MICRO MONDAYS: The Makina Gabriel delivers singular looks at a bargain price

MICRO MONDAYS: The Makina Gabriel delivers singular looks at a bargain price

Fergus Nash

The popularity of microbrands is predominantly down to two main reasons. Firstly, there is the fact that they’re often far more affordable than established watch brands, but of equal importance is their relative freedom to create fresh ideas without the pressure that a century-long history brings. Instead of re-hashing old designs with slight updates every few years, microbrands such as Makina are able to bring out watch after watch with original concepts and niche appeal that collectors will want to own. The Makina Gabriel is the latest addition to the brand’s quirky catalogue, offering a burly twist on a classical theme.

The case

The 40mm case is truly unlike anything else on the market, unless of course you’re counting other watches of Makina’s that use the eight-sided approach to their silhouettes. The flattened front and back of the case do make the Gabriel feel like a single solid piece, with the wire lugs sending the design tumbling back in time to the very beginnings of wristwatches. Those lugs bring the total length of the watch to 46mmm which is already fairly compact, but their diminutive appearance helps the watch wear even smaller.

The high-polish case is 11.9mm thick, and due to the rounded sides of the flat profile it will tend to appear relatively bulky on-wrist, even if you won’t actually have many issues with shirt cuffs. Yet I believe this aids the watch due to the modified pocket-watch vibe that comes from the wire lugs that contribute to that same form of bulky charm.

The dial

The dial of the Makina Gabriel pulls influences from all over watchmaking, but definitely carries some mid-century flair. Their ode to the sector dial includes a brushed silver outer section, a matte white centre section with a crosshair, and an emboldened small seconds subdial with concentric circle guilloché. The blue-plated hands are a Makina hallmark in their spearhead shape, doing well to accentuate the crispness of the dial and the angles of the case.

The thick black lines that delineate the different finishes are slightly more futuristic, as they also make up the hour markers with bigger lines at the quarters. A minute-marked chapter ring is featured on the outside of the dial that the minute hand reaches to, however the small seconds subdial is intentionally left blank for simplicity and elegance. The only text on the dial is the printed Makina logo, heightening the negative space.

The movement

Inside, the Makinia Gabriel uses the Sellita calibre SW260-1 — a Swiss automatic movement with tried-and-tested performance over its 38 hours of power reserve at 28,800 vibrations per second. The movement has some modest decoration, although it is partially obscured by a large stylised “M” logo printed on the blue-tinted sapphire caseback.

While the Gabriel has a lot of old-world charm, thankfully it also has a lot of new-world convenience. The 100m water resistance means that you can safely take the watch swimming once you’ve changed the alligator strap, which is also made easy by the use of spring bars instead of true integrated wire lugs that would otherwise require an open-end strap glued into place.

Truthfully, the Makina Gabriel is such a unique watch that it’s unlikely to fit within any collector’s niches, such as wanting to fill in a diver, chronograph or dress watch gap. Part of the Makina charm is that only people who love the look will buy them, and that proves that total originality can still exist within watchmaking.

The Makina Gabriel pricing and availability:

The Gabriel is currently available for preorder from Makina’s website for at least $100 less than the eventual launch price, and they will be delivered between April 20th and May 10th. Price: $600 USD

Case Material 316L Stainless Steel
Case Dimensions 40mm x 11.9mm
Water-Resistance 100m
Dial Silver and white sectors
Straps Black alligator
Movement Sellita SW260-1
Power Reserve 38 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, small seconds
Price $600 USD