In our post yesterday on the Steveo Straps Para Strap, you may have noticed I really didn’t feature the watch too much in those pictures – and that’s because it’s the watch we’re reviewing today, from Polish brand G. Gerlach.
While the foundation (more on that here) has some ties into Polish history with the name, G. Gerlach is a newer brand, focusing on creating, designing, and manufacturing products within Poland. The model we’re reviewing, the Otago, carries on with those roots.
The Otago is named for a sailing barque that took it’s maiden voyage in 1870 (more on that here). What that particular ship? Well, it was at one time captained by Joseph Conrad, who, along with being a famous novelist in his own right, had his roots in Poland. Of note, this ship appears etched in the caseback.
To recap: a new Polish brand focusing on designing and building watches in Poland, with a watch honoring a boat captained by a famous Polish author (though he wrote in English, not Polish). Now, on to the watch!
This is a very visually striking watch. The 42 x 50mm case initially grabs the eye, with the extended lug area that we don’t see as much in watches today. Frankly, it’s reminiscent of the 70’s era divers. The case also features alternating brushed and polished finishes.
Next, you’ve got the bezel (which I was pleased to see is lumed) and the oversize (9mm) crown. Both are nicely machined to enable easy grip; from the side view, it almost looks like you have an enmeshed gear train (but don’t worry, they aren’t).
That brings us to the dial, which has plenty of character all of it’s own. First, you have a subtly graduated color change; our sample went from brown in the center to black at the edges (the other option, an orange dial, doesn’t seem to have this color shift).
A closer look reveals that the applied indices at the hour mark are really quite raised, with channels down the center of each for the luminous paint. With as much character as the case carries, I think it was a good idea to add these layers to the dial, so it doesn’t become boring and get lost.
The dial itself is subtly logoed and imprinted, and features a date display at 3 o’clock. The date window is indeed in white, but given the screen printing and luminous paint are white, it’s not as jarring. It would be interesting to see the date wheel from the orange dial model (which is black) show up in the black-dialed model (perhaps a future option), to have it blend in a bit more.
In daily wear, this watch was pretty comfortable, both on the included 22mm leather strap (black with red stitching), as well as on the Para Strap. The Seagull ST-25 automatic movement (with hacking and hand-wind) proved reliable; I frankly think we’re going to be seeing more and more Seagull movements in the smaller brands, given their price-performance ration. The movement is quite well protected – the case, along with the sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, and screw-in caseback net a water resistance rating of 200 meters.
The watch itself is warrantied for 24 months, with the option to extend it for another 12 months after it’s been serviced at the factory. Pricing on this watch is very competitive, coming in at under $370 at current exchange rates; I believe shipping would be an additional charge.
This watch is definitely a vintage-styled diver, and it’s got plenty of charisma. If you’re looking for a new watch to head to the water with (especially if you’re interested in the Polish connection), this is one you owe it to yourself to check out.