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It's been a while since our company has brought in another indie watchmaking brand which puts its soul and heart into churning something unique, study, and quirkily original for those dye-in-the-wool collectors. Although many of those new to the horology realm would prefer to stick to those proven design watches, we still need to bring in some on the other end of the spectrum. Yes, today we are introducing a new brand into our stable, which goes by Gruppo Ardito Watches. Short form as GAW, the watch brand has been around for more than a decade, and since day one, it has been creating some incredibly well-built watches where each stands out on its own, unlike any others. We had heard about this brand as far back as we remember when the founder had just launched its first model, the steampunk-looking dive watch with a whopping 1000m water resistance; how about that for a start?
|Gruppo Ardito Lince Crimson Red - Gnomon Exclusive|
Between Milan and Turin in Italy, GAW is named after Arditi, who formed the first Assault Units in the Special Forces of the Italian Army In 1917, during World War I. It established itself as a handcrafted workshop headquartered in Alessandria, a famous internationally recognised area for the historical traditions of craftsmanship of the highest level. From the likes of goldsmiths and fine jewellery, watchmaking has been part of their crafts. The brand manufactures quite a range of watches, each featuring hardwearing materials in tandem with a "bold", innovative appearance and excellent construction mechanics altogether. Let's get to know the brand a bit more before diving into our inaugural piece, which kickstarts our journey together.
Like the Swiss watch industry, where they rely on different suppliers to build their fine luxury pieces, GAW partners also come from professional experiences ranging from precision mechanical engineering to design and micro-mechanics applied to watchmaking. From a business standpoint, they also share the desire to combine their great passion and experience in founding a small business making great professional watches with superior technical and quality characteristics.
|Even the dial is handmade and customised to Gnomon's specifications|
Proudly made in Italy sans the Swiss mechanical movement within the watch, GAW watches are designed to comply with the highest quality standards; part of the components are made directly in the workshop and, in any case, by expert master craftsmen, under the direction and constant supervision of GAW Until today, the brand has developed an elite range of professional watches that have been heavily influenced by divers and military, designed and built to stand the test of time and heavy-duty use while maintaining their value intact. Today, we are incredibly excited to bring to you guys our first model from the brand, and it's a special collaboration piece within its new Lince collection, which came to fruition after two years of planning and testing - the Lince Crimson Red.
Lince is the new access model to the GAW world, a sports watch that proudly caters to a universal appeal suitable for all occasions. Its collection features grade 5 titanium material throughout its watch case to give the watch absolute lightness and strength. Other than the glass made from a modern sapphire, the finishes throughout the watch are handmade and denote superior construction care. All while maintaining the high constructive care typical of GAW watches.
|The handmade screwdown crown feels solid and easy to grip|
Let's start with the case. The 42mm matte wide body is fixed by 10 Allen screws (five on the solid case back and five on the bezel). And with a height of 12mm and lug-to-lug distance of only 49mm, this 1000m water-resistance sports watch could be worn on most wrists, befitting today's unisex-sized trend. The “GAW” screw-down crown continues using its customised grade 5 titanium material and is placed at 8 o'clock for the "destro" look. The impressive water resistance of the sapphire crystal at the top is guaranteed by one sub-glass O-Ring and an L-shaped ring that works on the perimeter, while the bezel has the task of packing the glass against the case. And since the watch is individually taken care of by the brand, each one of them is pressure tested to 1000m. How many indie brands could actually testify that?
|Each of the bezel and caseback are secured with 5 screws|
Before I go any further, when GAW mentioned their watches at this almost ridiculous depth that thrashes most conventional modern dive watches today, The watches are tested one by one in their water-pressure testing machine, developed and built internally with their engineering expertise. One additional detail that GAW nailed is the inclusion of a drilled-lug hole on each side, allowing its wearer to swap out the strap with ease.
Onto the dial, it is where we decided to infuse as much Italian military dive watch charm that we seek and love. The dial is in crimson burgundy red with a degradé effect, and its finishings are all handmade and denote superior construction care. We both implemented an old-school Arabic font for its hour numerals accordingly at the cardinal points, only to be flanged by large squarish hour markers and minute track. Along with the broadsword hands, the markers and handset are finished with vintage C3 SuperLuminova that assisted in the retro charm while providing visibility during dark conditions. We wanted the first GAW emblem on the dial because it's a limited edition of 100 pieces exclusively from us. We went for it by placing it right at the bottom, substituting the "Lince" collection text found on the usual ones.
|Superluminova applied on the dial and handset|
We paired the fantastic piece with a 22mm artisan leather black Kodiak Strap made in Italy to finish the watch's appeal. As it's a special edition, the contrasting full stitching matched with a hint of green, white and red stitch near the position of the bottom lugs to emphasise on the “prodotto in Italia” motto.
Powering within the 1000m watch is the Swiss Selita SW200-1 Elaboré movement. It has 26 jewels, beats at 28,800 BPH, and a power reserve of roughly 38 hours. The elaboré grade movement is used here, a step up from the typical SW200 calibre you will find on most watches. Compared to the standard grade, a Selita Elaboré movement is adjusted in three positions and has better daily accuracy. This movement has been used for many years and has proven reliable, accurate and cost-efficient during servicing. The movement is then calibrated to within specs by their watchmakers, and is tested once again in-house before shipping out of their facility. Oh, we got to mention that it does not have the extra empty “date” position since it does not have one. Kudos to GAW once again for getting all these nitty gritty details right.
|Customised case-back with the man-handled torpedo emblem|
Sealing the movement is the well-decorated case-back sealed with 5 Allen screws. What makes this an even more unique handmade watch is the implementation of the famous man-handled torpedo emblem, engraved into the titanium case-back. Also, each of the serial number is placed right at the bottom of the emblem.
Wrapping things up, the exclusive Lince Gnomon Edition is delivered in a handmade wooden box which also packs its kit with a key to remove the bezel, screws, replacement O-rings for the case-back, and tool to remove the strap. This packaging defines the company ethos of proud Italianness and promises solid and reliable watches of value. It is a no-frills everyday sports watch that is exceptionally well built for little money. You get a unique dial layout in a funky colour that we all love, a reliable Swiss automatic movement, tremendous value and then some. Thanks to its quirky and wearable sizing, it will feel in the right place today. We are proud to launch our first Gruppo Ardito watch at Gnomon.
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