19 Sep Hands On Review: MAALS Giri Ventiquattro
One of the nice things about being an independent reviewer is that you get to look at a lot of smaller brands that would otherwise slip under the radar. MAALS is one such brand. Earlier in the year I covered their first watch, the Jump Over The Moon. Now the brand are launching their second watch – the Giri Ventiquattro.
You’re probably wondering why the watch is called that. Well, loosely translated, the name is Italian for “turns twenty-four”. It refers to the power reserve dial and the fact that there are twenty-four hours in a day. The one I’ve been sent is a prototype that Andy (one of the owners) has been wearing for a few months, so please excuse the scratches!
The case is rather straightforward and it’s completely polished. Simplicity is by no means a bad thing when you’ve got a busy dial, but I’d have like to have seen some variety in the finishing. However the unusual faux wire lugs do add some detail to the otherwise plain case.
At 40mm the Giri Ventiquattro is a decent middle-size that will suit most wrists. I think the watch has a good presence on the wrist without being too large. It’s also not too thick, coming in at a respectable 12.5mm. However, because the case is so simple, the watch does feel like it’s taller than it is. I’d prefer it if the case was much slimmer. It would give the watch another edge and help raise the design up a notch.
As with MAAL’s previous watch, the Jump over the Moon, the caseback is the coolest part of the Giri Ventiquattro. One half is an exhibition caseback, the other has some really cool art of an astronaut. It’s both nice to see the inner workings, and to have such unusual caseback decoration. Such design flair is probably my favourite part of MAALS watches.
The Giri Ventiquattro has a flat sapphire crystal, with an anti-reflective coating. It’s nice to see MAALS haven’t cut corners when it comes to the crystal material, and have gone with the most scratch-resistant option available. The AR coating is nice too, and the watch is very legible pretty much any lighting.
Despite the number of complications the watch has, I think MAALS have done an excellent job of keeping the dial looking clean. This really allows the colour of the dial to shine through. The electric blue sunburst dial is exceptionally eye-catching, and it’s nice to see such a bold shade used. MAALS have wisely chosen to keep the hour markers simple and legible. The applied pips next to each Arabic numeral are a nice touch, but I’m not keen the minute track. It’s too busy and completely useless for actually measuring the seconds.
Of course it’s the complications that set the watch dial apart from the competition. The 24 hour indicator above the 6 o’clock position doesn’t have any hour markers. Instead you tell whether it’s AM or PM using a gorgeous little sun and moon artwork. It’s the sort of quirky touch I really like about MAALS, and which I wish they’d lean more into. The date window is also somewhat unusual, as it displays the numbers either side of the current date. It’s an element not everyone will like, but personally I’m a fan of it. It’s nice to see something different from the usual square cutout. In contrast the power reserve indicator on the left of the dial is pretty conventional, but it does the job. All of these have a polished silver frame that sets off the complications perfectly.
The handset is exceedingly simple, but well finished. They have a refined look that dresses the Giri Ventiquattro up very nicely indeed.
The lume on the Giri Ventiquattro is actually pretty decent. It glows brightly enough, and doesn’t fade quickly. Of course, given their small size the numerals don’t glow as brightly as the main hands, but they’re still easily legible. The numerals at 12 glow orange rather than blue too, which is a nice touch.
Inside the Giri Ventiquattro there’s a Miyota 9134 automatic movement. The 26 jewel movement beats at a rate of 4Hz, and has a 40 hour power reserve. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, it’s got quite the number of complications. In addition to the date window it’s got both a power reserve indicator and 24 hour sub-dial. Miyota are obviously a very reputable manufacturer, and it’s nice to see a watch that makes use of such unusual complications.
The Giri Ventiquattro comes on a 20mm cordura strap, which suits the watch nicely. I think the buckle could be of slightly better quality, however the material is decent enough for a watch of this price. Cordura strikes me as an unusual choice for a watch this dressy, but it’s nice to see something a bit different.
To be completely honest, as much as I admire MAALS’ passion, I think the Giri Ventiquattro is a bit on the pricey side. I think the Kickstarter price of £350 is much more appealing than the full £450 retail price. Though, as I’ve said before, specs aren’t everything when it comes to watches.
With the Giri Ventiquattro MAALS offer something a bit different from the usual affordable micro pieces. It’s blend of striking dial colour, and polished markers result in a watch that’s both attractive and eye-catching.
For me, what lets the watch down is its case. It just feels too tall, and it’s also too plain. It really needs to be slimmer, and have some alternate finishes to help raise the whole watch up a notch.
But despite that, I feel like the Giri Ventiquattro is an attractive and well-built watch that would make a good purchase for anyone out to add something a bit different to their collection.
If the watch takes your fancy, you can pre-order the Giri Ventiquattro from MAALS’ website here.