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Review of the CIGA Design X Series: Black Skeleton Watch having Custom Movement

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After being introduced to CIGA Design through their Series Z watch as well as their 2021 GPHG award, this is a review of their most recent release, the Series X Gorilla watch. The Series X, like the Series Z before it, broke the IndieGoGo record for watch sales set by its predecessor. The Series X has now reached full production following a successful crowdfunding campaign. It’s easy to see why the Series X has thrived: its modern design is appealing, and the price point is very competitive.

The CIGA Design Series X comes in a variety of configurations. There are, however, black-steel/purple, black-steel/orange, and all-steel models. There are also titanium options, titanium blue and black-titanium gold, which cost more than the stainless steel versions. I was surprised to see that the titanium Series X was only $449, given the high prices usually associated with titanium watches.

Case

With a single glance, it’s clear that the Series X’s case design has a cyberpunk/skeleton theme. What is less obvious is that the case consists of two parts. There is an outside frame as well as an interior case, which are held together by four screws at the case’s corners. Four “shock absorbing” springs (in contrasting red paint) are located at these junctions. Also allowing the internal case to move freely of the outside frame. It’s difficult to say how much of an impact this has on the movement’s accuracy, but it definitely adds to the cool factor of the Series X watch.

The case is made of steel and has a matte black coating that I’m not sure if it’s PVD or DLC, the two most common forms found in luxury watches. Nonetheless, it appears to be quite durable; I’ve worn the watch carelessly and yet to find a spot where the coating has peeled away to reveal the shiny metal beneath. In general, there are numerous design details on the case, both front and back. There are far too many to list here. However, I’ve had a lot of fun closely inspecting it and have only been surprised by the attention to detail.

For example, all of the case’s edges are chamfered as well as polished in the same black coating. The orange accent elements on the case flanks are also very well done. Finally, the crown is incredibly detailed for a watch at this price point.

Lumed Dial

The majority of the CIGA Design X Series watch’s dial has been totally hollowed out or skeletonized in order to best showcase the CD-01 movement within. As a result, an X-shaped dial (hence the name) with tonnes of Super-LumiNova lume is created, resulting in a watch face that is quite enjoyable to look at in low-light conditions. Furthermore, to aid in timekeeping, the hands at the centre are made of contrasting polished steel and they are also lumed. Although legibility is not the Series X’s strong suit, I believe that the watch’s unique design compensates for this shortcoming. I’m usually looking at my phone to see what time it is.

Customised CD-01 Automatic Skeleton Movement

The movement in the X Series is referred to by CIGA Design as a “independently developed CD-01” movement. It reminds me of the movement in their Z Series, which was a custom Seagull ST2553JK calibre. Having said that, the CD-01 movement in the Series X has been noticeably improved over the movement in the Series Z; in this X Series. Also movement has been skeletonized even more and most likely specifically adjusted to be able to attach it to the unique X-shaped dial.

It’s amazing how much of the movement plates they’ve managed to remove. Naturally, this provides an excellent view of the inner workings of the movement from both the front and back of the watch. Examining the calibre through the caseback reveals that much time and effort was put into finishing the movement. Sandblasted plates with polished edges The wheel and screws are also polished, as well as the winding rotor for this X Series watch is custom engraved. Overall, I think this CD-01 movement is really quite sophisticated and deserves to be called an original CIGA Design movement.

Accessory Straps And Box Set

While the X Series smartwatch is the main attraction of this show, I believe it is important to highlight the box set as well as accessory straps which also come with the watch. The presentation box set, like the watch, is very well designed. It’s essentially a booklet that opens to reveal the unique watch head and two straps (silicone and fabric). Notable features include quick-release spring bars and individually branded tang buckles on each strap.

The silicone strap was my favourite not only because it was more comfortable, but also because I liked the look that the texture of the strap gave to the watch as a whole. The box/booklet does have a printed diagram of the watch on the outside, while the inside has information about the watch and straps. This entire booklet is held together by a sleeve with an embossed image of the X Series. Finally, the booklet is transported in a cardboard box for protection while en route to you.

Verdict

Simply put, the Series X is an excellent addition to any collection. The CIGA Design X Series is just rated to 3ATM, which is effectively hand-washing.  The X Series looks so much like a sports watch that I wish it could be submerged in water, but that would have undoubtedly increased the price and possibly changed the case design. Given this, I’m fine with the current depth rating and can focus on what CIGA Design did right with the watch.

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