Looking at the Apogaum is kind of like watching the Japanese do comedy – the cues are alien, the laughs are strange and manic, and the effort seems over the top but fascinating. No slight against the Japanese – their shows kick ass – but to see a Swiss via Hong Kong Panerai knock-off with a GMT hand and enough odd design cues is enough to spin your aesthetics like a top and is definitely disorienting.
Apogaum, which seems to have something to do with the word “apogee,” is based on the same body as the familiar Marina Miltaire pieces available on the eBay. Sold by Eddie Kong, this line of watches is not so much an homage to the Panerai is it is to the snap down crown style of diver that Panerai pioneered. But this is not a Panerai. It’s as light as a feather, first off, and the unadorned, yet surprisingly beefy, movement has no draw.
The face is a bit busy, with a fat logo above the 6 and the standard MILITAIRE logo below the 12. A 24-hour clock surrounds the edge of the face which the hands, two half swords and one white GMT time indicator, are shiny and slightly distracting. The date cyclops is sub-par and distorts the date with a vengeance.
The movement, while ostensibly Swiss, is quite loose and the watch unwound overnight. The face, while occasionally luminous, is definitely also sub-par.
What’s good about this piece? Well, it’s inexpensive. My goal in this series was to find the GMT complication at a sub-$1000 price point and I wasn’t disappointed. Now that I know more about the watch industry, I understand the draw of Panerai and this would never fool a real connoisseur – and the average Joe doesn’t know their Panerai from a dinner plate anyway, so that’s not an issue. At about $100, this is a bright, huge watch that will make the average bear a blinging hustler in no time.
Looking for a GMT…
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