We begin the new era, or as some have named it the “Roaring 20’s”, with a surprising news from Arizona based watch brand, Geoffrey Roth Watch Engineering (GRWE). When GRWE announced a new pilot watch this week, it came as a surprise, since the brand is known for creating contemporary watches in variety of speciality materials. The first impression is an eclectic yet stylish flieger with elliptical case, grey lacquer Baumuster A style dial, bronze crown, and an alligator strap.
Unlike other watch companies, GRWE has an interesting history. Geoffrey Roth, owner of the company, started out as an exclusive art and jewelry gallery in Sedona, Arizona in the mid-1970’s. As his art world collided with the watch world, his fascination for the mechanical watches inspired him to open Geoffrey Roth Watch Engineering in Sedona, Arizona, in the late 1990’s. Geoffrey being a talented self-taught engineer and watchmaker, hired two other technical experts to design and manufacture most of the watch parts (with exception of the movement) in-house. We met with Andy Archibald, who is the production manager, and he has a fascinating background himself. He was a successful gunsmith, who then took the challenge with GRWE to transition into precision engineering, with case manufacturing, dial manufacturing and printing, and even making tools for manufacturing special watch parts. Geoffrey invested in importing several traditional watchmaking tools from Switzerland, which are used and maintained by his team.
HH7 flieger is housed in a 42mm VAR 316L stainless steel case with matte finish. All GRWE cases have distinguishing shapes, this one is elliptical shaped with hidden strap bars, and concave case back. It is worthy to note that the case is engineered sculpture from a solid billet of steel rather than a ring of steel with lugs soldered on like traditional watch cases. The strap tubes are screwed-in with polished gold-plated screws. The massive phosphor bronze crown has an appearance of a jet engine, and features GRWE’s trademark ruby set around the tip. The domed sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating on the inside. The concave case back provides the comfort of wearing the watch. The case back also has a convex sapphire crystal for viewing the movement.
The dial is lacquered in dark grey, and the numbers and markings are printed in light grey with SuperLuminova coating. The rounded sword shaped hands are heat-blued steel with SuperLuminova coating. HH7 is powered by reliable ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement that is decorated, and features GRWE’s in-house manufactured Tungsten rotor. Even though the strap shown with all the pictures is a honey brown alligator strap (which can be ordered upon request), the watch will come with a proprietary rubber strap which will give the flieger a more functional appearance. GRWE has a generous and interesting warranty policy – six-year warranty, extended for another six years if the watch is returned to them for servicing between years five and six. The retail price for this American made flieger is $3,900.
This stylish flieger is an ideal companion to rent out a Harley Softail Deluxe, and hit the Northern Arizona roads to get your kicks on Route 66. It does have a higher price tag than most German fliegers, but boutique watches are expensive to make. However, there is room for customization, since GRWE specializes in bespoke watchmaking.