Watch Reviews

Arms-On Overview: The CIGA Design Blue Planet


A brushed titanium flying saucer sits flippantly on my wrist. By way of its sapphire porthole, the Earth as seen from above the Indian Ocean slowly spins under. Two black rings of numbers and markers encompass the globe as satellites would. Am I having an out-of-body expertise? Is that this a UFO? To the primary query, possibly. However to the second query, no. I’m sporting the CIGA Design Blue Planet, a watch of radical design and radical mechanics that’s totally grounded, should you catch my drift. The award-winning Blue Planet says and does loads. I’m unsure a louder assertion piece has graced my wrist earlier than.

Again in April, I wrote a bit that includes numerous watches from China. Not watches merely made in China, however these which might be emphatically Chinese language in origin and manufacture — and proudly so. One watch on that record was the CIGA Design Blue Planet. Now I’ve had the chance to see it up shut and put on it. The novel design and powerful assertion — to not point out quirky but efficient mechanics — make this piece look and put on like a way more costly watch than it really is. I slot it firmly within the assertion/artwork watch style, although it’s snug and succesful sufficient to be a day by day wearer if one feels so inclined. Greater than something, although, the CIGA Design Blue Planet is enjoyable.

CIGA Design Blue Planet

The Blue Planet is the brainchild of Jianmin Zhang, a famend Chinese language designer. Its full identify is the CIGA Design Mechanical Watch Sequence U Blue Planet. We’re calling it the Blue Planet for brief. Because the press materials surrounding the watch states, the Blue Planet goals to encourage a sense just like that expressed by astronauts upon their first view of Earth from house. That is referred to as the “overview impact”, and it has been identified to instill long-lasting aversion to struggle and emotions of reference to all residing issues. These extra eloquent than I’ve described the sensation as a sensation of simultaneous fragility and oneness. To see Earth as it’s — a tiny rock flying by means of the vastness of house — is to expertise one of many stronger actuality checks afforded to humankind.

The Blue Planet watch does in addition to any watch might in emulating that have (head again practically twenty years for the eerily related quartz-powered Seiko Assume The Earth Wn-1). The domed and detailed globe spins slowly on the wrist, including to the sensation of an extraterrestrial perspective. The landmass is detailed to the extent that one can determine the Himalayas and different geographical formations. As CIGA Design describes, the domed sapphire crystal represents the ambiance. The energy of sapphire on this case could not assist promote the metaphor.

It does inform time

There’s a compass rose on the globe, nestled between Madagascar and Antarctica. The outer level is the arrow by which era is learn. An computerized caliber distinctive to CIGA Design absolutely rotates the globe on the watch as soon as each 12 hours, in order that the compass factors to the proper hour on the outermost ring. The outer hour ring doesn’t transfer. The ring between it and the globe, nonetheless, does. That is the minute ring, and its rotation has been engineered in order that the purpose on the globe all the time factors to the proper minute. This setup causes the expertise of initially setting the watch to be mildly disorienting in one of the simplest ways. The globe spins and the minute ring flies by. As soon as the Blue Planet is wound and set although, the slowness of their rotation subdues the eccentricity.

Readability grew to become a breeze as soon as I reoriented myself to the distinctive nature by which the Blue Planet tells time. The only pointer with the clearly notated hour and minute rings makes studying it simpler than some extra typical but minimal watches.

Interacting with the CIGA Design Blue Planet

The setting and hand-winding of the automated caliber are finished with the crown at 3 o’clock on the case. It’s an unlucky necessity, as the superbly round brushed titanium case just isn’t interrupted wherever else aside from cutouts beneath the place the rubber strap connects. The curve of the case matches the curve of the sapphire crystal completely. From the facet, the Blue Planet resembles a UFO in probably the most conventional sense — a flying saucer. I haven’t fairly wrapped my head round what the symbolism is for a watch with a case that resembles an alien spacecraft housing a illustration of the earth. I don’t suppose I’ve the clearance for such design cues.

The particular caliber used within the Blue Planet has an influence reserve of 40 hours and an accuracy of +30/-15 seconds per day. CIGA Design doesn’t specify what the caliber is or is predicated on. Nevertheless, it’s seen by means of the exhibition case again beneath the printed textual content indicating the Blue Planet’s GPHG award from 2021. That’s one thing value indicating. That achievement made CIGA Design the primary Chinese language watch firm to win an award on the Grand Prix d’Horologie de Genève.

