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Company: Gavox

About Gavox:

Created in 2011 by Michael Happé, the grandson of one of the legendary Flying Tigers, GAVOX is a novel Belgian brand of high-performance timepieces designed and manufactured for professionals.In 2014, Gavox officially became watch maker for the 15th Wing and the 350 Squadron, two Belgian air force squadrons.

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GAVOX: easy to pronounce in every language, the novel name Gavox combines the Greek “galaxias” (our universe, the milky way), and the latin “vox” (voice). The mission of Gavox, “voice of our universe”, is to produce timing instruments
inspired by explorers who dared to go higher, farther, deeper.
As an engineer and pilot, the founder wanted a name that reflected his passion for technology, astronomy and space exploration and quality timepieces that could be used by professionals on the field.
HIGHER, FATHER, DEEPER.
The GAVOX collections take cues from instruments of exploration and offer various functions such as: chronograph, 24 hour time,mission timer, multiple time zone and perpetual calendar.

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The Aurora:
A watch for Pilots and Travelers
After 3 years of research and two major innovations, Gavox is proud to present the Gavox Aurora.

The Aurora is the world’s first multifunction quartz watch that handles all geographical and political time zones. It allows to keep track of a reference time and display a local time by increments of 15 minutes, in order to handle non-standard time zones with a difference of 15, 30 or 45 minutes. As much as 20% of the world’s population lives in non-standard time zones.

Designed based on the feedback of professional pilots, the watch also includes navigational features such as fly-back mission timer and countdown. Astronomical features include: perpetual calendar and moon phases.

The display borrow cues from aircraft instruments to allow a quick read of uncluttered information; and all functions are displayed in semi-circles, which prevents the hands from overlapping and hiding critical information.

Forged in surgical stainless steel, the case can be immersed to a static depth of 100 meter and is fitted with an anti-glare crystal that only diamond can scratch.

Technical Specifications :
Autonomy between 4 to 7 years depending on mode usage
Analog watch with 4 hands (1 for the mode, 3 for the information).
UTC time reference, and local time by increments of 15 minutes.
Countdown from up to 31 hours, with visual alarm.
Mission chronograph to 31 hours, with split and flyback features.
Perpetual calendar with simultaneous indication of date, day, month and leap year.
Moon phase.
Water-resistance to pressure of 10 ATM (333 ft).
Serial number.

 

 

I am very excited about this review because it is the first mecatronic movement watch that I am reviewing. The Aurora has several different motors that work in unison to create a very unique and special watch. Since this is a unique and special watch review I am going to approach it very differently, by explaining the functions first then I will dissect the watch from a physical standpoint.

So let’s take a look at each of the Aurora’s cool and unique functions shall we?

 

The Functions:

 

Chronograph:

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Enter the chronograph by advancing the hand by the pressing the crown until the ChR on the sub dial at the 3 o’clock hour marker. When you enter the chronograph mode the hour and minute hands advance to 12 and the sub-dial will advance to 0. To operate the chronograph function press the top pusher to start it, pressing the top pusher again will pause the counter. To reset the chronograph push the bottom pusher.

What makes the chronograph unique on the Aurora is that it’s a central minutes chronograph which means that the minute hand counts the seconds and the hour hand counts.  What is also unique is that the chronograph counts to 60 minutes once the first 60 minutes are counted, the hours are then counted are via the subdial which is located at the 9 o’clock hour marker. It’s quite astonishing that the Aurora can keep track of counting to almost 32 hours, clocking in the maximum at 31 hours and 59 minutes.

The chronograph can also split time, not as advanced as splitting the atom, but is very unique accomplishment when talking in terms of watches. To play Einstein and split time you do this by pushing the lower pusher while the chronograph is active. There is also a fly-back feature that is fun to use. This is achieved by pressing and holding the top pusher while the chronograph is active, this will cause the hands to reset. Then by letting go of the top pusher the chronograph starts up again without hesitation.

Moon Phase:

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My personal favorite feature of the Aurora as I have been obsessed with the moon phase feature on watches since I was a young boy. The waxing and waning phases of the moon are represented on the subdial at the 9 o’clock marker on the dial of the Aurora, with the full moon dead center. The full moon is fully lumed as well, I would have liked to see every phase of the moon with lume I think that would have been a perfect little design bonus. There is some really nice circular texturing at both of the subdials that adds some depth to the dial. It’s really well done and a nice touch.

