Ganymede is one of Jupiter’s moons and the largest moon in our Solar System (in fact, it’s the ninth largest object). Covered in ice and believed to possibly harbour life, technology is still a long way off until Ganymede can be reached and explored. The new microbrand Ganymede is named after this celestial wonder and represents a fusion of future and past technology. Founder Bala Radharamanan has an engineering background and passion for both technology and horology, which culminated in the Ganymede Series 01 retro-futuristic aesthetic. This steampunk design is equal parts form and function, looking more like a wrist-worn analogue radio from a Dick Tracy comic than a timepiece. Let’s take a closer look at this unique first undertaking by an independent brand based in the United States.
The 316L stainless steel case is inspired by vintage diving helmets (known as copper hats) with a bit of inspiration from old submarines. It has a slightly oval shape measuring 34mm x 49.5mm in diameter and 13.5mm in height. A domed, elongated sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating sits at the left half of the case, while a flat sapphire exhibition window partially reveals the movement on the caseback’s right half. The crown screws down and the case is water-resistant to 100 metres as Bala wants the watches to be robust enough for almost any adventure. This first run of Kickstarter pieces will have a bronze PVD coating, but plain steel, rose gold PVD and black PVD are planned for the future.
The dial complements the unusual case with a layout resembling a radio from yesteryear. There are four columns of hours (and some half-hours), each with its own colour (orange, tan, blue and white) and a four-pointed hour hand of varying lengths sweeps over them. The hands are colour-matched to the particular column they fall on. Numbers from three columns intrude into the outer perimeter of neighbouring ones, allowing for a smooth timekeeping transition as one hand leaves from the top and another enters from the bottom. There isn’t a minute or seconds hand, but similar to a single-handed MeisterSinger, reading the time is generally precise.
A Seiko NH35A automatic powers the watch with 21 jewels, 21,600vph (3Hz) and a 41-hour power reserve. This Japanese workhorse is reliable, serviceable and affordable for burgeoning microbrands with an accuracy of -20/+ 40 seconds per day. Features include hacking seconds (not applicable here) and manual winding. The rotor has also been decorated with Côtes de Genève. The brown 18mm strap is distressed leather with a deployment buckle – white leather, canvas and silicone straps will be available in the future.
The initial Kickstarter batch is limited to 300 watches with the first 125 (founders limited edition) individually numbered on the back. Kickstarter prices are USD 350 for a bronze PVD piece with a brown leather strap, which is USD 75 off the retail price of USD 425. A two-year warranty is offered with deliveries expected in November 2019. To place an order or for more information, visit the Ganymede Series 01 Kickstarter page.