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Name of Reviewer: Mark (AKA andrema)

Watch Reviewed: Gruppo Gamma Vanguard Bronze - N-18V

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Gruppo Gamma



Company Information:

Email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.gruppogammawatches.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GGstrumento?_rdr=p
Instagram: https://instagram.com/GruppoGamma/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GGstrumento

About from Company Website:

Watches for Tough People

We modernise and redefine the concept of tool watches, drawing inspiration from historic time instruments from the 20th century.

Some established brands seem to repeat the same designs over and over and set prices that don't make sense, all in the name of pedigree and heritage. Being watch collectors and hobby watchmakers we've seen companies fabricate stories instead of watches, designs lifted from catalogues but marketed as bespoke, and fashion watches made to look much more expensive through glossy advertising, celebrity sponsorships and swanky shop fronts.

In 2013 we pooled our skills and resources, driven by a belief that good design can and should evolve over time, and that it's possible to build fine timepieces and dispense with unnecessary overheads and fanciful stories.

Our business is not to roll out watches but to make sure you're happy owning and wearing them. We don't splurge on marketing, we don't accept payment for products that aren't ready to ship, and we keep production volume manageable so that we can stay engaged with you.


Gruppo Gamma Vanguard Bronze - N-18V


Stock Photo:



Description from the company website:

The Vanguard, our first Mk III model, is a retro-inspired design infused with contemporary touches. Its clean lines and well-defined bezel, lugs and crown guard are a throwback to early military dive watches of the 1950s.

The Vanguard is a harmony of materials, shapes and colours conveying strong maritime and military undertones with the toughness and reliability to boot. All cases are machined from solid blocks of surgical grade stainless steel, aircraft grade titanium or marine bronze, fitted with double domed sapphire crystals and engineered to achieve a depth rating of 20 ATM (i.e. 200m/ 660 ft) and upwards, and at the heart of each timepiece is a Japanese self-winding mechanical movement.


Watch Specifications:

- Case: Phosphor bronze (CuSn8)
- Crystal: Sapphire, double domed with underside anti-reflective coating
- Crown: Phosphor bronze, screw-in
- Caseback: 316L stainless steel, secured by screws
- Movement: Miyota 9015, automatic, 28800 bhp
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, elapsed time
- Dial: Dark green, 2-layer with C3 luminescent markers
- Hands: Gold color with C3 luminescent markers (H, M), red (S)
- Diameter: 44 mm
- Length: 54 mm
- Thickness: 15 mm
- Weight: 170 g with strap
- Water resistance: 20 ATM / 200 Meters


Price: $529

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Gruppo Gamma is a Singapore based watch company, which was founded in 2013. For this watch review, the company has provided one of its automatic models for review. This is a bronze dive watch, with an automatic movement and sapphire crystals.



Packaging:

The Vanguard comes packaged in a hardened travel case with a soft vinyl cover. The case has a zippered closure and has the Gruppo Gamma logo printed on its front lid in white. The quality of the case is nice and it can certainly be reused for travel purposes to transport the watch as well as two extra straps and screwdriver. The entire package includes the Vanguard Watch, two leather straps with bronze buckles, screwdriver, two extra lug screws and the warranty card.




The inside of the case has two separate foam padded sections, which have cutouts for the watch and straps as well as the included screwdriver with extra lug screws. In addition, each side has netting on the bottom half of the lid, which helps to keep the watch/straps in place during transport.



Case and Crystal:

The Vanguard's case is constructed of Phosphor bronze (CuSn8), with a vintage diver inspired design and fairly short, turned down lugs. The design itself is reminiscent of early Ennebi Fondale diver models mixed with some of the Panerai prototypes that were produced back in the 1980's. With this being said, I believe that the design is unique enough to stand on its own, but still pay homage to those great Italian divers.



The case has a nice brushed finish applied throughout its entire surface, which provides the watch with a nice, rich appearance. As you can see from the photos below, the brushing on the the case has great appearance and the transition between the different case surfaces is nicely executed.







The bezel design itself is 5mm thick and has a fantastic, beefy appearance. It has circular brushed finishing along its top surface, with circular markings carved into its top surface in ten minute increments and a large illuminated pearl at the twelve o'clock position.

The outer edge, where the bezel would traditionally have grips, has perpendicular brushing and three small raised sections. The three raised sections on the dial serve a dual purpose, for turning the watches bezel as well as attachment points for the screws from bezel to the case. The bezel action is nice and smooth, with firm clicks throughout each of the positions on the 120 click.



The photo below provides a great look at the watch's sillouette as well as it's short lugs. It really is a very nice looking watch from the front.



The Vanguard’s sapphire crystal has antireflective coating applied to its inner surface and sits just slightly above the surface of the bezel. You can see a purple hue in some of the photos in this review, this is the color of the AR coating that was applied.



The watch's 316L stainless steel case back has a circular brushed finish, with the brand's logo engraved into its center. The case back is attached to the case with four stainless steel screws. The overall design in actually quite attractive and the skull/rose logo design really pops out at you.



The Vanguard has a generously sized, 9.0mm crown, with the Gruppo III raised on its end. The large size of the crown is very appropriate for the overall design of the watch. It, combined with the screwed in crown guards provide a nice, aggressive appearance to the profile of the watch. In addition, the deeply notched design of the crown's grips provide an excellent surface for adjusting the time or winding the movement, 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 design itself is very clean looking and uncluttered. It is a sandwich style design, which is similar to that of the classic, vintage Panerai Radiomir designs with large arabic hour indices at the 3, 6, 9 and 12 positions on the dial. The design incorporates C3 Superluminova painted recessed hour indices, matching color minute hash marks painted on the dial and the company name painted in at the 12 o'clock position on the dial.

