It is a good thing to challenge one’s expectations. It is sometimes too easy to take the safe route. Collecting watches is no exception. If I set out today to buy a watch, my family and friends would probably, successfully, guess the general design parameters of my final purchase. There is a certain style with which I am synonymous. The bulk of my collection represents stainless steel or titanium models, around 40mm which have either dived to the depths of the Pacific, explored the desert of the Kalahari, or been present when we put our first steps on The Sea of Tranquillity. There is without doubt a pattern here.
So, when Geckota asked me to spend time with a new model I was, as always, very keen and expected something finished in bead blasted steel or gunmetal, possibly from their 300m range. What I was not expecting was a gold G-01 Space Age watch.
I was fortunate to be loaned a prototype (Serial Number: XX/25) so it is always fun to experience a product when it is hot off the design desk. When I first saw the watch, I will be honest and state that I was somewhat sceptical; the G-01 is so different to anything I own. I did not want to be hastily judgemental, but I was thinking perhaps this will not be for me. But, an open mind and a few weeks of wear have left me with a more balanced, holistic, view of the G-01 and I have come to appreciate the creation ethos and some very radical design elements.
To date Geckota have made two previous explorations into the Space Age theme. The Geckota G-01 Vintage Style Automatic Diver's Watch preceded the quartz Rhonda 715 model I am wearing and is still available today. Despite the clear lean towards a smart watch the G-01 automatic is a capable underwater watch with a depth rating of 300m. The two G-01 watches share very similar DNA, and their fundamental design remains quite divergent for Geckota. Also, under the Space Age brand, is the C-04 VK64 Space Age Racing Chronograph. This is less similar to the previous two models as it is a pure racing inspired chronograph but shares common hands with the newer G-01 quartz model. If you feel by the end of this feature that a Geckota Space Age is the platform for you then be sure to study all three in detail, but for the purposes of this article will re-focus on the new G-01 quartz.
First impressions of the new G-01 quartz were of a substantial case which looked like it has been hewn from a solid block of gold – it is in reality, stainless steel with a gold PVD finish. Just before you pick up the watch you could be forgiven for thinking it will be very heavy, but it is not. Everything about the G-01 is bold and makes a statement. The dial and glass itself are oversized and appear very wide giving excellent legibility and presence on the wrist. The prominent numerals 3, 6 and 9 enhance the wide dial drawing the eye to the cardinal points. A robust screw down crown which is well textured and not protected by shoulders stands proud and is hugely tactile. The more you study the G-01 the more you get from it and you begin to appreciate the design aesthetics of the watch. The model I have is advertised as having a Honeycomb dial. This is a highly intricate pattern on the surface of the watch face, which almost looks like fabric, and serves to lift the indices. This optical illusion is further enhanced by a deep channel cut around the edge of the face with sunken 05-55 minute markers.
One cannot discuss the G-01 without reference to the hands. Those present and those missing! The long hour hand resembles a Greek Hoplite’s sword. It is a beautiful and purposeful design which is one of the best-looking minute hands on the market today. It has an elegance which befits what I would consider predominantly a dress watch. The hour hand by contrast is shorter but similar in style with an alternate vintage lume shape to differentiate the hands.
The watch does not have a second hand! To me this was a wholly new concept, although when discussing it with my father this week, he informed me that during the 60s he had owned many watches with no second hand. Still for me, given my watch tastes previously established, it has been a challenge. To be honest I look at my watch a lot throughout the day. I am accustomed to the effortless sweep of a Rolex or the small reassuring revolutions of a Speedmaster second sub-dial. The lack of second hand on the G-01 kept making me think that the watch had stopped! My brain simply registered that there was no movement where there should be. Over time I retrained my struggling mind and grew to embrace the imperceptible movement of just two hands and now, when I swap to my Breitling Chronomat, it seems over complex?
The G-01 will challenge your design perceptions in a good way. When offset on a superior strap such as the mahogany Hinxhill Horween Leather it makes a beautiful package which begs to be worn on a casual or sophisticated evening out (which we all desperately hope will not be too far in the future). I keep taking the watch off and turning it in my hands, such is the tactile nature of the case which leads me to conclude, after much consideration, that I would add a G-01 to my collection. A company I once worked for had a sales tag line – “in a world of compromise, some don’t”. This adage seems to fit the G-01 perfectly and Geckota are to be commended for such a design.
