How does a brand handle the pressure of developing their next watch concept, following the successful prior launches of the Trans-Siberian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, and Iron Wolf? Create a timepiece based on the aesthetics of a train engine's pressure-gauge of course.
Enter the Gauge Master, the latest, upcoming model offering from Pramzius Watches. The Gauge Master holds true to the Pramzius design fung shui, and signature design build, in that there is no signature design that defines a Pramzius timepiece. Each Pramzius timepiece is a unique creation of it's own, with no two models, other than the Pramzius logo, discernible alone by lineage.
The Pramzius Gauge Master, a railroad inspired timepiece, is designed to pay tribute to the Manometer (pressure gauge) used on vintage locomotives from days gone by, the inspiration for which, derived from a visit to Vapeur Val-de-Travers (VVT) Train Museum in Switzerland, by the Pramzius Watch team. The VVT Train Museum houses locomotives from all over Europe, including countries that border the Baltic Sea. The Gauge Master is also the official timepiece of the VVT Train Museum.
One of the interesting earmarks of the Pramzius brand, other than creating timepieces with deliberate nods to Countries within the Baltic region, has been incorporating genuine DNA materials within some of their recent model builds. As an example, the Berlin Wall Watch was designed with actual fragments of the original Berlin Wall, set within the crown. This design trend continues with the Gauge Master, as the outer ring of each dial is comprised of metals from locomotives from the 1800 and 1900's, each rustic piece of metal used, having its own uniquely-weathered look, truly giving each Gauge Master an individuality of its own.
The Gauge Master is certainly not, what one would consider the classically-styled timepiece, having a case design that embodies the word steampunk. The extended screw and nut / bolt protrusions (crown) only lend to intensify the steampunk look, but are functional to the design theme of the timepiece; you can easily imagine the Gauge Master right at home, in its present form sans strap, among the cluster of metal and gauges within a locomotive engine, and that's the point. The hands and chapter ring of the Gauge Master offer the perfect homage to a Manometer gauge. Despite the added case enhancements, the Gauge Master comes in at a very wearable case diameter of 44mm, with a case thickness of 12mm.
As stated, despite its bold, slightly avant garde architecture, the curved lug-ends allow the Gauge Master to be wearable for almost any wrist. I personally found the watch to be extremely comfortable, when wearing either the traditional leather strap, or military-style Bund strap.
The dial of the Gauge Master is clean and uncluttered, easily read at a glance. The running, sub-second hand is positioned at the 1 o'clock position on the dial, and isn't necessarily functional from an elapsed timekeeping standpoint, about the only detraction I can find with the Gauge Master, but definitely adds a decorative finesse to the dial; much like an ornate fixture within a vintage passenger railway car.
A prominent feature of the gauge-like display (thus the name), is the slightly askew dial. This is an important and intentional quirk to the design and functionality of the timepiece. Locomotive train conductors and engineers primarily used levers to operate the historic train engines. It was important for the train conductors to have their hands maintain contact with the levers, and the slightly askew dial, allows for easier viewing of the dial, while doing so.
There is no bad choice when it comes to the dial of the Pramzius Gauge Master. I personally favor the rich look that the combination of rose gold and the Black, textured dial affords. The White, and off-White, antiqued dial versions offer nice visual contrasts on the wrist also, with both lighter-dialed iterations sporting fully luminous dials.
For the movement, Pramzius chose to power the Gauge Master with the rock-solid, and virtually bulletproof 21 Jewel, Miyota 82S5 with the sub-second complication. A more than serviceable choice of watch movement that should provide many years of worry-free operation. By Miyota's estimate, the accuracy of the 82S5 movement should vary between -20 seconds to +40 seconds per day. The exhibition caseback of the Gauge Master, sports an etched relief of the VVT Train Museum logo, engraved on the glass, a nice added touch.
This fourth effort from Pramzius Watch Company is a solid one. The Gauge Master is a timepiece that will check a lot of boxes for many collectors. The timepiece has a unique design concept. You certainly won't have many timepieces, if any, like it within your current collection. The Gauge Master is a true conversation piece.
The Gauge Master is a numbered limited edition timepiece, with 1,435 pieces being made in each dial color. The limited number is significant, as it represents the width of the standard railroad guage 1,435mm. As with all Pramzius timepieces, you can expect to receive the Gauge Master with premium packaging that will double as a travel case. The timepiece will also arrive with two strap options, standard leather with tang buckle, and a Swedish Leather Bund; either strap choice will provide ultra comfort on the wrist; my personal preference was the Bund. With a 22mm lug width, you'll also have limitless, aftermarket strap options available, to further customize your Gauge Master.
Slated for Summer 2021 release, the Pramzius Gauge Master will prove to be a refreshing, bright, shining light at the end of the tunnel, of Railroad inspired timepieces. Visit www.r2awatches.com for pre-order and Kickstarter campaign information. Introductory pricing for the Gauge Master, full kit, is $379.00.