I’ve had the opportunity to put my hands on the brand new Sputnik from the newborn Microbrand Gruman Watches, so I’ve decided to write my Gruman Sputnik review.
The Sputnik I’m talking about, is the 3 hands version so don’t expect me to analyze also the other one available, the GMT/Worldtimer, that shares the same case but differs for the movement, the bezel and the dial too. I just received a “3 hands” blue color scheme model for my  review and I’ve tested it for more than a week.

Introduction to the Gruman Sputnik watch review

This Spuntik is almost final: despite it’s an evaluating sample, so basically it can be considered a prototype, it just lacks the personalization on the oscillating rotor, that’s going to be gold filled.
Everything else: case, bezel, inner rotating chapter ring, dial, hands, strap & buckle and movement, it’s all final and absolutely definitive.

I’d also like to state that all the minor hairlines and small scratches that are pictured on the back, are not my fault, so they were prior to the shipment to me. The creator, Mehran Ghadimy,  mentioned having tested the watches in Siberia and Switzerland through rough conditions and passed it to several watchmakers for tests/opinions, so probably someone did the mess during this “promiscuous” handlings.

I cannot also review any box or packaging, or papers or any kind of extras, just beacuse the watch arrived me “naked“, just bubble wrapped and neither boxed nor packed in its official kit (as I understood, it should come into a custom travel leather box with 2 drawers and 4 watch slots…and it sounds quite interesting!).

Premise: I am NOT connected, directly or indirectly, with Gruman Watches, so I tried to describe and share – at my best – the impressions I’ve caught, wearing for a week this Sputnik sample.

Furthermore, this test drive is absolutely not sponsored so my review reflects my true opinion.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The watch has a true and clear military/tactical inspiration and has immediately amazed me for the solidity that transmitted me. In fact, its weight is pleasantly felt on the wrist, indicating that the case is not empty (it’s filled with thick and solid stainless steel) and that the movement is not insured into the carrure through the usual plastic retention ring.
I could not say the same, for example, of my Longines Master Collection Moonphase Chronograph that when came into my hands, despite the wonderful design and the guilloche dial (really splendid), disappointed me because of the – in my humble opinion – excessive lightness.


DAILY USAGE

In everyday use, the watch did not give me any trouble and did not turn out to be uncomfortable or cumbersome on my 17.5cm circumference wrist, despite its 44mm diameter. Perhaps because of a perfectly balanced mix between thickness, shape and curvature of the case, the watch turns to be imperceptible on the wrist during common usage in everydays daily operations.


READABILITY

The time reading is immediate and easy. The indexes stand out nicely from the dial and are sufficiently bright, just like the hands, to guarantee a night consultation without any problem.
The red second hand is that extra touch that gives sportiness and allows you to monitor precisely the pace of time with an instant glance.

 

TECH SPECS

Movement

Sellita SW200-1 automatic, Swiss Made, declined in its “elaboré” version with Incabloc upgrade, the plates decorated with perlage circles and with the rotor ruthenium blacked decorated with concentric Côtes de Genève. At the moment, there is only the Gruman logo missing, but it’s gonna be engraved and filled with gold to stand out on the black rotor in the final version.

For those wishing to download the detailed technical data sheet, you can pick it up, in PDF format, directly from the official Sellita website, here:
http://www.sellita.ch/images/stories/documents/SW200_1_33_20150226.pdf

This movement is the most direct competitor of the excellent ETA 2824, in fact it was chosen by Oris (who renamed it Oris 735) to equip its timepieces. Very different quality compared to other microbrands which, for purely economic reasons, opt (almost) all for the cheaper “daily beaters” Seiko NH-35 and Miyota 9015, both certainly robust workhorses but not qualitatively at the same level as ETA and Sellita.
If you are curious to read a comparison between the SW-200 Vs ETA 2824, I would like to point out this link:
http://watchflipr.com/movements/sellita-sw200-vs-eta-2824-2/

Case

it’s made of solid 316L stainless steel, hypoallergenic and nickel free. Pleasantly designed with integrated lugs that vanish into the case, with a design halfway between vintage 70’s and the “flying saucer”. Finishing provides an alternation of brushing and mirror-polished parts that accentuate the edges, the slightly curved shape of the case that embraces optimally the wrist. A really nice timepiece with a beautiful three-dimensional case that shows lots of quality from all angles.
For my experience, I can say without problems that the quality of the finish is absolutely similar and comparable to many established brands as Hamilton, Longines, Mido, Mondia, Oris, etc.
This is an excellent passport for a young microbrand, and shows lots of ambition and significant potential for other future products.

