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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Name of Reviewer: Mark (AKA andrema)

Watch Reviewed: G. Gerlach Otago "Black Pearl”


Company Information:

Phone: +48730945905 (9-17 CET)

About G. Gerlach Watches from company website:

This story begins in 1845, when the eighteen-year old Gustaw Gerlach arrives in Warsaw from Berlin, accompanied by a pastry chef Karl Emil Wedel (founder of perhaps the most well-known confectionery establishments in Poland) and Frederick Plus (creator of the well-known and highly regarded in the nineteenth century, the Factory of Soaps, Toiletries, Perfumes and Cosmetic Products).

Gustaw Gerlach, as a werkmajster, is employed in the optical instruments manufacturing plant in the Krakowskie Przedmieście Street (main buisness street of nineteenth century Warsaw).

He is doing well enough that at first he becomes a partner, and in 1852 repays the previous owner and takes over the factory.

From now on the products will be marked as "G.Gerlach”.

Soon, Gustaw Gerlach decides to change the location of the factory – he moves it to Tamka Street 38/40. He also opens a shop with his products on a prestigious street in Warsaw. He will later open another shop in Warsaw, as well as opening one in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

The factory is doing great, manufacturing optical and measuring instruments not only for the Russian occupied Poland, but also for the whole Russian Empire.

It’s a good time – the Russian Empire is starting to industrialise more and more – new investments are created, railways are build, the designs factories and their infrastructure are nearing completion. This means that the empire is in need of theodolites, levelling instruments and draugtsmans equipment. All of those are supplied by the G.Gerlach factory.

Soon (in 1882) the factory receives the privilege of being able to sign their products and adverts with the Empire’s coat of arms.

Gustaw Gerlach’s wealth is increasing. He starts to contribute to some charity work – especially the Warsaw Charity Association and the Evangelical Church, of which he is a member. He also encourages his sons to carry out charity work as well as their jobs.

Gerlach builds a sundial on a tenement house located on Tamka street, which remains a typical element of the Near-Vistula district in Warsaw up until the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

When he turns 60, Gustaw Gerlach retires and passes the company onto his two sons – Emil and Gustaw. They receive the brand name and decide to keep developing the family business.

The product range now includes binoculars, typewriters, manometers.

The brothers decide to carry on with their fathers charity work – they fund the sanatorium for Breast-related diseases and Emil Gerlach is a member of the Warsaw Anti-tuberculosis association. The Gerlachs are also patrons of the famous „Polish Theatre”.

This combination of entrepreneurship, talent, great technical knowledge and fantasy together with a huge social awareness makes the Gerlachs very inspirational to many people in Poland. Those values place them within the most recognisable Poles.

In 1919 the Gerlachs sell the factory to their cousins – Henryk, Gustaw and Emil Ludwik Voellnagl, who will extend the product line by e.g. airplane instruments and compasses. Manometers made by G.Gerlach will be fitted to the PZL.37 „Łoś"and PZL.23 „Karaś" bombers as well as the PZL.11 fighter planes. They will also be used in the reborn, Polish naval industry.

Unfortunately, the factory and residential buildings on Tamka street were destroyed during the Warsaw uprising in 1944 and were never rebuilt.

The destruction of the building also meant the end of the factory’s life. After the war, Emil Voellnagel tries to recreate the business on Próżna street, but due to the post-war economic and political state of the country it turns out to be impossible.

G. Gerlach Otago "Black Pearl”

Stock Photo:

Description of Otago from the company website:

Otago – it is our next diver watch. This time it is made for more conservative water sport fans because of very classic design. Due to the size of 42 mm it is highly visible, recognizable and comfortable.

Watch Specifications:

· Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
· Case Diameter (mm): 42.0
· Case Length Total (mm): 50.5
· Case Thickness (mm): 14.0
· Crystal Material: Sapphire
· Dial Color: Orange
· Screw-down Crown
· Crown Diameter (mm): 9.0
· Strap Material: 316L Stainless Steel
· Lug Width (mm): 22.0
· Movement: SeaGull ST-2551
· Water Resistance: 20 ATM / 200 Meters
· Limited edition of 250 pieces

Price: $389.99


G. Gerlach is a Polish watch company, which was founded in 2011. The brand is named after a Polish industrialist and their focus is on producing watches that are both designed and created in Poland. For this watch review, the company has donated one of its Otago "Black Pearl" diver models for review. This is a stainless steel diver, with an automatic movement, sapphire crystal and black, DLC finished bezel.


