Gavox Curtiss P-40 Review

Featured | Review | 01.30.2013

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Gavox is a young watch company (founded in 2011) based out of Belgium that recently released several very attractive quartz timepieces under the Curtiss P-40 name.  With rugged good looks and military heritage, the watches speak to a common sensibility in the watch world.  And at approximately $250, they’re well within the budget of most.

Curtiss P-40 Ref 350 Calendar
Movement: Caliber VD75 from Seiko
Dimension: 40mm X 8mm X 46.7 lug to lug
Lug Width: 20mm lug width
Water resistance: 5 bar
Crystal: mineral crystal w/ anti-reflection coating
Warranty: Limited Warranty for a period of 2 years
Price: $230-250

Curtiss P-40 Ref 338.1 Military Time
Movement: caliber VD77 from Seiko
Dimension: 40mm X 8mm X 46.7 lug to lug
Lug Width: 20mm lug width
Water resistance: 5 bar
Crystal: mineral crystal w/ anti-reflection coating
Warranty: Limited Warranty for a period of 2 years
Price: $240-255

Gavox was founded by Michael Happé, engineer, pilot and grandson of one of the Flying Tigers pilots of WWII. Flying Tigers was the name for a group of foreign pilots, fighting on behalf of China against the Axis alliance.  They were also known for their use of the Curtiss P-40 aircraft painted with a large shark face at the nose.  This iconic image is familiar to war history buffs and novices alike, and stands as the inspiration for the two timepieces we’re reviewing today.

Case
The Curtiss P-40 line includes reference 326 (small seconds), 338 (24-hr)  and 350 (day-date), with each sharing the same case design, comprised of stainless steel with mineral crystal, and measuring 40mm in diameter, 8mm tall and 46.7mm lug-to-lug (our measurement).  Each is also powered by an Seiko quartz movement, with slight variation to account for the specialty functions.  These watches are also all available with either a brushed stainless steel or black PVD finish and we had a chance to examine both.  Each is smooth and evenly applied, with the black PVD being deep and very matte. We were pleasantly surprised by the overall look and feel of these cases given their price range.  Generally speaking, the cases of the Curtiss P-40 are simple and well executed, which is appropriate for the military aesthetic.

Dial
Similar to the cases, the dials of the two P-40 references we looked at share many of the same design elements.  Both the reference 338 and 350 feature a black dial with white text, identical fonts, sword style hands for the hour and minute and fence post style hands on the sub-dials. Speaking of, each of the P-40 models feature a small seconds sub dial at six o’clock.  We typically prefer small seconds on quartz watches, as they conveniently hide the second hand tick and make it less noticeable should the second hand become misaligned with the second markers, which is common with quartz watches. Lume on each P-40 can be found the hands and all hour indicators.  Lastly, along the outer rim of each dial is a slanted bezel with numeric indicators each five minutes and hash marks for each other minute that trail onto the main portion of the dial.

What differentiates the 338 and 350 dials are the sub-dials displayed. The reference 338 features a 24 hour indicator in a small sub-dial at twelve o’clock, with contrasting white and black bordering and the letters AM and PM printed along the right and left of the dial respectively.  Meanwhile the 338 displays the day of the week and month through sub-dials at three and nine o’clock. On the left hand sub-dial, the days of the week are printed abbreviated, while on the right sub-dial the days of the month are displayed with numerals every five days.  With each sub-dial, there is a texture of concentric circles that helps the sub-dials stand out from the rest of the dial with a bit of glimmer.

Straps and Wearability
One great feature of the Gavox experience is your ability to choose which strap you’d like to accompany your watch from a wide selection that includes leather bands, cavas two piece bands with leather backing and nylon NATOs.  Each comes in a number of colors, giving you the option to find the strap the best meets your needs and taste.  We found all of the straps to be quite nice, albeit what you may expect in the sub $300 price range. All were quite comfortable to wear, easy to change and seem to be of good quality. As a nice touch, both the two piece and NATO options feature signed hardware.

It is worth noting that which strap you choose with your watch will alter the price of the package slightly.  Both of the two piece straps will cost a bit more, hence the price range for each of these pieces (ref 338: $240-255 | ref 350: $230-250).

Wearing the Curtiss P-40’s is a pleasure.  We found these watches to be very attractive, with clean design that fits with nearly any attire.  These watches would easily transition from the office to the weekend without breaking a sweat, and the size of the watches makes them comfortable to wear all the time. As much as I love wearing a more substantial mechanical piece, there are certainly days that I crave something as nimble as one of the P-40’s.

Conclusion
The Curtis P-40’s by Gavox are first and foremost well made and very attractive military timepieces.  They wear well and give you the strong sense that they were designed by someone who knows and loves watches. And to that end, we think that they serve as a very strong indicator that Gavox is a brand with a lot of potential and, more than likely, a bright future.

That said, we know there are a number of you out there who will dismiss the P-40’s at first glance simply because they feature quartz movements, and we won’t hold that against you.  There is an allure to mechanical timepieces that make it hard to consider a quartz in the same light under most circumstances. But for anyone out there who hasn’t caught the mechanical bug, the Gavox Curtiss P-40 presents a strong case.  We happen to think that the P-40 is the perfect watch to wear everyday, all day, simply because its great looking, really comfortable and pretty affordable. We also think its a great buy for or any young watch collector. If when I was 16, someone had tipped me off to a brand like Gavox, I would have had a much cool watch on my wrist for most of my young adulthood than whatever monstrosity I ended up buying at the department store.

So if the Curtiss P-40 speaks to you, head over to the Gavox website today to learn how to get one of your own.

Thanks to Gavox for providing watches for review

By Blake Malin

  • http://URL Petter

    Video is private.

  • http://URL Jose M.

    great review as usual!, I’m one of those who buy mechanical watches only, but I have to say the P-40 is really nice! I like it a lot.

  • http://URL Will

    I’m always impressed with the photography on this site, especially the pairing of outfits and watches.

  • http://URL marvin

    This brand has a strong resemblence with Techne imo.

  • http://URL Nitin

    Great review as always. i have to agree with Marvin, this is alot like Techne. IMO i believe Techne to have a stronger offering. However Gavox have come in at a great price point. looking forward to see what else they come up with.

  • http://URL Alex C

    keep it up awesome review!

  • http://URL Enrique

    Just got my Gavox Curtiss P40 GA 350 1 dark brown leather strap. Looks wonderful.
    This watch is going to travel!

  • http://URL Nathan

    Great review, love the watch

  • http://URL Max

    I really like this website and the detail that goes into the watch reviewing. And I will most certainly be purchasing a Gavox watch after viewing this. However, Blake. Do you realize you said um 92 times during this video? If you are counting the ah’s, double it. Perhaps you should practice your reviews before you post them. it might cut down on the ah’s and um’s. Seriously, i couldn’t even pay attention to the details of the watch. It was that noticeable.