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Review: Gane Watches - Type C2 Automatic Brushed Blue

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Review: Gane Watches - Type C2 Automatic Brushed Blue

#1

Post by TheJohnP » Fri Oct 29, 2021 9:34 am

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BACKGROUND:

The world is compromise. That's just how things work. As a watch buyer, you weigh the pros and cons of a particular watch and if what you like and can accept is enough, you buy the watch. For the watch brand owner, compromise is even more vital. Especially for a microbrand. I can only imagine how tough it must be to make a name for oneself in a field with so many buyers dismissive of anything without "heritage," or having to provide more "bang for buck" just to be considered for someone looking to purchase. And as a creator, you do want to provide the best possible item you can deliver, but need to also be cognizant that you can't include everything or you make something cost prohibitive. All that to say, when I first ran across Gane watches and explored a little, I see where they compromised.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. The Gane Type C collections use a Miyota 8215 movement and the current cost is roughly $500. That's a big ask for the Rodney Dangerfield of movements. I was so curious that I actually emailed to ask why they used it. The brand owner, Ray, was very open and honest and basically let me know from his perspective it is a robust, reliable, easily serviceable movement and yes, cost was a factor. Everything else in the overall package had associated costs, that going with say, a 9015 would've pushed the asking price even further. And look, I'm not going to stop a brand owner from making money. I sincerely hope they factor in enough margin to keep the lights on. I bemoan the fact that Codek shut down after a single release, wondering what could've come next. So if they need to spend less on a movement to hit their sweet spot of materials, margin, and cost, so be it. I still let him know that even though other higher end brands use the same movement **cough,cough,SevenFriday,cough,cough** they're not well regarded either. And we kind of left things at an agree to disagree state.

A few weeks ago, Ray reached back out to let me know they changed up their pricing model and were able to lower the cost of the watch. They did this by taking away the free worldwide shipping and charging for that. And also removing the free additional strap that came with each watch. So what was originally a $700 cost prospect was now around $500. I was impressed that Ray not only bothered to let me know, but remembered me at all. I told him I'd share the news on the site (I did), and after a couple more email exchanges, asked if he had a model I could review. He said one was touring the US and he'd be glad to have me check it out. So here we are.

INTRODUCTION:

Gane Watches is based out of Singapore. Gane, pronounced 'gain', was taken from the word Hagane, pronounced ‘hah-gah-neh’, which means steel in Japanese. Gane automatic timepieces center around brushed steel metalwork, an area Ray is both enamored by and intrigued with. He feels that brushing brings out the essence and the perfect look of steel, while keeping it robust against scratches, wear and tear. It is the most beautiful method of texturing the steel surface.

When Ray started the design process and ended with the Type C - C being the starting note of the musical scale - as his first launch. There are three models in the collection - Type C1 (Salmon dial), Type C2 (Blue dial), or Type C3 (Steel dial).

I was sent the Type C2 to review with the original full kit of stainless steel bracelet and leather strap.
To get a full sense of the watch, I wore it for a week and swapped it out onto some of my own straps to test out versatility.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW:

The Type C2's unique dial is layered with a cutting-edge 2-plate dial construction with CNC milled indices. Coupled with the multi-directional brushed surface, the Brushed Blue shines its brilliance in all directions and is perfect for watch photography. The subdued blue is understated, but under the right lighting it transforms into a vibrant, brilliant blue! In normal lighting conditions, the dial exhibits a deep navy blue colour and is reliable and versatile in many situations. The brushed case with impeccable finishing and vintage inspired shape bring about robustness and timeless aesthetics that elevates the coolness of C2. The fine brushing catches the light at different angles and enhances the wearer’s experience to a satisfying level.

The C2 can be paired with a vintage-styled, 4mm thick-cut wrinkled, vegetable tanned, Italian deep brown leather strap. The uncompromising quality of the strap and tang buckle is evident in your hands, while the vintage-styled, deep brown enhances the brushed blue dial perfectly. Alternatively, C2 can be paired with the surgical-grade solid, five-link, finely brushed stainless steel 316L bracelet with a high quality, milled solid butterfly clasp.


