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 47mm Polished Titanium
T-16, Titanium Vanguard 47
Class: Mk III Vanguard, Classic
Movement: Miyota 9015, automatic, 28800 bph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case finish: bead-blasted
Dial: Black, 2-layer with cream white luminescent markers
Hands: Silver color with cream white luminescent markers (H, M), red (S)
Original strap, black, length 120 x 80mm, width 24 x 24 mm, raw edges with Type V buckle
Ghibli strap, brown, length 120 x 80mm, width 24 x 24 mm, raw edges with Type V buckle
Spring bars (2 pieces)
Buy Online: US$ 499 shipped
Cash & Carry (S’pore only): S$ 620
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 Polished titanium 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 titanium , with the nicest polished finishing I have seen on a titanium watch case. I’ve been wearing the Vanguard for a few months now and the case/color are quality for sure. The angles of the case and lugs allow the watch to wear very comfortably even at 47mm, the lightness of the titanium, you don’t even know it is on the wrist. And it doesn’t feel light and cheap like some titanium watches do.
The crown and crown guards are absolutey awesome on the Vanguard T-16. The crown guards are nice and large but not intruding in the functionality of the crwon it self. The edges of the crown guards are very smooth, no sharp edges. The down edges are detailed like a gear with cogs and it gives the crown a very mechanical look. This is an awesome detail adds to the overall design of the watch giving it a tool/no nonsense feel. The crown screws in<>out very smooth. The crown is also signed with Gamma and III.
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, 300m and 861101. The caseback is polished titanium .
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, and a red seconds hand. The red seconds hand is a nice touch of detail. The hands are nicely shaped and are cut smooth & sharp edges. The minute and hour hands also feature a 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 Ghibli. 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. The cream stitching is a great touch which perfectly matches the color of the hour markers on the dial. Each stitch is even and percise. The new Ghibli strap is very interesting. I had mixed feelings on it at first having experienced the black leather strap in the past, which is my personal favorite. But the Ghibli is growing on me. As I wear it, it gains more personality. It is becoming my new favorite strap. The every day wear and tear adds so much depth to the strap. 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 9015, automatic, 28800 bp, 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. It has a power reserve of 42 hours, it’s hacking and is automatically wound or can be wound manually.
Overall impressions and conclusion:
The Vanguard 47mm polished Ti 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 polished titanium , to the leather straps, every detail has been clearly thought out here. There is nothing that I have found on the Vanguard that I can complain about. At $499 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 high polished titanium which in itself is a hard achievement. I am a huge GRUPPO GAMMA fan now as a result of my time with this watch. I would love to see a strap that is stamped with the skull logo on the dial side of the strap and on the strap near the lugs, this would be an awesome detail.
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.