In the world of microbrand watches, dive watches and sporty designs dominate because they are usually the go-to watch for most men. The few brands that specialize in dress watches tend to go for a modern interpretation of vintage designs or take a very minimalistic approach to their designs.
Gentian watches is a breath of fresh air and definitely a brand that deserves WAY more attention than what they are getting now! Their sporty and aggressive approach to creating a dress watch is spot on and I can’t remember the last time I loved a watch this much! The small and charming details are tastefully done and it’s an overall joy to wear!
I present to you, the Gentian Mark 1.
The Gentian Mark 1 comes in a surprisingly lovely blue lacquered box, with polished hinges and a lovely little pocket for the warranty card and other leaflets. The polished logo sits proudly on top of the box and I actually find their logo quite attractive.
The lining inside the box is not the best quality, and you can see some glue in certain areas, but I wouldn’t expect more for a watch in this price category, nor should you.
The Mark 1 features a very tasty blend of sporty features and classic design elements seen in many watches before it. Nothing is overdone and it is ripe with subtle details that will leave you enchanted with its presence on your wrist.
The case has quite an aggressive silhouette with its sharp lugs that only curves down slightly around your wrist. The lugs feature a chamfered edges on the inside and beneath them, giving the light plenty of flat surfaces to bounce off and delight your eyes.
The sides of the case have a much more fluid and organic feel to them thanks to the rather large bevel that runs down the sides in a subtle curve. This creates a visually sharp edge that meets and compliments the sharp edge of the bezel on top of it.
The crown is not completely flush to the case, so they decided to tastefully hide the thin stem with a large cylindrical tube. Had it been closer to the case, you would have a hard time catching it with your fingers.
The case is shaped in a way that leaves the high polish bezel sinking into it. It’s a very well thought out design that leaves certain undersides of the bezel visible, and others completely hidden! It almost looks like the case was made of wax, and the bezel was carefully pushed into it. One of the best subtle case and bezel designs I have ever come across!
The dial has a much more classic vintage look with the railroad tracks (the minute scale is made out of two concentric circles connected by 60 cross lines) and roman numeral numbers. All of these elements sit on top of a beautiful silvery sunburst dial, giving the dial much more playtime with any light that dares to shine on it.
The 2 creators of Gentian watches have definitely pulled some inspiration from Cartier’s classic designs. The dead giveaway is the 10 o’clock marker with the small Gentian inscription inside. The thermally blued seconds hand and the sharp alpha hands are the last cherries on the cake and give the watch its last drop of personality and charm.
(I do however think that the hands could have been a bit wider to really nail the proportions of the dial)
Even though I usually find the 29 jewels marking rather useless, it does help balance out the dial here. I do think the date aperture is unwelcome on this dial, and that is probably the only gripe I have with this otherwise flawless design. Luckily, everything else outshines it completely.
Overall, a very unique and thought-out design that can go with any sort of colorful strap due to its monotone color layout. It’s sharp and aggressive, yet organic and smooth. It’s perfect.
The overall quality of this is quite outstanding considering the 495 USD (407 EUR) price tag.
The metal finishing is really good, with softer edges or sharper and more defined edges where needed. The mirror polishing is outstanding and because the surfaces are well machined, it plays with the light in a beautiful way.
Only at the root of the lugs and where 3 edges meet can you tell this is not a high-end timepiece. It’s also worth noting that the space between the lugs is polished as well, which many brands can neglect.
The crown is nicely centered and parallel to the case. The engraved teeth are deep and grip the skin just enough for them to be useful. They are not as well polished on the inside but do feature nice curved down edge.
The G on the side of the crown is deeply engraved with a sandblasted finish, surrounded by a mirror polish. It’s always nice to see because i really hate those lightly engraved logos that many fashion brand watches smack on to their crown. It is, however, not necessary in my opinions to even engrave this crown at all.
The threading of the crown is pretty much what you would expect on a watch with this price tag. Not completely even, but does the job well of securing the crown while keeping that wonderful 100 meters water resistance.
The dial and hands
The sunburst dial has a rough, although well-made sunburst finish. I think it is a matter of taste whether you like the subtle sunburst or the rough one where you can see the lines. In this case, i think it suits the watch well. In no direct light conditions, it almost appears metallic mat, which is cool, but lights up when the first ray of light hits it!
The thick alpha hands are super crisp and very well done. The edge running along the middle is sharp and well defined, and the sides leave no sign of machining under my loupe, except a rather successful vertical brushed finish.
The second’s hand is even thermally blued, which was very surprising to me since the procedure is not easy to do and requires skilled experts and handcrafting.
The printing on the dial is SUPER crisp and mat black, leaving the dial to do all the shining. The printing is flat but I don’t even miss the embossed and shiny printing that usually adorns watches. The only difference I see on high-end timepieces is sharper angles and corners, but only a close-up look will reveal that “flaw”, which exists only due to the fair price of the watch.
The date window is a little disappointing, not because its quality doesn’t match the price, but because they could have done without it. The printing on the date wheel is good enough, but the date is slightly uncentered on my watch (by a fraction of a degree), although nothing too serious. The aperture frame has duller edges and corners than the rest of the watch, which is a shame, but something i can accept when glancing at the watch from a normal viewing distance.
The strap and clasp
The strap is quite lovely and is well upholstered near the lugs, then thinning out as it goes around your wrist. The sides are not waxed, but bent leather that goes around the sides, which is always a good sign.
The deployment butterfly clasp is a pretty standard low budget one, which does feel much cheaper than the rest of the watch. Considering the price of this watch, I am fine with that and I will be getting a real crocodile strap and a better clasp for this watch. It truly deserves it.
The Gentian Mark 1 is powered by a Swiss Tech Caliber S24, which is based on the ETA2824-2 unpatented design. It beats at 28.800 b/hr (4Hz or 8 ticks a second), has hacking and manual winding, and a 2 direction winding mechanism. No decoration on this movement, but Gentian did add a gold plated signed rotor, which is lovely!
This is actually my first Swiss Tech movement, so I don’t have any experience with them. Whether Swiss Tech has the same quality standards as ETA or not, i cannot say. There is very little info on the web, despite them not being a young company. My watch loses around 15 to 25 seconds a day, which is Miyota or Seiko standards, so I am happy. I will update this post as i keep testing the watch.
What could be better
- I would have preferred the “Gentian” printing slightly bigger, and the “Mark 1” as well, with the rest being taken off the dial.
- The alpha hands could have been a bit bigger to get perfect proportions.
- Personally, I think the watch would be even better without the date complication. They are harder to pull off than other elements of a watch, and in this case, Not all the dates are completely centered. Dates from 12 to 27 are perfect, they are slightly down from the center of the aperture, but all remain in the horizontal center.
It’s actually only annoying because the rest of the watch is so perfect 🙂
On the wrist
Video of the watch on my wrist
Due to the almost straight lugs of this watch, it ends up sitting rather flat on my 17cm wrists. That is not a problem for me because I do like that look (i have a Breitling Headwind with the same silhouette, but shorter lugs).
It is very comfortable on the wrist and rather slim, which is good for a dressy watch. This 40mm watch will fit wrists from 16cm and up, and would be a good choice for men with larger wrists, seeking something small and dressy that doesn’t look too feminine on them.
As most watch fanatics know, the devil is in the details and Gentian has managed to create an absolutely unique watch while keeping things simple and classic.
They have combined the best from both worlds with a perfect blend of an aggressive yet organic case design, dressy dial, and a pinch of unique details that makes its presence on my wrist tantalizing and alluring.
Gentian has managed to ignite my semi-dormant passion for dress watches in this price range. Bravo!