SPECIFICS:

Gane Type C2 Automatic Brushed Blue on Bracelet

https://www.ganewatches.com/product-pag ... n-bracelet

- Cost: $555
- Movement: Miyota 8215
- Diameter: 38mm
- Lug to lug: 45mm
- Lug width: 20mm
- Thickness: 13mm
- Case: 316L Stainless Steel
- Watch Head Weight: 73g
- Crown: 6.5mm non screw-down crown
- Dial: Two-piece 3D layered dial in 'BRUSHED BLUE' with emphasis on fine-brushed surface in different axes to produce varying reflections in different lighting conditions. Deeply grooved indices to create a 'sun-dial' effect.
- Lume: C1 Super-LumiNova
- Crystal: Boxed sapphire crystal + underside AR coating
- Bracelet: Fine satin-brushed solid 5-link 316L stainless steel bracelet with quick-release function and butterfly clasp
- Strap: High quality 4mm thick-cut, 'Wrinkled Moro' (deep brown) European leather with quick-release function
- Water Resistance: 5 ATM

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The Type C2 came in a rather long presentation box with a signed outer cardboard sleeve. The watch was on a tray, that when removed housed the additional leather strap. And a nice note (for the previous reviewer).

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The first thing you notice is the unibody case. The "integrated bracelet, steel sport watch" seems all the rage these days, but though you could see some Genta DNA in the overall design, it doesn't feel like all those other brands chasing the same style. The thing that separates it from that pack is the fact that the lugs are exposed and easy to change out straps. The vertical brushing on the top of the case was broken by a highly polished edge separating the brushed sides. That provided just enough visual interest and light play to break up the monotony of a completely brushed case.

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The next thing that my eye was drawn to was the dial. The layered and brushed effect made it feel as if the whole watch head was milled from a single piece of steel. The weight and thickness might have also played a part in that too. The dial does play well with the light and the color of blue could change from almost silver to a deep purple depending on the angle. The dial design is simple, but by design. You have a large minute track with CNC milled indices. There is little text on the dial, which is a nice touch. The hands are simple batons, but also play into the pared down design and mimic the thick grooved indices.

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Let's talk about the crystal next. Honestly, Gane could've gone with a flat sapphire or maybe slightly domed and called it a day. But instead, they chose to incorporate a boxed sapphire crystal. It's a small detail, but it has a big impact on the overall design. With it, the look of having a vintage vibe is there, but with the modern materials buyers have come to expect. And since it is boxed, it does add to the overall thickness of the watch. Which is pretty chonk at 13mm. Didn't feel overly large on wrist, but watch head had a slight tendency to flop a bit depending on the strap I was wearing. The crown was easy to manipulate and I liked how their choice of font worked well with the G on the crown.

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The lugs being incorporated into the case, should make it look bulkier. But the 45mm lug to lug size helped minimize wrist presence. They have a slight downward angle and though the edges look rather sharp, no issues wearing it throughout the week. The only issue some may have is the lug holes are high and close to the case. I didn't try this on a NATO, mostly because that seemed like it would've been a fruitless endeavor.

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Ray chose a solid caseback for this collection. Probably a wise move with the movement. But also, it allowed him to draw and personalize the engraving on the back. As Ray describes:

I decided to hand-sketch a caseback design based on a tribute to someone very important to me; my late mum, Justilla.

Her name means fairness, and she brought up me and my siblings with both fairness and love. Therefore, I drew a scale that measures all children fairly, as they represent our future. The scale is integrated into a lampstand which represents illumination and knowledge, as well as due to my mum's love for beautiful lamps.


Personally, even though I didn't know the true meaning until I looked it up on the Gane site, I liked that it was there. It added an "artist's signature" to what otherwise could be viewed as an industrial or brutalist (shout out to my MoT Discord peeps!) design. I wouldn't go so far as to call it whimsy, but it's certainly leaning in that direction.

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From those two pics above, you'll notice that Ray chose to add quick release pins to both the strap and the bracelet. Another conscious detail that improved the experience of wearing the Gane. I didn't have to worry too much about strap changes, especially removing the bracelet.

Speaking of the bracelet, that is an impressive bracelet for the cost. It is a true, articulated 5-link bracelet. It uses friction pins (which I honestly prefer over screws), so easy to size when it arrived. They links also were a bit "strechy" if you get the meaning. There was enough play to add to the overall comfort of wearing throughout the day. Since it was a butterfly clasp, I actually didn't have any problems finding the right size, even without half links. Again, you can see where he splurged when putting the Type C together.

