The story begins in 1845, when an 18 year old Gustaw Gerlach arrives in Warsaw, Poland from Berlin, Germany. Things progress, Gustaw’s wealth is increasing and he builds a sundial, the first foray into something time related.
Unfortunately during the Warsaw uprising in 1944, the factory and residential buildings on the street were destroyed and never rebuilt. Emil Voellnagel tried to rebuild the business but due to post-war economic and the political state of the country it turns out to be impossible.
But the G. Gerlach legacy lives on and here we are today with the ‘Enigma’. Named so after 3 young polish mathematicians who broke the Enigma system just before the outbreak of the Second World War and helped changed the face of the world we live in today.
Lug to lug: 49mm
Lug width: 22mm
Case material: 316L stainless steel
Sapphire: Double domed sapphire crystal (AR coated)
Ceramic bezel insert
Movement: Seiko NH36A
Straight from the heart of Poland, we have an excellent 200m water-resistant watch, a watch that wears rather large on my 7 inch wrist and has considerable heft to it thanks to its 43mm diameter case and 49mm lug to lug width, I would say that this is the upper limits of a wearable watch for my wrist. Having worn a 9mm thick watch weighing below 100g for the last two weeks when I put this back on the wrist it took a bit of time to adjust to the weight (a fact I cannot seem to find on their website) of this watch. Initially, I thought that it was too heavy for me and a bit overpowering on the wrist but that became a passing thought as I wore it more.
The first thing to note about the case is the black ceramic coin-edged bezel, a uni-directional 120 click bezel insert that has almost no back play and spins around the dial with a satisfying and loud click. There is no alignment issues here, the first 20 markers on the bezel align perfectly with the minute markers on the dial and continuing round each marker hits the spot perfectly. It is also nicely lumed (again, unable to find details on the website) with what I would guess is SuperLuminova matching the dial very nicely.
The dial is plain and I mean plain in a very good way, it’s a gorgeous pure black and is contrasted with some subtle yellow additions around the dial and the sweeping seconds hands also a striking yellow colour. It features the company logo at 12 o’clock and ‘Automatyczny’ at the bottom of the dial reassuring us all that this is indeed authentically Polish. The day-date window is clearly visible at the 3 o’clock position and is sitting atop a white background, normally I would complain about this but I feel that the white background works perfectly on this dial. The large rectangular hour and minute hands are indeed large and bold but work well on this dial, making legibility excellent at every angle you look at it, both featuring a block segment of lume near the tip of them, the lume shining brightly and lasting an excellent amount of time. Finally, the squared large hour markers covering the dial are excellently finished and the lume is applied evenly throughout, the hands and markers are bold and loud, they take a bit of time to get used to but once you do then you can really start the appreciate the beauty of the dial and how nicely everything is done on it.
The case itself is brushed, contrasting the polished bezel and is a thick construction with flat and angular surfaces and bevelling leading us into the short and fat lugs that to me look like a pair of fangs on your wrist. The short lugs are definitely needed to keep the lug to lug down or else that would be far too overpowering on the wrist. The coin-edged screw-down crown has some issues, whilst it is extremely easy to grip, not oversized and features the company logo nicely etched into it, I had some issues in screwing the crown back in. All the functions worked perfectly and as expected but I found myself having struggling to screw the crown back in, at times if I didn’t find the right biting point it would pop back out. A minor issue that doesn’t affect performance at all but something to note.
The stainless steel case back features the names of the three genius mathematicians and the date that they broke the Enigma system, a subtle but excellent tribute to them. Housed inside the watch is the affordable and reliable Seiko NH36A, a workhorse of a movement that gave me no issues at all with timekeeping.
The watch comes on a very nice 22mm black canvas strap with complimentary yellow stitching that has a supple genuine leather underside. It features a rather large but not over sized signed buckle, the strap as a whole compliments the watch very nicely and is extremely comfortable on the wrist.
At £345 (based on current exchange rates), it isn’t a cheap watch but it’s a very nice alternative to your Seiko diver or the Orient Mako. It carries great wrist presence and is extremely well finished and put together. So take a risk, crack the code and try this watch out.