The Gavox Aurora’s unique Soprod mecatronic movement has more functions packed into it than most collections have in total. It’s like have a full featured digital watch, with the styling and motion we love from analogue. Let’s go through each and what they do (be sure to watch the video review as well):
This is the base position. Here, you have the time via the hour and minute hands and date via the hand at 9. You’ll notice that the index at 9 has 31 marks on it for the date. The first important thing about this mode is that it’s essentially a power save mode. The battery life of the Aurora is an impressive 4-7 years. Even at its shortest length, it’s longer than most time only quartz watches. The battery is only drained when the motors are in operation to move the hands. So, by having nothing in constant motion, there is little draw.
The second important function is that in this mode you can adjust the time to accommodate changing timezones with ease. Simply pull out the crown, and then use the pushers to advance the hour and minute hands separately. The time here is based on the time that is set in the UTC mode (which we’ll get to), so rather than set the time by the minute, you can jump in 15 minute increments or in full hour increments. This is handy when traveling in certain parts of the world where timezones change less than an hour. When you enter set mode, you’ll see that the date hand switches to a 24-hr hand in order to indicate am/pm.
One can jump back to this mode quickly by pushing and holding the crown button down at any time.
This mode is simply the time with active seconds. The hand at 9 becomes a retrograde seconds, ticking up to 30, and then back from 30 – 0. This is very cool, as there is a logic to counting down the second half of the minute. You’ll notice also that the seconds and minutes are actually linked on this watch, so when the hand reaches 0, the minutes jump.
UTC is essentially your reference time. When you pull out the crown, you can adjust by the minute. So, perhaps you set it to GMT, or to your home, and then use “home” for local time. In this mode, the 9 hand shows 24-hr time. Also in this mode you are able to calibrate the watch hands if they are not lining up. To do this, one pushes and holds both pushers until the hands zero out. Then you use the top pusher to adjust the hands by small amounts, and the bottom pusher to change which hand you are calibrating. This is a necessary function for the watch to have, and one you wish all quartz watches could have as their second hands tend to get off the mark. That said, I found that even with calibrating, the hour and minute hands never perfectly lined up, jumping over the mark ever so slightly.
This is where things get a bit more unique. TMR stands for timer. When you enter this mode the hour, minute and sub-dial hands all go to zero. Since it’s a timer, you first need to set how long you wish to time for. So, you pull out the crown and then use the top pusher to set the minutes and the bottom pusher to set the hours. Should you have previously set a time, it will be stored there and pulling the crown out will re-zero the hands. You can set it to a total of 31:59. In this mode, the hour hand actually indicated the minutes, the sub-dial hand the hours and the minute hand the seconds (makes sense in person).
When you start the timer, you’re in for a treat. The minute hand will start to tick away counter-clockwise! It’s very cool to watch, and I believe quite unique. When the timer is done counting down, you’re in for another show. In order to indicate that the time is up, the hour and minute hand will spin around the dial in opposite directions to get your attention. Should you have started your timer and then gone back to home, it keeps counting, the hands will flutter their as well. I think this is very cool, but I do wish it was tied to a vibration as well… This still requires you to look at it, and there are many circumstances in which you simply wont notice it.
This is the chronograph mode, which also has some cool tricks. Once again, the hands will zero out, hour and minute going to 12 and the sub-dial going to 0. You then operate it as you you would any other chronograph; starting it with the top pusher, pausing it the same, and resetting it with the bottom pusher. Some cool things to start: the minute hand once again counts the seconds, while the hour hand counts the minutes. Yup, that means it’s a central-minutes chronograph! It also counts a full 60-minutes. The elapsed hours are then counted on the sub-dial at 9, up to 31 hours, 59 minutes.
Another cool function is split time, which is achieved by pressing the lower pusher when the chronograph is running. The best function, however, is the psuedo-flyback action. When running, if you push and hold the top pusher, the hands will reset, and when you let go, immediately start back up. This is great as a fast reset, but also could be a more responsive way to start timing. The action of pressing and releasing quickly seems like it takes more time and coordination than just letting go… I’m talking fractions of a second, but still.
The name is pretty clear, but it doesn’t tell you that it has a perpetual calendar. In this mode, the sub-dial indicates the date, the hour hand points to one of the days written in gray on the dial. The minute hand then points to one of the months printed on the chapter ring. As mentioned before, there are four full years represented on the chapter ring, which is used to indicate leap year. If the hand is pointing to a month in the last year (which is in white rather than gray), then it is a leap year.
The last mode tells you the time plus the moon phase. The phase is indicated on the sub-dial, which has little waxing and waning moons in gray, with a full moon dead center in white. Not the most useful of the functions, but does give the watch a very well rounded assortment of modes.