Hands-On Watch Review: The Cyrus Klepcys GMT Retrograde
You may recall seeing me mention the CYRUS Klepcys GMT Retrograde in one of my recent Independent Insights columns. In that article, I said that it was a brand that I don’t see a lot of press for, and I wondered why. My first introduction to the brand was on the streets of Manchester about 4 or 5 years ago. One of the many watch shops in the city had a few watches from this brand that I’d never seen or heard of before. That brand turned out to be CYRUS. Since then, I’ve only seen fleeting glances online or on social media.
You can understand why the brand was not exactly on my radar when all of a sudden, an email lands in my Fratello inbox with details of the Klepcys GMT Retrograde. Boom! What a way to make an entrance. I do not really remember the watches I saw in the dealer window of yesteryear. Still, it’s fair to say they probably hadn’t made a big impression on me. However, the Klepcys GMT Retrograde is a whole different story. I liked this one from the moment I saw it. Luckily, shortly after the Independent Insights column, I was offered the chance to go hands-on with it. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!
Three flavors of Klepcys
The new Klepcys GMT Retrograde comes in three different versions. The differences lie in the combination of case material/finishes. There’s a full DLC titanium model, a combination of raw titanium and DLC, and then a full titanium model, which is the one I have on my wrist today. The modern cushion-case silhouette is what identifies the GMT Retrograde as part of the Klepcys family. Officially, at least according to the brand, the case diameter is 42mm, which makes it the smallest case CYRUS has made to date. I do not dispute that it’s the smallest case they’ve made but calling it 42mm is being slightly economical with the truth, shall we say. Technically, if you measure from the slimmest part of the case by the two crowns, it is 42mm. Nevertheless, seeing as most of the case is broader than that, the “real” diameter is 44mm. Of course, it could be argued that the wider part of the case is an extension of the lugs, but the lugs still form part of the case, no?
Large, it may be, but unruly? Definitely not!
As soon as I took the watch out of the box, I could tell that this wasn’t really a true 42mm. I could tell right away it was going to be at least 44mm. This hasn’t affected my enjoyment of the watch in any way, but anyone buying the watch blind may be a little surprised when receiving the watch through the post. That said, I have very much enjoyed my time wearing this watch. I’ve often said that 42mm is my upper limit for watch sizes, but the Klepcys GMT Retrograde wears very nicely.
Is it truly unruly?
On paper, the watch sounds large and unruly. Large, it may be, but unruly? Definitely not! A “true” diameter of 44mm and a 51mm lug-to-lug measurement sounds intimidating, but this is an incredibly well-balanced watch in reality. I believe that is largely down to combining the titanium case material, coupled with the gently sloping lugs and exceptionally comfortable fitted rubber strap. The total thickness of 13.9mm helps keep things proportionally balanced given the watch’s other dimensions.
What. A. Strap
The strap is one of the most comfortable rubber straps I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing, and that’s no mean feat. I like rubber straps, possibly more than any other strap material, but they are definitely not all created equally. There are many different types of rubber, and this is natural caoutchouc rubber. In past experiences with natural rubber straps, they’ve been quite thick and stiff. The CYRUS rubber strap is thin and exceptionally pliable. It feels incredibly soft and supple. Initially, I thought it may have been FKM rubber as it has some similar properties. Either way, the strap is excellent. It is custom sculpted to perfectly fit the lugs, and it has an ergonomic downward curve that hugs the wrist very well. I want to reiterate again how comfortable this strap is.
…I hadn’t expected the rubber strap and clasp to be as good as they are.
A strap can all too often be left down by the buckle or clasp. Thankfully this is not the case here. CYRUS employs a simple push-button folding titanium clasp. It’s solid and well machined, but my favorite thing about it? Well, the strap tail folds underneath the clasp so that it creates a barrier between the clasp and your skin. This means no more uncomfortable clasp marks on your wrist if you’re sat at a desk all day and typing. That’s a big “plus 1” in the positive column. At over €18,000, I had expected the entire package to be good, but I hadn’t expected the rubber strap and clasp to be as good as they are. It was a very pleasant surprise.
A brand-new GMT movement
The Klepcys GMT Retrograde marks the introduction of the newly-designed, in-house manufactured automatic movement, caliber CYR708. Developed by the brand’s master watchmaker Jean-François Mojon, this new caliber is both as visually appealing as it is impressive. A signature design element of all CYRUS watches is those symmetrical crowns at 3 and 9 o’clock. OK, only one of them is an actual crown. Still, with the Klepcys GMT Retrograde, the other crown is more than decoration. The crown at 3 o’clock winds the movement and adjusts the time. The crown at 9 o’clock is a cleverly disguised push button that allows the user to independently adjust the local hour hand in one-hour increments without affecting the GMT hand. This makes the CYR708 a true GMT movement.
Taking it all in
Looking at the dial side of the watch, there’s quite a lot going on. First, there’s a considerable amount of depth. Second, the open-worked dial allows the wearer to see the movement in action. This is most enjoyable when adjusting the independent hour hand via the button at 9’clock or changing the time and watching the retrograde GMT hand snap backward. Finally, the CYRUS logo and Arabic numerals are applied directly onto what appears to be a thin sapphire disc, which gives them the impression of floating above the movement.
This isn’t a subtle watch, and not everyone will like its attention-seeking styling.
The centrally-mounted GMT hand points to a retrograde scale displayed on a blue lacquered ring that sits above the aforementioned sapphire disc. It’s easy to read, and the splash of blue adds some much-needed color to what is otherwise a monochromatic color scheme. The blue scale, combined with the fan-like dial-side cover plate, makes me think of a peacock tail. I find the overall look quite attractive, but not everyone I know agrees with me. This isn’t a subtle watch, and not everyone will like its attention-seeking styling. The going seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock features another flash of blue on the tri-pointed throwing star style second hand. This symbol is a signature of CYRUS and probably the one thing I would change. I would have preferred a simple single-pointed second hand, more in the style of the central hands. That is purely personal preference, though!
Is Klepcys GMT Retrograde worth it, though?
So what are my final impressions on the CYRUS Klepcys GMT Retrograde? Well, it’s very positive. Despite the size discrepancy, I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the watch. It felt natural on the wrist. It didn’t feel unruly, and the strap was incredibly comfortable. With watches in this price bracket, the inevitable question remains: “is it worth the price?”. It’s a difficult question to answer as everyone places a different value on their money. Instead, I will say this: It does feel like you are getting the quality of the watch you are paying for.
Ignoring the watch’s aesthetics, which will not be to everyone’s tastes, I cannot pick one fault with anything in terms of the quality, fit, finish, or function. It is flawless. There’s always something that’s not quite perfect on cheaper watches, but when you get to this price bracket, you expect things to be perfect. Well, good news — they are.
Therefore, if you like the futuristic and hyper-modern designs of the Klepcys GMT Retrograde, and the price is not prohibitive to you, I would heartily recommend you check this watch out. In my opinion, it is genuinely excellent. You can find out more about this watch on the CYRUS website.
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