Review of CIGA Design Series X Gorilla watches

Wrist Watch

The first quarter of the XNUMXst century is impressive with its global metamorphoses taking place literally before our eyes. The centuries-old dominance of Swiss watch brands on the world market no longer seems so convincing, because young companies from Southeast Asia are literally stepping on their heels.

One of the leaders of the “new wave” was the CIGA Design company, created in 2013 by Zhang Jianming, one of the 10 best industrial designers in the Middle Kingdom. Unlike many watch companies from China, at CIGA Design Zhang relied on the original design and it worked out for him. Already for his first watch model he received the prestigious Red Dot Award. After this, awards fell on Zhang like ripe apples from a tree on Isaac Newton.

In total, CIGA Design has a dozen Red Dot Awards, three German Design Awards, and a couple of iF Design Awards. The brand was the first of the Chinese manufacturers to be able to get to the famous Swiss watch salon Baselwold and even received the “watch Oscar” - in 2021 the GPHG (Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve) prize in the “Challenge” category for its innovative Blue Planet model.

The next, no less successful collection was the line of futuristic CIGA Design Series X Gorilla watches, impressive with their avant-garde design in the spirit of early Hublot models and at the same time at a very affordable price.

New times - new style

But let's talk about everything in order. They brought me a new model to test, and I was very surprised. And where is the large (and heavy) box made of varnished precious wood, in which a work of watchmaking art should rest on a special velvet pillow? There is nothing like that. No, don’t think so - this is not a small box like the iPhone, but it is also flat, cardboard and quite weighty. They obviously didn't skimp on the packaging, but they did everything with a high level of style and concern for the environment.

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So, inside there is a thick “brochure” with high-quality printing. As a rule, a small book with operating instructions is kept in the box with the watch. Here the situation is exactly the opposite - this “book” is a box for the watch itself and two straps supplied in the kit. Unlike the traditional delivery, here the watch case is located in a special separate niche, and the straps are placed separately in the recesses nearby.

Let's talk about the design of the CIGA Design X011-BLPL-W25BK model. The CIGA Design Series X Gorilla watch looks very original and is simply impossible not to notice on your wrist thanks to its rounded square skeletonized case (dimensions 44 x 48 mm). The model features a unique dual-layer shell system that includes an outer contour connected to a stepped inner shell (DLC-coated stainless steel) via four shock-absorbing springs.

CIGA Design engineers claim that this is the world's first shock-resistant suspension system mounted on a wristwatch case. They decided to make a bold visual statement by painting the springs and screws a rich purple. It's hard to say how much this design affects the accuracy of the movement, but it certainly adds to the coolness of the Series X watch.

A darker purple coating was applied to the rubberized crown (which is very comfortable to use, by the way) and to the part of the case at 9 o'clock with a printed gorilla emblem. While most of the case is finished in a simple matte black, CIGA Design has added a subtle polished bevel to the edges of the case and bezel.

Although traditionally the design of skeletonized movements is not the most optimal in terms of time readability, in this case there are no special problems.

Bright expressive image

Based on the size of the case, the watch should have looked quite massive, but this impression does not arise. CIGA Design designers don’t eat their bread in vain and remember that in the fashion industry one of the main rules is “black clothes make people visually slimmer.” So here, the black color of the case visually reduces its dimensions, and the thickness of 11,8 mm makes it relatively compact and allows the watch to fit surprisingly comfortably on the wrist. Like all full-fledged skeleton watches, the Series X Gorilla case has a shock-resistant sapphire crystal back cover.

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I am sure that most watch lovers will agree with me that it is extremely rare to see such a high-quality skeletonized movement, especially considering the budget price of the model. By the way, the name of the line “Series X” comes from the central X-shaped skeletonized dial, which also functions as a beautifully finished movement bridge.

The company's designers decided to continue the purple theme by covering the temples of the skeletonized case with thin strips of purple Super-LumiNova, complemented by purple accents on the polished skeletonized sword hands and the central second hand. Purple is a very rare color in modern watchmaking, and when combined with the avant-garde style of the Series X Gorilla, the result is a unique, memorable image.

 

As I said, like most skeleton movements, the Series X Gorilla is not easy to read at a glance, but the contrast of the black parts with the clear crystal makes it easy.

Graceful heart of the model

Beneath the skeletonized dial of the CIGA Design Series X Gorilla lies the in-house automatic CD-01 movement. The general characteristics of caliber CD-01 are within the average - 40-hour power reserve at a frequency of 21600 vibrations per hour. There's some impressive visual drama, with a highly stripped-down web of frame bridges supporting a fully visible gear train.

Attention is immediately drawn to two main central elements - the mainspring barrel at 12 o'clock and the balance wheel at 6 o'clock. These elements became beautiful visual counterbalances, creating a balanced image for the model. The constant movement of the balance wheel has a literally hypnotizing effect, and the mainspring unobtrusively demonstrates the power reserve.

I really liked how laconic and stylish the finishing of the mechanism parts was - a simple matte finish on the bridges and balancer. A striking exception was the frame rotor with DLC coating.

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The designers also took care of quick-release watch straps. The first is perforated, made of black rubber and decorated with a repeating raised triangular motif. This harmonizes perfectly with the futuristic mood of the case and dial. By the way, the strap was printed on a 3D printer, which watchmakers do extremely rarely. The second is black fabric for everyday wear.

To sum it up, I want to say that I really liked this watch. I'm surprised myself, but it's true. The watch is not my style at all and I probably wouldn't wear it too often. But this is a bright, stylish model that will surely appeal to many. What's also great is that CIGA Design Series X is available in several options - black/purple, black/orange, etc. There are titanium options with different colors, so you can easily choose a model to suit your taste.

By the way, the titanium version is not much more expensive than the steel version, so pay attention to that. After all, usually the price tag for “titanium” watches flies into space due to the complexity of mechanical processing of this metal. Inside the case is an improved movement that has been redesigned and tuned so that it not only looks great, but also perfectly matches the spirit of this watch. Excellent packaging with two (!) comfortable straps.

What more could you want? Well, perhaps to make the water resistance more serious. Still, 3ATM is not enough for my active lifestyle, and with such a watch I want to not only play sports, but also go sailing with friends.