Hardly a week can go by without another new micro-brand watchmaker popping to the surface, not that I am complaining I think it does bring some vibrancy to the industry and I think it is a great opportunity to challenge some of the larger watchmakers, the GallioTempo Trident is the latest of these new micro-brands.
Hailing from Italy and keen to promote the local craftsmanship of their young dynamic team, the watch is designed and assembled in Turin, however the name GallioTempo comes from a small town close to Vicenza, Gallio. Home to the founders grandfather who used to show off his collection of pocket watches which had been passed down the family line, the inspiration to design and build watches was born and GallioTempo was started.
Firstly I must be clear and upfront, this is a preview and not an in hand review, I will be using material available to me from GallioTempo prior to the launch of the Kickstarter campaign. I intentend to do a follow-up article when I have a watch in hand, which I would expect to be later this year.
Case, Bezel & Crystal
The GallioTempo Trident case comes in at 42mm with a thickness of 13.4mm a standard size for a divers style watch (GallioTempo refer to it as an adventure watch). I can’t say how it feels on the wrist, but given the material it is made of and the look it would be a safe to assume that it will be similar to most stainless steel dive watches.
A domed sapphire crystal sits just under the bezel line so that no part of the dome is proud of the case, being sapphire you have the almost unscratchable crystal that is one of standard bearers for luxury watch design materials. Once again the micro-brands are killing it with regards to including sapphire crystal at a price point that is exceptionally competitive (€145 if you are super early and €195 at the standard kickstarter price). I do wonder how much of an impact this is having on the wider watch market, it is not going to affect the prestige brands such as Rolex etc but I wonder at the more price competitive end of say Citizen or Seiko this will start to have knock on effect, but I digress. The sapphire crystal being domed will have some distortion effects, but looking at the pictures I have seen this will likely only be at very acute angles and certainly not something that should cause issues day to day.
The case itself is crafted from 316L stainless steel, frequently referred to as medical or surgical grade stainless steel and is often seen in high end watches (Omega, IWC to name a few), it offers greater corrosion and pitting resistance than the more standard 304L. Once again I shall sing the praises of micro-brands that are using higher quality materials than we have become used to at a low price point. It is finished in a brushed effect throughout and is silver apart from the changeable case surround (more on that later). The bezel is unidirectional and marked at the zero position with a Swiss Super-LumiNova filled triangle, numbers are indicated in 5 minute intervals with short batton markers in between. All of the markers on the bezel are embossed rather than printed or etched into an insert, making them stand out and easily read, the use of Super-LumiNova should also result in a highly readable indicator marker that will work very effectively in low light conditions.
Moving on from the bezel, the lugs sit at 22mm, curve away from the body and bring us to one of our first interesting design choices, the GaillioTempo Trident does not use standard spring bars to attach a strap to the watch. In the place of spring bars are two fixed stainless steel bars that are held in place by exposed screws in the lugs. The effect looks great but it does unfortunately make changing watch straps a little bit more complicated than the standard, it should also be noted that the screw choice appears be a hex screw, so not necessarily something people will have to hand (they can be cheaply purchased online) however higher levels of the Kickstarter do include screwdriver. If we now follow the lugs back up from their underside, we see that they cut in quite high and join a thinner band that runs around the body, below which sits our second interesting design choice, changeable watch surrounds.
I can say I have never seen this feature before in a watch (I have no idea if it has been done before so please let me know) with the Trident you can now swap out a section of the watch body, there are three different colours available (orange, green and silver) and it appears they are made of PVD coated stainless steel. I am unsure of how the process actually works and how simple this is to complete, the surrounds are held in place with a retaining screw and GallioTempo have taken this approach to allow you to change up the design of your watch much like how you would change the strap. I think this is a really unique feature and I could certainly see people swapping these out at the same time as changing a watch strap, I don’t know if this is something that would catch on but is is certainly fun and something I personally like. Sitting on the changeable surround (there is a cut out for this so the crown does not need to be removed) is the crown, positioned at 4 o’clock it is stamped with the Trident logo and has raised metal stippling to create a easy to grip surface even in wet conditions.
