Gavox Blog

Most detailed review of the Gavox Avidiver (credit WUS Boatswain)

Gavox Avidiver Review

 

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This is a review of the Gavox Avidiver black dial with stainless steel case (Ref GA-AVD-111.0). The small Belgian company Gavox has sought to strike a blend between aviation and dive watches and boldly steps out with this original design. How did they do? Let’s dive in!

Specs

From the Gavox Website:
Automatic Movement Miyota 9015
Surgical 316L stainless steel case (PVD Steel of black)
Case diameter: ø 43mm
Case Length (Lug to Lug): 50.8mm
Case thickness: 12.8 mm
Between lug (Strap Size): 22mm
Date display at 4 O’clock
Screw-down Crown for bezel and movement
4 layer sandwich structure dial
Crystal: Double domed Sapphire with bottom antireflection layer
Luminescent hands and dial (Superluminova BW-G9 (for Black and Blue) C3 (For White)
Internal Turning Bezel (Triangle use as a reference marker) Can be used as Chronograph, Timer, Zulu Time.
Marker can be used as a minute or hour chronograph timer gold
Unique serial number
Gavox molded silicone strap (for corrosion resistance regarding aviation and diver environment)
Can support all sort of standard Straps of 22mm
Water resistant: 20 ATM (600 feet)

My measurements
Case Diameter – 43.5mm
Crystal Diameter – 38mm
Lug to Lug Length – 51.2mm
Lug Width – 22mm
Total Height Incl. Crystal – 13.5mm
Height w/o Crystal – 12.5mm

Marketing Material From Gavox 

A watch for Pilots and Divers.

After the Gavox Aurora, here’s the Avidiver, a mechanical watch that is meant to excel above (Higher) and below land (Deeper).
The Avidiver carry a novelty in its unique Bezel:
the Avidiver appears to be a dual crown aviator watch, presumably with an internal bezel. However, the second crown doesn’t control the bezel, but rather the bright orange triangle seen at 12. By positioning the triangle at various points across the dial, one can set a second time zone (such as with a Zulu bezel), or track their elapsed time (as with a typical dive bezel). Though a simple concept it’s one with a lot of utility, and a novel approach in the current market.
Designed and Made with no compromise this Avidiver watch was created as a utility tool with perfect legibility and able to withstand a pressure of 20 ATM. We used the best elements we could find in the market. Forged surgical Stainless Steel 316L, Double domed Sapphire, Miyota Movement 9015 with a 28.800 bph and post Calibrated, Double ring Screw Down crown, See thru caseback, Top A Grade PVD layer ……

These are the two other colour ways

Ordering 

I purchased this watch used here on WUS and I am the second owner.
I have admired the avidiver from afar for over a year now and was always intrigued by its bold and original design. Before making the purchase I had extensive communication with Mike Happe the owner of Gavox. My original intent was to buy direct a year ago but various things side tracked it. All the while I kept on eye on their website and quality Instagram feed. Mike was (and has been) outstanding in his customer support, patiently answering my many questions and providing extra pictures etc… He definitely stands out as a responsive micro brand owner. I think Gavox owners will be in good hands there.
At the time of writing this review (Dec 8 2017) the price starts at 53l Euros ($570USD)and 50 Euro more for the black PVD version

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Arrival and Unboxing 

I don’t need much from my packaging, as long as it keeps the watch safe in transport I am happy. Like most of us, my watches quickly leave their boxes behind and go to live in my larger multi-watch box. With that said, I do appreciate good packaging and presentation, I just don’t want to pay extra for it. I like how the avidiver arrives in a simple wooden box that mimics an old fashioned cargo crate with an unexpected drawer that pulls out for the watch. Nice understated packaging that shows some thoughtfulness and creativity.

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The Case 

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The case is made of 316L Stainless Steel which is pretty much the benchmark material for a quality watch these days. The case is a simple all brushed design that lends a purposeful tool watch aesthetic to the watch. The finishing appears nice and even without sharp edges. The mid case is relatively thin which helps to minimize the visual weight of the watch. Incorporated into the case are crownguards for the twin crowns. There is a nice thin bevelled fixed bezel that houses the large crystal. The shape of the lugs is very well executed with nicely sloped and curved lugs that allow the avidiver to hug the wrist well and lie flat. This is a feature that I really appreciate and really look for in watches I purchase. I have learned that lug curvature and shape have more to do with how well a watch wears than just reading the lug to lug measurement alone. The large dial aperture of the case would speak to the aviation side where as the overall heft would speak to the diver side, I think the case blends well into one sporty design. I like the proportions as it doesn’t appear too tall for its width and height.

