Another micro brand review from me and this is a watch that is sure to divide opinions. A fully skeletonised watch that is launching on indiegogo. An award winning watch that’s the winner of the 2020 German National design award.
Founded by Zhang Jianming in 2012 Ciga Design launched their first watch in 2013, and that watch won the 2013 red dot design award.
The year after they became the first Chinese watchmaker to have an exhibition at the brand hall in Baselworld. Fast forward to 2018 and crowdfunding for the MY series watches reaches 1835% and the Z series 1217% respectively. Pretty incredible numbers, so as you can see, there’s a lot of love out there for this watch.
Before we get into the watch I want to first mention the packaging, which I think is absolutely excellent and really shows that there is a great design team behind this watch. The design team has said to me that some changes to the packaging might be done when production rolls out. I, for one hope they do not change anything about this.
The watch is presented in what looks like a book, but open up and there sits your watch head and two 22mm straps, a silicone and a leather one, both with quick release. It’s a first for me to have a watch presented in this way and I think it’s a great way to stand out from the crowd. The silicone strap was the one that got the most wrist time, it was the real winner for me. The leather strap felt a bit stiff and I didn’t like the shiny coating to it.
The watch measures at a nicely sized 40.8mm wide and 12.3mm thick, while a measurement of 48mm lug to lug gives it hefty wrist presence. Which is needed, as the hollowed out design of this watch means it only weighs in at 84g on the silicone strap thanks in part to its titanium case which is 40% stronger and 30% lighter than stainless steel. Because of how comfortable and light this watch was I forgot that I was wearing it at times. It features 4 hexagonal screws, 2 either side of the case, just adding to the uniqueness of this watch.
Sitting inside the titanium case is a 25 jewelled seagull st2553jk automatic movement. Not a movement I know a lot about, but I did enjoy flipping the watch over and having a good look at it. A movement with a 40 hour power reserve that beats at a slightly slower than what I’m used to 21,600 beats per hour that promises -15 to +30 seconds per hour. I found the power reserve to be very good and it did last the promised 40 hours.
As for time keeping, I also had no issues with it. In fact it was doing a lot better than stated, running at around +- 10 seconds per day. A very pleasant surprise for me.
The movement is of course very easy to see as every time you look down at your wrist it’s staring right at you. Visible through a 1.2mm thick piece of artificial sapphire crystal. Which I believe to be a mix of sapphire crystal and hardlex crystal. Whatever your thoughts on the watch are you can not deny that the movement inside is very pretty and well decorated. A real pleasure to look at.
I wore this watch at the weekend when I was out drinking with work friends and before I had even started drinking I looked down at my wrist to check the time and I couldn’t quickly tell what time it was. I had to really stare at my wrist for 5 seconds to figure out the time. It’s my only problem with this watch, legibility.
It’s undoubtedly beautiful and I can see why this watch would appeal to many people but that was a let down. Perhaps hands that weren’t hollowed out would work better on this watch. It needs to be said however that the model I have is a prototype and the design team have told me that they are continuously making improvements to their watch and this might be different before production rolls out.
But, I loved wearing this watch, it wears so well. It’s light, but feels great on the wrist. A skeletonised Richard Mille on a budget. If you ever want something that stands out from the norm, something that little bit different then I think this is a fantastic option for you.
For £175 you can not deny that this is fantastic value for money, it’s expertly finished and it’s unique award winning design make this, in my book (see what I did there) a fantastic watch.
I couldn’t agree more that it is indeed fantastic value for money. Bought the red one for myself.
Michael McAllister says
Have you received it yet? If so, how are you enjoying it?
Strange thing is that this is a indigogo.. and batch one is in process now according to their indigogo site.
Batch 2 in March.
But still you can buy it and people are reviewing it on AliExpress? For $100 less as well
Just realized the indigogo is for titanium case.. and the ones on AliExpress is stainless steel.. sorry about that
I got one too. Can’t agree more with :
1. the cool packaging , well thought out and excellent marketing videos on indiegogo
3.almost illegible lumen markers making it difficult to read even in broad daylight let alone night time.
