CIGA Design makes watches that should be much more expensive. Focused on high design, these watches take cues from Richard Mille and Uhrwerk but are priced well within the realm of possibility. The X Gorilla we tested is a mere $349 for a fully skeletonized watch in matte black steel. It has a bold 44mm case, great lume, and a CD-01 movement that I’m suspecting is a rebuilt Seagull ST2553JK.

The watch raised $1 million last February on Indiegogo and just started shipping. The orange and black model is the only one with lume which leads me to some of my criticisms of the design.

The Good

First, this is a cool watch. If you like the style at all you won’t be disappointed. It’s big, it’s bulky, it looks like a robot lymph node, and it runs well. It comes with two bands – a 3D-printed-style rubber model and a canvas strap – and even includes a shock absorption system to reduce jarring movements on the CD-01. As you can see it wears well and has no real protruding parts that might be uncomfortable. That’s rare in a big watch like this one.

The watch keeps acceptable time and has a solid power reserve. In general, a three-hander like this doesn’t have much to say about it – you either like it or you don’t – and if you’re into this kind of thing then you could do worse. It doesn’t look like anything else I’ve seen and I searched Alibaba for similar designs and couldn’t find anything. In short, you’re getting a solid, nicely-designed Chinese-made watch with excellent styling and size. This watch shows us that when you have inexpensive manufacturing, good materials, and good design you can make a cool watch without breaking the bank.

Finally, check out this box. It’s basically a magazine that holds a watch. It’s quite a clever design and holds the bands and the watch in one place and includes the instructions and design commentary.

In all, it’s really cool.

The Bad

Now for the bad news. It might just be me but this watch is very hard to read. The hands get lost on the movement and there are no numerals on the piece, which means you’re guessing when you set the time. CIGA claims you can “read” the watch using notches on the bezel and I agree that it kind of works. That said, you’re going to have a bad time if you really need to tell the time in a hurry.

The lume, on the other hand, is glorious. They did a great job of luming the hands and the bridges on this piece and it almost makes it more readable in the dark.

Finally, this beast is only water resistant to 3ATM which means you can’t hit the surf with this thing on. That’s not terrible but it’s something to consider before you go to the beach with this guy on your wrist.

The Bottom Line

I really like this watch. I’m surprised I do. It’s not my style and I wouldn’t wear it much but for an inexpensive statement piece, you could definitely do worse. Again, is might not be as rugged as the Gorilla monicker suggests but it’s nicely designed and the materials are excellent. And, at $359 on Amazon, the price is right.

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