“Masterfully handcrafted watches in limited series or as we like to call it – an independent microbrand. Gyavius Watch Company was founded in 2012 when Industrial designer T.Gyavurov started exploring his lifelong passion for the watch industry.”
I’ve been following his journey pretty much from the beginning. It’s no secret that I love unique watches with engineering that is accomplished through blood, sweat and tears, aka passion. “A timeless composition of craftsmanship, science, engineering, and art. The beginning took place in the usual startup incubator – the family garage. It was quickly outgrown and the manufacture had to be moved a couple of times (including a move across Europe). Currently based near Sofia, Bulgaria.” T. Gyavurov and I have been chatting for years now, chatting together about stories and the connection over the passion & love we share for watches.
“From the very beginning, our main goal was to keep design, development, and manufacturing in-house.” I have so much respect for companies that stick to their vision. I also have a ton of respect for keeping the operation in-house. There’s a different sort of horological magic when a small company does things themselves. That magic is usually quite apparent in their product. When the Deep Marine arrived I was extremely excited to experience that magic hands on. The watch is packaged in a authentic Peli case. The military green is such a suitable color for this watch. I was impressed by the presentation of not only the case but also by what was included inside. The kit includes: a handcrafted 26mm leather strap, a heavy duty 26mm ZULU strap, high quality Hex pen and a handcrafted watch roll that will accomodate your Deep Marine and some straps. The presentation of this watch is very impressive to say the least and impressive only gets you so far. If you pair impressive with functional and now you just upped the game a few notches. I recently went on a camping trip and I used the Peli case for my camera. The case kept my camera secure and dry. I used the watch roll for its intended purpose, to carry the straps, watch and Hex pen. The kind of packaging that I prefer, as opposed to a wooden watch box that will end up in the back of a closet.
Each watch that is produced by Gyavius is handcrafted, hand-finished, and individually assembled completely by hand. He sends out very few watches each month out of his small workshop. Gyavurov’s goal has been to manufacture most of the components which include the case, bezel, case back, crown, movement ring, dial, hands, straps, and more. A goal that is now a reality thanks to his hard work and passion. That passion is apparent throughout the engineering of the case on the Deep Marine. As soon as I picked up the watch for the first time it, I instantly knew that this was something special. The bronze case is 45mm including the frame and if you include the crown then it’s about 60mm. For those of you who know, there’s a certain magic that an oversized crown exudes and for those of you who don’t know there’s always time to find out. That purpose driven design element can be seen and certainly felt on this crown, but considered it on steroids here. The wide grooves that are cut around the circumference of the crown increases the grip tenfold even if you are wearing thick gloves in cold and wet conditions. The bezel is also designed with that attention to function. Gripping the bezel and rotating it bi-directionally can be done with ease because Gyavius machined large uniformed notches around the circumference of the bezel. The engraved numbers and markers on the bezel have that clean and sterile look that works well, but the dive watch purist in me wishes that there was a bit of lume applied to it, even just if it was applied to the 12 hour position.
The lugs and the way they are integrated into the case showcase the passion driven engineering that Gyavurov strives for. I was extremely interested to hear about the inspiration for the unique lugs on the DeepMarine, so I asked T. Gyavurov to tell me about it. “I was looking at deep submergence vehicles and ROVs and came up with the idea of a frame around the watch.” He went straight to the drawing board because it was late at night T.G. did a quick sketch and retired for the evening. Over the next week or so and a few iterations he was ready to build a jig to bend the mock-up frame. The frame has a double feature of both aesthetic in design and function. The aesthetics is obvious, the function may not be so obvious. How the frame is attached to the case allows for the case to flex and move when it’s on your wrist making this bronze beast surprisingly comfortable for it’s size. The frame is attached to the center of the case at the 3H and 9H positions creating a hinge effect with the case itself which allows that flex when it’s strapped to your wrist. The frame also doubles are a protector for the sides of the case though I think bronze looks good with scratches and dents which natural patina complements quite nicely.
This unique design didn’t come easy for for Gyavurov on the manufacturer end the first problem he was faced with was the fact that bronze isn’t readily available as a flat stock – the bronze needs to cut into a 3mm disk with a big enough diameter in order to make a couple of frames. Once the frames are cut from the disk, they are bent, hand fit (more bending) and finally hand finished. This whole process takes a couple of days and they can easily be scrapped during each of the delicate processes if patience and care isn’t used at all times. Gyavurov appreciates the final result as do I, but he admits they are a huge pain to make. The strap is secured to the unique lugs via screwed lug bars that offer more strength than that of flimsy spring bars or quick release bars. This design choice makes perfect sense considering this bronze beast of a watch was conceived using the “can handle the abuse” blueprint. What is a beast without a bit of beauty? Well Gyavurov has you covered with the engraved case back. The old school deep sea diver is the perfect engraving for this “steampunk” dive watch. The green ink on the brass inlay is protected under plexi crystal. The brushed finished stainless steel case back in held in protective place by a series 6 well placed screws. There’s some beefed up security underneath the case back too, from the double o-ring back, double o-ring crown and wrap that security around to the front with the Sternkreuz domed armed diver plexi with a chrome tension ring. This plexi is thick enough to handle more than 10 bar.
