MICRO MONDAYS: The RZE Ascentus GMT delivers serious bang-for-buck in a titanium case MICRO MONDAYS: The RZE Ascentus GMT delivers serious bang-for-buck in a titanium case

MICRO MONDAYS: The RZE Ascentus GMT delivers serious bang-for-buck in a titanium case

Fergus Nash

RZE cemented themselves in my mind as one of the best value microbrands when they released their Valour 38 field watch for under US$300, and their latest release only solidifies that title with some exciting new features. The RZE Ascentus GMT merges their well-established design style with sensible dimensions, and bang-for-buck features with a little help from Seiko.

The case

Commandeering the case of the Endeavour, the RZE Ascentus GMT guarantees a design that has the longevity and rugged nature of RZE’s best-selling watch. Facets and angular themes give the case a sense of jaggedness that backs up the adventure-ready attitude the brand holds closely. All RZE cases are made of titanium, which keeps the watch much lighter than stainless steel as well as giving it that greyer tint. The sandblasted finish accentuates the difference in colour, as well as amping up the tactical vibe. It’s also coated with UltraHex for scratch resistance, which is often an oversight for titanium watches.

With a diameter of 40mm and a lug-to-lug of 46mm, the RZE Ascentus GMT is well-suited to those with smaller wrists and larger wrists without too much compromise from either end. The black DLC-coated bezel, complete with 24-hour markings, is relatively slim so that the dial has a lot more space to breathe. There are also slight bumps around the crown to form its guards, doing their job without spoiling the symmetry too much.

The dial

RZE have an established style with their watches, focusing on legibility, letting the colours do their thing, but still including their own personality. The layout of the RZE Ascentus GMT is pretty much identical to the RZE Endeavour, but there are plenty of details which set them apart as very different watches. In addition to the pill-shaped applied indices with thick borders, there’s now an emboldened date window at 3 o’clock. Of course, there’s the added fourth hand for the GMT functionality, with a black base and sherbet orange remainder.

As with the Endeavour, the dials feature a rough parchment texture that adds a lot of depth, although there is one colour change up. The Polaris White, Azure Blue and Medallion Yellow are still available, but the navy Pacific Blue has been replaced with the stern Carbon Black. The addition of a black dial watch makes the RZE Ascentus GMT much more versatile than the Endeavour, as the white can be a little bit too bold for something that isn’t coloured.

The bracelet

For the RZE Ascentus GMT, the microbrand have also unveiled a new bracelet design that they believe to be the comfiest titanium bracelet so far. Each link is stamped and drilled before milling, which allows for much more freedom of movement between each piece. The result is a bracelet which flows incredibly well over the wrist, and it’s coated in the same UltraHex as the case for excellent scratch resistance.

The movement

As soon as the Seiko NH34 was unveiled, everyone knew exactly how drastically it would affect the microbrand world. The NH35 was already being used in thousands of affordable watches, and the addition of the GMT complication to the off-the-shelf package meant that we no longer have to spend big on a Swiss movement for an automatic GMT. The NH34 offers a 21,600 vibration per hour beat rate over a 41 hour power reserve, and despite wide margins set by the factory usually run well around +10 seconds per day.

The RZE Ascentus GMT pricing and availability:

The RZE Ascentus GMT is now available from RZE’s web store here. Price: US$549

Brand RZE
Model Ascentus GMT
Case Dimensions 40mm x 47mm x 13mm
Case Material Titanium
Water Resistance 200m
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Blue, Black, White, Yellow
Lug Width 20mm
Strap Titanium bracelet
Movement Seiko NH34
Power Reserve 41 hours
Availability Available now
Price US$549