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.
Nice review. Love reading your reviews. from south korea
Cool watch. Is it possible to keep the chronograph running and go to other functions (like home or UTC)?
Yes, it keeps running in the background. When you go back to CHR, the hands jumped to position
Interesting piece. After watching the video, I see that you weren’t kidding when you said the hands don’t always line up with the proper markers — most noticeably in the chronograph mode. That would drive me nuts. If you’re going to build digital functionality into an analog watch, the readouts have to be crisp and accurate.
Hello Eric, How are you? it looks like the hands alignment is making you worry.
Just understand what is happening with these movement: The hands does hit the marker halfway (Gravity helps) and then are off of only 2° the other way. The reason is mechanical. I have used Bi-directional motors for this watch and to be able to do this the Wheels and pinon of the movement need to be able to re-align going one way or an other way. And the Bi-directional aspect here is a Real must for this watch but need to allow this 2° tolerance to be able to go both way. The same analogy can be used for a Bi-Directional Automatic Rotor, It takes 60° to get the gear in place to start winding the movement and same on the other side. This is why some movement works only one way where other works 2 ways.
Mike (Gavox founder) of this micro watch business..
Great watch from Belgium and very detailed nice review from W&W.
Though you have technical explanation behind, I agree with Eric’s comment for positioning of hands during chrono.
BTW, PVD is best surface finishing for this watch 🙂
Thanks for your reply, and for the explanation. I’m a big fan of your business — I love my Gavox Legacy Navy — and of complex quartz watches, so I thought this might be a great fit, but something about it doesn’t gel for me. Personally, I wish you’d added more complexity to the face, for example a central seconds hand and at least one 360 degree subdial, but I recognize that that would’ve significantly altered the watch’s aesthetics. Regardless, congrats on your accomplishment.
Thanks also for sharing your feedback
Something truly innovative. Restrained and good looking too. Congratulations.
thanks you Mr Badger 2000
Talk about a tough watch to effectively review… really nice job pulling it off!… (especially the vid). Really commend these guys for packing so much functionality into a classically styled pilot’s watch. Sneaky-brilliant Belgians with their kick-ass design & taste.
Thanks JC. I have plenty more design and ideas to come 😉
Very cool watch and such an accomplishment providing so much functionality with the analogue interface. I am only wondering if it all would have been possible had it stayed in the 40-42mm size?
Many thanks Christian,
If i could do 42 i would be you need to know the mvt is 36mm and i still managed to enter it in this 43mm case (just) You need to know that no pusher and crown should dig in the skin as they are soft edged and high in the case. With a Nato Strap you dont feel you watch 😉
909 Euro is with tax. If shipping to the US the tax gets removed in the cart, bringing it lower. I know, just pulled the trigger on one yesterday.
Congratulations on what could be my idea of an almost perfect military watch, just a couple of questions before I buy a few (given that I have been searching for the most ideal watch for months !!)
1) what is the working temperature range? I am in the Middle East
2) What is the vibration/shock proof capability ?
3) given that you use two thick coats of SLN, how long does the luminousness approximately last ?
4) lastly, how scratch proof is the case? Titanium would be awesome.
5) Its a big watch, which is good for me, but could the buttons be placed on the other side and the main crown lowered, just worried my big old hand bent over would keep catching
Sorry for all the questions, I type because of excitement for your product.
Hey Thomas. Did you get the answers to these great questions? I know what you mean re searching for that perfect watch!!! Still searching. This one may be a bit out of my price range.
Hi, no I didnt, I think I have looked at hundreds of watches now, still looking. I am open on this one until someone can give me some feed back, lets stay in touch, happy to share my thoughts, I may have seen something you havent and v-versa.
I just answered your questions Thomas
this is a big list of questions? I’ll try to answer them now.
1) Temperature is the same thing for every electronic device, If is stays under a heavy sun and takes a lot of heart it could damage the watch (Specification would go from -20°c to 50°c however if you wear it , your wrist will be used as a heat sink and thus lowering the temperature.
2)The critical point here could be the vibration affecting the hands, This is why I made 4 sets of hands as this is critical the the watch , Changing the nature of the metal to aluminum and creating a counter weight for the unbalance, The hands now resist to 200G instead of the first 50G acceleration. However a heavy shock on the main pusher (crown) can affect the integrity of the movement as the stem you enter the movement just so slightly.
3)You should be OK with a 9 hours in the dark as prescribed by tritec , however as you eyes gets used to the dark this watch will be visible at all time 😉 BWG9 is a top class componant
4)Case is Stainless Steel 316L ans thus as hard as the Metal itself. I didn’t use the icehardening and Tegimented technique two other brands use , but is is much better than 304. Titaniul is also a good choice but the watch is not too heavy as it is.
5) Basically the 43mm is the smaller i could do with such 36mm movement. No I can not change anything now to the position of pushers as it has been build in this precise way.
Many thanks of your interest Thomas. Feel free to contact me on michael @ gavox.com
Very good review. Thank you.
Just saw another person bought this watch and am very excited for it!
silly questions, but what kind of battery does it take and where can customers in the United States get it serviced if needed?