Seconds Function SEC:

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Pretty self explanatory feature here. When selected by pressing the crown in and pressing it until the hand on the subdial at the 6 o’clock position selects the SEC, this activates the seconds hand which counts on the subdial at the 9 o’clock hour marker position.

Date Function:

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Once again by pressing the crown continuously until the little hand is pointing to the DATE on the subdial at the 6 o’clock hour marker. Once highlighted you will notice that the hour and minute hands will move to point out the date. To decipher the date, the hour hand points to the correct day of the week that is printed in gray, while the minute hand points the months printed on the chapter ring. The chapter ring represents four full years and also represented is the leap year, this is deciphered by looking at the hand that pointing to a month in the last year that is printed in white instead of the grey. Pretty useful considering that 2016 is a leap year.

Home Function:

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Continue to press the crown until HOME is highlighted in the 6 o’clock hour subdial which allows you to adjust the time to all of changing timezones. To achieve this, pull out the crown, and then press the top pusher to advance the hour and push the bottom pusher to advance the minute hand. You can advance the time in either 15 minutes at a time or advance it by a full hour. Why would this be of any use you ask? This can be used if one was to travel to destinations of the world that their timezones change but only change by less than an hour.  Upon entering the  set mode by pullin out the crown the date hand on the subdial at the 9 o’clock marker changes to a 24 hour hand indicating am and pm. When you push in the crown, that same hand on the subdial point to one of the numbers from 1-31 which indicates the day of the month.

Timer Function TMR:

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Once again, continue to press the crown until the small hand on the 6 o’clock subdial highlights TMR. Once in the TMR function pull out the crown to reset the positions of the hands to 12 o’clock. By pushing the top pusher this allows you to set the minutes of the timer by advancing the small hand and by pushing the bottom pusher it allows you to set the hours of the timer which are indicated by the hand of the subdial at the 9 o’clock hour marker. What I love about the TMR function is the fact that the TMR counts down in a counter clockwise movement like a real timer should. The fluidity of the hands movement on the Aurora is so cool and perfect. My friends were mesmerized by the movement of the hands while the Aurora was on my wrist during my review process.

 

UTC Function:

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By pushing in the crown to advance the hand to highlight UTC is again how you enter the mode. By pulling out the crown you can adjust/set the time minute by minute instead of 15 minute or hour increments. When you are in this mode, the subdial at the the 9 o’clock marker now indicates 24 hour time, which is a really awesome feature and very handy when traveling. Another handy feature of this mode is that it allows you to calibrate the quartz movement which allows you to align all of the hands on the watch. If you are a true stickler for hand along,net then this feature is very important to you. How you achieve the calibration mode is by pushing and holding both the top and bottom pushers. By holding the pushers it makes the hands “reset”. Once the hands reset, pushing the top pusher allows you to adjust the hands in tiny increments until you align them where you want them. To change what hand you want adjusted, you simply press the bottom pusher to select the hand you want to adjust. A very cool and very useful function in my opinion and gives you the chance to play watch technician.

This concludes the functions explanations and now I will walk you through the physical attributes of the Aurora watch.

 

The Packaging:

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The packaging is very cool for the Aurora and it instantly reminded me of the first Indiana Jones movie. It has that 1940’s traveling the world look and feel to it. It’s a wooden box that has a large drawer that is secured by a leather buckle with tan stitching . It’s so awesome. I’m a big fan of this packaging. It’s unique, functional and small. Printed in black on the box top is Gavox MFG- Wrist Watch Waterproof and the Gavox logo. On the drawer is printed in black is the Gavox logo and Gavox industries Belgian design, Aviator Wrist Watch Waterproof. Inside the drawer is foam padding with a cut out for the watch which is attached to a foam pillow. Also inside is of course the watch and strap, and a strap changing tool. The tool is also very cool as its signed with the Gavox logo and has a mini ruler on it.

 

The Case:

Measurements Ø 43 x 50.5 x 12 mm

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The Aurora’s case is made from stainless steel and has a nice brushed finishing. I think that in terms of “tool” watches, having a brushed case is an obvious choice.  The bezel is fixed and is plain brushed stainless steel. This was a good choice because the dial is obviously the main focal point of the Aurora and by keeping a thin, plain dial allows no distraction from the dial itself. On the crown side of the case is a signed crown with a G engraved on it. Also on the crown side is 2 button pushers. The crown guards perfectly protect the crown without intruding or compromising the crowns function. The non crown side is devoid of any detail.

