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MoVas GMT Watch Review

MoVas GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

MoVas is a unique brand for a couple of reasons. In a sense it is a sandbox for Singapore based designer Sean Wai. Not just a watch designer, Sean is a watch fan and enjoys designing timepieces. He isn’t half bad either, and the look of MoVas watches are highly unexpected for an Asian brand (sorry if that sounds bad to anyone, but it is true in many instances) – which are often derivatives of European styles. There is a lightness and modernity to the design that makes it feel anything but something that is “living in the past.” This is his first watch, simply called the GMT.

MoVas stands for “movements of Asia.” Currently, all MoVas watches use Chinese movements. there is a very specific reason for this. Sean has no interest in making simple three-handed watches. He likes complications and prefers the less cost intensive route of Chinese movements to experiment with his designs. The movement in this watch has a subsidiary GMT hand, power reserve indicator, and the time. Using a Swiss movement with these complications would raise the price of the watch more than substantially.

MoVas GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Thus, to play around with designs and offers a good value, MoVas uses Chinese movements that are less than boring. The movement here is made by Seagull – probably the most famous mechanical watch movement maker in China. They have some decent stuff, and in here is the ST2858 automatic movement. The movement is machine decorated and viewable through the watch’s caseback window. While you can get a lot for your money with Chinese movements, they come with draw backs. There is a reason that Japanese and European movements are held in higher regard. Chinese movements are often more… primitive that movements you are used to. Having a watch with a movement from China takes some re-education in some instances. Swiss movements for example are easier to live with. Meaning that you don’t often need to worry about breaking them just by operating them. They have winding limiters that make it impossible to overwind them. Not exactly true with many Chinese movements.  If you overwind them too much, they can break. A novice without an education in this can easily break a watch with just a few turns of the wrist. But if you know how to operate a movement – you should be safe.

MoVas GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Unlike many other Chinese GMT movements, the one here has a pusher on the side of the case that moves the GMT hand in one hour increments – this is good. Plus, watches with GMT subdials are really rare. This one looks great, but unfortunately doesn’t have markers for each of the 24 hour periods. So it is hard to read with precision. The rest of the dial is nicely made, and quality is good. Like watches such as a Panerai, there are cut out sections that are recessed a bit and filled with lume. This adds some depth to the dial. The hands are easy to see, and the placement of a “0” at the 12 o’clock indicator is cool. The linear power reserve scale has a clean straight forward look to it, and the touch of red on the dial is welcome. I think you’ll agree that MoVas is good at design.

MoVas GMT Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The case is also interesting. Which the dial is round with sloped, polished bezel, the case is a square with rounded edges. It is 45mm wide in steel. The crystal is mineral glass with AR coating on the inside. Apparently there are a few special (more expensive) Versions of the GMT watch with sapphire crystals. Water resistance is 100 meters, and it has a aviator style crown. While the watch is large and more or less flat, it looks neat on the wrist and is comfy with its thick leather strap. MoVas throws in two straps. The brown one you see here as well as a black leather strap. Price for the MoVas GMT is $380. Really a nice price for a watch with a design like this. I like the designs of most all their pieces, and if you learn how to take care of the movement, this isn’t a bad addition to the collection.


Thanks for MoVas for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.



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  • dave aldous

    HI Ariel

    Thanks for brining this interesting brand to my attention. I think this is a great looking watch and I will definitely check them out!

  • Paul F

    Does movas have a web site other than facebook?

  • Christian

    I kind of liked the watch, but as another “hommage” to Panerai I wouldn’t wear it.

    • Only loosely a Panerai homage. The case shape is different.

  • pat i.

    Decent homage. I like the fact that Movas is a straight shooter with regard to content and origin.

    Two things I notice in the pics – why is the lume so grainyon the dial (in comparison the the hands, where it’s solid and bright. Also – in the first pic it looks like the hour hand is pointing down like it’s loose or practically falling off.

    • Nothing wrong with the hour hand, guess it is just the pic. Not all lume is made like SuperLumiNova – so a thinner application or lume that isn’t as high quality tends to look more sparse or grainy.

