There are a lot of watch brands out there. Right at this moment there are probably more than 2,000 brands that build watches. And except for a couple of brands, almost all of them share the same technologies. They all share the same type of steel, the same waterproof tech, the same crystals, straps, the works…deep down all these watches are offering the same thing, just in a different wrapper. The number of brands actually doing new things and developing new tech, is extremely limited.
So when a new brand shows up, and offers a technology that hasn’t been available before, as a reviewer and a watch collector, that brand instantly stands out for you. Because innovation like this doesn’t come around all that often….especially not from small independent brands.
The GRITT INVISOGLASS technology is just that. This technology was invented by GRITT and it uses a special formula and a special application process to create the most glare-free crystals in the world. As someone who handled a few thousand watches by this point in my life, the GRITT Monarch’s INVISOGLASS is by far the clearest crystal I’ve ever seen…no other watch compares.
This technology makes a huge difference in how this watch looks. When the watch is on your wrist, its like the crystal isn’t even there. If you are into watches, you know just how annoying glare can be (especially if you ever wanted to take a photo), so this is definitely the “killer app” for this brand since its a technology that is actually useful, and one that you can see working every time you look at your wrist.
The GRITT Monarch is the company’s first watch with this tech, and you can see the video below to see just how big of a difference it makes compared to what you get from most watches(note, I’m embedding this video from their website, so if it ever stops working please let me know in the comments).
Anyways, lets get to the actual GRITT Monarch review…
1. INVISOGLASS – its always nice to see a smaller brand offer something new, especially when it is new tech that beats the bigger brands. And this is a very important innovation in watches(because its something you actually get to see working its magic day to day). Whats even more important, its priced fairly reasonably (well as far as luxury watches from independent brands are concerned). Whenever we get new innovation these days, usually it ends up in watches costing 10-20x more than this.
2. Unique design – a nice octagon with a bit of a stretch to it. On the wrist at 43mm it sits very well(because its only 12mm thick). It def looks to be Genta inspired with its prominent angles, but its nice that they didn’t just copy the AP, and created their own unique design language. The back is pretty nice too, most brands ignore the back(since they figure noone ever sees it), even some of the super high end brands…but with the Monarch, its sculpted to represent the company’s logo , and its a cool attention to detail that you don’t often see. Overall, nicely finished on a similar level as most watches in this price range.
3. The Dial – they call it a phantom dial, and it basically changes the look of the dial depending on the angle/light situation. Very nice to play with. It basically has 3 looks to it. It can look all black and flat(like what you might see on a Submariner), it can look like there are moon craters on the dial, or you can see a honeycomb carbon fiber like pattern(shown above).
4. Nice features – 200 Meter water resistance, which is double what you usually get from sport watches, X1 grade lume(best lume on the market right now), blued screws, decorated movement, nice integrated strap etc, basically looks like they went through the feature list with the intent of matching or beating every watch in the price range. And its very nicely regulated to +/-3 seconds/day. Which is phenomenal. Thats actually better than COSC requirements(-4/+6 seconds)…and in fact, thats actually almost as good as Rolex(+/-2 seconds). Not bad for $3,400 watch.
5. Pricing – yes this watch costs $3,400. I know its a lot of money to pay for a new brand. But after handling it, I’d say its more than worth it. The technology is THAT good, and the rest of the watch lives up to its price point as en entry level luxury watch. The level of finishing and the features absolutely dominate this price range, and again the INVISOGLASS really puts this watch in a whole other category. Thats the big thing here, when a brand invents a unique tech, they can literally ask for whatever they want, because unlike most other brands, you can’t just go to a competitor and get the same exact thing with a different name on a dial. Plus apparently the production cost of INVISOGLASS is extremely high, to a point where this watch actually costs more money to produce than any other watch in this price range, so its not just greed or “brand positioning” or “heritage” that is deciding the price point of this watch…its simple cost based math.
1. Only available in one color…black. Reminds me of Henry Ford…”you can have it in any color you want, as long as its black”. It does make sense, after all the black color is the one that really shows off the quality of the crystal. I assume, they’ll release more colors later.
2. The red date can be hard to read in low light situations. During the day it looks fine, but basically if its after dark, you’ll have to squint to actually see what date it is.
3. Its an integrated strap. Which means if you want to buy a replacement strap, you’ll have to either buy from them or wait for someone to start making aftermarket straps specifically for this watch. But you do have a third option with this watch…most integrated straps make it impossible to use any alternative, this design actually has enough room between the lugs to fit a full size 18-20mm strap….so for the NATO strap fans among you, don’t worry, you’ll still be able to ruin this watch.
4. For perfection, they absolutely need to make this watch available on a bracelet. The design is absolutely begging for one.
5. Its only available online. They can make all the videos they want showing off the tech, but the WOW factor of this watch can only be truly appreciated in person. You really can’t see just how big of a difference INVISOGLASS makes until you handle one in person and see just how much better it is in actual day to day situation. If they offered these through boutiques, they’d have a much easier time selling these.
Summary: Overall? This is an amazing watch and a very impressive first release. The technology really puts it into a whole other category for watch enthusiasts. After all, when we think of technical innovators in the watch industry right now, we think of the likes of de Bethune, Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey…and those brands charge quite a bit more than GRITT for their unique technology.
You can find out more information about the watch at the GRITT website.