Geckota K1 Pilot
We try and cover a decent amount of affordable or budget friendly watches here at Watchreport. I personally have done a few this year, but none has surprised me as much as this Geckota K1 Pilot and I am not sure if it could be topped at this particular price range anytime soon. When it comes to high end or luxury watches, you know what to expect. The best of the best. And while you can not say every watch will live up to that, it is what you expect. With affordable watches such as this, that is not the case, as in best of the best, and when it is brand I have never had in my hands before, I am always a little leery. I have stated before that some brands try and do high quality watches cheap. That is not something easily done. Corners need to be cut somewhere; that is the norm rather than the exception. Today I review the exception.
Geckota K1 Pilot Specifications:
45mm lug to lug
Seiko NH35 automatic movement
Optional Watch Straps
100 meters water resistant
Price: $256.21 (Watch head only)
I honestly have a hard time getting over the fact that this watch is listed at $256, especially when you look at the specifications. Now, to be clear, the straps shown and linked above are not included at this price. You order the Geckota K1 Pilot as just the watch head only, which is great if you just want to use your own straps or have larger wrists and most stock straps don’t fit you anyways. You can also order it with a choice of straps listed on their site, but when I was contacted to do this review, I was asked to choose a couple of straps, and these are the two I chose. If you are not aware, WatchGecko, the parent company of Geckota, sells a large array of watch straps that range from super affordable to moderately affordable, (under $100).
There are two sizes of the Geckota K1 Pilot, the 40mm and the 44mm. As listed above, this is the 40mm version. They are both priced exactly the same and as far as I can tell after looking at both on the website, they are the same exact specs with the exception of the size difference. Now before I continue and praise this watch some, let me be clear that I am praising the watch for its price point and the quality you are getting. The watch is nothing new or unique, it is a pilot style watch that we have seen from countless companies over the years. The design is a popular one and I can see why Geckota decided to make it, and I applaud they did two sizes as well.
As I said, many companies have done this style of pilot watch, and continue to do so as well. Not many do so in 40mm, though a few companies have done so recently. 40mm is quite small compared to the 55mm German originals. It allows one that likes the style of pilot watches but can not pull off a 55mm watch, and let’s be honest, most of us can not pull of a watch that large. If you are not familiar, a short history lesson: This particular dial style was created in 1941, the B-UHR Type B, which gives the minute/seconds on the outer track of the dial and the center track has the hours. This design highlights the minutes/seconds instead of the hours as it was they were more useful to a pilot. The original large size at 55mm also made sure that it was extremely legible at a quick glance. Geckota, like other brands, has stayed faithful to the originals with the Geckota K1 Pilot with no branding or text on the dial.
The overall finishing of the Geckota K1 Pilot is excellent, not just for its price point. The brushed finish has even fine lines and the high polish accents are basically mirror like. Crown action is smooth (screw down crown), and the case back has a nice laser etching. Even though a 40mm watch, the crown is large enough and easy to grasp to set the time or give a wind. One of the things I usually check for on less expensive watches is sharpness behind the lugs. Some watches have sharp edges to the back end tip of the lugs or between the lugs as well. That is not present here, which means the factory spent some extra time buffing and sanding everything down.
The straps I chose were the contoured handmade Italian leather in light tan and the box hatch leather in green. There is a $36 price difference between the two with the Italian leather selling for $51.53, which in the wide range of prices of leather straps, still puts it in the affordable range. The Italian leather is of good quality, somewhat thin, but well made and seems to resist creasing in the leather. It is very soft as well.
The box hatch green is my favorite of the two though. I love the color and feel of the Italian tan leather, but the box hatch strap is rugged looking and just different enough to stand out. It does feel a little more like rubber/plastic to the touch, but it wraps around the wrist well and is very comfortable to wear throughout the day.
BGW9 Superluminova is used and it does not disappoint.
I love reviewing watches such as this Geckota K1 Pilot. Not only are they fun to wear for a week or two to put through the paces, but they they are just easy to review. Sure, this is no marvel of horology and is not a unique or innovative design. It is not trying to be any of those things either. It is a just a well done, affordable pilot watch. The Seiko NH35 movement gets the job done and while it is not one of my favorites, at this price I won’t complain at all. The sapphire crystal puts a big smile on my face of course and the dial is extremely legible in both light and dark situations. For the first time in quite some time I can say I find no fault with this watch. Would that be different if it was a $400 watch? Sure. But it isn’t. It is $256. Add one of their moderate priced straps and you are still under $300, or put your own on it and save some cash. Most of us watch nerds have a bunch of extra straps anyways. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first experience with Geckota and I look forward to their new offerings.