If leather band can be upgraded to croci band at a price then all the better!
Jaime M. Jimenez says
I just wanted to ask, what if the watch that has been delivered is defective? What should be our recourse?
Matthew Catellier says
Hi Jaime, it would be best to contact Ciga directly in that case.
I bought a Ciga design an absolute desaster the watch doesn’t work can’t send it back or replace no answer from anybody…
Please don’t buy
Neil D'Costa says
Never trust these Chinese brands. They are past masters at projecting themselves as exemplary in their respective field of activity and assuming European names to throw people off guard. At this price point, it is a rip-off if they cannot offer pure sapphire crystal rather than a mix of hardlex and sapphire. I also have my doubts about the quality of titanium they use for the case.
Will these guys be around in the next ten years?
Jim Smithson says
Although you might like the watch, if you want to return I advise never to buy from this company when the watch is being shipped from China. I bought directly from the ciga-design website thinking the watch ships from a US location, not until a few days after my order did I receive a shipping notice it was coming from China. It arrived sooner than I thought. That was the end of the good news. I did not like the watch, did not wear it, so it is BNIB. After 3 emails, CS responded asking me to take at least 6 pictures of the watch, the box, bar code, etc and format in a way I never heard of and to send it to an address back in China! The address was a pure joke. I knew that if I mailed it, the watch would be lost and never get there and I would be out all my monies. I was supposed to pay for shipping to China, they would deduct their shipping cost, and probably tell me the watch was not BNIB. So ended up selling it on eBay at a discount and rid of it, would have been the same cost if I sent it back. I learned a lesson, never buy anything that ships directly from China, because if you want to return it, you are SOL.
Nicholas Bowman says
With its new X Series watch, Ciga has reached new lows; much delayed, including because they under declared the value to avoid tax, they are now sending out the wrong watches to people who have funded them on Indiegogo…in my case the Titanium/Blue version I ordered was replaced by a standard black/orange version worth $60 less. Frankly a brand to be avoided, no matter how attractive the watches
Matthew Catellier says
Thanks for your input, it’s always good to hear from customers who are dealing directly with the brand. Sorry to hear you’ve been having issues with them.
Moses Wan says
I have been wearing my Titanium version Z series watch for more than a year. Absolutely no issues with it mechanically.
The only gripe which I believe is universal is how hard it is to tell the time.
However, the value for the price you pay is great! and it simply look gorgeous.
Once caveat here is that the end product one receives is at the mercy of the delivery folks; how well or badly they handle it. Remember, it is a mechanical watch and not as tough as the battery powered ones.
Neil Goulder says
The Ciga X Series debacle has demonstrated what you can expect if you buy from Ciga.
As happened with many other customers, they shipped the wrong watch, refused to reimburse the VAT and import fees on the watch that needs to be returned (over £40 in my case) and won’t provide a prepaid shipping label.
If a company won’t put right a mess of its making, I would be very wary of trusting them with your money.
Yalei Li says
At the very beginning, I was surprised by the design of the watch. But the watch failed me. The crown broke after about 3 months and after a back and forth talking with their customer service. They agreed to send me a new crown, but I had to pay $40 USD (as SHIPPING FEE!!! Ridiculous ). And on their Facebook group, they hate people complaining about their quality, they blocked me!!
I was so so so so so so so so disappointed. Would never recommend anybody to buy it.
Martin Chaudhry says
Hi there I’m interested in buying this watch anyone got one for sale contact me.
Bob Todrick says
Have had my Cigadesign Z series stainless steel for a year now.
Yup…not the easiest to tell the time, especially in the dark.
The rotor is kinda noisy.
But after a year it is still within 5 sec/day accuracy.
Looks and feels great.
Gets the most comments of any watch I own…and that includes a Rolex Datejust.
Great value for the money.