MICRO MONDAYS: The Circula AquaSport GMT is a funky diver with ’70s swaggerFergus Nash
Calling Circula a microbrand feels like a bit of a disservice considering their history, but their approach to unique design and modern brand identity really does align with that of a much younger company. First founded in the Black Forest region of Germany in 1955 by Heinz Huber, who had been running a watch and jewellery wholesaler since 1926, the Circula brand was re-energised by his grandson Cornelius Huber in 2018. The latest addition to their catalogue is an expansion of their much-loved dive watch line, the Circula AquaSport GMT.
Some of Circula’s funkiest designs come from their skin divers of the 1970s, and that’s where they’ve derived the general appearance of the Circula AquaSport GMT from. The shape lies somewhere between a traditional set of lugs and a cushion case, with a circularly brushed front and polished chamfers that give it a touch of class. The screw-down crown, which locks in the case’s 200m water resistance, features a coloured ring and a luminous logo, showing that no expense has been spared in the details of this watch.
We seem to be in a real golden age of wearability at the moment, with the right ratios between width and length that provide big wrist presence without the discomfort of a massive case. The Circula AquaSport GMT is no exception, with a 40mm diameter representing a slight bump up from vintage accuracy, but a 46mm lug-to-lug length keeping things in check. Including a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, the total thickness is a moderate 13.4mm.
Circula’s dials are always a treat, and the AquaSport GMT delivers again in attention to detail. The GMT hand is quite short and doesn’t compete with the other three hands, with the 24-hour markers recessed into their own ring. The date display is located above the 6 o’clock marker, bevelled neatly and not distracting from any other elements. The hour markers themselves have a nice dimensionality, being applied and then generously flooded with Super-LumiNova. The lume is one of the great selling points of the watch, with beaming markers, hands, and also bezel markings. The 48-click bezel is protected with a sapphire insert, offering scratch protection as well as a glossy finish reminiscent of vintage bakelite or acrylic.
The Circula AquaSport GMT is available in two colour schemes, the first being a dark and versatile anthracite grey with silvery accents and parchment-toned lume. The sunburst finish on the dial gives a lot of depth to the grey colour, varying greatly depending on its angle. The second is a matte navy blue affair with bright bursts of orange around the hour markers and seconds hand. This sportier option is completed with a bi-colour bezel insert that’s also luminous in its blue section, making for a really impressive after-dark light show.
By default, the Circula AquaSport GMT comes equipped with a tropic rubber strap in either black or blue to match the watch colour. For an extra €100, you can order the beads-of-rice style bracelet with fitted end links for a dressier style. Both of these have quick-release spring bars, so you can swap them out incredibly easily. If you’d prefer to find your own rubber, NATO, or leather straps, the lug width of 20mm gives you almost infinite options.
Powering the AquaSport GMT is the Sellita calibre SW330-2. This is one of Sellita’s higher end movements, and aside from the GMT complication it’s also got some very impressive specifications. Circula have gone for the Top Grade SW330-2, which means it includes a Glucydur balance wheel, and an average rate of +/-4 seconds per day. It may not be an officially certified chronometer by COSC, but it’s as close as you can get without spending a lot more money. It displays a smooth 4Hz sweep, and also has a power reserve of 56 hours.
The Circula AquaSport GMT pricing and availability:
The Circula AquaSport GMT can be ordered from the Circula website here, with free worldwide shipping. Price: €1,299 / US$1,150
|Case Dimensions||40mm x 46mm x 13.4mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire with anti-reflective coating|
|Dial||Anthracite or blue|
|Power Reserve||56 hours|
|Price||€1,299 / US$1,150|