Geckota E-01 Generation 2 Exploration Watch
Watch collectors are a varied bunch - we all have our unique tastes (or lack of it) to watches we see on the many many websites and Instagram vying for our attention. I'm sure all of us would have a certain watch stuck on our minds for days on end, refusing to get out of our consciousness until we suffer the dissonance of buying and unboxing it.
Geckota's latest offering in their Exploration series is a wonderful piece of work that has several elements of a successful vintage-inspired watch thrown in, with a few minor set backs that deterred me from punching that BUY NOW button.
I chanced upon the watch when a sponsored post hit the Instagram timeline - a matte blue dial with faint brown lettering printed onto it, giant 3, 6, 9 indices in a tea-colored lume and a Rolex Thunderbird bezel.
INSTANT CLASSIC! I went over the website immediately and got to know more about the watch.
36mm. Wow! Jubilee bracelet. Wow! Automatic. Wow! Fauxtina. Wow!
I closed the web page, deciding to sleep on it before I finalise the purchase. It wasn't a limited run and I could afford to wait. There's also something about it that didn't seem right.
On Closer Inspection
The next time I thought about wanting to buy the watch was a a few days later. I had bookmarked the product page and wanted to give it a closer look before I pulled the trigger.
At second look the watch was still stunning - the fauxtina and the Thunderbird-like design really stood out to me. But as the saying goes, the harder you search, the more faults you will find. I found the answer to why it wasn't an instant buy.
The hands are too large... and modern - For a piece inspired by vintage greats like the Rolex Thunderbird and the cult darling Explorer 1016, the Geckota E-01 had a set of very outrageous hands to match the classic design elements of its inspirations.
A solid large pip replaced the mercedes hands of the Explorer, its top tapering in a stylish curve to form a quill tip; the minute hand resembles the blade on a war spear, its lume plot occupying a large space on the dial; the sweeping seconds has a slim diamond balance that's almost as large as its arrowhead lume plot.
They were all also too long, extending well beyond the lume hour indices and minute rehaut track. It almost feels like they were made for some other watch and were then fitted onto a smaller dial.
Looks a lot better on a 40mm case eh?
The bezel doesn't rotate - I also noticed that the bezel is very thin, not typical of one that's modeled after the Thunderbird, which was used to measure elapsed time. I wondered if they used a smooth rotating bezel so that it could remain slim, but at closer look it seemed that it won't rotate at all. Noticing that the markings on the bezel were from 13 to 24 confirms that it's simply cosmetic.
The bezel is an over-designed 24-hour scale. The watch is more military than explorer.
What's with the crown? - If you look closely, there are slim crown guards on the side of the case, grip lines knurled into a demarcated area. I'm assuming there are crown guards because they look like they're sitting flat against the surface with no protrusion at all.
And it seems like the crown didn't get the memo. It's got a short stump, throwing it a tad off the side the watch case to a height where raised crown guards would have placed it at. I also suspect that the stump was designed there to stop the non-moving bezel from hindering the screw down operation.
The Final Verdict
The Geckota E-01 Generation 2 Exploration watch is a valiant attempt at a vintage-inspired timepiece, it's dial really being the main reason I still think about the watch today. However, the few design choices (or non-choice in the case of the hands) left me with the decision to move on and pursue other watches.
It really sits on the cusp of being a vintage nutter's timepiece or a fashionable modern interpretation for contemporary collectors. But then again its mishandling of its vintage roots will deter players like me, and the 36mm size will deter the modern watch lover.
Check out the watch yourself on the Geckota Shop.
All photos used in the article are from the Geckota site.