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The screw down caseback is loaded with information and dead center is the engraved Gavox name and logo. Also engraved on the caseback is the following information: Swiss made, Aurora, Model number, Limited edition number, Belgian Design in collaboration with Techne, Stainless Steel, Sapphire Crystal, Water Resistant 10 Bar, Twin Motion Quartz by Soprad.

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The curved lugs have some good angles that are very smooth and are solid which means there aren’t holes for the spring bars on the outside. The spring bars attach into holes on the inner side of the lugs for the strap.

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The case is a really good size and fits pretty darn good on my 7 1/2″ wrist. The case isn’t too big and every inch of the inside is utilized by its movement with no room to spare. The flat crystal is scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflection coating.

 

The Dial:

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My oh my this dial and in one word? Stunning. In three words? Symmetrical Stunning Perfection. With all the functions of the Aurora it would have been very easy for this dial to become overcrowded and clustered. There’s a few things on the design level that Michael did that are truly brilliant to allow this dial to work without being a cluster of gibberish. Michael used several different colors to mark everything on the dial, some colors more bold than others which allows perfect symmetry allowing each function to be easily distinguished.

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First I will talk about the basics of the dial, the traditional hour markers, etc… The hour markers are in a nice white color set against the lovely black matte dial allowing the time to be easily read. The main 4 numbers are represented on the dial by bold, pilot watch style numerals, 12, 3, 6, and 9. The other hour markers are represented by large rectangular markers that extend out past the minute/seconds markers which are represented by smaller white hash markers. At the hour markers near the subdials the hour markers are represented by squares which was a smart choice as the squares still allow you to distinguish the hour/minute but also they don’t intrude on the subdials.

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The subdial at the 6 o’clock marker is the functions or modes of the Aurora. They are printed in white starting with HOME, SEC, UTC, TMR, CHR, DATE and ending with MOON. There is a small yellow and white hand that is used to highlight the mode/function and it is advanced by pushing the crown in. The hand is also coated with lume. The lume on the Aurora is so good unique and beautiful, wait until you see the lume shot pic.

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The subdial at the 9 o’clock marker is used for a large number of the functions/modes of the Aurora, from the SEC to the MOON it’s a very important subdial. The numbers are printed in white except for 25 & 30 which are printed in yellow. The waxing and waning phases of the moon are printed in grey, with the full moon represented in white. The grey color of the waxing and waning phases of the moon is the color choice that I mentioned earlier that I thought was so brilliant. It is still easy to view but it can become invisible at quick glances of the dial, which this helps keep the dial symmetrical and not overcrowded. The small hand at this subdial also matches the other subdial hand it is yellow and white and is the same size.

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The hour and minute hands are quite unique in shape and are very beautiful. The white minute hand in long and slender but not too sender where it gets lost. It’s the perfect size in my opinion are it stretches almost  to the chapter ring. The white hour hand is elongated diamond shaped with a long sharp tip that is yellow. All the hands are coated with lume which makes telling the time in dark situations easy to do. The ends of the hands are round circles, which I really like and like how they slightly extend past where they are secured.

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The chapter ring has the months printed on it and 4 years of months are represented on the chapter ring. Each January is printed in yellow, and each of the other months are printed in the grey with the exception of the leap year which are printed in white. The dark grey color again helps from that clustered overcrowded look.

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There is also some text printed on the dial which is printed in white. Under the 12 o’clock hour marker is the Gavox name and logo and the Aurora model name. Under the 6 o’clock hour marker is Mecatronic Swiss Made. All printed in the perfect size. The dial like I said works on a symmetrical level that is balanced and really is quite stunning.

 

Swiss Superluminova DGW9

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The Straps:

Measure between lugs 22mm

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Gavox has several strap options that are available for the Aurora from a leather strap to a NATO style strap. My personal favorite that I used mainly during the review process was a black nylon, NATO style strap. I was extremely comfortable and I really believe it best suited the Aurora out of all my choices a straps. Using the leather strap with deployment buckle with certainly dress up the Aurora. I’m a simple man, with simple needs and I enjoyed the black NATO style strap the best.

There is a black or a brown strap option with the Aurora. Both straps have white stitching and both straps are well padded. The brown strap has the engraved Gavox deployment buckle while the black strap has the traditional tang style buckle, which is also engraved with Gavox. Both straps are made of genuine leather and both are very smooth with an almost seude like finish. The straps are well made and are custom strap quality for sure. Both of these straps add a dressy element to the Aurora.