Flipping the watch over a very rugged industrial design is found, strange as this is and something that is not seen day to day by the wearer I really like the design of the case back. The back is held in place by six hex screws (the same style as is used by the strap retention bars), on the left and the right notches are cut out either side of the screws, whilst the top and bottom are left solid, this gives an unique and visually pleasing design. Moving inwards from the retaining screws there is an inner ring on which is embossed, Trident, the water resistance rating (20ATM), Acciaio Inox 316L (the Italian for stainless steel) and Vetro Zaffiro (the Italian for sapphire glass), sat just inside this is a hardened mineral crystal display window showing the automatic Citizen Miyota movement in all is mechanical glory.
As stated the watch is rated to 20ATM or 200 meters, this puts it in the watersports and light diving category, water skiing, swimming, snorkeling and skin diving or light recreational diving should all be fine. I would not recommend this to professional divers, but this is no downside as this is not marketed as a dive watch but an adventure watch.
Dial & Hands
The dial of the GallioTempo Trident is presented in a black and is multi layered, producing a raised effect, the centre ring is cut out as are the date window and the logo area. The 12, 3, 6 and 9 markers are presented in a large readable font with a little triangular pip above and below the 12 and 3 and to the side of the 6 and 9. The numbers themselves are coated in blue Swiss Super-LumiNova whilst the pips are in green. The other hour markers are presented as batons (with a tapering end towards the centre of the face) with smaller pips on the end of each batton, the pips are lumed in blue whilst the batons are in green. The hour and minute hands are sword style presented in dark grey and lumed in green, the second hand also lumed in green is closer to a spade style hand but not quite, its tip is painted a bright yellow for a flash of colour. In between the 4 and 5 position the date window is cut into the dial, it is easy to read presented as black on white with no other detailing. The chapter ring has numeric markers every five minutes starting at 00 at the 12 0’clock, in between these the individual minutes are marked with long batons,these are further subdivided by three small batons.
Overall the design is clean, easy to read and should have exceptionally good low light performance due to all lume being Swiss Super-LumiNova, I cannot comment how long the lume will last until I have a watch in hand, but stay tuned for an update when I do.
Powering the GallioTempo Trident is a Citizen Miyota 821A (a variant of the 8215 range) a work horse of a movement that has seen great popularity in the miro-brand watch sector. It is a 21 jewel, 21,600 beat automatic movement with a power reserve of 42 hours, it features the ability to hand wind the movement and has a date complication but unfortunately does not offer hacking. It is considered to be a very robust, long running and reliable movement. It has a stated accuracy of -20 ~ +40 seconds a day under normal operating conditions, however the 821A is known to be regulatable to much improved levels. I do not know at this stage if GallioTempo are performing any per movement regulation before sale but the movement certainly has the potential.
It is however not without its quirks, 8215 movements on occasion when in certain positions can have a brief second hand stutter, the stutter does not affect accuracy in any way and can occur on any movement that has an indirect drive second hand (there are many movements with this). In all honestly it is likely not be visible under normal operation and will not damage or reduce accuracy of the movement if it does occur (I have an Alpha watch with a Seagull movement that has this same quirk). It is worth noting if people are sensitive to these things, but for me personally it is not a deal breaker and the movement taken as a whole is a winner.
When GallioTempo was looking into watch strap choices they chose to partner with iWantAStrap.com, who produce and sell nylon embossed sailcloth patterned straps, they are hard wearing, fast drying and ideal for an all weather watch. There are five different straps available (or multiple straps depending on your backer choices) with the only variation being the colour of the stitching (black,white,grey,blue and red) at higher backer levels a deployment clasp is also available. Having never used a strap from this company I cannot comment on any specifics or how the strap will feel, however a well made nylon strap will work very well in varying conditions and fits with the style and goals of this watch.
In conclusion, the GallioTempo Trident, is once again showing us what can be accomplished by a small new micro-brand watch company. If they are able to deliver on all that has been shown here then I think this will be an excellent adventure watch as they would put it. It is crafted from quality materials and presented at a low price, super early birds can pick this watch up for €145 (£129) with the standard price at €195 (£174). Various other options will be available for multi purchase or special edition versions, full details can be found here at the GallioTemp Kickstarter page, should you wish to learn more or if you are considering backing the project. The Kickstarter campaign launches on the 15th of March.