Crystal and caseback

both the front and the back glasses are made of sturdy synthetic sapphire, with double anti-reflection coating too. I was very pleased to not denote any color change towards green or blue tone variation, typical of some “coatings”. This anti glare treatment is so good that does not distort the color of the splendid dial below.

Dial

it’s definitely the main point of strenght of the Sputnik. In fact, it has a strong personality thanks to it’s deep threedimensionality.
Gruman have opted for a “pattern/tile” that recalls the bolted fuselages of jets and geostationary satellites.
It’s made out of engraved lines and embossed brass dots. I must compliment the idea, which proves to be really successful and so eye catching! Depending on the light and angle, the texture becomes barely noticeable and discreet. It’s a nice touch to have it being not too protuberant. The date is placed in a window at 6 o’clock, with a nice symmetrical layout.

External bezel

the base of the unidirectional bezel is in sandblasted steel and black PVD-treated, with a spectacular ceramic insert, bearing the 12 hours engraved, to set a second time zone at your convenience and/or need.

Internal chapter ring

it’s bi-directional, and driven by the crown at 2 o’clock. Would that be announced as a diver watch, I would have expected it to be unidirectional, but Mehran clearly defined it as an «ultra functional hybrid for every day life». For a non-diver usage, the quick correction and change offered by the bi-directional choice is appreciated.

Diameter

44 mm, crowns excluded. Gruman logo is engraved on the top of both crowns, the time setting one (at 4 o’clock) is screwed, with a greater guarantee of watertightness, and the other one is gaskets sealed.

Thickness

12.6 mm (the GMT version is 12.4 mm), it lays under any shirt with no damage for the cuffs.

Indexes and hands

Three layers of Swiss Superluminova C3.

Lug to lug vertical distance

50 mm

Water Resistance

200 meters/660 feet/20 ATM

Lug Width

22 mm

Strap

22mm wide, 20mm at the buckle (IWC looking like, with Gruman logo laser engraved), custom made in thick and soft premium leather.

 

OTHER MODELS & COLOURS

  • The 3 hands model is available in 2 color schemes: black or blue.
  • The GMT has 4 differend color schemes available: black, blue, anthracite grey and silver.

EXTRAS

A delicious extra may be also available in the future, depending on the number of orders picked up during the launch period…
The stainless steel bracelet, whose design recalls the shape of the photovoltaic panels of the geostationary satellites.
(Visit here to take a look at it: https://www.grumanwatches.com/products/satellite-themed-custom-made-fully-machine-bracelet).
At the moment nobody knows if it’s goin to be realized, but I really hope that many will book it, in order to have it available aftermarket.
Let’s see what will happen…I keep my fingers crossed!


PRICES & SHIPPING

  • 3 Hands $ 440 USD (over street price of $ 690 USD)
  • GMT $ 640 USD (over street price of $ 890 USD)
  • Bracelet $ 100 USD (over street price of $ 150 USD)
  • International shipment will have a flat cost of $ 30 USD and the parcels will be sent from Holland

CONS

Despite the watch is very well built, provided with premium parts, movement, and the price offered it’s very attractive (a bargain if compared to other microbrands), there are a few things that I would change to match more my personal taste:

  1. I understand it was not advertised as a diver but I’d like both the internal and external bezels to be lumed (but this would raise the price a little, as Swiss Superluminova is not so cheap).
  2. My personal pick will be the GMT model because it seems more balanced with much more details on dial and bezel. The somewhat «emptiness» of the 3Hands makes it look a tad bigger than expected.
  3. The tones of blue of the dial and of the internal rotating chapter ring are not perfectly matched: so there are too many shades of color with slight changes between them, that make the whole less harmonious. Obviously this specific “problem” concerns only the blue model reviewed.
  4. 44mm is a measure not suitable for all wrists; I hope that in the future – as Dan Henry did too – we can hope for a 40mm model too.
  5. I’d include in the bundle a rubber strap, matching the colour of the dial, provided with a traditional buckle (like the one is now put on the leather strap) and if I could squeeze extras in the budget, I’d provide a deployment butterfly clasp for the leather one.

INFO & CONTACTS


FINAL NOTES

As stated before, I am NOT affiliated with Gruman, so I’ll not be able to reply to any of your questions and/or inquiries, so I invite you to contact Gruman Watches directly through the official channels for futher informations, if needed.

The attached pics are from Viola Cappelletti, shot with a Canon 5D / Mark IV, into a white room softbox. Wristshots have been taken with my smartphone, a Samsung S7 Edge. No color correction or postproduction has been done to these pictures, in order to be as more realistic as possible.

I hope you enjoyed reading. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!