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The case back is a mineral crystal display back with engraved serial number and all the usual necessary info. I like that it says “Belgium” referencing the home of Mike Happe the owner. I personally am fairly neutral on display backs especially on divers. While it is fun to see the movement whirring around reassuringly inside, in this case while there is a customized rotor the Miyota 9015 is not overly decorated and I would be OK with eliminating one more gasket and possible water entry point. The fact that the case back display crystal is not sapphire is OK with me on this model. As it is on a strap it is very unlikely to get scratched. I do prefer watches that have bracelets and display back for the crystal to be sapphire as the bracelet is more likely to scratch it when off the wrist.I would say that while casebacks will not impact a purchase decision either way for me, I would probably choose a creative deep stamped design over a display back most days.

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The Internal Bezel 

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The internal “bezel” is one of the unique features of the avidiver. While I like to twizzle a standard dive bezel as much as anyone, something about the clean look and protected nature of an internal system appeals to me too. Gavox seeks to impart creative unique design elements in their watches and this is certainly one of them. Most of us are used to a second 2 oclock crown rotating an internal bi-directional bezel. However Gavox took a different perspective on that design norm. In the avidiver’s case, the internal bezel/chapter ring itself is marked with arabic numerals and is fixed. Instead the bright orange triangle is rotated independently by the second crown and floats above the dial and below the hands. It is attached to a slim orange ring that is between the dial and the chapter ring, it is visible at low angles and adds a hint of colour, In this way it can be used for various timing applications such as a second time zone or elapsed time. Its also just fun! The use of the triangle is fairly straight forward by unscrewing the 2 oclock crown and rotating the triangle as desired. It should be noted that the triangle doesn’t appear to disengage when threading the crown back in so it does rotate and shift a bit. This is only really noticeable if you are picky like me and want it perfectly nestled back into the V at 12. However you learn how much it shifts and can anticipate it. Visually the vibrant orange is a needed touch to the otherwise monochromatic dial and adds some pop and interest. The triangle is fully lumed and glows extremely brightly.

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Crystal

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The Avidiver has a large and beautiful gently domed sapphire crystal. I believe the crystal is double domed, a nice premium feature that allows for undistorted viewing at low angles and better visibility underwater. It has inner anti-reflective coating that seems to do a good job. The crystal is quite large with the narrow bezel rim framing it, drawing all the focus into the dial. The crystal often appears to disappear having great clarity.

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The Dial 

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The dial has a very strong pilot element with the 3-6-9 layout. Though it is nice to see it blended with the triangle apex down at 12 which is a common diver design. With the moving orange triangle gone walkabout though you can also be left with a clean V that works equally well and is a fresh design element. Normally I don’t like arabic numeral indices on a dial, especially large ones but again it just works on the avidiver, perhaps that is a product of the open font but it appears visually balanced to my eye especially on the wrist.

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The indices are cut out in the sandwich style and done very nicely and cleanly. This creates some subtlety and interest to the dial and prevents the dial from feeling too heavy. The indices are all filled with BGW9 lume underneath (more on that later…)

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The minute mark hashes are nicely weighted and good length to allow for easy reading by the second and minute hands. I think they are spot on as I have learned lines that are too heavy or long can disrupt the balance of a dial.

I am a big fan of the subtle white on black date at 4. It blends seamlessly into the dial with a slightly shorter indice at 4, but is readable when you go to look for the date. Well done here. It can be tricky to smoothly incorporate a date especially on a dial with multiple elements such as this.

The dial is a nice dark matte black that looks the most rich when viewed head on. I really appreciate this as I often find matte black dials can look a washed out grey colour, not so with the avidiver.

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The text is simple and appropriate with “Gavox“, “Automatic” and “20 ATM” crisply printed.

It is an extremely legible dial that allows for quick understanding of the time day or night

Hands 

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The avidiver hour and minute hands are a bold pilot sword style painted with gloss white borders and matte black near the pinion. Against the black dial this helps to give bold clean stout look obviously tying into aviation cockpit dials. This is one reason I ultimately ended up with a black dial over the more vibrant radiant blue, I liked the way the proportions of the hands looked with the negative space in the centre. I found the hands looked a tad too slender with the full length contrasted against the blue or white dial. The length of the hands is perfect clearly showing good intentional design. The hour and minute hand are filled with BGW9 lume.

