There is a good deal to say about the Temption CGK203, much of which has been said in other reviews. I am going to attempt to discuss what I believe is salient and important to my ownership experience, as I do own one of these. Temption is a small German maker with only one distributor in US which is WatchBuys. Otherwise, one essentially has to get them from the factory or in Europe. Like most small makers, Temption does not make it’s own movements. Instead it creates the cases and everything else other than the movement. Until they stop making them (ETA will cease selling movements to outside makers in 2010), ETA provides most if not all the movements that Temption uses. This one features a Valjoux 7751, which ETA owns.
The Valjoux 7751 is based on the very popular Valjoux 7750 chronograph. The 7751 adds several complications including: moonphase, synchronized 24 hour time indicator, full calendar with the month, day of the week, and date around the periphery of the face. The 7751 is of course an automatic, and the Temption offers a lovely see-through case back. My version has a gold, or gold-plated version of the movement, but I have seen movements which are just steel. Overall, the movement is not the subject of this review but I have been happy with it. Often times, the complications of a movement require some quirky operations. For example, the system for correcting the date could be more intuitive, but this is an issue with the movement, not the watch.
Like most German watches, the Temption is a pinnacle of utilitarian function. It is very legible under most light conditions, especially given the necessary clutter of the functions displayed on the face. The Temption logo is black on black and difficult to read. The purpose of this is to understate the need for branding, and to enhance the legibility of the face. Nothing to sacrifice function. Regardless of the functional approach of the watch, it is highly pleasing to the eye. Nothing boring, and it is a real achievement of being a beautiful tool. Often time, instruments are frankly boring to read. This watch however is calm and collected in how handsome it is. Nothing pretentious exists on the surface, but the refinement in the design is really only apparent after looking at it time and time again until you become familiar with it.
I recall when I first purchased the watch, I allowed my friend to wear it. In fact, I asked him to. He is not much of a watch fan, but he humored me by wearing it. When he did, I was impressed at how nicely the watch looks on a wrist. You really cannot tell by wearing it yourself, or seeing the watch alone. You see, truly great watch design is very difficult, and almost never apparent or obvious. The best watch designs are highly contemplated and refined, and never apparent. You have to live with it for a while to really understand how nice, a well styled watch is. The reason, is that most of them are so bland looking at first you do not realize how long it took to design them in a way such that they will look good with everything. A very difficult and skilled endeavor.
Like the Rolex Submariner, the Temption CGK203 is a fashionable diver’s style watch. With it’s rotating bezel, and appreciable water resistance, the CGK203 can easily be used as a diver’s companion. However, it is meant for challenges of everyday life, to be used when necessary. The locking crown and pushers which lock are comfortable and usable. A minor complaint I have is that the main crown is a bit hard to pull out when you need to do so to make adjustments. A minor quibble, but something that might not need have been overlooked without remedy. A simple recess in the case might have allowed for better leverage when operating the crown. Again, this is a minor issue, but mentioning it shows how few things I find wrong with this watch.
The black face with white hands are probably the best part of the watch. As you use the watch more often, you realize just how much thought went into the design of the hands, working hard not to interfere with each other, but allow for quick reference when needed. Other Temption watches often use an array of color variations, like red or yellow. This series uses all white to contrast with the black face. And as is typical of Temption watches, a face-colored cabochan decorates the crown. In this case an Onyx.
Another wonderful aspect of the watch is the bracelet. I have worn a good deal of watch bracelets and can easily say this is one of the best. Being 24mm in width, it is about as wide as they come. That with the 5 link design, it is really nice to look at. Appears less of an afterthought, and more like it was designed to compliment the face, not simply carry it. The bracelet is comfortable and clean with its butterfly clasp. A double locking clasp would have probably been a bit more secure. but I have never had an issue with the clasp opening without notice or when I did not want it to.
The Temption CGK203 is a rare watch. All Temption watches are for that matter. I read that only 1100 CGK203 were ever made, very few of those made it to the US I assume. I was told that by the person I purchased the watch from (on eBay), that it was originally purchased from the president of Temption at Basel World in Switzerland. Luckily it came with the original box and all the papers. I am proud to own it, even if no one has ever heard of the brand. When it comes down to it, each watch I own should make me smile when I look at it, not sit on my wrist to impress anyone else.