Gorilla Fastback GT Mirage, Bandit, And Drift: Racing Forward
Any person having trained in a sport knows it is hard to continue getting better. The human body goes through cycles and after adjusting to a new training regimen has a tendency to plateau and stop building endurance or strength.
That is because we are highly adaptable creatures, and so to minimize effort and maximize efficiency the body adjusts its internal “settings” and, eventually, a hard workout is considered normal. When that happens, you can say bye-bye to gains.
At least until you switch it up, and then the body has to adjust and protect itself so metabolism increases, muscle growth occurs, and you improve again. So it would seem that to avoid a plateau, relatively constant change will keep the body on its toes and ensure consistent progress.
The same goes for design and innovation: consistent changes in goals, techniques, and inspiration help designers stay sharp and creative. But that is a harder sell than it sounds, and it becomes a fine line to walk to continue making things you know your customers will buy while also changing it up enough so that the next iteration doesn’t feel stale on arrival.
Companies can struggle with this and often go through periods of growth and exciting progress followed by those of stagnation. Design plateaus happen, just like exercise plateaus, and the best designers find enough ways to change things up to continue the flow of new ideas.
Octavio Garcia and Lukas Gopp have been able to manage this well since Gorilla’s launch in 2016, and the last few months have been a wild ride with three releases, one of which changes the game up for Gorilla.
In just two years the brand has launched seven models that have steadily increased in coolness and complexity, and only the last three saw any price increase for reasons that will become clear. Here is how I think Gorilla has managed to avoiding plateauing in its designs.
Gorilla steps up
The first year of Gorilla saw four models launched with variations on colors and materials, though all stayed pretty true to the original in form factor and details. As I mentioned in The Gorilla Fastback Collection: Extended Review & Something New, this was probably due to the ability to create visually different models without drastically changing price or manufacturing processes.
Different color ceramics, straps, and dials combined with carbon variations gave the brand enough of a challenge to keep pushing forward but stay practical while building a new business.
For 2018, the first two releases came as part of a new collection called Fastback GT: Bandit and Mirage. These two models took things a step further than the first year’s models.
First, the movement has been upgraded to a newer, higher quality Miyota 90S5. With this upgrade, the case back has been opened up to see the movement as it is decorated to compete with ETA movements. Also, unlike the 9015 movement, the 90S5 has an exposed balance wheel on the dial side of the movement, leading to an aperture on the dials and a skeletonized version of the hour disk.
While these changes open up the dial slightly, the overall look remains relatively similar. One detail that does make a difference in taking the watch to a higher level is the applied markers. Instead of having printed numerals, all the numbers are individually applied and brushed, and, depending on the model, pink gold or rhodium plated.
The subtle depth added to a dial by applied numerals creates a much more high-end feel, something that sometimes still isn’t found on watches costing much more than the Bandit and the Mirage.
Finally, the case colors, materials, and straps take the Bandit and Mirage to another level entirely. The straps are two-color molded Viton rubber, which adds complexity to manufacturing, thus bumping up quality.
And the color schemes for both pieces feel much more refined in a classic sense compared to the previous bold models. The Bandit is gold and black, modeled after the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird “Bandit” made famous by Smokey and the Bandit. While the inspiration is 1970s hot-rod culture, the visual style of the Bandit feels almost elegant in its execution.
The Mirage is the loud brother, using the very famous Gulf Livery color scheme of the historic Ford GT 40 with a powder-blue ceramic bezel, hexacrome orange pinstripes, and a matching two-tone strap.
To say the visual effect is eye-catching would be a dramatic understatement. The color scheme is the most iconic in racing, immediately recognizable to even the most casual of racing fans. It is often put on objects as a tie-in to automotive inspiration, but the Mirage is one of the best examples I have had the pleasure of seeing.
It matches the subtlety of the original livery and to my eyes is simply stunning. The GT Mirage has supplanted the RS White for my favorite Gorilla model to date, and that watch is bold.
