GT&FQ Rider Series Model M001 Watch Review

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I was happy with opportunity to wear a dressier watch than the sportier styles I've been used to lately, a new model from GT&FQ. GT&FQ, whose name comes from the initials of the 4 company founders, is a brand from the founders of Sea-Gull Watch Store (Tianjin GT&FQ Watch Company), and authorized dealer of Sea-Gull watches in the USA. The Tianjin Sea-Gull watch factory is the oldest in China, and they have quite an interesting history, as any collector of VCMs will tell you. Outside of China, Sea-Gull is one of the more recognizable Chinese brands for watch enthusiasts, particularly in forums, perhaps largely in part due popularity of remakes of a certain chronograph.

Along with original branded watches, the Tianjin factory also creates OEM watches, and GT&FQ is taking advantage of the production quality to create their own pieces. This model is from their Rider series, Model M001. 

The functions of the watch are time with seconds, date, and 45 hour power reserve indicator (the PRI is marked to 40 hours, but winding it fully will take it up to the last marker past 40). I'm a fan of the PRI and I find it useful, but beyond its usefulness, I think the rarity of a hand that does not make a full circular rotation adds a certain sophistication. The date is adjustable with a small inset pusher at 2 o'clock, and I'll give more thoughts about the date sub-dial below. The cross hair seconds sub-dial is an interesting modern minimalist twist when considering the classic dress style of the rest of the watch, and I'm not against it at all.

All 3 sub-dial hands are metallic blue, which is the only hint of color you'll find on this watch. The dial itself is a brushed silvered sun ray finish that adds to the handsome overall appearance. In the back you'll find a displayed movement, the Tianjin Sea-Gull ST1780 automatic, with machine finished parts. For me the watch kept very good time. In this price range I think you can expect to be within +/- 30 seconds per day. Others have done more thorough testing on this movement and actually got much better results

The case is mostly brushed steel, with a polished bezel. On the watch comes a standard black leather strap. Looking through a few other watches I have around the office, I found the exact same strap on a few in a similar price range. I think brands in this range could really differentiate themselves from others by upping the quality of their leather straps, or at least being a bit more adventurous. 

Besides the strap, the only suggestion, if I could make one, is regarding the date indicator. I found other people online suggesting that there should be a dot to separate the 31 from 1, but I disagree. For me it's ok without the dot, but the spacing is very tight and could be executed with a bit more attention to detail. Below left is the GT&FQ, right is a rough photoshopped version with suggested spacing modifications. 

Watch enthusiasts on a much higher budget may recognize the similarity between this watch and a certain JLC, but considering this watch is only $140, some may not mind the replication. Final verdict: This is a handsome timepiece for someone looking for an inexpensive automatic dress watch. Shop the Sea-Gull Watch Store here.

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