January 09, 2023 4 min read
We are always keen to get Phalanx Tactical watches into professional hands for testing. Some months ago we met a UK solider who is also a real watch enthusiast. A perfect match. As he is on deployment we'll just call him Dan C. By mutual agreement we selected a Satin Intelligence Phalanx on a Vintage Bond Military Nylon to accompany Dan on his next adventure. We are very grateful for his time and hope you enjoy his insightful thoughts on the Geckota Phalanx.
I first came across Geckota when I started collecting watches back in 2012. I became aware of the brand through their various watch strap lines, some of which I still have in the ever expanding bag of watch straps which supports my (also ever expanding) watch collection.
It wasn’t until 2018 that I first met Geckota as an entity, at ‘Worldtime UK’, an event held at Heathrow annually in September. Fast forward to the 2022 iteration, and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Richard, the Phalanx Brand Manager and WatchGecko Magazine Editor. Richard has an interesting background within the arms industry and is the brainchild of the Sierra Zero One. Talking me through the various features of the watch, its design process and the testing carried out to maintain quality, he explained that this rigorous testing cycle is based on a similar process that firearms undergo, bringing two of Richards passions together.
As a watch collector I have always gravitated towards military watches, be them issued, or commemorative special projects. I was instantly interested in what Richard had to say and show me when it came to the Sierra Zero One. I won’t go too deeply into the technical specs of the watch as they are all on the Geckota website, but the salient points are these: 42.5mm, 22mm lugs, 300m water resistance, ETA-2824 and super-luminova dial and handset. The watch itself comes in two distinct versions. Although I have handled the ‘Blackout’ iteration, I have had longer exposure to is the ‘Intelligence’ version. This was two fold, firstly my own personal military career within military intelligence, but also I really like the matte finish across the entire steel case.
The watch wears well and kept very accurate time, in all environments which I have taken it to. The 300m water resistant case (achieved by a screw down crown and caseback) meant that the watch literally shrugged off all water that it was exposed to during my recent work trip to the western coast of Denmark. I did however find myself checking the crown out of habit, as even though I knew it was screwed in and slightly recessed, the distinct lack of any form of crown guards made me cautious not to snag the watch when conducting my role whilst away. In terms of operation, the the screw down crown enables you to set the time and manually wind the movement. It does have a secondary position for the date within the movement, so don’t be concerned if you accidentally pull the crown to that position and it appears to do nothing.
The other physical element of the watch which I utilised often was the bezel. The bezel sits slightly below the sapphire crystal and is in the standard 60 minute divers configuration. The bezel is held onto the case by four small retaining screws, similar to those found on my Breitling Avenger II GMT. I had no concerns of those screws loosening over time, however my concern would be if it was to happen, a trip back to Geckota may be on the cards due to the size of the retaining screws. The bezel operation itself is smooth, occasionally the bezel on my example would slip to one click out from whichever position I had last set it to (admittedly this is probably due to my example being a press release watch purely used for review purposes).
Aesthetically, the watch has its own DNA when it comes to the mission timer variety of watches available on the market within this price point. I like the use of the ‘patina’d’ dial and sword hands (a nod to the MoD issued Mil-Subs of a bygone era). The faux patina stood out well on the matte black dial and in low light would emit a comforting green glow that all self confessed watch nerds find appealing. The bezel pip glows in blue so you are also able to utilise that in low light environments. A final note on the aesthetics, the dial is marked with decimal time which in a practical sense would split one minute into 1/100th increments. Even though this is a unique design choice and aids in standing out of the crowd, I personally would have preferred to see 60 second markings, or maybe an internal 12/24 hour scale.
Night Vision S-01 Phalanx- Image credit: Dan@timely_moments
In my opinion, the Sierra Zero One is a solid option in the sub £1000 of diver style mission timer watches on the market at the moment. I believe that the unique design elements and robust case construction with a reliable ETA automatic movement make it for a classically designed, uniquely striking and reliable watch for all of your future ventures. I have enjoyed my time (no pun intended) with the Sierra Zero One Phalanx and I look forward to see what Phalanx and Richard come up with in the future.
September 05, 2023 6 min readRead More
About the Author: Richard Brown
About the Author: Richard Brown
I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.More Articles by Richard Brown