The Otago comes packaged in a simple wooded case, with a cherry finish and its logo embossed in gold on the lid. The inside of the box has a tan velour lining and pillow, which provides a nice soft environment for the watch during transit. The overall quality of the box is fairly nice, but I am not a big fan of elaborate packaging and am totally okay with cost conscious packaging, as long as it safely protects the watch.

Case and Crystal:

The Otago's case is constructed of 316L stainless steel, with a vintage inspired design and hooded lugs. The case has a nice radial brushed pattern finish on the top of the case's surface, with a high gloss finish along the case sides.

The finishing on the case is quite nice. As you can see from the photo below, the brushing on the top of the case and polishing on its sides has great appearance. The transition between the two finishes at the top edges is excellently done.

The Otago's DLC coated bi-directional bezel has a brushed finish, which is a nice contrast to the brushed surface of the case. This feature is what differentiates the "Black Pearl models from the standard Otago models.

The bezel design itself has a fairly aggressive design, with deeply notched grips, circular brushed top and illuminated markings. The divers countdown bezel markings are rather fairly unique and have what I would describe as a fishbone pattern for minute markings from the 0 marker all the way down to the 20 minute marker. Although this design is somewhat out of the ordinary, I feel that it blends quite nicely with the overall design of the watch and provides a funky retro vibe.

The Otago’s sapphire crystal sits just above the surface of the watch's bezel.

The action of the Otago's bi-directional bezel is nice, with no play and firm clicks though out the entire 120 positions.

The watch's 316L stainless steel screw-in case back has a circular brushed finish. The case back design is actually quite attractive and it features a rendition of a three masted iron barque named the "Otago" that was built by A. Stephen at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1869. This boat was the only command of Joseph Conrad, a notable Polish novelist. This Polish connection provided G.Gerlach with the inspiration to create their Otago model.

For more information of the Otago vessel, please refer to this link -->>

The Otago has a generously sized, 9.0mm crown, with the G.Gerlach logo engraved into its polished end. The size of the crown as well as its deeply notched design provides an excellent gripping surface, especially if trying to make adjustments while wearing gloves. The crown itself easy to manipulate when setting the time and it has a nice feel as well as nice action.

Dial and Hands:

The dial is vibrant orange in color with large, raised hour markings and company logo painted in black at the 12 o'clock position on the dial. In addition, there is a nicely bordered date window at the 6 o'clock position. Along the outside of the dial, the watch includes a black chapter ring with white markings. The chapter ring integrates nicely with the black hour marker surrounds as well as provides a fantastic contrast to the watches bright orange dial.

As you can see from the photos below, the dial of the Black Pearl includes some nice details, such as an crosshair lines that divide the dial into quarters, markers bordered by polished stainless steel and a metallic tone to the dial paint that creates a color shift in different lighting conditions and gives it a "pop" in the sunlight.

As you will see in the photos below, under magnification the lume application is a little inconsistent at the edges of the markers. However, the magnification used for the photos below is quite close and this absolutely cannot be seen with the naked eye (at least my naked eye). Many makers have this issue, including Seiko, other mid-tier brands and newer boutique brands.

The hands are traditional baton hands. They have a black painted frame that coordinates with the other black features of the "Black Pearl" and white Superluminova luminous paint applied. The white tone of the hands coordinates nicely with the marker color and makes it extremely easy to read against the black details of the watch.

As you can see from the photos, the Superluminova used on the bezel, dial and hands has a nice greenish tone. The lume is fairly bright when fully charged, but tends to fade quickly. As you can see from the photos below, when it is fully charged it glows nicely.


The Black Pearl comes with a custom black leather strap installed. The 22mm strap has a nice texture along its length and includes contrasting orange stitching around its perimeter. Despite its 3.5mm thickness, the strap is actually quite supple and conforms nicely to the wrist when worn.

The Otago comes with a good quality 316L stainless steel thumbnail style buckle with a brushed finish. The G.Gerlach is nicely etched into the buckle's top surface.


SeaGull ST-2551

The Otago comes equipped with a SeaGull ST-2551 automatic movement, which winds and hacks. This movement is a widely used and dependable movement that is used across the industry.

• Manufacturer SeaGull
• Caliber Number: ST-2551
• Vibrations Per Hour: 21,600 bph
• Power Reserve: 45 hours
• Winding Direction: Bi-directional
• Hacking? Yes
• Handwinding? Yes
• Country of Manufacture: China


Wrist Shots:

For reference purposes, my wrist is 7.25 inches.