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Also impressive was the leather strap. 4mm thick Italian leather with a nice, rich smell. A very substantial strap that paired well with the overall case thickness. The wide keeper was a nice touch. And overall, worth way more than the $45 you could get for one individually in his shop.

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One aspect that wasn't nearly impressive was the lume. In all fairness, lume isn't important to me. But I know it checks the box for a lot of folks. So if that's you, you likely won't be satisfied. The C2 uses C1, and shines brightly when initially charged. But doesn't last too long. I used my typical 20 minute night time dog walk test, which means I charged the lume for a minute and took my dog on a roughly 20 minute walk. It was very dim by the time I got back home.

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So I've kind of avoided talking in depth about the movement, I suppose I should. I generally avoid the Miyota 8215. I really dislike that it doesn't hack. I haven't experienced the stutter myself, but know it's a common issue. I'm fine if it's in a cheap automatic, but harder to justify when the price goes up. And there's a significant enough price with the Gane to question it. I will admit that once I got it going and wore it for a week, I didn't have any problems. Since I didn't have to reset the time, I just put it on and forgot what was inside. So if I was a one watch guy, I could probably live with 8215 in the Gane and not think twice about it. But knowing me, it would irk me every time I went to set the time that it didn't hack.

I will also admit, that I couldn't really determine accuracy. First, I don't own a timegrapher. Second, without hacking, couldn't set a baseline. It seemed to run a little fast, but hard to say by how much. Another aspect to annoy those accuracy fans is that there is no fully graduated minute track, the markers are only at the 5 positions. So holistically, you can enjoy the watch and tell the time. But otherwise, you know who you are if that would annoy you.

VERSATILITY TEST

With the additional strap that was included and the quick release bars on the bracelet, I felt comfortable trying the C2 out on a number of different straps. I went mostly with blue straps, because I had enough laying around and they worked nicely with blue dial.

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SUMMARY:

Overall, I really enjoyed my week with the Gane Type C2. It is a well, put together watch. I didn't get tired of it or want to switch it out during the week, which is always a good sign. Even with a minimal design, you can pick up enough details that let you know everything was thought through. You can also see where Ray spent money to impress, but you could also see where he cut a few corners. Again, neither good nor bad, just a compromise. And again, that's how the world works.

I hope the Type C is a success for Ray and that folks give it a chance. I really want to see what else Gane has planned for the future.

PRO:
- Brushed steel dial was very interesting, considering how simple it actually is.
- The bracelet is fantastic for a watch at the price point. If it was available to purchase separately, I'd consider it.
- The strap is superb. High quality leather, very well constructed. Definitely worth the extra $45.
- The quick release on both the bracelet and strap, made changing out a breeze.
- Straight lugs make it perfect for changing out to just about any off the shelf strap.
- Overall size was great for me, looked good on wrist and wore well.
- Boxed sapphire is a nice touch.
- No date = bonus points.


CON:
- This deserves a 9 series Miyota movement. No question.
- Wish the hands were slightly longer. The hour hand would look so much better just touching the inside of the minute track.
- The lug position might make things difficult to use some strap options.
- The lume could be a lot better.
- A bit thick. So if it could be slighter thinner, that would be ideal.
- Also a little top heavy depending on the strap.
- Price might still be a bit high for some to pick up a first model from a new brand.

WOULD I BUY THIS?

No

But it's a very slight no.
$555 for the Type C2 on bracelet is fair price for what you are getting.
With the size of my collection and the frequency that I would actually wear it, the non-hacking 8215 would be a constant point of annoyance.
That's a dealbreaker for me, unfortunately.

HOWEVER
I would recommend the Gane Type C for anyone who it does appeal to.

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Re: Review: Gane Watches - Type C2 Automatic Brushed Blue

#2

Post by ManOnTime » Fri Oct 29, 2021 9:57 am

Great write-up, and a fair review.

I really enjoyed the details about the personal touches on the watch, particularly the case back and connection to Ray's mother. That's quite touching.

The watch looks impressively constructed, and I hope for success for Ray and Gane.
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