J&G Watches is the brainchild of popular YouTube Watch personality Gary Williams and Dr. James Fan. Mr. Furry did an interview with Dr. Fan for the site back in September if you would like to learn more about him. The Academic is their Softmore release, following the successful Kickstarter launch of their debut model, the Exciton. Unlike the robust diver, the Exciton, the Academic is a dress watch with polished indices and a case paired with beautiful leather straps from Vario. Launching on Kickstarter this last week, the Academic will sell for £300 or about $400. The list of colors this comes in is long, with ten options. The white dial is paired with a bright red leather strap.
On the Wrist
On my wrist, the 38mm dress watch is a dream. Pairing this watch with a wool sweater or button-down, you can feel ready to lecture on Advanced Differential Equations. The no-date Miyota movement allows the watch to be thin, so despite the lack of curve in the lugs, the watch blends with the wrist nicely.
One set of lug holes is drilled through, allowing easy strap swapping. Though, only partially needed with the quick-release strap. To dress the watch down, a second set of holes is provided to exchange a pass-through nylon or something else for the leather. The amount of polishing on the Nylon is only slightly out of place; it still works well.
J&G Academic Specs
The dial is well-balanced, with large Roman numerals and polished baton indices. Text is limed to the J&G logo and the “Academic” at 6 p.m. The finishing is well done, and the lack of lume is no problem for a pure dress watch such as this. The stark white dial also provides much-needed contrast against the high polish indices. A busier dial would give room for the hands to get lost.
Where there is room for improvement on the dial is the font choice and possibly replacing the second hand with a shorter option. With such limited text on the dial, I would like to see J&G pursue a custom font unique to them. Picking on a font choice can seem nit-picky, but a custom font could elevate the design.
Case, Movement, Misc
We have discussed the Miyota 9039 multiple times, so I will not go into extreme detail. It is a thin, solid movement that provides a proper no-date option, meaning there is no phantom date position. The back of the watch is an exhibition sapphire crystal for the complete viewing pleasure of the Miyota as well.
The crown of the Academic is polished with the J&G logo embossed. This is not a screw-down crown, and the Miyota has hand-winding capabilities. Water resistance is a nonissue as a consumer would carry an umbrella for a rain event. The watch has 30m of resistance, plenty for the rogue raindrop.
Similar to the Exciton, the case of the Academic was designed in-house by James. Taking on such a massive part of the design is uncommon within microbrands because it requires manufacturing expertise to understand tolerances and efficient production methods. The departure from the ultra tool Exciton to a sophisticated dress watch like the Academic is impressive for a second-time designer in James.
I look forward to seeing how he continues to improve his work while incorporating details like the lug chamfers and additional lug holes.
One added benefit of the Academic is the travel roll the watch comes in. The leather travel roll provided is a huge plus. Something valuable and thoughtful like this makes any fancy box that will sit on a shelf indeterminately look silly, and they deserve some props.
The Academic helps fill a sorely deprived space in the affordable market with a dedicated dress watch. The watch manages the design brief well and would be at home at dinner parties or in the faculty lounge of a University. The highlights for me are the thin and thoughtfully designed case, the quality finishing on the polished parts of the watch, and the excellent leather goods accompanying the watch.
Areas I would like to see improved are the long secondhand and font choice, both truly personal preferences. For the Kickstarter price of £300, I wouldn’t let that deter you. At this price point, finding a quality dress watch is limited, to say the least; if the design language of the Academic appeals to you, it’s worth the investment.
Check out more dress watch reviews at The Watch Clicker here
Check out the J&G Kickstarter here