The Otago measures 42.0mm in diameter and 50.5mm in length. With these dimensions, the watch is the perfect size for MANY and is certainly a popular size in the WIS community. It wears very comfortably on the wrist and will fit nicely on most wrist sizes.

Overall, I have to say, this watch is outstanding on the wrist. It has great balance, fantastic proportions and its overall appearance in person is excellent.


Overall impression and final thoughts:

The G.Gerlach Otago Black Pearl has a great vintage vibe, with a modern twist. Overall, I am very pleased with the quality of the watch and its design elements make it distinctive amongst the wide selection of divers in the market today. The finishing throughout the watch and the components utilized are very nice. With this being said, I feel the watch is very well thought out and the total package provided is a good value at $395.

While preparing my review and evaluating the watch, I noticed a few features that could be improved or changed to accentuate the look and/or functionality of the watch. As I do with all of my reviews, I have compiled these points and have listed them below. Please note, these points are fairly nit-picky and the watch has a nice design and quality notwithstanding these few points:

· As it is currently designed, the bezel functions in both directions - bidirectional. rotation . For a true dive watch design, I would prefer that the bezel functioned only in a unidirectional, counterclockwise direction. Since it is possible to knock your watch against your body or have it turn by accident, a unidirectional will ensure that any accidental misalignment will turn the time in a ”conservative direction” – in effect, telling you that the dive has been longer rather than shorter

· In addition to the bezel functionality, I would have also preferred that there was a triangle pointer, instead of a square block. This would allow better functionality of the divers bezel in low light conditions. An alternative could be to put a non-illuminated triangle within the square, which would actually look very cool.

· There is a wide gap between the crown and the side of the watch case when the crown is fully screwed down. It would make the watch look a bit more refined if this margin was reduced and the crown was set more into the case.

· As I mentioned in the body of my review, the hour marker lume tended to be uneven towards the edges. This is something that warranted mentioning, but also something that can be easily remedied. Considering I could only notice this under magnification, it is almost a moot point.

As I said previously, these points are fairly minor or nit-picky and are definitely not "deal breakers" for me.

Well, that concludes my review …Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments ~ Mark

1,888 Posts
Great review. Crown seems a bit over sized, but aside from that it looks great.

2,242 Posts
OTAGO BLACK PEARL back story whetting my appetite for THE HEART OF DARKNESS

-that retro case shape and DLC bezel are eye candy-

DOXA ORANGE dial always sings...

going to hold up with what's in my box and play pocket pool with my trigger finger... but vicariously immensely enjoyed your tool test drive and thank you for another fine review-

Super Moderator
7,444 Posts
Very nice. I like most of G. Gerlachs offerings, and am really looking forward to the ENIGMA.

They seem to have a pretty good handle on what watch enthusiasts are looking for these days.

Great review as always Mark.

Senior Member
6,094 Posts
Top notch and very detailed review, great as always Mark! G. Gerlach are one of my favourite makers, they don't follow the path most makers chose to take. So many watches, so little money :D

1,495 Posts
Great looking watch !! I am more impressed they choose the SeaGull movement tho. MHO, it is most under-rated movement out there.


Premium Member
25,154 Posts
Great review, pictures and info. Your reviews are really awesome to read. This is a nice looking watch.

Great review
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Super Moderator
12,864 Posts
Is it me Mark? Or is this watch extraordinary? :first: :) :smile-thumb:
You know how sometimes you'll maybe see a watch that you like some things about, but maybe there's something that might just not work for you, or turn you off?! ..This watch has NONE of that ! :cool: Every mm of it is flawless it seems, and so well thought out. Think it's incredible !!! Just the brushing, along with shape of the case impresses. Then the dial with it's maybe Doxa meets Seiko Monster vibe floors you. Boy, oh boy it just doesn't stop. ..Even the bezel has hints of vintage dive watches, but takes a really aggressive modern turn as well. Think it's one of those watches anyone who enjoys watches would be totally stunned by, and that's just from seeing your pictures Mark !

You have a watch, and watch company that just seems to know how to do things right. I mean even the crown, and case-back are spectacular !!! Thanks so much for another terrific review Mark, and for all of the history behind the company/name also. :thumb:

99 Posts
I came back to post that IMO I didn't like it, but looking at the pics again, it does have a compelling look.... retro & modern at the same time.

I hate NATO straps tho. The leather looks good.
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