[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Gruppo Gamma Nexus is a departure in terms of design for the Singaporean based microbrand. On the other hand, it isn’t. No, I’m not talking out both sides of my mouth here, but this design is inspired by vintage Panerai Depth Gauges that Italian Frogmen used to wear when doing underwater operations. So, vintage inspiration has been a big part of Gruppo Gammas design ethos since day one, but this case design and the jumping hours is where things take a new direction. The dial is very complex, the jumping hours takes some time to get used to, and the non-screw down crown at the 6 o’clock position with the articulated lug takes some getting used to as well. The Nexus is quite the departure for the brand, but is that a bad thing?
Gruppo Gamma Nexus Specifications:
Case: Diameter 44mm
Lug width 22mm
Weight 110g with strap
Crystal: Sapphire, top hat, anti-reflective
Water resistance: 100m/ 330ft
Movement: Miyota 8215 with customized module and rotor
Strap: Toscano series, leather, tan, length 125/75mm with end link installed
Accessories: Gruppo Gamma multi-purpose strap changing tool, travel pouch
The Nexus is available in 3 variations, the brushed stainless steel with vintage lume I have here, an identical version with C3 lume, and then two very distinct versions-an aged steel case, and a Damascus case that will set you back a little more than the standard $800, $1250 to be exact. That is pricey for sure, but exotic case materials are always going to be extra. As usual, Gruppo Gamma does a great job of building a watch, and this case is no different. While this construction is unique, especially the lugs, fit and finish as they say is top-notch. You are not going to pay 800 Benjamin’s for a watch from Gruppo and get a sub-par build, that is for sure. The articulated lug around the crown is there to protect it, and it does a good job, along with making the watch somewhat unique. The crown does not screw down though, so do not expect to go diving with this watch, as the water resistance is only 100m.
If you are new to jumping hours, the Gruppo Gamma Nexus can be a little shocking. Truth be told, this is not my style of watch, and I have had limited experience with this type of complication, mostly at watch gatherings over the years. This is the first one I have had in hand for review here as well, so this is a first on many fronts. That part is fun though, as even though this is not a watch that I would probably pick out or daily wear myself, it is truly special to be able to share my experiences with something different with all of you. If you have not watched the video yet, I suggest you do, but to simplify it, the Miyota 8215 has a special module installed and the hour hand and disc are attached via the pinion, and the hour disc has a gear underneath that rotates to change the time.
Setting the hour and minute is pretty straightforward and you won’t have to worry about seconds, as there are none. That is one of the reasons this movement was chosen. I have been ranting for over a decade about the Miyota 8200 series, and I probably will never stop, but in certain use cases, like this one, the lack of a second hand is two-fold: no stuttering second hand, but it is also very difficult to set the time accurately, and for a movement that isn’t the most accurate, to begin with (-20/+40 seconds a day), that can be a problem for some.
The sandwich dial (black dial underneath and gunmetal upper layer) is easy to read once you get used to it, though I have to say it is a little odd, at least for me. If you are used to or prefer something more classic, it is going to take some time for it to be second nature to tell the time at a glance, but just like anything, you can get used to it if you want to. This example has the vintage lume, and as you can see below, Grupp Gamma did a very good job with the application and it glows very bright and will last for a good few hours. I imagine the C3 version will be even better, so if you want the best lume, you might look towards that one. That said, the old radium or patina lume as some refer to it, does blend nicely with the copper-colored hand, vs the stark contrast with the green C3 pigment.
One of my biggest concerns of the Gruppo Gamma Nexus beyond the movement was how this would wear on the wrist. With the articulated lug, the overall thickness with the box sapphire crystal, and the overall look, I wondered if this watch was going to be highly uncomfortable. Fortunately, I was very wrong. That is not to say it is perfect on the wrist. Yes, it fits and curves well on my 7 1/2 inch wrist, and even though it is only a push/pull crown, I find it very difficult to change the time while on the wrist. Now, this is not an issue for most of us, we set the time before we put our watches on the wrist, or they are on watch winders and we only have to adjust twice a year for daylight savings time, but it is something I thought to mention. The leather strap is very comfortable with no break-in required and the color does compliment the watch dial nicely.
So, is it a bad thing that Gruppo Gamma took a chance and made the Nexus? I do not think so. It is a fun, quirky watch, and a conversation piece, but I just can’t see myself wearing it regularly. It should come as no surprise that every watch reviewed here is not going to be fawned over by me, and some are just not my cup of tea (I’m a coffee guy anyway). All that said, I do appreciate what the brand has done, and they have built one hell of a unique and attractive watch. Sometimes it is hard to explain why a watch, or car or any product is not for you, and in this case, I guess I will just say it is too far out there for me. Maybe it would be a fun weekend watch, but I look at watches a little different than most collectors probably do, and I like every watch to serve a purpose but also be a watch I can wear more than once or twice a week. Gruppo Gamma is probably happy that most collectors don’t think like me, and like to have something different than the norm in their collection, and if you are one of those collectors, the Nexus is probably worth a look.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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