In 2019, Gavox was one of the brands that I wanted to take a closer look at, but since it was a quite hectic year, I wasn’t able, or didn’t want to squeeze a quick review in between all the others, not giving it the time and focus it deserved.
Besides the very tasteful name, Gavox, meaning “voice of our universe”, combines the Greek word “Galaxias” and the Latin word “Vox”, there are many reasons why I find this brand very interesting. The obvious one is of course that I like the watches, from the entry level Curtiss models to the present flagship series named Aurora. I’m going to put the watches aside for a little while and take a closer look at what Gavox has achieved through the years.
As Michael is the grandson of one of the Flying Tigers from WW2, aviation watches are an obvious part of the Gavox line-up, and since 2014, pilots from 15 different squadrons use his watches when hurdling through the skies. On the ground beneath those pilots, “fairly” known people like Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Ban Ki-Moon, King Mohammed VI and several other prominent politicians and royalties have a Gavox in their collection. All this became a reality when Michael became the official supplier to the prime minister Charles Michel for three years.
Another cool collaboration is the one between Gavox and Lotus in Belgium, where Michael were asked to create a watch for Lotus’ clientele. The result was a sporty, yellow and British racing green chronograph called Gavox Roads LOTUS that’s limited to 130 pieces.
On the cultural front, Magritte du cinema chose Gavox as collaborator for the 2020 awards, following in the footsteps of Jaeger-LeCoultre. Except from the lovely “The Broken Circle Breakdown”, I’m not too familiar with the Belgian movie scene and sadly, I don’t recognize many of the winners. But, amongst those who were awarded for their great efforts on the screen, Monica Bellucci was one of the celebrities that ended up with a price and a Gavox.
Knowing that this brand was founded in 2011, only nine years ago, all these achievements are a solid proof that things are done the right way and there’s been put a lot of passion, skills and hours into this brand to get to where it is today.
Moving away from celebrities, politicians and pilots, it’s time to take a closer look at the watches I’ve been checking out over the last week, three versions of the Gavox Avidiver, a collection that combines elements from both aviation watches and divers.
Being a big fan of both pilot and diver watches, I have to admit that the days before the watches arrived, were filled with both excitement and nervousness. Would the lovely looks be overshadowed by a watch not succeeding in covering two categories, ending up as a strange mix with diffuse purposes? The answer is no. With the Avidiver, Gavox has managed to merge two genres in a way that is both functional and distinct, but also playful and original. It’s easy to recognize the pilot aspects, the large, legible sandwich dial with numerals at 3, 6 and 9, the triangle at 12, upside down though, and the large sword hands. The brushed case, both the stainless-steel and stainless-steel PVD models, and the slightly domed sapphire crystal with a double layer of anti-reflective coating prevent reflections effectively. The super compressor design of the case, with crowns at 2 and 4, brings the diver elements alive, along with the 200-meter water resistance and the deliciously soft and flexible silicone strap.
The Avidiver is a robust watch, measuring 43mm across, approximately 50,5mm from lug to lug, 12,8mm from top to bottom and it has a lug width of 22mm. Due to the claw-like lugs, it’s very comfortable on the wrist. If you’re a regular reader, by now, you probably know that my wrists aren’t too massive, but I’ve no problem at all wearing it for days. The silicone strap and the crowns at 2 and 4 add a lot to the wearability.
The main attraction of the Avidiver is, without a doubt, the dial, the sandwich dial built up by four layers and a quite smooth solution to offer both a GMT function and being able to track elapsed time when diving. Usually, the second crown is used to operate the internal bezel, but Michael Happé’s idea is both aesthetical and clever. One of the dial’s layers is an orange ring, hidden beneath the bezel, with a triangle that sticks out onto the dial. This ring is operated by the crown at 2 o’clock and can be set to whatever position you want, either as a second time zone or for measuring elapsed time when diving, or cooking. Design wise, these orange details are visual candies, from the triangles on the dial and crown, to the sleek, slightly visible ring, that in my opinion takes these watches from cool to very cool.
I’ve always had a soft spot for these types of dials, especially at night when the lume shines brightly. The BGW9 glows in a delicious blue tone that suits all the color combinations very well. A small minus is that the second hand doesn’t have any paint at all, leaving it invisible at night.
As mentioned earlier, the Avidiver has a 200-meter water resistance, which is secured by screw-down crowns and exhibition caseback. The movement inside is the well proved Miyota 9015, a worthy competitor to the ETA 2824, beating along at 28800bph, with a power reserve of 42 hours and accuracy that lies between +-10 seconds a day to +-30 seconds a day.
Being a more than average, picky guy, some minor “issues” and personal wishes have appeared while I’ve been testing the three Avidivers. I’ve gone back and forth, wondering if it’s fair to mention these, since some are so small and can be difficult to avoid… The alignment of the inner bezel on two of the models could be a bit sharper and the orange ring on one of them isn’t perfectly centered, resulting in showing ever so slightly on one of the sides while the rest is hidden. It’s a quite a small thing, but since there’s such a high contrast between the colors, I felt like mentioning it. On the other side, this is a €578,51 watch, not a €9900, high-end, luxury timepiece, and to get moving, peripheral discs like this placed dead center, all the time, isn’t the easiest task. Another thing is the struggle trying to perfectly reset the orange triangle back to the 12 o’clock position by operating the upper crown. Since it’s a screw-down crown, the triangle keeps moving when tightening it, making it a bit tricky to align it properly. After some practice and getting under the Avidiver’s skin, I managed to hit close to bullseye more and more often. About my wishes, I’d love to see this watch as a no-date and with a solid bracelet, to make it even more symmetric and appear as a stone cold, aviation/diver-tool.
So, to sum up my week with these Avidivers, the small things mentioned above are far from enough for me to not recommend these watches, because they’re VERY cool, original, smart and well-built. I think the vast world of watches is a much richer place with brands like Gavox and people like Michael Happé around. I don’t know him more than through some chats from the last weeks, but I recommend you check his channel and site, to be, like me, seduced by the pure engagement, skill, joy and pride he’s exuding through his wonderful brand and watches.