Unmitigated crap, thy name is Alpha. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I’m spitting mad right now staring at the hunk of garbage called the Alpha GMT Diver. Alpha is an eBay brand famous for their “replica” watches which apparently include the entire Rolex line, a few sassy Omega-alikes, and even an Anonimo-alike. They are almost all mechanical automatics, which is impressive, but they are little more than a ham-handed effort at selling branded fakes.

I know I always say I’d love China to start making their own brands, but this is not what I was looking for. I was open-minded. In my travails with eBay brands I’ve rarely been amazed but I’ve never been so disappointed. What is the issue? Well, this is a GMT watch. It has a large red hand indicated 24-hour time. It is set independently of the other hands and the bezel offers even a third time zone option. “But John,” you’re saying, “that sounds super! It’s like a three-timezone watch for less than c-note! And it comes with a gimpy little price tag that looks like a lump of wax!”

alphaside.jpgYes, friends, it does come with a little lump of plastic shaped like a dollop of wax. But that’s not all! This watch has a fatal, and horrible, flaw. The time zone setting “sweeps” across the face when you try to change it. That’s right. Not only can you set a second time zone, you can feasibly set time zones in parallel universes or at the center of a black hole. Let’s see… if it’s 4am here in Tokyo, it must be 1:28 in Mtzplkia! Luckily, that’s one time zone from Burblefrox, which makes it 2:28 over there. Thank you, Alpha!

Normal GMT movements snap from hour to hour. If it is 10:30 in New York and you want to set it a few time zones ahead, the GMT hand moves swiftly from 10:30 to 11:30 instead of moving like the hour hand – 10:31, 10:32, etc. This little feature, found on most major GMT movements, is the way things are supposed to work. Instead, this Chinese-made movement half-asses things and has the GMT hand slip forward and back with giddy abandon, rendering it absolutely useless.

alphadoll.jpgThe design is quite ham-handed – it’s clearly a fake Rolex redone. The markings at the bottom of the face, where the Chinese pirates usually write “Swis Mad!!!!” reads CK and HK, which is apparently secret code for “shitty movement.” The date cyclops is there, surely enough, and the date looks like it was applied using a stamp made of a halved potato. Not so readable, let’s just say.

Another clincher? The clasp is patterned to look like the bracelet. Someone in the Alpha/MillionSmart factory thought this would be a nice touch, I suppose, but all it did was make me much angrier.

alphaback.jpgI didn’t want to be so angry, but I am. I cannot recommend these watches – even Sandoz, another well-known far East/eBay brand, makes a better Submariner-alike and for GMT grab a Seiko 6117 or another used, classic piece. Want to go really classy? Grab the amazing D.Freemont Sapphire Diver. But please, for the love of all that is good and holy, avoid this watch.

Quality: 1/5
Style: 1/5
Overall: 1/5

-John Biggs

ByJohn Biggs

John lives in Brooklyn and has loved watches since he got his first Swatch Irony automatic in 1998. He is the editor of WristWatchReview.

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