Gorilla Watches Fastback
Octavio Garcia, the man behind the Gorilla Watches Fastback, is the former Creative Director at Audemars Piguet. Yep, Audemars Piguet, one of the most well known luxury watch brands in the world. Instead of going to another high profile competitor, Octavio decided to start his own brand, Gorilla Watches, and his first model is obviously race car and fashion driven, using many high end materials in a watch that comes in under $1000. This is the second microbrand watch I have seen in person using all these different materials, and no there is no doubt a lot is going on with this watch, but I think there is an audience for it, and with the exception of the movement (more on that later), it is a very interesting wristwatch.
Gorilla Watches Fastback Specifications:
- 44mm Case/ 48mm Including Crown
- 53mm Lug to Lug
- 13.6mm Thick
- 32mm Lugs
- Forged Carbon, Titanium, Ceramic and Aluminum
- Sapphire Crystal
- Miyota 8215 Automatic Movement
- 110 Grams
- 100 Meters WR
- 2 Straps, 1 Leather, 1 Rubber
Price $880.00 USD
There are many things to discuss when it comes to the Gorilla Watches Fastback, but lets get right to the obvious, the use of 4 different materials for the case construction. Some of you may have read my review on the Vilhelm Elemental a few months ago, which has a similar case shape, materials and overall fashion aesthetic, and while both watches are similar, there are many differences as well. The mid case is forged carbon fiber composite, which in the simplest of terms is a polymer with small strands of carbon fiber mixed in. I have seen quite a few of these forged carbon cases over the years and I would say the Fastback is near the top. The edges are smooth and it does not have that plastic-like feel some are known to have. The case back and crown are titanium and the top of the case is black ceramic. Giving just a touch of color and adding to the stacked case is a red anodized aluminum strip that spans the entire case just under the ceramic. I would not say the materials are perfectly seamless, but it is close and does not come off as poorly done. If this watch sold for $10,000 I would expect it to be perfect.
The Gorilla Watches Fastback has a dial that is beautiful and intriguing to look at, but at the same time, is a little difficult to read. It is definitely one of those watches that takes awhile to get used to. Heavily raced inspired, I do not have an issue with the 0-60 style dial, but you do have to “look” for the hands and figure out which is which. The second hand is black with a decent size white tip, okay that one is located. The hour hand is actually the skeletonized black and white disc, and the minute hand is the larger red one. Like I said, it does take some getting used to. Under the hour disc is some perlage work, which is beautiful when captured just right by the light.
Obviously with the materials used here the Gorilla Watches Fastback is extremely light, and though it is a larger watch, you really will not feel it too much on the wrist. There are two straps that come with the Fastback and changing them out is easy enough with a standard pin tool or a small screwdriver. The issue, for some, will be that you are only going to be using these two straps for the life of this watch as aftermarket straps are not possible. At its widest point you are looking at 32mm and it tapers down to 25mm. It MIGHT be possible to have a custom strap made, but I would imagine you will have to send the watch to the strap maker so he can properly measure it to get it just right. Both straps are very good quality though I mainly wore it on the rubber as I liked the look better.
With a name like Gorilla Watches you probably figured there is going to be a gorilla somewhere on the watch, right? Well, you would not be wrong, and you will find it on the case back. It is a large angry gorilla and the style of the case back reminds me of an Alessandro Baldieri watch from a few years ago. It also lists the materials used, as you can see in the photo below. It might be a little gimmicky but the I feel the engraving is done well, and with a watch such as this, I think gimmicky is okay.
What is one of my favorite aspects of the Gorilla Watches Fastback? Easy, the crown. The shape is unique, and the machining is very well done. I am not sure how they manufactured these but I do know I love it. At first glance you think that it will probably not move very well and it would be awkward to grip and manipulate; the reality is none of that is true. It is truly a fantastic crown, the epitome of form and function. I love the aesthetic and wish more companies would step outside the box when it comes to crowns and buckles instead of the same catalog parts so many use.
This all brings me to a big point of contention, at least for me. The Gorilla Watches Fastback is powered by the Miyota 8215. While this movement has been in use for many, many years, it is a lower beat rate movement that is also non hacking. For anyone reading this that does not know what hacking means, in the simplest of terms the second hand does not stop when you pull the crown all the way out. This makes accuracy very hard to determine because you are never really sure if you set it right to begin with. The other issue with this movement is it is jittery and I have personally owned a few watches over the years with the 8215 that had the stuttering second hand, where it will legit stop moving for a few seconds and then it will skip and catch up, or it will just stutter around the dial at certain points. Now, full disclosure, I have not seen this yet with this particular example in the Fastback, but that does not mean it can not happen in the future.
At $880 the Gorilla Watches Fastback has a lot going for it. The owner has a serious pedigree with his work history and the design, while it might be over the top for some, is pretty damn cool, at least to me. Unfortunately, while I do find it good looking, fun and also well made, it is not the type of watch for me. A good 5-7 years ago, I could totally see myself going nuts over this watch. I am not saying this watch is only for the younger crowd either, it was just the place I was in at that time of my life and this is something that would have appealed to me. The craftsmanship is evident when looking at photos or videos and it is easy to see that they paid attention to every small detail. The one big detail they glossed over in my opinion, was the movement. I would have praised the Fastback top to bottom if it had a Miyota 9015 at the very least, or maybe go with a Sellita SW200. Maybe it came down to a cost issue and because of all the materials used, Gorilla Watches needed an inexpensive movement to keep the overall price down. If that were the case then I wish they went with a Seiko movement like the NH35.
Is the Fastback a beautiful and well made watch? Yes. Does it use a combination of high grade materials? Sure does. Do I wish it had a better movement? Without a doubt. Is it the watch for me? No, it is not.
That is not to say it is not the watch for you. If the type of movement is not a big issue to you or you feel the design and materials are enough to overlook it, then I hope I presented the watch to you in a way to help you make up your mind, one way or the other.
Make sure to check out the video if you have not yet and you can see more shots of this watch on our social media channels as well.