Gorilla leaps forward
The Mirage (a limited edition) and the Bandit (non-limited) take the design directions of previous releases to the max when combined with the new components and movements, making fresh additions as the new Fastback GT collection.
But the new GT watches also focus on changing a couple significant details that help build a strong new direction without straying into questionable territory.
However, shortly after the Mirage and Bandit were announced and started shipping, Gorilla startled everyone by dropping another addition to the Fastback GT collection that not only was not a simple color and material change, but represented a new mechanical direction wrapped in similar clothing as the original Fastback.
The latest watch is the Fastback GT Drift, and, gee whiz, is it cool. So cool, in fact, that it has been shortlisted in the prestigious 2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the Challenge category.
Drift is, as a picture should make obvious, a super-awesome wandering hours watch whose style reminds me somewhat of a Urwerk combined with the Audemars Piguet Star Wheel. The complication is based on a custom Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier module sitting atop an ETA 2824 base with three wandering hour disks, a 120-degree minute track, and central seconds.
The Vaucher G-5238 module drives the hour disks in one revolution every three hours, allowing for a 38-hour power reserve for the ETA base movement.
The surprise of seeing such a complicated watch as a quick follow-up to the recent Mirage and Bandit launch didn’t match the surprise of seeing the price point: a very affordable $2,850.
Granted, this is more than three times the price of the base model Gorilla Fastback, but it still isn’t anywhere near what you might expect to pay for a similar complication from established brands and made of forged carbon, ceramic, titanium, and aluminum.
The quality and value here are impossible to argue with, and the style is sure to make believers out of many of the naysayers.
The watch is a surprise for sure, but fits neatly in with the development of the brand. It still uses the stylistic direction of the original Fastback (which makes me believe it was developed semi-concurrently), and, relatively speaking, isn’t too far out there while definitely not being a regular watch.
Drift is a Gorilla 3.0 watch, building on what has come before and taking a bigger leap to create something spectacular. The second round of watches after the initial launch introduced variations in the carbon fiber case with layering as well as color/material options. The Mirage and Bandit introduced more complex straps and a see-through case back that also made their way onto the Drift.
The Drift is a natural progression for Gorilla, and it is clear that Garcia and Gopp aren’t going to rest on their laurels but keep pushing to make the brand and its watches something to talk about.
As a complicated piece at a higher price point, it also shows that we can expect a broadening of the categories that Gorilla operates in, and it is quite possible that modules and unique movements will play a larger role in future pieces.
What still remains to be seen is if/when a major stylistic pivot will occur, as all of the pieces follow a similar theme while being distinctly different.
But that isn’t necessarily needed for a long time, as even one new launch per year with unique features can push the brand forward and keep it from plateauing.
As long as Garcia and Gopp don’t get ahead of themselves and push too hard, too fast and destroy what they have built (wouldn’t be the first watch brand to suffer that fate), Gorilla seems poised to avoid development plateaus and continue creating desirable and interesting watches.
For me, that is what the fun is all about: seeing what creative people breathe life into. The Mirage and Bandit alone would have been successful follow-ups for 2018, so the Drift just raises the bar for future exploration.
While we anxiously await that future, how about a combined breakdown for the trio?
- Wowza Factor * 9.85 The color choices of the Bandit and Mirage combined with the complication of the Drift, caused my jaw to drop when I saw it all!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 100 » 980.665m/s2 Lusting isn’t even a strong enough word for this collection, consider me a fanboy!
- M.G.R. * 65.1 The Vaucher module adds serious credibility to the Drift!
- Added-Functionitis * N/A At this point, who even cares if it doesn’t have added functionality, it looks so cool and the wandering hours of the Drift are almost unbelievable at its price point. Still, no need for Gotta-HAVE-That cream!
