Back in October, John brought you wordÂ of the new G. Gerlach PM36 series. Â Now, weâ€™re a few months down the road, and we are able to bring you our hands-on impressions of this beauty of a railroad watch.
As John mentioned in his writeup, the G. Gerlach PM36 series is based on two trains created by Polish manufacturer FABLOK. Â These were known as the PM36-1 (which had an aerodynamic fairing) and the PM36-2 (which had a more traditional look). Â Fittingly, these are the model designations that are carried over to the watches; our review unit (with the white dial) is the PM36-1. Â If you ever forget which train your watch is honoring, you can check the case back, as the two models have two different images etched there.
When I got the watch in, you could tell the cardboard box had had a rough travel over the sea. Â No matter, though, because inside is a rather nice (and solidly-built) wooden box, held shut with a magnetic enclosure. Â When I opened that box, I was struck by the watch in a way the promotional pictures really did not do. Â At first, it was just the great font they used for the numerals, which really does give it that vintage pocket watch feel.
But as I spent more time with theÂ G. Gerlach PM36, I realized that the dial had a sheen of itâ€™s own, something that could not be attributed just to the sapphire crystal. Â I spoke to the brand, and wouldnâ€™t you know it – the dial is indeed an enamel dial. Â Totally fitting for the era it is honoring, but totally unexpected from a watch that is not from a luxury brand. Â Along with the sheen, thereâ€™s a richness that comes to the dial, something that more than makes up for the dial itself being a wide, flat expanse.
This is because the 43mmÂ G. Gerlach PM36 has a fairly slender coin-edge bezel, which means the dial is quite large. Â This fits with the idea of coming from an era where watches transitioned from pockets to wrists, and legibility is of course no problem on a dial this clean and large. Â I do wish the cathedralÂ handset was a touch wider for the scale, but their lengths are spot-on. Â Rounding out the dial, you have the sub-seconds register taking up residence at the 6 oâ€™clock position, under which you have the words â€œMade in Polandâ€ hiding in plain sight.
With a case this big, you might be wondering what movement (in this case, a hand-wound one) is driving theÂ G. Gerlach PM36. Â While there are brands out there refurbishing vintage pocket watch movements, they have instead gone with something quite a bit more modern – a Seagull ST3620 (which is based off of the Unitas 6497/6498). Â In the time I spent with the watch, the movement was not appreciably losing or gaining time, and the hand-wound power reserve easily made it through the day and into the next, with plenty left to spare.
For the review, ourÂ G. Gerlach PM36 came with a mesh bracelet, which went quite well with the polished finish of the case. Â Letâ€™s not underestimate the looks of that polish, either. Â When you have a 43mm case that stands 13mm tall, youâ€™ve got a lot of surface that can catch the light. Â On the black dial, you get a sand-blasted case, which also looks quite nice. Â Almost a shame you canâ€™t choose which one you want with your dial choice. Â Regardless, the bracelet went well, and I found it to be quite comfortable. Â These mesh bracelets generally fit the wrist quite well (as this one does) and are all-but-infinitely adjustable, so you can get the exact fit you want.
Also of benefit with that bracelet is the fact that theÂ G. Gerlach PM36 carries a 100m WR rating. Â No mean feat considering that large crown is not a screw-down crown – it just slides into position 0, and there you go. Â That does make winding the watch a cinch (even if youâ€™re wearing it), and of course adjusting the time is just as easy.
If you could not tell from the article, I did rather enjoy my time with the $331Â G. Gerlach PM36. Â It has a lot of wrist presence without being overbearing, and brings some excellent vintage touches to the party. Â It does work well in a variety of situations, though if it were a touch slimmer (say, 11mm rather than 13mm) then it would be an easy shoe-in for your favorite dress watch. Â Being a Polish brand, you are not likely to find these to handle in person, but I do not think you will be disappointed if you like the vintage style of railroad watches. Â G. Gerlach has been producing quite a variety of watches, and this latest, theÂ G. Gerlach PM36, I think is my favorite to-date from them. Â gerlach.org.pl
- Brand & Model:Â G. Gerlach PM36
- Price:Â $331 (on the bracelet), $307 on the leather strap
- Whoâ€™s it for?:Â You like vintage looks, particularly enamel dials
- Would I wear it?:Â Yes, yes I would. Â This is a beauty, and it does quite a lot in an simple way
- What Iâ€™d change:Â I wouldnâ€™t mind the handset being a touch wider. Â Oh, and the option to select the case finish for either dial.
- The best thing about it:Â That dial – between the enamel and the great font for those numerals, it is indeed a looker