Chinese, many people believe, is massive, cheap and poorly made. About 15 years ago there were grounds for such a view. Not today! The Chinese industry, including the production of high-tech products, has rapidly caught up with the Western industry in terms of quality, and remains undoubtedly preferable in terms of prices.
All of the above is true for the watch industry. And, in particular, for CIGA Design watches.
Designer and engineer Zhang Jiangmin founded this company in Shenzhen in 2016. Extreme youth! Nevertheless, the brand has already won 17 international design awards, including prizes from the famous Red Dot competitions. And in 2021, the CIGA Design Blue Planet model was awarded no less than the Geneva Grand Prix (GPHG) in the Challenge Watch category, leaving behind a number of reputable Swiss brands!
Today we are talking about the CIGA Design Series X Gorilla Titanium watch.
It turned out to be peculiar. As the acquaintance progressed, the impression of the “clothes” (by which, as is known, one meets) changed its sign to the opposite. We are accustomed to the packaging of watches in the form of a neat, compact box, well finished inside and out, and to the watch itself, mounted on a pad in a special recess. But the current model came in a block of rough, light brown cardboard, like those used for postal parcels. True, with brand logos, but still I thought: “How can this be?!”
However, inside this block there was another one, incomparably more elegant, and most importantly, opening a la a book. And already inside this book there is a watch in a special “nest”, and removed from the strap. And there are two straps inside: each in its own nest, separately. We’ll talk about the straps as such a little later, but here we’ll also add that the “book” is equipped with quite informative information about the company and the model, including the technical characteristics of the latter and a description of the mechanism (all in English).
Original, beautiful, practical! Five plus on a five-point system!
The CIGA Design Series X Gorilla Titanium model is a classic 3-hand watch, that is, hours, minutes and seconds are displayed. The heart of the watch is caliber CD-01, a self-winding mechanical movement, 25 jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour. It was based on one of the calibers of the oldest Chinese watchmaker Seagull, but the processing turned out to be very deep, so the company’s statement about the manufacture of CD-01 can be considered fair. The watch itself is skeletonized, and the mechanism is also skeletonized in an original way. And not just skeletonized, but organically integrated with the body.
The power basis of the design was the elegantly executed X-shape (hence the “X Series” in the name of the model and the entire collection). X is the two diagonals of the square, and together with the sides of the latter, these diagonals form a four triangles, which provides the structure with the necessary strength and rigidity. Note that rigidity is especially important, since it eliminates random elastic micro deformations during watch operation, which can adversely affect the accuracy of the watch. Let us also mention the presence of the “stop-second” function.
The mechanism is also impeccably finished. You can see this from both the front and rear, but you shouldn’t be surprised: the word “design” is present in the company’s name for a reason. Particular pleasure comes from observing the rhythmic operation of the balance-spring assembly (at 6 o’clock) and the leisurely work of the winding drum (12 o’clock position). By the way, a glance at the winding drum allows you to roughly estimate the remaining power reserve - a very unique solution!
The above-mentioned packaging contains (among other things) such characteristics of the movement as the full power reserve (at least 40 hours) and the permissible deviation of the movement (ranging from -15 to +30 sec per day). The latter, quite acceptable in practice, still does not allow us to talk about the chronometric accuracy of the caliber, and that is the only reason we give it not a full five, but a five with a minus. However, we will still check these characteristics...
Perhaps this is the most “delicious” thing in the model under consideration. The square-shaped case with rounded corners (44 by 48 mm) is made of grade 2 titanium with black DLC coating. Let us immediately note that the use of titanium ensured the lightness of the watch, which is especially significant given its substantial dimensions: 64 grams on a nylon strap or 78 grams on a silicone one. But the main thing is in the design of the case.
Here, for the first time in the world, a 4-point shockproof system (CIGA Design’s own development) is used: the bezel and the main part of the case are not connected to each other rigidly, but through four micro shock absorbers at the corners of the square. This design solution minimizes the consequences of possible shocks and vibrations and protects the mechanism from their harmful effects.
The design is at a high level, as well as the finishing, partly done by hand and not causing the slightest criticism. The black color of the case goes well with the gilding of the movement elements, visible from both sides - through the sapphire crystal at the front and the mineral glass at the back. The rubberized crown, which is quite comfortable to use, and the four screws in the corners of the case are also decorated with gold. Finally, the decorative panel on the side of the case at the 9 o'clock position is also gilded; This panel is engraved with a stylized image of a gorilla, which gives the name to the entire collection.
As we already said, the watch comes with two straps - nylon and silicone. The strap replacement system is quick-release, everything happens in a few seconds. By the way, the book packaging contains instructions for this replacement. Exotic lovers can even combine: put one part of the strap from nylon, the other from silicone... But this is a matter of taste.
Note that the entire appearance of the model is close to a sports style, but water sports are excluded, because the water resistance of the case is minimal - 30 m (you can wash your hands, you can be in light rain, but nothing more). However, we do not consider this a disadvantage. Overall, we rate the case a five plus.
There is no need to talk about the dial, since our skeleton does not have a dial as such. The hour and minute hands are also skeletonized, while the thin second hand is highlighted in red. The tips of the hour and second hands are equipped with a phosphor, which is quite effective in the dark.
Everything seems to be good, but there are some small complaints. In a number of clockwise positions, it is somewhat lost against the background of the mechanism details - you have to strain your eyes to find it with your eyes. The minute scale markings are quite fragmentary; however, for practical use this is not very significant.
Nevertheless, striving for objectivity, we rate the indication as four plus.
Express testing results
As for the accuracy of the movement, the manufacturer did not deceive: within 12 hours the watch moved forward by 15 seconds. (remember, stated from -30 to +40). But regarding the power reserve, I deceived you! But there is no need to be sad: 46 hours are stated, but more than XNUMX hours have passed!
Our average score for the CIGA Design Series X Gorilla Titanium model, based on individual components, is close to five points. The purely subjective feeling is the same: an excellent accessory, especially for an energetic man who appreciates avant-garde aesthetics and impeccable technical quality. So our paraphrased slogan “Chinese means excellent” has been confirmed! And given the completely non-Swiss price, the model should be considered extremely attractive.