  • Johnny

    “A novice without an education in this can easily break a watch with just a few turns of the wrist.”

    be interested to see a future post on this to learn more. wasn’t aware of this issue with asian-made movements.

  • Not bad for the price Ariel.

  • Dean Grant Baker

    “If you overwind them too much, they can break. A novice without an education in this can easily break a watch with just a few turns of the wrist. But if you know how to operate a movement – you should be safe.”
    Absolute nonsense, talk about being a complete rank “novice”.

    Let alone an automatic.

    Ridiculously untrue statement.

    As to the watch itself; It’s hideous.

    • Dean, What are you talking about? You can easily break certain watches if you overwind them. Must more have limiters so this isn’t an issue in most movements.

  • Dean Grant Baker

    You can NOT break a movement by “over-winding” it; Period, END of discussion

    This notion that you can “break” a mainspring is a “wive’s tale” —- NOTHING more.
    The simple fact that this watch is an automatic means that it is IMPOSSIBLE to break the mainspring, the ONLY way a person could damage a mainspring by winding it is in the case of a manual winding watch that has been wound fully then had a pair of vise grips used to continue to wind the watch, and even then it would take a lot of force.
    You are simply incorrect and repeating a fallacy that some novice whispered in your ear; either that or my decades of experience and the thousands I spent on Time Zone and finally WOSTEP courses were useless.

    • Dean, I never suggested that the mainspring itself would break. That would be really hard to do. I am talking about some of the more delicate transfer gear work from the crown to the winding mechanism if you force wind it.

  • Dean Grant Baker

    Further; Please DO educate me as how to correctly “operate a movement” that is an automatic.
    Please, I am truly most interested.

    • Lol. Dude. Really man? There is no issue in terms of the automatic winding function. If you wanted to manually wind it using the crown, then carefully gauge the power reserve indicator and be sure not to wind it above that. This goes for this specific watch, and any that use similar movements.

    • Jason


      This summer I was speaking with the COO of the manufacture Roger Dubuis, Dave Chaumet, who is in charge of overseeing quality control, and after-sales service. He has an extremely high level of education in engineering and much experience within the watch industry.

      According to him, a certain Roger Dubuis lady’s automatic watch reference was coming into the after-sales service department with broken pinions at a very high rate. Basically users had been over-winding the watches, and in doing so they were breaking the winding pinion. To fix this, a feature already found on many watches was then retrofitted to all new pieces of this reference (all new pieces have been given this system and all pieces in for service will be automatically retrofitted with this new system, for no additional charge – much like on an automobile recall). The system basically disengages the winding pinion from the mainspring, once the maximum amount of wind has been achieved, which allows the user to keep winding without damaging the winding pinion.

      Over-winding “can” break the pinion on certain automatic or manual wind watches (although most Swiss base calibers come with protection).

  • Dangeruss

    Perhaps this is inappropriate. Arial, delete it if it is.

    Dean, you seem hell-bent on making an impression. Trust me you are, though I suspect it’s not the one you’re hoping for.

    • Duo

      Hear, hear!

  • Nice to see an actual review of the moVas watches. I blogged about them a while back when I first heard of them, but was really interested to see what a Asia-based maker could do with an original all-Asian constructed watch.

    I’m still not sure I like it yet, but great post.

  • Kudus

    Have always like independent brands. Good to see another one from Singapore (after Azimuth) making some headway in the horological world!

  • Shinytoys

    If you want to see strange stem action, check out Vostok’s Amphibian’s manual and auto winders, crazy feel !!!! I have 4 of them, can’t kill it, just takes a bit of patience to work with them.

    Bring on MOVAS…I like the look and I believe they are on the right track.
    A nod to Panerai…maybe, but as Panerai owners know, this isn’t the same bird.
    And to the gentleman who thinks you can’t break certain parts of the movement with improper winding techniques employed on the crown…well, ummm,….nevermind…

  • Jay

    Hi Ariel,

    Nice article and watch. I’m a little confuse regarding the over winding issue. Is this particular movement an automatic? I thought that automatics have to have an over winding protection mechanism in order to work… an automatic.