Not that massive and lots snug

On the wrist, the Blue Planet wears splendidly. The mushy curve of the case and supple rubber strap undoubtedly place it on the extra snug finish of the spectrum as watches go. The titanium case retains the ensemble mild sufficient, but nonetheless substantial. And though the diameter is formally 46mm, with no lugs to talk of, the Blue Planet wears in addition to any mid-size watch with an identical lug-to-lug measurement. I’ve a smaller wrist and didn’t expertise any discomfort or overhang.

The matching titanium buckle on the strap is stamped with the CIGA Design wordmark. The strap additionally comes with two matching rubber keepers. At first, the one closest to the buckle gave the impression to be fastened till I noticed it was held in place with small raised notches on the strap. This permits for each keepers to drift freely if one needs, one other distinctive design consideration.

Some critiques

Sadly, the Blue Planet solely has a water resistance of three ATM. I might like to see what the sapphire crystal over the globe seems like underwater, however not on the expense of the watch’s performance. However the water resistance is becoming for the design. It is a assertion watch, not a instrument watch. Within the arenas it’s finest worn in, this stage of water resistance is a lot.

My solely precise gripe relating to the Blue Planet is the useless date place when pulling out the crown. For as distinctive because the mechanics of the watch are, I used to be reminded that it could be nothing greater than a module set over a primary workhorse caliber each time I pulled the crown out. I needed to remain seduced by the primary present of the watch, which is all dial-side. Sadly, the phantom date interrupted that have.

I might’ve liked it if the globe rotated as soon as each 24 hours as effectively. The rotation wouldn’t be correct to Earth’s precise motion with the vantage level chosen for the Blue Planet, however it might’ve taken the metaphor and the mechanics simply that one step additional.

Highly effective packaging

It’s not typically we put aside a piece of a overview for a watch’s packaging. I feel it’s merited for the Blue Planet. What I obtained was a flat, vast field that appeared prefer it may home a pill. Inside was a guide — an precise guide — slipped inside a tasteful sleeve with “CIGA Design” and an embossed picture of the Blue Planet’s dial on it. The primary pages of the guide reveal photos of our planet and a poem in regards to the magnificent phenomenon that’s the existence of Earth and us on it. The second pair of pages is totally coated within the phrase “Mankind has just one Earth” translated into numerous languages. There’s a window by means of the web page to the watch under.

The remainder of the guide is the presentation field for the watch with pages fused to type a stable construction. It’s excellently executed. The watch firmly nestles into place. The again has a number of extra precise pages detailing the specs and working directions for the watch. Total, the expertise of receiving the watch on this context solely added to the “story” that CIGA Design is attempting to inform with the Blue Planet.

The message is sort of there

CIGA Design notes environmentally pleasant packaging on its web site. Whereas the guide the watch got here in is usually paper, it was secured in its field with foam. There’s no indication that the froth is recyclable or biodegradable, so I’ve to imagine it’s not. This may not be as massive a problem if it wasn’t in relation to a watch that’s doing its finest to unfold the message of the sweetness, marvel, and, finally, the fragility of the Earth.

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And, sure, I do know it’s superb for a watch to exist for its personal sake. That stated, I might’ve preferred to have seen some type of effort made in the direction of really affecting some good on this planet on CIGA Design’s half past making such an Earth-centric watch. Maybe the message is sufficient on this case. At US$1,099 in titanium, the cash not put in the direction of environmental or humanitarian causes appears to immediately translate into a very good deal for the buyer.

Closing ideas

The CIGA Design Blue Planet does one factor and does it exceptionally effectively. There’s a motive it gained an award. It’s a placing watch with an apparent and highly effective message — Planet Earth. That’s a broad assertion that CIGA Design has eloquently wrapped up in a sentence no larger than 46mm. If Earth means quite a bit to you — regardless of the specifics of that could be — and also you wish to present it or a minimum of be continuously reminded of it, the Blue Planet is for you. For me, it was sufficient to really feel vaguely like an astronaut or alien gazing at Earth whereas sporting it to persuade me of the watch’s benefit and message. You realize, the world is small, and time is fleeting. It’s not unhealthy to spend your time smiling, which the Blue Planet actually brought about me to do.

You’ll find extra details about the Blue Planet and the model behind it on CIGA Design’s official web site.

You can too discover extra of me on Instagram: @WatchingThomas

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