I see a lot of super slim, minimalist, three hand, Bauhaus inspired watches, many of them for well below $200. Heck, you can’t swing a metaphorical cat around Kickstarter without running into one of these projects. But those are generally quartz watches, sold by a someone just getting into the watch-making business. The GT&FQ Rider M005, on the other hand, is an automatic being sold by an established retailer who is building their in-house brand.This is the second GT&FQ watch I have reviewed, and like the first, it is a nicely finished piece. The Rider series does take design cues from other, much more expensive, watches on the market. There is no denying the resemblance of the typeface on the Rider M005 to the one used by Nomos Glashütte, I am inclined to place this watch in the “inspired by/homage to” category of watches, as opposed to the far more derided “rip off” or “copy cat.” One reason for this is that the brand “Rider” is clearly called out on the watch. With blatant copy cats, the watch brands and logos are designed to confuse the viewer, so that they may mistake it for the more expensive brand. The Rider M005, with the central second hand and date window at 3:00 is also different visually from anything currently in the Nomos line.
The hallmark cues of a Bauhaus inspired watch are well represented, with a very clean design free of excess clutter. The typeface is easy to read, and while I am not a fan of small date windows, at least this one is a color match (or close enough match) to not look out of place. The heat blued hands are a very nice touch, adding a subtle bit of color to the otherwise monochromatic design. The polished case is simple and attractive, though I do wish is were a tad larger.
In addition to the blued hands and the Miyota automatic movement driving the watch, the front crystal is sapphire, while the exhibition caseback uses mineral glass. These nice features give me my one real criticism of the watch, I don’t think the include leather strap is on par with the rest of the product. Maybe this is a backhanded compliment to the fact that I think the rest of the watch is really nice, but the strap feels and looks like an entry level product. I know you can’t have everything (where would you put it all) and that designers have to choose where to splurge and where to cut in order to hit a price point, but I would have rather had a plain caseback or perhaps even a mineral glass up front in favor of a nicer leather strap.
On the wrist, the watch is comfortable and versatile, working both as a dress watch or a more casual daily wearer. The 38mm case is definitely on the low end of what I would would wear, but the watch itself does not look out of place or overly small by today’s standards. I think a part of the reason for this is the very thin bezel, allowing the white dial to take up almost all the real estate of the watch case. For the price ($170), I think that the GT&FQ Rider M005 is a very attractive option for an entry level dressy watch. I would definitely put it head to head against the various minimalist quartz watches out there, and with an aftermarket strap, it would compete against more expensive automatics as well. seagullwatchstore.com
- Brand & Model: GT & FQ Rider M005
- Price: $170
- Who we think it might be for: You like the look of Bauhaus-inspired designs, but are on a budget.
- Would I wear one myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes. It is a sharp looking watch.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: It needs a better strap.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Blued hands against a clean dial.
Tech Specs from GT & FQ:
- Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic
- Functions: Three hand, date
- Case: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Sapphire with mineral glass caseback
- Water resistance: 5 ATM
- Lug width: Not specified
- Straps: Leather
- Diameter: 38mm
- Thickness: 9 mm