Company: Gruppo Gamma
About Gruppo Gamma from their website:
In the world of watches, the word ‘homage’ has unfortunately been taken to mean a watch that looks like another, more expensive watch from a well-known brand with pedigree and heritage to boot.
Pedigree and heritage are assets, but sometimes a company can exploit these to justify prices that don’t make sense, and its preoccupation with going upmarket can cause it to desert its roots.
We believe that everyone is eligible to own a piece of history without having to pay exorbitant prices. We pay homage not to the watches’ shape and form but their style and character – they were instruments built for people living in tough times who had to make tough decisions.
Sometimes, the past successes of an established company can hinder it from leaving its comfort zone to try something different, and it ends up doing more of the same.
We believe that good design can and should evolve over time. We don’t have pedigree or heritage, but so do all new brands. We believe we can make up for the lack of these with our passion, creativity and ability to execute.
Watch Model: Vanguard G-12D
Diameter: 44mm excluding crown and lugs
Water resistance: 20 ATM
Case: 316L stainless steel, gunmetal PVD finish
Crystal: Sapphire, double domed with underside anti-reflective coating
Dial: Black, 2-layer with yellow luminous markers
Hands: Silver color, with yellow luminous markers
Crown: 316L stainless steel, screw-in
Caseback: 316L stainless steel
Movement: Miyota 8215, automatic, 21600bph
Functions: Hours & minutes
1. Original Black strap, length 130 x 80mm, width 24 x 24mm, raw edges
2. Perfect Tan strap, leather, length 130 x 80mm, width 24 x 24mm, raw edges
3. Original buckle, 316L stainless steel, 24mm
4. Thick buckle, 316L stainless steel, 24mm
5. Original screwdriver, slotted,1.6mm
6. Original spring bars for quick strap changes
Price: $370 USD
The packaging with the Vanguard is simple, but oh so cool and unique. I absolutely love the white skull logo on the all black case. It adds a badass feel to the impact resistant travel case style packaging. The travel case is closed by two zippers and opens up like a book. Inside there is soft grey foam padding and mesh netting that helps protect the contents and keeps them secure in place. Immediatlely you get a look at the Vanguard, the straps and the warranty card. The contents are also wrapped in plastic wrapping protection. It’s a practical and it can be used as a carry travel case for other items not just your watch. I like packaging like this that is simple, yet uniuque and can actually be used instead of ending up in the closet.
The Vanguard stands out immediatley due to its PVD Gunmetal finish. That is what first grabbed my eye when opening the package, it is really finished nicely and I absolutely love the color. The case is 316L stainless steel, with some of the nicest PVD finishing I have seen on a watch case. I’ve been wearing the G-12D for about a week now and the case/color are quality for sure. The angles of the case and lugs allow the watch to wear very comfortablely.
The crown and crown guards are really what made me notice this watch in the first place when I was on the web. On either side of the crown, the crown guards are detailed with hex head screws. This is an awesome detail adds to the overall design of the watch giving it a tool/no nonsense feel. The screw down crown has gear like edges making operating the crown very simple. The crown screws in<>out very smooth. The crown is also signed with a cross and the word Brevet.
a former type of military commission conferred especially for outstanding service by which an officer was promoted to a higher rank without the corresponding pay.
The caseback is super cool on the Vanguard, featuring an engraved skull logo that matches the travel case. The engraving is very nice, simple and well done, a detail about this watch that I love. I used to be a huge fan of exhibition case backs, a detail in my opinion that is over done anymore. It’s actually refreshing to see a solid caseback. The back is held in place by 6 screws. The caseback also features the words, SAPPHIRE, AUTOMATIC, GRUPPO GAMMA, 200m and 12255. The caseback is brushed stainless steel.
The dial can be described as simple beauty. I love the simplistic raw beauty of the Vanguard’s dial. The dial features hours marked by 12, 3, 6, 9 and line markers at the other corresponding hour positions. Under the 12 marker is printed in white GRUPPO GAMMA. The hands are the same color as the case which is a detail that is very impressive giving the price point of this watch. This small, yet impressive detail is one of my favorite gems of the Vanguard. The Vanguard features an hour and minute hand, but no seconds hand. The hands are nicely shaped and are cut nice and sharp. The hands also feature a nice coating of lume that matches the lume coating of the hour markers. The lume is evenly applied on all aspects of the Vanguard. The dial is easily viewed from all angles thanks in part to the double domed AR treated sapphire crystal. At certain angles the crystal is so transparent it looks like there is no crystal at all.
The Vanguard comes with 2 leather straps, a black and a tan. Both have their own buckles signed with GRUPPO GAMMA. The straps feel quality like a custom made leather strap, and are very soft from the get go. I’ve worn the Vanguard on the black strap for about a week now, and I love it. The yellowed stitching is a nice touch which nicely matches the color of the hour markers on the dial. Each stitch is even and percise. The straps are held in place by the one sided screw bars which makes changing the strap a breeze. I’ve washed my hands a ton while wearing the Vanguard and the strap shows no signs of that whatsoever. I’m a huge strap fan and these straps do not disappoint my love of custom straps. The wrist side of the straps are stamped with GRUPPO GAMMA and GENUINE LEATHER. A detail I personally would have liked is to see the skull logo stamped on the strap, maybe even on the top side of the strap near the case.
The Vanguard has the Miyota 8215 ticking away inside of it. It’s a reliable movement and s great alternative to the ETA movements. The Miyota movement is just as much as a workhorse like those of ETA. The Miyota 8215 twenty-one jewel movement with a uni-directional winding with an accuracy of -20 to +40 seconds per day, a power reserve of 40 hours. The Miyota 8215 is 26 mm in diameter and 5.67 mm in height. It beats at 21,600 BPH or 3 Hz , 6 half-cycles per second. The movement is non hacking which makes perfect sense giving there is no seconds hand.
Overall impressions and conclusion:
The Vanguard G-12D is a very nice offering from GRUPPO GAMMA. I love every detail of this watch. It’s well made from case design, to the beautiful gunmetal PVD coating, to the leather straps, every detail has been clearly thought out here. There is nothing that I have found on the G-12D that I can complain about. At $370 you get a lot of watch for you dollar. You get 2 straps, a impact resistant travel case, an automatic movement watch with amazing lume and PVD coating. I am a huge GRUPPO GAMMA fan now as a result of my time with this watch. The only things that I would add to this watch, not that GRUPPO GAMMA did anything wrong, but just because of what I like. I would add a seconds hand as a subdial and I would stamp the strap with the skull logo.
I would highly recommend GRUPPO GAMMA to someone looking for a quality watch on a budget. A special thank you to GRUPPO GAMMA for the opportunity to review this awesome watch, it was a great watch to review and I am truly addicted now for sure.
Yes, I purposley did not make any comparisons to this watch and other watches that share this style. This is a review of GRUPPO GAMMA’S watch, not a compare and contrast article. I respect what GRUPPO GAMMA does and I think they make great, quality watches at a great price point.
Reference my wrists are 7 1/2″