Creux Automatiq (Automatic) is one of the rare modern start-up watch brands to release products in the $3,000-plus price range. It does happen, but the vast majority of today’s “microbrands” (I prefer to call them “enthusiast-run brands”) make watches in the under-$1,000 range. That isn’t because they don’t want to charge more, but rather that only a few of these brands have the confidence and ability to invest in watches that can be sold at higher price ranges. This particular Ghost V3 Mono watch has a price just north of $3,000 and was produced as a limited edition of 80 pieces from the Creux Automatiq brand. It’s surprisingly competent — and even pretty cool. I really feel the community should support products like this from brands like Creux Automatiq.

I first spoke to Creux Automatiq founder Dane Rumble back in 2020. He isn’t just a watch lover — he also has a jewelry retailing and design background. His business is Culet Jewellery, which has operations in both Australia and New Zealand. Having a background in jewelry is an excellent foundation to build an understanding of both watch design and what sells. Creux Automatiq started with a case that Rumble produced in sterling silver in Australia, and then he proceeded to get his watches made in Switzerland. That makes Creux different from most of the modern enthusiast-run brands that mainly focus on lower-cost Asian manufacturing. What you tend to get with Swiss production is higher quality parts and more immediate attention to detail.

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The Ghost V3 Mono (for monochrome) is one of the brand’s already prolific collection of limited-edition models (to supplement its core collection pieces) and nicely represents what the Creux Automatiq company is capable of. The design is rather modern and sporty, with an emphasis on technical materials and a vivid display of the open-worked automatic mechanical movement. That said, there is a lot of effort that went into making the design classy and flattering on one’s wrist. This is where the jewelry design knowledge comes in. Creux is obviously inspired by today’s great sports watches from brands such as Hublot and Audemars Piguet, and yet, there is no sense that Creux is visually copying anyone. The Ghost is very much a distinctive-looking design — and that originality should go far with collectors.

The case is 45mm-wide by 50mm lug-to-lug and 12.9mm-thick. The case is also water-resistant to 100 meters, and, I will add, rather wearable despite the larger proportions. This limited-edition version of the Ghost has a sandblast-finished titanium case with a forged carbon bezel. The bezel has some steel retaining screws, and the dial mimics the same shades of gray, which accounts for the piece’s Ghost V3 Monochromatic name. Over the dial is a flat sapphire crystal. The crystal does have text printed on the bottom of it (such as the brand logo), which is a cool detail, but I would have also liked for it to have AR coating. This is not a big deal, and one of my very few complaints about this watch.

The case is designed with a strap release system, one that requires a small tool to release each of the two strap connection points. Creux Automatiq offers a few straps, and the included strap is gray-colored natural rubber (which I still prefer pretty much every time over silicone or other materials).

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Inside the watch is a pretty cool movement, and I applaud Creux for wanting to use something out of the ordinary. The company that makes the Ghost V3 Mono’s caliber CA S24-SK8 is called Swisstech, and the Swiss Made movement is the skeletonized version of its S24 automatic movement series. The S24-SK8 configuration is a skeletonized automatic movement with a subsidiary seconds counter located at the 9 o’clock window and a date window at 6 o’clock. The movement is 5.95mm-thick and operates at 4Hz with about 36 hours of power reserve. The latter low number is a downside of the movement given that it is a lower power reserve time than many other watches, which means winding it more often if you aren’t wearing it all the time.

Still, I can understand why Creux Automatiq was attracted to this movement. For a cost that didn’t force the brand to charge appreciably more for its watches, it could have a pretty nice-looking skeletonized movement in a thin profile that has an uncommon subsidiary seconds placement. Note how Creux replaced the normal seconds hand with a disc that offers a very modern-looking display for the running seconds. The movement looks particularly nice through the exhibition caseback, which is where you can see the customized Creux Automatiq rotor.

Even though the Creux Automatiq Ghost V3 Mono is not an inexpensive wristwatch, it is a great value for the money given the materials and overall build quality and design. It isn’t a watch for everyone, but it has a lot more mainstream appeal than many of the otherwise original enthusiast-run watch brands out there. The case is bold, masculine, and also refined with a lot of elegant touches. The watch is clearly in touch with contemporary high-end timepiece design but doesn’t feel like it is directly emulating anything out there. In all, I think Creux Automatiq makes a pretty nice product, with the Ghost V3 Mono being just one of them. You also get the benefit of real exclusivity here — in a brand that is hip and little-known outside of certain parts of the world. Price for the now sold-out limited edition of 80 pieces Creux Automatiq Ghost V3 Mono watch is $3,200 USD. Learn more at the Creux Automatiq website here.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Creux Automatiq
>Model: Ghost V3 Mono limited edition
>Price: $3,200 USD
>Size: 45mm-wide, 12.9mm-thick, and 50mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Great under-the-radar modern watch luxury watch with a sporty demeanor for urban adventures.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: City-dweller looking for a fresh brand to wear as their choice of luxury lifestyle watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Attractive overall design and wrist presence. Good value for the money. Interesting open-worked movement and legible dial. Comfortable on the wrist.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Crystal could use more anti-reflective coating. Movement performance specs may be outweighed by visual appeal, but they still lag behind the performance of most other movements found at this price point.

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