One of the major trends for 2016 has been the arrival of new-comers to the market – new brands, created from scratch, mainly driven by crowd-funding (see all those affordable “Kickstarter” campaigns), with some of them showing highly interesting concepts. This trend will most definitely continue in 2017, believe us. However, most of these new projects are focused on affordable, non-Swiss-Made watches – something that we do not necessarily dislike here at Mono but a bit of good-old Helvetic quality is always welcomed. With that in mind, here is the Creux Automatiq Watch, a clever play on the luxury sports watch concept, Swiss-Made, qualitative, yet an affordable alternative to certain well-known luxury watches you might have in mind.
The story behind Creux Automatiq
Creux Automatiq was formed by the minds behind the luxury diamond jewellery specialists known as Culet Jewellery, a company based in Sydney, Australia. Dane Rumble, watch enthusiast and owner of Culet Jewellery, had a long-standing desire to create a watch. However, it has to be said, jewelry and watchmaking are two completely (yet often complementary) fields. So why launch a watch company? Isn’t it risky in the current, quite difficult context of the watchmaking industry? Well, in fact the timing isn’t that bad, as there is some room for new-comers – and customers are in the need of something different, something fresh, something that might not be the same watch again and again – because the Swiss seem to slightly sleepy these days…
After two years of designing and sourcing the right suppliers (and they are Swiss, both for the movement, and the case and dial), here is the Creux Automatiq Ghost, a new watch, inspired by “modern architecture and luxury vehicle design” and a timepiece that actually qualifies as an accessible luxury sports watch. Indeed, if you see some familiar codes here, it is on purpose. The Creux Automatiq Ghost is definitely in the vein of these recent luxury sports watches, combining a bit of the Genta flair with bold and modern attributes, such as the large case, the tonneau design, the open-worked movement and the versatility of the straps. Some said Hublot, Linde Werdelin, Royal Oak Offshore…? Yes, they are right, the competition (at least in terms of design and inspiration) is there, however here, the price is far, far below – which surprisingly doesn’t mean that the quality of the overall package is far below…
Design and feel of the Creux Automatiq Ghost
The Creux Automatiq Ghost is clearly in the same vein as the bold, rather showy sports luxury watches you can find these days at Hublot (any kind of Big Bang), TAG Heuer (the Carrera Heuer 01), Audemars Piguet (the iconic RO Offshore), Linde Werdelin or even Bell & Ross (the recent X1 or the recent Aero GT) and IWC (with the sportiest versions of the Ingenieur). Yes, it shares many elements with all these watches: the large dimensions, the combination of a shaped case with a round and raised bezel, a partially skeletonized movement and a dial made of sapphire crystal, some screws on the bezel, an integrated strap, an overall rather bulky and solid look, still with various luxurious elements. Yes, this watch is “dans l’air du temps” as the French would say (which means that it plays with current trends).
Of course, some questions remain. Won’t it be another copy-paste of known watches? Will the promise of an accessible price point mean a Japanese or Chinese movement? Will the quality be poor? Many important questions. First of all, we have to admit that in terms of design, some familiar codes have been used. However, the Creux Automatiq Ghost has its own personality, especially because of this perfect tonneau shape that is rather unique to this watch. While most luxury sports watches use straight lines and sharp edges, this watch is more curved, more rounded than the rest of the competition.
Some details though will be rather reassuring – don’t forget that Creux Automatiq is a new-comer and that being too disruptive can be confusing for potential clients. The use of a raised and round bezel, affixed to the case by 6 visible screws, might be rather déja-vu. Still, this feature is not the mainstay of one brand only and many have used it in the past or in present collections. The case is large for sure, at 45mm x 50mm, but once again, it is not bigger than most of the watches we mentioned before – in fact, it even wears slightly smaller and feels quite “compact” on the wrist, due to the way the strap is attached to the case.
What about quality? Well, before making no-sense comparisons with some 15K watches we mentioned, don’t forget that the Creux Automatiq will be priced at just above 2,000 Euros, which means it is playing in a completely different category – this price segment is what we could call affordable Swiss luxury, and this kind of bold watch is quite rare there. One main characteristic of this watch certainly is the precision and beauty of its case. Most current watches are hyper-sharp (close to knife-style edges) and that is not a sign of quality. On the contrary, it simply means that the cases are coming out of machining without any further finishing. Here, the case has sharp shapes for sure but still, it is also smooth to touch and to wear. Some great attention has been paid to the sensations when touching it. Then, it combines straight brushings on flat surfaces with polished surfaces on vertical parts, both separated by neat, clean lines. This case has not only been well designed, but also well manufactured. Take for instance the case of a Linde Werdelin watch and you’ll understand what “cutting edge” means… Here, considering the price level, it is highly pleasant.
Dial and hands
The dial (or the absence of dial in this case) is a combination of an inner flange with applied indexes, facetted and filed with luminous paint (sporty yes, and luxurious too) with a sapphire plate to leave the view of the movement unobstructed. On top of this glass plate is attached a gilt ring for the small second and the logo printed at 12. The date is displayed by a skeletonized disc. When arriving at 6, in a metal-encircled window, the date is transferred on a white background for a better visibility. The view on the movement is pleasant, with straight brushed plates that have been coated in gun-metal grey for a nice contrast with the case and the hands. Some gears, wheels and the barrel are visible. Pleasant for mechanical lovers.
Overall, the perceived quality of this watch is rather impressive. With its shaped case, its bold design, its references to iconic but hyper-expensive watches, the open-worked and visible movement, this Creux Automatiq Ghost gives a lot for your money. It is one of those watches that makes you feel like you have a real luxury item on your wrist, without selling a kidney to pay for it. If you love this kind of watch, and if you feel comfortable wearing it (don’t forget that it is large and rather visible), this Creux will definitely bring some pleasure.
Movement-wise, the Creux Automatiq Ghost features a Swiss-Made automatic movement. The company works with a boutique Swiss movement manufacturer, (not ETA, not Selitta …). This company produces for several other luxury brands. Still, Creux are the first to use this base for the moment. It features 33 jewels, runs at 4Hz, has 36 hours of power reserve, and a small second at 9 with stop-second mechanism. Overall, the finishing remains rather industrial, still close to what you can find on an ETA or clones. The fully blackened bridges bring a nice contrast.
The Creux Automatiq Ghost is delivered on a rubberized leather strap that can be easily changed via screws on the caseback – some other types of straps are also available on the website, confirming the positioning of the brand, with a concept slightly similar to Hublot here. Its shape, by being positioned almost perpendicular to the case, makes it comfortable even for those with smaller wrists. No need to be a rugby player to wear the Creux Automatiq, even if a more robust arm is better suited to this watch.
This watch is limited (for the moment) to 200 pieces and is priced around US$ 2,390 / 2,115 Euros / £1,790. Considering the competition, with some of them featuring ETA (or clones) movements and an overall finishing that is not exceptionally superior, we can argue that this watch gives a lot for the cash you spend. If you are looking for a bold, masculine luxury sports watch and if you feel somehow adventurous (or quite bored with the usual brands), you might want to consider the Creux Automatiq Ghost.
Specifications of the Creux Automatiq Ghost
- Case: 45mm x 50mm – stainless steel, polished and brushed surfaces – sapphire crystal on both faces – 100m water resistant
- Movement: Automatic Swiss Made movement – 4Hz frequency – 33 jewels – partially opened bridges, dark grey coating – hours, minutes, small second and skeletonized date
- Strap: integrated rubberized leather strap on steel deployant buckle