Today, we're starting a new section for those budget watches that we really like. Even though this is the first time we do a hands-on review of a watch at this price point, but we are absolutely thrilled to tell you everything about it. The new Gorilla Watches were recently officially launched by Octavio Garcia —former Chief Artistic Officer at Audemars Piguet for more than a decade— and his business partner Lukas Gopp —a former employee of brands like IWC, Sector, Ralph Lauren Watches and Audemars Piguet.
Since we weren't expecting a name like 'Gorilla' when we first heard that Octavio Garcia had launched its own watch brand, we were a little skeptical as to what to expect from the product itself. Well, after receiving the watch for review from Octavio Garcia earlier this week, all we can say is that we were pleasantly surprised. If you are a regular reader here at WCL or a follower of our Instagram account, you know how we feel about watch micro-brands and what we think of most of them. Considering that the Gorilla Fastback is a watch that comes with a lot of watch design pedigree —considering Octavio's background at Audemars Piguet—, we had to take a closer look at it before we continued to pass judgement on Instagram and give you our very honest point of view.
The Gorilla Fastback
As we unpacked the Gorilla Fastback, we felt that the packaging materials were in line with the very affordable price point of the watch but could be a little nicer; however, once we got to pull the watch out the box, that's when we felt that the Gorilla Fastback could've been priced much, much higher for the perceived quality and looks as we unboxed it.
With very avant-garde design that takes its inspiration from American Muscle Cars and with craftsmanship way superior than its price point, the new Gorilla Fastback is simply a watch that we feel will take over Seven Friday's positioning in the market, in no time.
First of all, there is something about this watch that reminds us of an AP Royal Oak Offshore Alinghi with all due respect to Audemars Piguet. Maybe its the fact that the Gorilla Fastback is fitted with a 44 mm forged carbon case and equipped with a red anodized aluminum insert in-between its scratch-proof black ceramic bezel and the case that makes it look like the Alinghi with its red gasket.
The Case, Bezel & Crown
While the case size might fool you and sound not too big at 44 mm, the reality is that the watch is big and beefy like a Gorilla. The watch wears much bigger due to its square shape, its crown and crown guards. Perhaps the biggest barrier of entry to this watch —if you can get past the 'Gorilla' brand name— is that you need to have a wrist measuring at least 7.25" in circumference, if you don't, this watch will be too big for you. Now, when it comes to the finish of the case and the quality of its forged carbon construction, we were really impressed. After comparing this case to other forged carbon cases out there including Audemars Piguet, Bell & Ross and a micro-brand like Tempest, the Gorilla Fastback is simply better than the latter and at the same level as the first two with an ultra-light construction —total weight of the watch on its rubber strap is 106.8 grams.
The bezel, one of our favorite elements on the Gorilla Fastback is made of scratch-proof black ceramic and is finished with a mirror polished look and a slightly curved shape towards the top ending in a cusp. The bezel is secured against the forged carbon case by four titanium rivets and between the sapphire crystal —with anti-reflective treatment on both sides— and the ceramic bezel, one can find a titanium ring that serves as a fastener. The crown, which is massive but very well designed and of the screw-down type, is made of titanium.
The dial features a multi-layer construction with a very unique looking black and white hour disk at the center. This hour disk features three spokes resembling the three-spoke steering wheels of sportscars. The minutes are indicated by a red skeletonized hand with white tip and the dial also features Arabic numerals for the minutes in increments of five and a central circular grained segment right underneath the skeletonized high gloss white and black hour disk. The dial is equipped with luminescent material on hands and numerals and while the lume is not crazy bright, it is very functional.
Reading the time —especially the hours— is not as intuitive as it might seem and it takes a little bit of time to get used to it. The hours are indicated by the white spoke on the hour disk that is located directly opposite to the four white curves that move around the center of the dial as the time passes. The outer perimeter of the dial where the minute numerals are located is matte finished. A black flange with white minute markers and a red accent on the bottom completes the super sporty automotive-inspired look of the Gorilla Fastback.
The dial is equipped with luminescent material on hands and numerals and while the lume is not crazy bright, it is very functional. Here's a lumeshot where you can even appreciate the lume on the tip of the seconds hand.
Another good thing about the Gorilla Fastback is that it comes with two straps and two titanium pin buckles, which is an absolute bargain for the price. Already mounted on the watch, there is a black leather perforated strap with red contrast stitching and then in the box there is an additional black natural rubber strap. The additional strap is already fitted with a titanium pin buckle so that you don't have to remove the pin buckle from the leather strap to use on the rubber one. Both straps are very well made and quite comfortable. Since Octavio knows our love for rubber straps, the watch for review came with the rubber strap already mounted on it.
The Movement & Case Back
Under the hood, nothing fancy but a reliable 21-jewel Japanese Miyota 8215 automatic movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. The movement is protected by a titanium case back held to the case by four screws. While we are not thrilled about the Gorilla illustration on it, we think that it adds to the disruptive brand positioning the brand is looking to achieve. While the laser engraving is a little rough around the area where the Gorilla is located, the overall finish of the case back is nice and not poorly done by any means. Additionally, the first 500 watches are individually numbered, a nice touch that enhances the perceived value of the watch. The Gorilla Fastback is water resistant to 100 meters and a perfect companion for the pool thanks to its rubber strap.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Gorilla Fastback wears really big but quite light. While the watch is 44 mm in diameter, the watch wears more like a 47-48 mm watch. In summary, this watch is extremely nice and one that could probably be sold at a much higher price.
For the level of quality and the design pedigree behind it —with Octavio Garcia coming from Audemars Piguet—, you are getting a great watch for the money and by far much better than paying the same amount for a Shinola or even more for a Seven Friday. If you can get past the name and the Japanese Miyota beating heart, this watch brand has a ton of potential. Kudos to Octavio and good luck to him in this new stage of his career.
Sticker Price $880 USD. For more info on Gorilla Watches click here.