down, and like all other GG watches, this had the etched brevet crown that was nice, lucky guy of the stock, I got one where the crown is oriented nicely when screwed tight, even rolexes have problems with this, but so far both my GG watches (the other being the polished G-05) had properly aligned crowns.
together with G-05 

the close up of the crown

Look at the picture above again, this brings me to my next point. The screws are also coated with the same colour as the casing! Devil is always in the details, Gruppo Gamma made this detail an angel.

see the difference between this and the normal screw bar
really looking like a real pencil lead literally

The coating seems to be quite well done and quite scratch resistant, I've taken a flat screw driver to test out the coating on the screws and it didn't seem to even powder out. Plus points.

my favourite day-lume shots

The lume was good and sufficiently bright for its day time colour which is slightly vintage yellow lume. This was taken in the day, with the lumens charged, last night, it was sufficiently bright even at 2am, I offed my room lights at 12 or so and pretty much the watch is in the dark all the way.

This watch uses a seagull movement, its Chinese, QC is not 100% but at least it is better than unbranded chinese movement with suspicious lifespan. Look up for other watches costing $1500 that uses seagull movements also. I cannot show the movement because I do not want to remove the caseback. I suppose even if it is closed up behind the solid caseback, it will still have some decoration on the rotor similar to G-05 (do not want a brooklyn bridge stunt, thankfully, GG pays tribute to watches not marketing techniques)

Time keeping is good, I do not measure time in seconds or how much error is there because being that technical takes the joy out of watch ownership for me when I pick up a new piece and have to worry whether this time piece measures a day in 23 hrs 59 mins 55 seconds or 24 hrs 00 mins 05 seconds (error of +/- 5 seconds per day sounds fine when you say it, but if you calls it like that, you'll know how funny you sound).

Side track abit to mention something:
In other reviews, it was mentioned that the automatic sea gull movement having a loud rotor, I do not find the rotor on my G-05 noisy, it is quite manageable except for when it is really quiet and the wrist is so positioned to let the rotor slide that little bit. But please note that I doesn't bother me.

Some attributed this noisier rotor to be more prominent due to the see through case back. But when I received this piece, the rotor can be faintly heard in the cafe environment when held up and shook violently. So this is nothing to do with the case, its is also nothing to do with the case back. It is the individual seagull movements. But I say again, it doesn't bother me, it doesn't affect the time keeping or anything. It merely is the winding mechanism of the rotor being noisy.

The straps offered was the Originale II series brown strap, it had abit of a suede feel and it is very nice to the touch. However, I didn't really like it because it was too thick for me (its a lovely strap, but my wrists are too small).
on the original strap

Like I mentioned, the originale II strap was too thick for my liking, although I must say, its very nice to the touch and also very soft and supple. I decide to do some swapping around. Change the other brown strap from my G-05 watch (which is now strapped using a tan coloured strap).

froggie family shot: oddly both my watches has case materials matching with the hands

The brown strap is actually same series as the tan strap pictured above, but it was 'abused' with a swim and a few showers because I really do not give a damn. Now the strap is comfortable, soft at the joints.

The biggest fall back of this watch is that, the unique pvd coating meant that you have to get straps that is 24/24 mm because that is the only buckle size offered, so if I were to have an Assolumente strap which is typically offered in 24/22 mm, I cannot put it on without my OCD acting up.

Other than that, this watch goes very well with dark brown straps, by well I mean damn well.

wrist shot

Screw or be Screwed
For people who wear this watch alot, please try to source for a strap tube for many good reasons. This is based on my own findings and engineering mind at work here (I have an engineering mind like I have spider sense)
- Firstly, screw bars are thin and somewhat fragile, leather straps do not uniformly pull the strap across its length, instead, it pulls on it differently depending on the force exerted, the strap angle, tightness of the strap, or even when you adjust the watch on the wrist, usually you will grab onto the screw bar and many more blah blah. Strap tubes eliminates it by shielding the screw bar from such forces, promoting longevity.

- Screw bars is a piece of metal with a tiny screw bit at the end, screwing into the metal lug of the watch. This means precision is important as it is a harder material than the somewhat flexible spring bar ends. Over time, long periods of wear will 'bend' the bar more or less so strap tube helps greatly with this issue.

- Lastly, this is why some people hate screw bar, over time, due to friction, they tend to unscrew itself because the straps will twist the strap as you wear it. This results in the watch free falling to the ground, breaking the floor.

Yes the brand do not provide strap tubes, this is to save costs as most aftermarket straps these days provide them  with the straps. Although it is important, it seems to be one of those things that do not require access spares, like a finger or a genital.
seasons in the sun

How many first was achieved at the time this watch was first offered:
PVD casing (as of now still is the only PVD model in the brand's line up)
200m water resistance (also remains to be the model that has so much WR)
Solid caseback
First watch to be sold with the Originale II series strap, but this is a glitch/bug/technicality, when it was offered, the strap was not yet offered. This was then later announced to be the only strap paired with this watch unless buyers decide to get the 74 straps which at time of pre-order was offered at a discounted price when purchased with this watch.
 Yellow/Ecru/Vintagey lume that works sufficiently well (I did not wake up 3am to conduct tests, I'm so sorry for being lazy)
PVD screw bars to be used. I don't think even pams has that. 

No pros and cons lists, just see the pictures.
some things are just more colourful in black and white

Disclaimer: When i talk about Pam Grier, I meant in the good old days when she was the sex symbol of the 70s (although many people will be wondering how was she even a symbol in the first place looking like that, but all I can say is, see a film with her in it). Absolutely nothing to do with my taste in women.

This watch brand is very new, and for them to offer such a piece in its infancy is really an amazing feat and the way this watch was given to us, not by postman but by the founders of the brand + free food (who in Singapore don't like free food, must check DNA/blood test, maybe not Singapore blood). I think that this watch is not a everyday watch, but it is very suitable for whenever you want to show people you have a know-how in watches. Perhaps in future a scroll certificate can be provided seeing how this is a special piece.

Whenever you spend money on a watch, you only pay a certain amount for the product, the rest goes to paying the company for their effort, much like when you commission an artist to paint or sculpt. The work that goes behind is watch is incredible, the follow up, the logistics, the attention to detail, the get together events. When you follow up closely with this watch design and development, you'll realise that alot of work went into making this watch.

I like to take this opportunity here to congratulate Gruppo Gamma team on their fine work producing this piece of marvel. Please do not produce this watch any more, I want to get it hammered 50 years later at Christie's and retire.

I really like this watch, I'm not gonna sell it. Unless to save lives.
I kinda think this watch will have me settled for sometime but who am I kidding, whether you own this watch or not, you'll never stop buying watches. It took me 2 days to write this lengthy post, and between writing one more watch I've ordered from DSN has just arrived (not a rep, its a homage).

As far as GG goes, I will only be looking out for their future offerings, which promises to be interesting and finding the direction of which is lost by sponsor boating events or copying vintage hamilitons.


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