It’s been a while since I took at a watch from Geckota. Sure, I’ve reviewed a watch from their sister brand, Forzo, but the last Geckota I had was over two years ago. It’s always nice to check in with a brand to see what they have cooking in the kitchen or to look at a classic from their catalog.
The Geckota G-01, also known as the Pioneer, is a staple in their catalog and boils down some of the brand’s busier designs. With fixed bezel sports watches becoming more popular by the day, this is the perfect time to take a closer look at the G-01 Pioneer.
On the Wrist
The G-01 is a complicated watch to figure out when you look at the specs and then put it on your wrist. This is a 42mm watch that is 14mm thick (including the crystal) but wears so much smaller. I won’t go as far as to say this wears like a 38mm watch, but it certainly doesn’t wear like a 42mm. What makes this even more perplexing is that this is a fixed bezel watch with a lot of area for the dial. The case shape has a lot to do with this. The cushion-style case breaks up the lines and helps the dial look smaller than it is. With a wrist-to-crystal measurement of 12.5mm and a lug-to-lug of only 45mm, even those with tiny wrists can pull this watch off effortlessly.
Geckota also took full advantage of the space allotted for the dial and gave everything room to breathe. The hands are big, bold, and highly legible. The markers in between those at the cardinal positions are smaller, but when contrasted with the large cardinal markers, there is no mistaking the time when looking at the watch.
I have a bone to pick with Geckota on this watch—the category they put this into. They call it a dress watch, and aside from a polished case, I don’t find anything dressy about it. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially as I think this is a great contender for a GADA (go anywhere do anything) watch. It even has a screwdown crown (and 200 meters of water resistance), which removes it from the dress watch category and shifts it to more of a sports watch.
Geckota G-01 Specs
The dial of the G-01 is surprisingly complex for how simple of a watch this is. While it lacks elements that create depth, like step-downs, there is plenty more to look at that creates visual interest. The layout of the G-01 is straightforward with applied markers, a bold handset, and a minute track.
The handset is bold, filled with plenty of lume, and walks a fine line between dressy and sport. The lollipop hour hand is undeniably sporty, while the minute hand that might typically accompany a cathedral-style handset gives the G-01 the ability to dress down. The markers at the cardinal positions complement the large handset and provide orientation as the 12 o’clock marker is larger than the rest. The handset and markers are given the gilt treatment, which pairs well with the blue dial.
Speaking of that blue dial, not only is it a gradient, going from a light, almost pastel blue in the center to black at the edges of the dial, but it is also brushed. The vertical brushing gives the dial a surprising amount of texture without letting any of the printing get lost in the fold.
I don’t usually devote a paragraph to the various lines on a dial, but there are a few on the G-01 that justify it. A crosshair in the center of the dial extends out toward the applied markers. Beyond that, a gold ring connects the markers. Flanking the markers is a minute track with hash marks between each 5-minute printed increment. There is certainly a lot going on here, but given the larger area the dial has to occupy, it never feels cluttered.
Case & Straps
The cushion case is entirely polished, and while it gives the G-01 a chunky vibe, it wears excellent, as I outlined above. This style of cushion case is popular among brands looking for vintage style while still having contemporary appeal—the step-down from the bezel to the mid-case transitions from one polished surface to the next. While I don’t have any issues with this, Geckota offers a brushed top on the Aurora dial variant, and I like the looks of that over the entirely polished case seen here.
The short, stubby lugs keep the lug-to-lug distance short and mitigate the feeling of wearing a large watch. Another element that makes me wish they called this a sports watch is that the lugs are drilled, allowing for quick and easy strap changes. The screwdown crown has fantastic knurling and gives a solid grip. A small gold ring on the crown complements the gilt accents on the dial. Small details like this give the G-01 a touch of style. While you wouldn’t miss it if it weren’t there, its inclusion is worth mentioning.
If you’re unaware, Geckota is also a strap manufacturer with their sister brand, Watch Gecko. They included two straps with the review sample, an Ostrich leather strap and a handmade leather strap. Both straps paired perfectly with the blue dial, and each conformed nicely to my wrist after a few quick rolls to break in the leather. I’ve never worn an Ostrich leather strap before and was surprised to see how it resembles alligator/crocodile leather in its pattern. Textured leathers aren’t usually my thing, but this is an affordable alternative to the aforementioned reptile leathers. I preferred the handmade leather strap as it was thicker and more my style. Neither of the straps will get you the customization options available from a more expensive custom leather strap from a bespoke crafter, but for the price, it is hard to go wrong with these straps.
I said a few times in this review that this should be called a sports watch, but regardless of what it is called, it’s a great watch. Geckota knows how to take influence from popular vintage watches and inject that style into a contemporary watch with their own soul. With that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing that same style, but with less…gilt. I would love to see this watch with silver accents (like the Aurora dial), and it might open it up to even more like me who don’t want as much gold in their lives.
Geckota has been around for a while now, and they have consistently been creating great-looking watches. I’ve always been impressed with their build quality, and the G-01 is no exception. Surprisingly, they don’t have more of a following in the microbrand watch space, and I’m sure (gorilla in the room) it has to do with their name. Perhaps it is because I’ve been reviewing them for a couple of years, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s just a name on a watch, and I don’t buy watches for their name.
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