The Carpenter G2 on its stock bracelet

Carpenter Watches G2 Review

Can the G2 breathe new life into the dressy tool watch segment?

Looking at the current microbrand watch offerings you will see a lot of dive watches. There’s nothing wrong with that, I love dive watches. They make up most of my collection and I will continue to buy them until the day I die. With that said, there is nothing wrong with a little variety in the collection. Whenever I see a microbrand offer up a field, pilot or dress watch I get excited, especially when they are under $1,000. That world is dominated by the larger brands like Seiko, Stowa, Tissot and Hamilton. Modern microbrands excel at shaking up product segments and offering original designs. They’ve been doing it for years with dive watches and now brands like Carpenter are doing it with other types of watches. The Carpenter Watches G2 is a prime example of an original design that brings a breath of fresh air into the segment. This specific watch blends a field watch and a dress watch together to create a tool watch that is beautiful and functional.

Carpenter Watches G2 Review 1

A Background in Design

Carpenter is one of the more tenured microbrands despite only having a couple releases. Founded in 2014 by Neil Carpenter to keep his creative juices flowing after 10 years in industrial design, he has found a way to bring his design background into his watches. Because of his background and previous management of his own company, he already had the ability and contacts necessary to have the necessary pieces manufactured.

Carpenter’s M series, their first release, was an accessible and attractive looking entry into the underserved microbrand field watch segment. That watch came in multiple finishes and dial colors and introduced Carpenter’s calling card, the round date window (more on that later). Almost all those variations are sold out at the time of this writing. Their latest release, the G series, brings in some of the elements that made the M series a success and expands upon it.

The specific version seen here is the G2, but all the G series watches share the same specs. Coming in with a 38mm case, this watch is a size that is going to please a lot of wrists, especially considering this watch can easily fall into the category of a dressy tool watch. Carpenter decided to upgrade from the Miyota movement in the M series and fitted the G series with an ETA 2824-2. While cliché to say, this is a workhorse movement and is extremely reliable. I’m not one to measure accuracy of my watches, however I am often asked so I measured the accuracy of the G2. Measuring over the course of a week, the watch was +/- 10 seconds a day, which is extremely acceptable in my opinion. The movement, visible through an exhibition case back, looks nicely decorated with a branded rotor.

Carpenter Watches G2 Review 2

Choices outside the Norm

Two of my favorite elements on the G2 are the crystal choice and the date window. The G series are all fitted with a box-type acrylic crystal. The sapphire snobs are sure to come out and complain about this choice but in my opinion, crystal selection is part of the design process and not every watch works with sapphire. A prime example is the Speedy Pro. The hesalite crystal is often regarded as superior to the sapphire version because of the “milky ring” effect that sapphire gives on such a large domed crystal. I believe the effect with the G2 would be the same if they had opted for sapphire. The acrylic looks great from all angles. The downside to this is that the crystal is more prone to scratches, but these should be easily removed with a few minutes of time and some Polywatch. The circular date window is also one of my favorite design choices. I don’t see circular date windows that often and I really don’t understand why. On a watch like this, the shape of the date window matches perfectly and doesn’t detract from the dial at all.

The version of the G series I have has a gray sunburst dial with applied markers. The dial can appear black in dim light and radiant in natural or bright light. As is the case with a lot of dressier watches, silver markers on darker dials can lead to readability issues but thankfully here the problem is not too pervasive. The applied markers are unlumed and look great when the light hits them. I do get some Rolex OP vibes from the dial layout, which is fine by me.

Carpenter Watches G2 Review 3

Form is just as Important as Function

The case of the watch is one great upside and one downside. A very welcome addition here is the screw down crown. A trademark of a dressy tool watch, the screw down crown gives the G2 50M of water resistance, which should be plenty for most. The crown is large and easy to operate. Winding is a joy thanks to the ETA 2824-2. The lug width is the only real problem here. Coming in at 19mm, it falls right into that off number for the lovers of changing straps. Carpenter does offer a variety of straps in this width. More aftermarket strap manufacturers are offering the odd-number widths now.  You should be able to find a good variety of straps but perhaps not every strap you love will fit. I did find the bracelet to be quite comfortable and was happy they included a few half links to get the fit just right with the butterfly clasp. The mixture of brushed and polished surfaces on the case looks well executed and keeps in line with the needs one might want with a dressy tool watch. While I am a huge fan of bracelets and like the one included here, the G2 really shines on leather.

Carpenter Watches G2 Review 4

Overall, the G2 is a solid watch. There are going to be some that can draw criticism for the G2 for not including sapphire and the 19mm lug width, but I view these as design choices by Carpenter. The G series is more than capable of going from the office to weekend camping without fear of water logging or damaging the watch. The G series comes in between $825 -$895 depending on your case finish and bracelet option. You’re getting a good amount of watch for your money. I believe some will put this in the mix with a Sinn 556 on leather and some higher tier Hamiltons.  You’re not going to go wrong with any of them. The G series can certainly separate you from the pack with something different without being snobby about it.  I’m excited to see where Carpenter decides to go next. They have a great opportunity to continue to expand on tool watch segment and bring some more options for those buyers.

More images of the Carpenter G2

Visit the Carpenter Watches website

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