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The second hand is matte black with an orange painted tip (not lumed) that appears to float around the dial. The counterweight shows the winged V of the Gavox logo, which again against the black dial is a subtle touch. The apex of the V perfectly grazes the bottom of the hour and minute hand white borders which I suspect is completely intentional and very satisfying. While a lumed second hand would have leaned more towards the diver element the subtleness of the second helps to keep the watch face from appearing too cluttered.

Lume 

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The lume is excellent.

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The BGW9 lume on the hands and dial provides a nice clean daylight white colour and a blue glow in the dark. BGW9 is the second brightest lume provided by Superluminova behind C3. BGW9 will never have the initial bright blaze of C3 but I find it has a very strong moderate glow that lasts a long time.

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The internal triangle has a daylight orange colour and also glows orange at night. It is very bright and probably a bit better than the BGW9 elements. This leads me to suspect it is a tinted C3. Very well done.

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The Gavox Avidiver lume is nice and strong and is easily legible through the night.

Below are some comparisons to other BGW9 watches, a Zelos Helmsman 2 prototype and Steinhart Ocean Titanium 500, both of which are good strong performers.

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The avidiver is the best BGW9 diver I have had I believe (perhaps an armida a2 I previously had would have been close). It is one of the most enjoyable elements of the watch with the 2 colour tones, strength, longevity and layout.

Crowns

The avidiver 2 has dual screw down crowns. The 4 oclock crown controls the movement and has a Gavox G in relief. The 2 oclock crown controls the triangle and has an orange painted engraved triangle. I like the design cue here, while probably unnecessary shows another touch of intentionality.

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The crowns are well protected by their guards and their low profile keep them from digging into the wrist. While the crowns have good grip and threading action they are a bit small. It makes it a bit difficult to manipulate the triangle crown while on the wrist. While a wider diameter crown would have made things easier on operation it would possibly disrupt the aesthetic of the case. I personally am not a fan of dual crown watches with large protruding crowns and I am willing to live with smaller crowns if the machining is good as in the case of the avidiver.

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Water Resistance 

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The avidiver has 200m of water resistance which will be more than ample to accommodate any water activities encountered by most whether recreationally or professionally. The added water resistance and screw down crowns are another one of the dive elements and I personally like the added security of a 200m case. I have had no issues in and around the water with mine, even braving the dreaded hot tub test! Gavox owner Mike Happe dropped an Avidiver down to 49ATM as well so it’s likely to handle whatever life throws at it.

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Movement 

Powering the avidiver is a Miyota 9015. This is a smooth sweeping 28,800 bph movement with 42 hours power reserve and accuracy of –10s to +30s per day.
It is a newer movement from Citizen but has established a solid reputation and is a common movement in this price point. I have had positive experiences with several 9015s in the past and present.

Gavox has customized the rotor and states the watch has been regulated. This is a nice touch and not too many smaller brands take the time to regulate their movements.

My example sadly is running a bit fast but within spec at about +15 per day. It was stated to be very accurate when I purchased it (used) and I am inclined to believe the seller and perhaps it suffered in shipping. It is very consistent though so I am confident it could be regulated to excellent results.

Straps 

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The avidiver comes on a custom silicon strap that is molded to fit the case at the lugs. This is the best silicone strap I have come across and has made me realize that not all silicone straps are created equal.

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Some people don’t like silicone as it can be sticky and attract lint and dust. Some of the benefits are that it is soft, flexible, and with more flex than natural rubber.
The silicone used in the avidiver strap has a nice soft touch, is quite flexible with the right amount of give and is not too sticky. I can tell this as I slide the strap under the keepers and it doesn’t stick. I have another nicer silicone strap with a Magrette watch which I previously thought was good but I have to wet the strap end to slide it under the keepers easily.

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I really like the design of the strap. The fitted case ends do not bulge outward much from the lugs which has frustrated me with other fitted rubber straps, this can make the watch wear larger I find, not so here. There is a nice subtle detail of the winged Gavox V that starts at the lugs and then runs down the centre of the strap creating some unobtrusive visual interest. The strap is nice and thin, without feeling inadequate, which allows it to wear without too much bulk which I appreciate. The tail end is also appropriate for my 7″ wrist not being too long but also feeling that I could wear it over my wet suit. There is a keeper-keeper molded in near the buckle which is nice. The tail end of the strap has a little ridge to hold it, however I don’t like this as it would leave about 1.5-2cm sticking out so I don’t use it, I don’t like the tail of my strap flapping out. It is very comfortable on the wrist.

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The buckle is oversized stainless steel with the Gavox logo deeply engraved in it. I thought for sure I would swap it out as I don’t like large protruding buckles, but it has great curvature to hug the wrist and it visually balances the watch head. Nicely done here.