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The Movement:

picture from Soprod website.

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The movement was manufactured by Soprod and Gavox gave the strict specifications that make the Aurora the unique watch that it is. The Mecatronic movement has several different little motors that are in charge of different jobs, but they all work together like a team. The definition giving by Soprod is as follows: “An innovative “Mechatronic” movement enables the display to be customized with various functions.Two-directional micromotors (in any number) driving hands or disks offer revolutionary and limitless modularity”. I have never experienced anything quite like this movement. It keeps excellant time as you would expect from a highly developed Mecatronic movement. During my time with the Aurora it neither gained nor lost anytime after a month under the “microscope”. The way the hands move when jumping from mode to mode or when a certain function is activated, it is really quite stunning. I never grew tired of watching these hands move about the dial. The idea that there are more than one motors inside is really amazing when you think about it.

 

Wrist shot:

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The Aurora comes in different case material and finishing options. The matte black PVD case is very stealthy and so nice. I used the stainless steel watch throughout my review process, but I didn’t want to let the PVD case go unmentioned or unseen. The black case really makes the dial pop, especially all the white on the dial. The finishing on the case is so smooth and beautiful. I really love the matte finish. It reminds me of the stealth bomber. It adds a whole different sleekness to the Aurora.

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Conclusion:

The Gavox Aurora is a very unique and special watch. Housing a very cool Mecatronic movement that handles all of the Aurora’s many different functions with ease. The classic pilot/aviation themed dial is simply gorgeous, with perfect symmetry, lovely texture and great lume. You get a extremely unique watch packed full of great functions, for well under $1,000 USD. It’s pretty impressive the amount of watch you get for your dollar.

The Aurora is very comfortable on the wrist and is quite rugged able to handle a lot of outdoor activities. I know that Michael posted pics of the Aurora in temperatures well below 0 and while the camera failed under the harsh conditions, the Aurora never faultered. That definitely gets some bonus points in my book.

I would definitely wear this watch myself and I would highly recommend it to someone who is looking for a pilot/aviation themed watch but looking for something a bit different. You will not be disappointed with the Gavox Aurora it’s a real masterpiece both in function and in design. The dial is a work of art in its self. I am genuinely shocked by its water resistance, shocked in a good way.

If there is anything that I would change on the Aurora if given the choice? Not really, everything has been well thought out for a long time when the Aurora was designed. In an updated version I would like to see a screw down crown and pushers to increase the water resistance. I understand that this would slow the ease of function, but it’s just my personal opinion.

I want to personally thank Michael for allowing me to conduct my review on the Aurora and allowing me to take my time to be thorough with it. I fell in love with this watch for sure. It photographs with such ease and finesse. Thank you Michael!

 

 

Additional Photos:

 

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5 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the review! I’m in the “bought an Apple watch but after a year, I’m now after a beautiful watch with an analog watch face and mechanical movement if possible (I’m eyeing his new Avidiver as well!). Though I welcome the movement and it’s unique abilities. I spent as much on my Apple Watch as the Aurora cost, and if I did it all over again, I would buy the Aurora in a heartbeat (though, Apple’s link bracelet is really something special and I highly enjoy it).

    This is one of those watches I feel hasn’t gotten enough press, but everyone I show video to is amazed by it. I really leverage a lot of the Apple Watch (primarily timers) so the Aurora is winning over the Avidiver (though the reference dial would work great for my needs!).

    Thanks again for the review, I just might need to find a buyer for my Apple Watch and make the jump to Gavox (and if I had it my way, I would go with both the Aurora AND Avidiver!).

    -Matthew Williams

      • any thoughts on the stainless vs the PVD? I think the PVD looks sharp, but the stainless would likely wear a lot more well (casual, dressy, etc).

        On the verge of pulling the trigger, I told myself my next nice watch would have a nice automatic movement…. But this soprod movement is pretty amazing. Any idea if the battery is replaceable without much trouble, or is it something that would need to go back to Gavox to replace?

  2. The stainless is more universal, but the PVD is very edgy and stealthy. Both are super nice, it’s just what are you looking for? Honestly you could pull off the PVD casual and dress it up, this can be done by a simple strap change.

    The battery change can be done by you or a watch jeweler, carefully of course but I always recommend sending it to the watch company themselves since they know their watch the best.

    You won’t be disappointed.

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