February 14, 2011
by Ariel Adams
I have got to hand it to Jorg Gray for keeping up momentum and trying new things. The previous generation of Jorg Gray timepieces were designed to offer more reasonably priced alternatives to popular designs from expensive high-end watch brands. I anticipated that the brand would take a few years before developing their own “character,” but it took a lot less than that. Now, less than two years after I made that initial prediction, Jorg Gray is releasing totally unique timepieces with an incredible richness of character.
I like to think of Jorg Gray’s experimentation on par with Invicta’s wild designs – but Jorg Gray has a more straight forward and polished overtone. Unlike Invicta, their pieces are often better made, and with a lot more focus on being legible. This Jorg Gray JG9400-21 is from their 2010 collection and really includes elements from all the above commentary. It is a very unique looking pieces that successfully offers something different in a package suitable for regular wear.
Upgrades over previous generation Jorg Gray watches include a Swiss movement and sapphire crystal. The build quality and fit and finish are better as well. Jorg Gray has been investing a lot of money and time into consistently improving their collection – and it shows. The JG9400 line has a series of models – about nine of them right now. These includes three-handers like this as well as chronograph models. Each in a few different color schemes. The “21” as seen here most notably features a dial with Geneva stripe like polishing on it, and rich three-dimensionality.
The case itself is 45.4mm wide with a black IP coated matte bezel. It is also water resistant to 100 meters. The steel case manages to mix brushed and polished surfaces. I love the large screw-down crown in black with the mostly red side with the Jorg Gray logo on it. The red matches the seconds hands on the dial as well as the contrast stitching on the strap. Sitting on your wrist the watch is comfortable. Jorg Gray pairs it with a black calfskin leather strap. Previous straps felt too long for me, this one has been shortened a bit which is nice. The watch dial is visually stimulating. It offers a lot to look at while the black outlined white hands are easy enough to read. Particularly nice elements include the applied polished hour markers and the steel chapter ring with minute and second indicators on it. My only gripe about the dial is the sapphire crystal. Jorg Gray uses a domed sapphire crystal, but one that isn’t evenly domed throughout. This creates a fish-eye-like distortion. This combined with a lack of AR coating creates a dial that seems to change and glisten a lot, but detracts from being able to easily read it. So it is really a trade off. Do you want a dial that is easier to read, or a dial that is more showy to people seeing it on your wrist?
Inside the watch is a Swiss Ronda quartz movement with a date window placed at 6 o’clock. The date window integration is interesting. Wearing the watch is a unique experience given the development of the brand. Don’t forget that Jorg Gray’s claim to fame is that President Obama wears one. You can see the review of that watch here. The JG9400-21 is a bit pricey at $595, but it isn’t a cheap watch. Little details have mostly been attended to, and Jorg Gray was particularly concerned about wearing comfortable and quality. I really enjoy where Jorg Gray is going. If the JG9400-21 doesn’t suit your tastes, they more than likely will have something that does.
Thanks to Jorg Gray for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.