I would describe the dial as being hunter or dark green in color. The dial does really need to be seen in person to be appreciated as it has a great, deep tone. This is especially nice next to the watch's deep bronze chapter ring.




The hands are traditional baton hands. They have a brushed bronze frame that coordinates with the watch case and white Superluminova luminous paint applied. The red second hand has an arrow style design and its color works nicely as a contrast to the watch's green dial.



As you can see from the photo below, the brushed bronze hands of the Vanguard really pop when light reflects off of them. This a very nice touch and certainly makes the watch easier to read.



As you will see in the photos below, the hour indices of the watch have a "sandwich" design. This is well done and looks very nice in person.



As you can see from the photos, the C3 Superluminova used on the dial and hands has a nice greenish tone. The lume is fairly bright when fully charged, and fades slowly. As you can see from the photos below, when it is fully charged it glows nicely.





Straps:

The Vanguard comes with a two 24mm wide leather straps, with custom bronze buckles. Both straps are nicely made and compliment the watch design nicely.

The watch was shipped on a dark brown leather strap, which has tan closed end stitching. This is the more casual of the two straps and, I must say, one of the most comfortable straps that I have had the opportunity to receive on a watch in a while. The 4mm thick strap is very soft right out of the case and melts onto your wrist when worn.







The second strap that comes with the watch is also very supple and has a olive green/brown color. The strap itself is very unique looking, with minimal stitching and a great textured surface.





The photo below provides a nice look at the texture of the second strap, it has quite a unique look!




The custom bronze buckle is vern nice quality and has a brushed finish throughout its surfaces. It resembles a Pre-V design, but is updated to incorporate a more angular profile. The Gruppo Gamma name is nicely engraved into its top surface.




Movement:

The Vanguard utilizes a Citizen Miyota 9015 automatic watch movement. This is a very reliable movement and is well regarded within the watch industry.

Citizen Miyota 9015

(Stock photo)



Technical Specifications:



Performance:

I placed the Vanguard on a time grapher and it performed within the Miyota 9015 accuracy specifications for the movement.



For more information on the movement, please refer to the following link:http://www.citizen.co.jp/miyota_mvt/9015/pdf/spec_9015.pdf


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Wrist Shots:

For reference purposes, my wrist is 7.25 inches.

The Vanguard measures 44.0mm in diameter and 54.0mm in length. With these dimensions, the watch would ordinarily wear large on my wrist. However, with its short, downturned lugs, it is actually a very nice size and wears comfortably on the wrist. With this being said, it would certainly fit nicely on a variety of sized wrists.

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







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Overall impression and final thoughts:

The Gruppo Gamma Vanguard Bronze - N-18V 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 bronze components utilized are very nice. With this being said, I feel that the watch is a fairly good value at $529.


While preparing my review and evaluating the watch, I noticed a just 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 watch does not have a traditional divers countdown scale on its bezel. I would have liked to see at least minute markings from the 0 through the 20 minute positions on the bezel. This would provide a bit more functionality for the watch and also make is a bit more of a disctictive design from the vintage divers that it pays homage to.

· The second hand on the watch is currently entirely painted red. To help with legibility in lower lighting, I would have liked to see luminous paint applied to its tip.

Other than those two points, I think that the watch is very nice and warrants a good, hard look from those in the market for a bronze watch. Even those who are looking to add a beefier dive watch to their collection should also consider this model from Gruppo Gamma.


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

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Excellent review, Mark! This was one of the main reasons why I decided to purchase a Gruppo Gamma.

One thing that I would add that I found it hard to relieve the buckle from the buckle point when taking the watch off my wrist. This was due to the bent design of the buckle point, which was necessary due to the thickness of the strap. Eventually, the strap became softer, making it easier for the buckle to release itself.
 

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EXCELLENT review!!!!!

I'm going back and forth now on a few bronze watches, and I have to say, you just made it harder to make up my mind!

Still wish the Vanguard had a black or brown dial, but the things about the Vanguard I truly LOVE that the other bronzos I'm looking at don't have are the straight-up sandwich dial and the diving bezel.

And GG just put the most perfect straps with that beast!

Thanks so much for the info and pics!
 

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EXCELLENT review!!!!!

I'm going back and forth now on a few bronze watches, and I have to say, you just made it harder to make up my mind!

Still wish the Vanguard had a black or brown dial, but the things about the Vanguard I truly LOVE that the other bronzos I'm looking at don't have are the straight-up sandwich dial and the diving bezel.

And GG just put the most perfect straps with that beast!

Thanks so much for the info and pics!
If you're looking for a brass case with black or brown dial, I suggest taking a look at Maranez. Seiko NH35 automatic movement at a better price point. Just bought one with a black dial, brass case (Maranez Rawai 45mm). Should be here by Tuesday at the latest. Obviously, I can't wait. XD
 
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Great review Mark. I certainly will keep this company in mind when in the market for a new watch. Really like the style and features. Thanks again...
great pics as well.
 

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Great watch although I wish it were a tad smaller. Enjoyed the review🏼🏼


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Great watch, so I liked that it was ordered, despite my little wrist.
I hope the wrist 17cm will not look ridiculous ;)
 

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Thanks for this review. It's an awesome watch and on my wish list. I have been looking around the websites for a bronze watch.
 
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