I see quite a few watches that come out of China, anyone who looks at a lot of watches under the $1,000 mark is bound to see them, but I have not yet had the chance to check out a watch that is being sold by a Chinese brand. My chance came when Sea-Gull Watch Store reached out to us and asked if we would review their first in-house watch. The GT & FQ (the brand owners’ initials) M0001 Rider Automatic is quite an accomplished first effort for this brand, which is already expanding the line.
The Sea-Gull Watch store sells, well, Sea-Gull watches as an authorized dealer, but also can create OEM watches and is branching out into the design and sale of their own watch brand, GT & FQ. The obvious choice for a movement in the watch is a Sea-Gull, and for the Rider Automatic they chose the ST1780. I could not find much data on this movement, other than it seems to be an upgrade from the ST16 line of movements. The movement has both a power reserve meter and a small second hand, as well as a sub dial for the date. The movement is nicely machined finished, visible through the case back.
The dial is nicely finished, with the subdials inset against the silver sunray burst dial. The subdial hands are heat blued, though the main hands are fairly basic. The indexes are rhodium plated applied arrowheads, adding another element of depth to the dial. Probably the lone misstep on the dial in my opinion are the cross hairs on the small second hand. They are not bad, per se, but they seem a bit out of place with the rest of the dial’s look.
The watch is a nicely slim 12mm, with an inset pusher on the side of the case to adjust the date. The 41mm case is brushed stainless, which works well with the dial. In short, it is a nice looking dress watch. It isn’t so dressy that you can’t wear it as a weekender. The lack of lume may keep it from being your do everything watch, but if you don’t need it to be a sports watch, it could very well be versatile enough for you.
Which leads me to my last point about the watch. It is only $150, with shipping to the US. We look at a lot of watches that are worthy of being a gateway to appreciating, and collecting, automatic watches, and this certainly belongs in that group. Heck, you can spend more than that on a generic quartz watch from a fashion brand. No, this is not a Patek Philippe, but it is only $150. And if this one is not quite to your liking, well there are two other models available, all under $200. If you can’t guess where this is going, the Rider Automatic is probably going to end up on a lot of my gift guides going forward. seagullwatchstore.com
- Brand & Model: GT & FQ Rider Automatic
- Price: $150
- Who we think it might be for: Anyone who wants a value priced dress watch and is OK with a Chinese movement.
- Would I wear one myself based on what I’ve seen?: Definitely. I think it is attractive and looks far more expensive than the sale price.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: A nicer handset.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: It looks great, especially considering the price.
Tech Specs from GT & FQ:
- Movement: Sea-Gull ST1780 Automatic
- Functions: Small seconds, power reserve, date
- Case: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Domes sapphire with mineral glass caseback
- Water resistance: 5 ATM
- Lug width: Not specified
- Straps: Leather
- Diameter: 41mm
- Thickness: 12mm