The Galvin Loimu–second collection from the brand–was funded on Kickstarter in under six minutes. Part of me wonders if I need to write more. But I will. Mostly because I can’t help myself.
The Galvin Watch Company, headquartered in Australia, is run by accredited watchmaker, Susan Galvin. Susan–who grew up in the northern Lapland area of Finland–brings her Nordic sense of austere design to the watchmaking process. Formerly of TAG Heuer and Omega, Susan formed her own brand in 2020 with the launch of the Alku Collection. Even then, her use of minimalism and colour were at the forefront of her style.
The Loimu, in my opinion, illustrates a woman at the apex of her craft.
The deceptively simple 38mm case is actually a treasure trove of fine detail. Up close, the intricacy is evident. At the juncture of the stationary bezel, which is brushed, there is the finest line of polish dividing it from the rest of the case, which provides for subtle light play. The exceptional horizontal brushing of the case, itself, swoops gently into exquisitely tapered and twisted lugs. The overall impression is one of refined strength–at once toolish and dressy.
This level of finesse carries over into the bespoke, lumed crown with its uniform knurling and signature ‘G’–which also has the added practicality of being screwed down, like the caseback. This rugged combination provides the Loimu 100m of water resistance.
The characteristic ‘G’ motif turns up again on the aforementioned caseback. Mirroring the dial design with its lovely texturing–meant to represent the “hemispheric movement” of light through the Earth’s atmosphere–the caseback is embossed in a wave pattern emanating from the centre. There is also space around the outside to engrave each model with its unique production number.
But the piece de resistance here is obviously the dial. In an attempt to express the natural shimmer of the aurora borealis, Galvin have created a sunburst guilloché effect that is positively luminous. The wheel-like wave texturing winks and glimmers–capturing and reflecting light as it moves. It makes good use of unobtrusive circular hour markers in the sector dial with simple numerals at six, nine and twelve. Minutes are discretely painted on the outer rehaut. The handset is a delicate, modified dauphine-style that is perfectly imagined for this setting.
Adding to all this light is the C3 Superluminova, applied to the hands and hour makers–and repeated on the watch’s crown. It has been fitted with a flat sapphire crystal and treated with with four layers of anti-reflective coating. It also uses the smooth sweep of the Miyota 9015.
At times, a microbrand will cut corners with the bracelet in an effort to make the retail price more attractive to buyers; however, that it is not the case here. The Loimu bracelet is literally an extension of the watch, with high tolerances and a snug fit at the lugs. This is partially achieved through the use of “disjointed” end links. Largely brushed, the vintage-styled, single-link bracelet has a nice taper to the clasp, which is milled with a push-button release. My only complaint here would be the levels of micro-adjust, which is limited at two. The buckle itself is engraved and signed with the company logo.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
45mm Lug to Lug
19mm Lug Width
Screwed Crown & Caseback
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire /w AR|
Guilloche Sunburst Dial
Date Window @ 3
C3 Swiss Super-LumiNova
42-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel Bracelet |
/w Milled Clasp
Loimu, translated from Finnish, means blaze. And I can hardly think of a better name for this collection. Microbrands, right on up through Rolex, have been very creative with their colourways in the past year. However, the spectrum on offer from Galvin is one of the best I’ve ever seen. There isn’t dud among them. Even the Artic Black positively glows. And their names…Frost, Tundra, Glacier…such an insignificant detail, really, but so much a part of the story Galvin is hoping to create with this line. The guilloche finish and the carefully chosen tones will make you believe you’re wearing a small, mythical fire on your wrist. Aurora borealis, indeed.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the 19mm lug width of the Loimu makes sense. It is a finely balanced watch, and you would hate to see this played with. Nonetheless, this measurement poses restrictions for aftermarket strap options. I would also like to see the date wheel colour-matched to the dial.
The Galvin Loimu is a watch situated at a crossroads. On one hand, its finishing and its immaculate dial offer a level of sophistication that work well as a dress watch. This is complemented by its svelte sizing and slender construction. On the other hand, there is a robustness in the architecture that would allow it to be worn confidently as a field watch. Design cues, like the numeral usage and sector dial, support this. As such, it occupies that nebulous space in horology known as the sports watch–one that has been in evolution since the 1930s and perhaps defined by such models as the Rolex Explorer. Like these predecessors, the Loimu is a simple, straightforward design that is versatile and reliable–a watch for all seasons. But it is also a watch unto itself with its play on Nordic heritage and the beautiful phenomena from which it draws its name.
The Loimu is available at Early Bird Kickstarter pricing for one more week ($449AUS, or approx. $339USD). After that, it will retail for $699AUS (approx. $529USD). For more information, please visit the brand website, or its Kickstarter campaign page.
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