Home Watch Types Digital The G. Gerlach Kosmonaut – a Space Oddity for Today

The G. Gerlach Kosmonaut – a Space Oddity for Today

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As Matt noted in his original writeup on the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut, this is indeed a watch that draws very heavily from the past.  Specifically, the first quartz watch made in Poland, and the one worn by Polish Kosmonaut, General Miroslaw Hermaszewski.  While I may not have traveled space, I could not help but to think of Major Tom as I wore the watch.  Let’s see what I thought of the piece after spending some time with it.

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First off, I have to admit I have some sort of odd on-again, off-again fixation with watches like the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut.  While I never had one when I was younger, I vividly remember playing (yes, playing) with an old calculator that had a similar display.  I have no idea what sort of crazy scenarios I was running in my mind, but I had a blast.  Somewhere in the last, oh, 20 years I had a sort of Fossil version of a watch like this, which was fun, but ultimately the appeal wore off.

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Then the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut arrived on my wrist, and I was that kid playing with the cool calculator again.  While I would not say that a watch like this is something I’d wear all day, every day, it is a fun change of pace.  Styling aside, this is primarily because it is very purpose-driven.  It tells you the time (well, and the date, but I never found myself making the second button press) and that’s it.  Even to do that you have to manually intervene.

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That’s right – in the modern era of accelerometers (like we saw on the Division Furtive Type 40 and Type 50), the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut requires you to press a button to get the display to light up.  This makes the time-telling a conscious decision, and is a practical consideration to keep the battery from running down.  Which means, for most of the day, you could consider you have a large steel-and-sapphire (from the crystal) bracelet on your wrist.

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While my personal tastes in watches do tend to skew to the more traditional, I have a special place reserved for watches that are inspired from vintage designs and/or make a quirkier statement (provided they can still tell the time clearly).  Then again, the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut also stirs up the kid in me (or least the memories), so there are a lot of positives going for me with a watch like this.

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If I am being objective, however, I have to admit that all is not perfect with the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut.  The biggest drawback to this watch, for me, is the bracelet.  It’s a nice-enough bracelet, but I found that it had bigger gaps in the links than I’d prefer, and at the solid lug (see the photo above).  If you take a look at our original article, you’ll notice more of an engineer-style bracelet, which while perhaps not as thematically correct, just seems to look better.

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The other issue worth noting on the G. Gerlach Kosmonaut is really not a shortcoming of the watch, per se, but of the display technology itself.  Basically, if you are in a bright enough light (say, full sun) it can be difficult to read the time – the segments can’t light up enough to overcome the rays bouncing around in the crystal.  This is much less pronounced that I remember it being on that Fossil I had years back, but it is worth noting.

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Then again, those are the issues that cropped up only when I stopped to think more critically about it.  When I was wearing the watch in day-to-day situations, I really did not have a problem with either item.  I found the watch eminently wearable (the case is 40mm, on 20mm lugs) and weighs a reasonable 138g after I adjusted it (with all links, it’s closer to 150g).  Oh, and speaking of daily utility, the 100m WR is a definite upgrade over the original (as is the sapphire crystal).

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Also of note, from the earlier model we wrote about, is that the caseback has been modified.  The General’s likeness has been removed (as is Sputnik), and instead we have a more generic space suit showing up (albeit with Polska markings).  Ultimately, this is one of those watches I think that you either get or you don’t.  For some, perhaps it’s the draw to having had a watch like this (or a calculator), or perhaps coming of age in the era of space races this watch hails from.  Whatever your reason, if this is a watch that pressurizes your space suit, you can pick one up for around $200.  Some might balk at that pricetag for a digital watch, but for me, I think its in a very affordable sweetspot for nostalgia.  gerlach.org.pl

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Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: G. Gerlach Kosmonaut
  • Price: ~ $200
  • Who we think it might be for: There’s a deep nostalgic hook that has been set in your psyche from the watches of the era the Kosmonaut hails from
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes indeed.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The bracelet could use some tightening up.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: This one is very much one of those unquantifiables – it stirs up memories from being a kid, and that sort of emotion can be hard to pin down.

Tech Specs from G. Gerlach

  • Movement
    • Quartz LED module LED-001GG
    • Accuracy +/-60 s monthly at normal temperature
    • Battery life approx. 2 years at normal usage conditions
    • Recommended battery CR2032
  • Case
    • Stainless steels case 316L
    • Case diameter: 40 mm
    • Lug width : 20 mm
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Water Resistant 100M
  • Functions:  Hours, minutes, seconds, weekday, date, 12/24h indication.
  • Two color version: steel and black PVD.

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