Gorilla Watches – Exotic, bad-ass, and high octane

By Frederik Drost
Gorilla Watches – Exotic, bad-ass, and high octane
Gorilla watches offers badass, well-designed and exotic watches for a fair price. They are big, yet understated and the car theme is subtle enough for this watch to be enjoyed by everyone.


It’s with great pleasure that i take a closer look at Gorilla Watches, a microbrand with a solid identity, great car-inspired designs, and affection for exotic materials! Gorilla Watches is one of those brands that really stand out from the crowd, like CODE41, Dwiss or SevenFriday. 

But are their watches worth the money? Are they comfortable and well made? Keep reading to find the answers and much more.

I present to you, the Gorilla Fastback.




Quick pros and cons

PROSCONS
Unique and colorful designsMight be too big for some
Exotic materials, rarely seen at this priceNo choice of better movement
Fair priceYou can only use Gorilla straps
Very light-weight
Great lume
The car theme is subtle



The elephant in the room

Before I begin the review, i need to address something I see many people say about the Gorilla Watches on the web. People complain about the Miyota movement, specifically that it’s too cheap a movement for such a watch. 

My take on this is simple: If you want these kinds of specs on the outside, for this price range, you have to be content with the Miyota 8215. However, an option to get a “better” ETA movement would be nice for those willing to pay the price. 

The Miyota 8215 is robust and will work, plus it’s cheap to replace. Yes, it doesn’t have hacking and ticks at 3Hz, but if you are not buying this watch to impress your own sense of mechanical wonder, but rather to have a really cool and colorful watch made with exotic materials.


Packaging

Gorilla Watches comes in very cool and practical packaging, made entirely out of foam. It’s not something i would proudly showcase in my dressing room, but it’s still cool and will protect the watch very well during shipping.


Design

The straps i have on these watches are the new ones and will be available on the 26th of march. The same goes for the black/gold model you see pictures of.

All Gorilla watches are inspired by American muscle cars and are a product of Octavio Garcia’s vision, former Chief Artistic Officer for Audemars Piguet. 

What’s really nice about these is that the car inspiration hasn’t taken over the watch. Brands like Rec take it a nudge up, making their market a bit more niche. Gorilla Watches have kept the car theme subtle, resulting in a watch that everyone can have a chance to like, car fan or not.

The first brand that comes to my mind when seeing these watches is Bell & Ross, especially the BR-05 (which came out after Gorilla Watches). But the integrated bracelet and many other elements really make these watches unique, without being completely crazy and out of this world.

Most of their models have a tasteful combination of funky bright colors, with a few exceptions. I actually have one of their new models from the future Fastback line-up, which is very sober, giving the people who want a discreet watch a wonderful option.

The dial is very much inspired by old American car dashboards and steering wheels (the hour’s hand disc looks like a steering wheel). 

The numbers are very legible, but reading the time takes a bit of practice to do quickly because the minute hand looks a bit like a second hand, and the hour hand and is on a disc with an opposing circular printing. After a week, you can easily spot the time, so this funky design is simply left oozing with charm.

The rehaut has a cool line that wraps around the hour’s markers and i truly admire that they only put the name of the brand on the dial. We really don’t need to know more about this watch when looking at the time.

The layered case design is really cool, especially because of the colored anodized aluminum layer and the subtle angles, mixed with the sharp angles of the crown guards and crown.

All in all, a well-designed watch, drawn by a guy who has probably overseen some of the Audemars Piguet Off Shore designs, which can be seen on these timepieces. Cool, yet subtle details make this watch even cooler than expected from the pictures.


Quality

The case and bezel

The case and bezel of these watches are almost one, by design of course. The forged carbon case sports both soft angles near the place where the lugs would usually be and sharp angles on the crown guards. 

The angles on the front and back of the forged carbon case continue through the aluminum insert and the ceramic bezel. These last 2 actually feature small angles on each corner, small details that only the owner appreciates.

The ceramic bezel is cut as well as one could wish, with angles that are sharp, but soft to the touch. Real beat blasted screws secure everything together, each screwed in at the exact same height.

The crown

The crown really deserves its own title and paragraph! It looks like a piece of a weapon straight out of the newest Doom game. The beat-blasted titanium makes it sporty and a bit subtle, if a crown shaped like this can ever be that. 