Generally, at this point in a feature I would be thinking how to finish the text but today is rather different. I am not alone in my office and now most willingly surrender the keyboard to my far better half…
Now over to Sue for the Geckota R-01 Rectangular Watch
I have been living with Richard and his watch collection for nearly 30 years and while at times I may get frustrated as he stands over his watch “drawer” deciding which model to wear today, I appreciate the amount of pleasure he gets from the collection. Even though I sometimes feel NASA spent less time deciding which watch to take to the Moon…
However, I confess I do like a nice watch and I appreciate the design, presence, and confidence that comes with a beautiful time piece. A watch is more than a functional machine or a piece of jewellery. It is a statement of self-expression and says a lot about the owner. It transcends dress codes and can instantly convey an insight into someone’s character.
When I first met Richard, I wore an unusual gold Rolex Orchid (ref: 2148) which I acquired in Oman. It is now a rare design, originally from the 70s, and hard to find. The Orchid was a very small watch and as my tastes changed my first serious watch shopping expedition in the 80s with my new husband resulted in the purchase of a simple yet elegant stainless ladies Rolex Oyster with a champagne dial (ref: 76080). This was a fine watch which served me well for many years and, like all simple stainless Rolex's, absolutely looked the part whether worn on the beach, out casually or dressed up for an Embassy ball. Over the years I have owned and sold more models such as a Maurice Lacroix Eliros, a Longines Conquest and my current every day wear is a stainless TAG Heuer Ladies Link 200m with a mother of pearl dial.
I have enjoyed being part of the Geckota family by association and have been made very welcome on a couple of visits to Tewkesbury when I accompanied Richard. On the last occasion I was thrilled when Tim Vaux and Ben Adams asked if I would like to see and test one of the very first R-01 watches to be produced. I prefer metal bracelets, so the watch was fitted accordingly and after a few weeks of use I am now delighted to share my thoughts, as a female wearer, on this new product. I appreciate that some of the ladies in Geckota have written excellent features about the R-01 already but I will try to offer a different perspective from a certain demographic of wearer.
It is important to first point out that this feature (as with Richard’s G-01) was supposed to include a 2 week element in Abu Dhabi where both watches would be photographed in nice locations such as the F1 track, alongside super yachts, or in our favourite cocktail bar, but due to the current global situation the R-01 has had a more local test at home, in and around the Derbyshire Dales.
When I first handled the R-01 it felt quite heavy in my hands. Perhaps as the TAG I currently own is much smaller. However, as soon as you wear the watch it feels lighter as it sits comfortably on the wrist. The metal Geckota "Oblique" Milanese Mesh Stainless Watch Strap I had fitted is superb and really distributes the size and weight of the watch. It is easy to fasten and adjust and does not slip around the wrist.
The case at first appears to be a classically styled rectangular watch but on closer inspection there are very attractive and distinct curves to the sides of the watch which soften the features. The face is large and easy to read but is it not overly sized as so many female watches are at present. The R-01’s profile is low which I really appreciate so clothing slips over it and it does not catch. I appreciate the design decision to accent the hands and numbers 12 and 6 in gold as they stand out from the predominantly silver watch in a subtle way which adds presence to the watch drawing the eye along its length.
The face colour of the R-01 I a wearing is probably one of the principle factors which really makes the watch stand out. It is a deep blue, almost the colour of the deep part of the ocean before natural light disappears. It is both sophisticated and attractive compelling you to look at the face. I have not seen the green or black faces first hand but I feel sure they too will have the same luxurious lustre. Another factor with the dark face and gold hands is that I can read the watch without my glasses on! That may seem like a small issue but trust me, its significant to me as a user that I can glance at the watch and not have to fumble for my reading glasses first!
The only change would be that I think the name Geckota would be better on the outside of the watch strap clasp, rather than the inside. Other than that my R-01 could not be faulted.
I have thoroughly enjoyed wearing the R-01 and thank Geckota for the chance to experience it. I would recommend it highly to anyone thinking of an alternative style everyday watch which can double up instantly as a smart dress watch. Also, I would recommend having a spare leather strap on hand for the watch as that would enhance it in other ways and really give a different look. There are multiple variants of this watch on the Geckota website, including a different dial, so it is well worth studying these images before buying. I have shown the watch to my circle of friends and the positive comments were unanimous.
I find myself glancing down at the watch quite a lot, such is the eye-catching appeal of it. When driving you cannot help but look at it. Geckota have cleverly managed to blend vintage with contemporary and create watch that has heritage but is unmistakably modern. I really look forward to acquiring an R-01 in the future.