The brass dial is just as unique as the case itself. I like Gyavius’s take on the California dial. It’s always nice to see different interpretations and executed details on a watch. The same old repetition gets extremely boring. Everything on this dial works together in perfect harmony. I like that the engraved hour markers are filled with the same shade of green that is found on the caseback. Continuity of details. Gyavius made sure that continuity was carried throughout the design language of the DeepMarine and the handset choice is no different here. These polished hands are beautiful in every setting, from catching the light in the polished edges to the green glow of the applied lume. The handset is beautiful and quite fitting for the DeepMarine’s design. This dial is a fine example of where less is more. The green works so well set against the brass dial. It would be cool to see a variant dial version with lume applied to the hour markers. Regardless, the DeepMarine’s dial is a great example of that simplistic beauty! Most importantly, it’s extremely legible.
Inside of the Deep Marine, ticking away is an automatic ETA 2824-2 movement. Unlike the components of the case, the movements are sourced from Switzerland. The rest of the components needed are sourced from European manufacturers that match our quality requirements (Germany, Austria, Italy). What’s next for Gyavius, well I asked T. Gyavurov that exact question. This was his answer “I am currently working on the next model as we speak. I am always working on new machines, processes, concepts, and prototypes to further develop our independence and craftsmanship. By sticking to it we are able to develop our vision and explore new concepts much quicker. The pursuit of watchmaking goes hand in hand with hunting and rebuilding old machines (and building new ones) as well as exploring what traditional and new technologies have to offer. Something our founder enjoys as much as prototyping our future models.”
Dive watches are one of the most popular styles of watches these days, but there are so many different styles within the sea of dive watches. There are “dressy” divers, tactical divers……..and there are the large, unique, hand made divers. Some of those limited divers look like they were designed on Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, that’s the category that the DeepMarine falls into. It’s definitely a niche piece but these handmade, limited produced pieces have a strong cult following in the watch community. I think of them like horological art works for the wrist. I definitely recommend this piece to those of you who appreciate watches from brands like Kaventsmann, VDB, etc…. I mentioned a couple of areas that have room for improvement during this review that aren’t deal breakers in my opinion and for a “freshman” release it’s quite an impressive piece. I appreciate the unique design and the individualistic approach Gyavius took with the DeepMarine. This piece has me extremely excited to see what the future has in store for this young and enthusiastic watch maker.
Public Service Announcement: There is so much going on in the world today, so before the hate or the bashing on a watch that may not garnish personal like, instead focus on the watches that do. It would be a pretty boring community and industry if we all liked the same style watches.
Ordering information can be found on the website https://gyavius.com
Thank you Gyavius for the opportunity to review the DeepMarine. Thank you all for reading. Below is a question I asked T.G. and his detailed answer. Enjoy.
I was curious on what inspired his love of watches, so I asked T. G. to explain the origin for his love, his passion, and his obsession with watches.
“As old as it sounds I always wanted to make things. I was that 4 year old you could catch running around and causing chaos with a pair of pliers. Always interested in what makes things work. You can imagine most of my toys did not survive.
I got my first digital watch when I was about three or four years old and there is this story I keep hearing about – me being frustrated with it not working, taking it off and stomping over it, haha🤣. Later on, my brother had the Casio MP3 Player watch (WMP-1). I was in awe of it, it was the coolest watch I have ever seen. I am talking years before the first iPod was launched. It eventually landed on my wrist and I was over the moon with it. I still have it and it is one of the watches that got me into this thing for sure.”
“To keep the story short – I got into computers and electronics early on. By the end of high school I was already finishing my first venture. Back then I realized that all the time spent working on something virtual could be lost with just the flick of a switch. Not long after, I decided to focus myself on Industrial design. Making physical objects that people love using felt much more fulfilling.
Thinking about it now, maybe the second most important watch for me might be the MB&F HM4. I fell in love with it when it was launched and my excitement for watches was reignited.”
“While taking a break from other projects I started dreaming about designing a one off watch for myself.I managed to sketch it in my free time and stared looking for a company to make it for me. Almost two years in failed attempts went by and I gave up on finding a “manufacturer”. Why not do it myself? The family garage was already a tiny workshop. How hard could it be? This is the exact moment I understood what a small lathe and a mill were capable of and why my father would spend all that money and time on them. I managed to pull it off on the first try and I ended up making a couple of different watches in there. Its not the easiest route, but its the only one if you are seeking independence, flexibility and quality.”
“With the end of my masters degree in the United Kingdom nearing, I started building my own proper studio and workshop (which I eventually decided to move across Europe to Sofia, Bulgaria). Since then I have been collecting, making and rebuilding machines and tools for my watchmaking adventures (along with some vintage cameras and Land Rovers haha). I still work on other projects from time to time, but watches and Gyavius are my main focus. I’m in my late 20s now and there is a lot in the works, but I’m going to leave it at that.”