It’s perfectly centered between the crown guards, which also looks like weapon elements from Doom. The guards are shaped in such a way as to leave as little space possible, which is thoughtful considering the weird shape of the crown.

The threading is nice and even, and the shape of the crown makes it super easy to grip and unscrew, even with the chunky crown guards. It feels robust when unscrewed and doesn’t wobble, so no complaints there.

The crystal

The flat sapphire crystal sits perfectly aligned with the case, but i have seen better AR coating in this price range. The dial is highly contrasted, so it’s luckily not a nuisance.

The dial

The entire dial is a tasteful and subtle mix of circular brushed, matt, and shiny finish. The printing on the dial is immaculate, with a slight embossed effect, with zero shone for better readability. 

The rehaut is also brushed metal which is nice, because a matt plastic rehaut would make the watch look cheaper (a problem on the almost perfect Marc & Sons Elegance i reviewed). The printing is just as immaculate as on the dial and the line wrapping around the hour’s markers is a very cool detail that makes the watch, even more, cooler than it is!

The hands have a shiny finish, probably painted on, and are well cut to create the skeletonized shapes. I would have preferred a brushed or mat look, but that a personal opinion. Because of this process, all the elements of the hands are rounded and show no signs of machining, which is rather cool.

The lume

Being a sport’s watch, the lume has to be good. Luckily, it’s rather good and well applied. The hands have a thick even layer, but is a bit grainy when looking up close. This is not the case with the numbers on the dial, where it’s just perfect! 

It’s important to note that on the black and golden model, the “faux patina” lume is weaker than on the other models where white lume paint is used.

The bracelet and buckle

The bracelets on these 2 watches are part of the new line-up of Fastbacks. Mixing in a black weaved textile gives them a new dimension with less bright colors and a more luxurious feel.

This textile part seems to be glued and sown into the bracelet, so i think i can recommend you go swimming with it. 

The buckle is made out of beat-blasted titanium, like the crown, and looks almost as cool as well. The Gorilla logo is hidden under the buckle to leave place for a very cool pyramid grip pattern that serves no purpose except looking badass.

The movement

As i mentioned previously, the Miyota 8215 that powers this beast is not the best movement there is. But it’s robust and mine lost around 7 to 15 seconds a day, which is very good! They have put most of the money into the build of the watch, and to keep prices low enough, they have chosen to put in a cheaper movement, which i think is totally fine.

The Miyota 8215 has no hacking and uses unidirectional winding, meaning you might feel some wobbling but you also have a more robust mechanism. It ticks at 21.600 beats per hours (3Hz or 6 ticks a second).

It’s very cheap to replace, so you don’t have to worry about servicing it. I think it’s a perfectly good movement for this watch, considering how well made the rest of the watch is, but if you are in doubt, this thread should clear out all doubts you have.


On the wrist

A watch from Gorilla is not a small thing, but thanks to the lugless design, it wears less big than the advertised 44mm case would suggest. These watches will not fit anyone with wrists smaller than 16 cm, but will look hella cool on anything above that!

The 13mm height doesn’t feel too chunky, especially thanks to the thick bracelet which of course tapers down in width and height around the wrist. These watches will not fit anyone with wrists smaller than 16 cm, but will look hella cool oin anything above that!

I have work rubber bracelets that were more comfortable, but it’s not enough to be a problem. You don’t have full wrist motion when wearing it unless you wear it high, but at least the crown and crown guard are not the least bit irritating on your hand.


The price

I think the price is fair considering all the exotic materials, quality build, and custom elements (like literally everything, even the buckle). The movement is in the cheaper end, but the rest of the watch justifies the price. And the Miyota 8215 can still easily give you a good 10 years before it needs to be replaced (for very little money).


Conclusion

Gorilla Watches has managed to create a solid identity in the watch world, with a car-themed line-up of extravagant and exotic watches, that somehow still remain elusive in a world where sports watches rule.

They have nailed the design and chosen the right inspiration for their design, without going overboard. This is primarily a watch, then a car-themed object, which is exactly how you should do themed watches.

On top of that, the build is solid and well made, without dapping into the realm of luxury. You won’t get this many exotic materials for under 1000 USD anywhere, but i can see why it wouldn’t be someone’s cup of tea. This is high octane pure coffee!

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