- Ouch Outline * 11.25 Pulling a bicep (and other things) after falling off a ladder! Sometimes when you are constructing large structures they just might collapse, causing you to find yourself falling. Grabbing onto a nearby ladder usually just prolongs the fall, but might also safe your skin. Still, you are sore the next day in the weirdest ways. And, yet, I would gladly risk that again for a chance with any one of these awesome watches!
- Mermaid Moment * Wandering hours? Gulf Livery? How much!? Pretty much everything about the Gorilla watches has made me cuckoo for cocoa puffs, and the Mirage, Bandit, and Drift are a family-sized box all for myself!
- Awesome Total * 800 Add the limited edition amount of the Mirage (250) with the limited edition amount of the Drift (250), then add the water resistance in meters (100) multiplied by number of different models released this year (3) for an impressively complicated awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.gorillawatches.ch.
Quick Facts Gorilla Fastback GT Bandit
Case: 44 mm; ceramic, forged carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum
Movement: automatic Caliber Miyota 90S5
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Quick Facts Gorilla Fastback GT Mirage
Case: 44 mm; ceramic, carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum
Movement: automatic Caliber Miyota 90S5
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Quick Facts Gorilla Fastback GT Drift
Case: 44 mm; ceramic, carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA 2824-2 with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier module G-5238
Functions: wandering hours, minutes, seconds
Disclaimer: Gorilla Watches gave the author of this article a watch to review long term, which may have influenced his opinion.
You may also enjoy:
Design Freedom + Affordable Luxury: Gorilla Fastback By Octavio Garcia & Lukas Gopp
The Gorilla Fastback Collection: Extended Review & Something New
What Will The Future Wristwatch Offer Millennials, Generation X, And Baby Boomers That Other Devices Cannot? A Generational Migration Of Timekeeping Examined
Leave a ReplyWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!
Already reserved the Gorilla Drift wandering hours. I can’t wait for this watch! That complication for that price is amazing. Just waiting for delivery to start. I was looking at the mirage but the star wheel complication is a no brainer at this price.
Hello, thanks for this new and interesting post ! I love Quil & Pad and never miss a new article ! About the Gorilla Drift they speak on their website about a “sweeping” second hand. Do you think that it means that the second hand sweep from left to right every 30 seconds ? It seems possible with the layout of the dial.
Thanks for reading and for a great question! I believe it is a normal sweeping seconds, running continuously around the dial with no retrograde action to speak of (if that is what you are asking). There is no mention from the brand that the second hand does anything special, so even though the design looks like it could be a retrograde seconds hand (which would be an awesome addition to the Drift), it is likely a regular sweeping seconds hand. The brand is currently working on photography/videography so I am sure something will be posted soon to confirm this!
Thank you very much for your clear answer !
Seduced by the first gorilla watch thanks to its mix of high tech materials,design and price point, I jumped in, early, happily.
I had to file the titanium case back edges a little because they were very sharp and had to polish the buckle that was rapidly cutting into the thick leather strap. All was fine and fun. Good practice run with the diamond coated file.
One day, though the second hand parted from its axis and started to drift like a crazy Japanese nitro-boosted car all around the dial. I had to open the watch and fix this problem carefully. Less fine but not less fun. This kind of put me off for the wandering hours, not really wanting to take risks on a module that is probably complicated and tricky.
Would I buy the brand again: this is very likely, when they bring a different design out, hoping that they continue to explore different materials / complications (if needed) and a slightly more modest case size if possible. Microbrand with a lot of character.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
Our warranty covers factory issues such as a broken second hand.
We would be happy to send you a return label and revise your Fastback Original to assure your piece is in excellent running condition.
Hi, this is a very kind offer comforting me further in the deciding factor of my original purchase: a serious team, not an ephemerous concept. Thank you again (I am not sure if you can access the email I “register” here whe nbn I post so I will simply use the contact page on your website and refer to this conversation. (Note that my warranty is probably expired as I was one of the early client, and the watch is running fine with the second hand happily ticking on).