    It would be interesting to see an article on Asian vs Swiss movements (may need to get an independent unbiased watchmaker to contribute). Something like an autopsy that can really speak to what makes them tick, the quality of materials and how they effect the accuracy or reliability of the movement. Which Asian or Swiss movements should buyers avoid? I know that many Swiss movements have better finishing and some with fancy engravings, but do they really add to the function and reliability of the movement? I know many of us would love to have the really nice tricked out ride with big V8, the chrome and fancy paint job, but don’t want to mortgage off the house. Sometimes you want to wear something that’s original with the complications, but without the worry that you need to treat it like a new born premature baby.

    I think MOVAS and some of the other boutique brands are on to something using Asian movements and focusing on their own independent designs.


  • Kris C.

    Ok, the dust seems to have settled here a bit, so I’ll offer my humble opinions as to the styling notes themselves.

    Something about those bold numerals capped off by a “0” for the 12 position that is very familiar.. may not even be from a watch, but something… I like. Gives off a noticible look that has a good uniqueness to it.
    I like the linear power reserve display, but the standard rotating hand goes against that grain, which is unfortunate. I’m sure the Sea-Gull movement does not, by default, allow for a linear indicator, but Sean should step up his experiments and make it happen. Considering the pricepont, you really can;t complain too hard.

    The tan strap is a great contrast. The biggest homage here is the tang buckle.

    I would own one, and give it wrist time.

  • Serdal

    It looks beautiful. Seagull is one of the best Asian movements as I know. I had tried some other Asian timepieces and I loved them all. I am about to order another brand GMT soon from HK, China.

    This watch looks really lovely. I saw it in the WUS forum and am interested.

    What is the accuracy and water resistance? What calibre Seagull movement is used? How many jewels, for example?

    Thanks, regards . . .


  • JKN


    Dean Grant Baker giving us a piece of his warped mind again. He’s spilled incorrect information on numerous blogs. Once he has been proven wrong he crawls back into his little hole only to appear again and again.

  • JL

    I actually really like this watch. I own a Panerai so maybe that’s why. I am actually seriously thinking of buying one. Has anyone gone through the buying process with them?

  • luis

    What a nice watch! I admire Panerai, but a can’t afford them now, so I’m really thinking about trying this new moVas GMT.

  • JL

    I bought one, I”ll let everyone know how the buying process goes once I receive the watch

  • luis

    Nice JL! I look forward to it! Congratulations! It’s a very interesting piece! Luis

  • Dinky Toy

    Like the design and affordability concept but do have 3 suggestions…:
    1 – loose the oversized V, go with a different color instead or something.
    2 – improve the lume quality.
    3 – re-consider price point ($380) because this should be mid $250 at most, considering the lume quality, Seagull movement, lack of sapphire and competition like the Magrette Moana Pacific ($365) without these drawbacks.

  • JL

    Hi Luis,

    I have to say that the customer service has been fantastic and I received the watch right away. The quality is good, and I can tell you, it looks completely different from my Panerai when you have them side by side (I can take a pic if you want).

    I have to agree on Dinky Toys on one point, the lume isn’t very good, but other then that I have no complaints about the watch at all.

    One last point, I wound the watch last Friday, and today is Tuesday and I have not had to wind it since and the time keeping has been accurate. If anyone has any questions about the buying experience or watch, please let me know, I would be happy to respond.

  • luis

    Thanks both JL and Dinky Toy for the comments.
    I’m still thinking about buying it… I have some low-costs like MOMO Design, Victorinox and so… So maybe it’s time for me to go Panerai and not moVas…
    I’d appreciate your opinion on that.

  • Brad

    I’ve been thinking about buying a MoVas for a about a year, specifically the Regulator model. Ariel, have you (or anyone reading this) seen this model in person?



  • JL

    Hi Luis,

    I guess it just depends on your budget. I have a bunch of watches a Breitling, Panerai, Cartier and now my moVas. I am happy with all of my watches but I have made the moVas my daily watch for a bunch of reasons. I think my moVas total came to $430 whereas my next cheapest watch is $6000. I guess I really like the moVas for its great looks and the fact that I don’t have to worry to much about banging into things, or if it gets scratched, etc….

  • kingblind

    chinese movement = fail

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