I'm lucky enought to experience a lot differnet watches from a lot of different watch brands in my job, and while most of the brands I come into contact with are the established names from Switzerland, occassionally an oddball gets thrown up.
That happened this year when an email from CIGA Design dropped into my inbox.
For those unaware, CIGA Design is a relatively new watch brand from China. It has been making watches since 2012, and while you might associate 'Chinese watch brand' with cheap, homage watches, CIGA Design are doing things differently.
The brand is committed to creating original and innovative designs. In the short fwe years they've been going, CIDA Designs has already won numerous pregstigous awards, including IF Awards, German Design Awards, and Red Dot Awards.
The highlight of the companies achievements came when in 2021, it became the first Chinese watch brand to win a Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) award for its Blue Planet model (pictured above).
The Blue Planet is designed to reflect the fragility of our planet and the harmony of our lives on Earth. The intricate dial features crisp oceans, sprawling mountains and land, with a sapphire crystal dome perfectly illustrating our atmosphere and the protection it provides us.
In terms of telling the time, when the hour 'hand' rotates 30°, the minute 'hand' rotates 390°. This innovative change in the gear ratio means the watch can indicate both the hour and minute with a single pointer.
The case is crafted from recycled titanium and the innovative slim packaging is made from recyclable materials.
The rest of CIGA Design's range is a little more traditional, yet still has a very modern design.
Most of the watches feature a highly skeletonised dial, and we're talking a real skeletonisation here - not just a regular movement without a dial. These movements are highly intricate and have been adapted so you can see all the way through.
The watches feel very well made too. I've had the pleasure of wearing both the X Series and the Full Hollow Automatic.
Both are very impressive when you consider the price.
CIGA Design watches are priced around the £250 mark (although the Blue Planet stretches up to around £750). I think that's seriously great value for money, with nothing else in the price category able to compete when you're looking for this style of watch.