The Ergon Adventum — A Genta-Inspired Microband Watch That’s Worth Your Time
Genta is on-trend right now. Across all areas of the industry, we have seen brands riding the Genta-wave with aplomb. While some trends come and go, others stick around because they’re timeless. I think we can all agree that the designs of one Mr. Gerald Genta fit that timeless category perfectly. But, with so many brands now taking inspiration from the legendary designer, are we seeing the saturation of the homage market? The Ergon Adventum is a microbrand proposition that wears its inspiration on its sleeve. It doffs its cap to the legendary designer but also maintains its own style and personality.
I’ve long been an avid follower of the microbrand scene. I love seeing the creativity expressed by brands looking to stand out among the crowd. So when I first saw this watch announced in a Facebook group, I wrote about it in one of my Independent Insights articles (you can read that here!). The more I looked at the design, the more I liked it, so I reached out to the brand via Elshan Tang (who also owns the successful microbrand, Zelos) and asked if I could get my hands on one for a review. Thankfully he obliged, and here we are today!
A classic steel sports watch blueprint
The 40mm case is a lovely combination of curves and angles. It looks like it walked straight out of the ’60s or ’70s and could easily have been something from Zenith’s stable at that time. I mean that as a massive compliment! A strong case shape can really do a lot for a watch, and this case immediately caught my eye. The barrel-shaped front profile is perfectly accented with strong polished bevels and sharp downward angled lugs. The real star is the bezel, though. I love the simple design with the four polished bevels. The mixture of polished and brushed surfaces adds a lot of depth to the watch and offers plenty to look at. The angles of the watch are sharp in just the right way. There’s nothing worse than a great case shape ruined by overly softened edges. I assume that Zelos and Ergon use the same manufacturer.
…I think a slightly softer brushed finished would have complemented the polished accents a little better.
If I had one very minor criticism, I’d say that the brushing is quite pronounced. It’s not detrimental, but I think a slightly softer brushed finished would have complemented the polished accents a little better. At times, the contrast of brushing and polish is a little harsh. However, it’s a very minor point and would just create a slightly more premium overall finish in my eyes. That said, it does give off some vintage vibes, which do fit the overall aesthetic.
A round Adventum crown?
A slightly odd design choice here is going to be very “marmite”. The crown is entirely round with no grippy surface. I have never seen a smooth crown before, but I quite like it. That said, I can understand that it might not be for everyone. However, I had no issues when using it and never struggled to unscrew it. So for that reason, it’s a positive for me!
Calling M. C. Escher
The dial of the Ergon Adventum is superb. As I mentioned, Ergon is a sister brand of Zelos. Zelos has long been praised for the colors and textures it used on its dials, and that ethos has been inherited by the Adventum. The base color is a smokey black/gray fade, getting darker around the edge of the dial. The texture is made up of an Escher-inspired cube pattern. Looking closely, you can see that the cubes are formed with little lines moving in different directions to make up the cubes’ surfaces. Have a look at the image above, and you can see how cool the effect is both up close and further away. The cubes are not just printed either. Instead, they are 3D, and this helps add even more depth to the dial. Again, it’s excellent attention to detail and highlights that there’s been a lot of thought put into the dial.
…the hour markers echo the intense brushing we saw on the case.
The other key feature of the dial is the gilt accents. The hour markers, the date window frame, and the applied brand logo at 12 o’clock are all gilt colored. I can only assume it is some kind of PVD as, for this price, you will certainly not be getting solid gold. Either way, they look nice, and the hour markers echo the intense brushing we saw on the case.
Clean and simple Ergon branding
In terms of dial “extras” the applied logo and the “100m/33ft” text at 6 o’clock are it. I like that Ergon has under-branded the Adventum and allowed the dial to speak for itself. Some microbrands are too keen to overbrand their watches, and the resulting mess is cluttered and unappealing. Not the case here. The simple Ergon logo at 12 o’clock is just right. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say lose the water resistance rating at 6. It’s so tiny it’s difficult to read, and it “almost” blends into the dial. Still, it, unfortunately, distracts from the excellent pattern.
The Adventum is available in 3 different colors. The black/grey I have here and a teal blue model that also shares the Escher cube dial texture/pattern. The third option is a fully lumed white dial with black hour markers and hands. Interestingly, the markers and hands on the white dial are also lumed, rather than being solid black. Having seen images of the white dial in the dark, I must say it works rather well. Check out this video review from Jody of Just One More Watch for his hands-on review of the fully-lumed white dial.
To integrate or not to integrate? That is the question…
One of the signature features of Genta’s designs was the integrated bracelet. The Ergon Adventum eschews the full integrated bracelet in favor of a traditional one with quick-release spring bars, but it maintains the integrated look. This means you can remove the bracelet and enjoy any of the 20mm straps in your collection. I did just that and tried a few other straps on the watch, but I couldn’t find anything that worked as well as the bracelet. Clearly, the Ergon also thought the bracelet was the best choice, as no additional straps were included in the package. So maybe it would have been the right move to commit to a properly integrated bracelet? There’s nothing wrong with this setup, but if I’m never going to wear any other strap, I’d prefer the cleaner look.
I get that this is just one man’s opinion among 300 (Ergon made 100 pieces of each of the three dial colors), and many other folks will appreciate the option to switch up their straps. I’ve not seen any photos of owners wearing anything other than the bracelet, though, so perhaps I’m not alone?! If I could make one change to the bracelet, it’d be a slightly more tapered width at the length and a small clasp. Maybe even a butterfly clasp? The clasp the Adventum comes with is possibly a little chunkier than it needs to be. Something slimmer would have been nicer, but the clasp quality cannot be faulted. It feels very robust.
Powered by Miyota
Ergon chose the Miyota 9015 to power its Adventum. A solid choice and a very reliable movement. Given the watch’s price, these 9015 movements are often found in watches costing quite a bit more than the $359 Ergon is asking. The benefit of the 9015 is that it uses a shorter hand stack, allowing for a thinner watch. Indeed the Adventum comes in at 10.9mm, which is incredibly wearable. The date wheel is color-matched to the dial, so grey in the case of my watch. The grey is a bit lighter than the area of the dial where the date cutout is. It could possibly be a little darker, but to be honest, I’m nitpicking there.
This is not a crappy corner-cutting job…
Flipping the watch over shows the movement is hidden away behind a nice solid case back. Miyota movements are great workhorse movements, but they won’t ever win a beauty pageant. Give me a closed case back any day. The Adventum features an excellent relief mountain design. I’m not totally sure what this is about, but the execution is very nice. This is not a crappy corner-cutting job; it’s been done very nicely indeed. Better than many other closed case backs I’ve seen from microbrands, some at double this price.
What would Genta say?
I don’t honestly know the answer to that, but I think this is a belter. The fit and finish of the watch are excellent and genuinely impressed me. It definitely falls in the budget end of things, with a wallet-friendly price of $359, but it hits way above that price point. I found myself wearing it way more than I thought. The Midnight Black color was not my first choice, but it’s grown on me a lot. The gilt details on the dial tie everything together very well and give it a vintage vibe. I would probably have chosen the ocean teal as my first choice, but now I’m not sure.
If you’re looking for an affordable little sporty watch, then you could certainly do a lot worse than the Ergon Adventum. Knowing it’s from the same family as Zelos should help allay any potential fears you might have. Zelos’s quality and customer service have always been top-notch from my experience. If you like what you see, have a look at Ergon’s website for more information.
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