Garrick S4: Added Value At A More Affordable Price

Added value is probably the most important aspect of product development and innovation. Whenever clients seek out the design firm I work for, they aren’t simply looking for us to slap some new colors on last year’s widget or change a few dimensions, round the corners, and call it good. When people seek our services, they are looking for added value.

This concept relies on taking materials, processes, functions, or aesthetics and making a new combination or configuration that results in an object improving on its predecessor in a measurable way, thus adding value.

It could be with engineering development to create patentable IP or with the aesthetic direction to determine a brand’s identity. Sometimes we are approached with napkin-scribbled concepts and are asked to work through research and ground-up development to create something wholly new and full of innovation.

No matter the project, our goal is to add as much value to the design or function of what we are working on.

Adding value can be accomplished in a variety of ways that are more subtle as well, like using an off-the-shelf component in a unique new way or modifying a production part to incorporate a new feature and maximizing earlier development costs.

Sometimes value is added by redesigning a component to use a different (and less expensive) manufacturing process to achieve the same functional result. Regardless of how it manifests, added value is the goal of every project and should be the goal of everyone who seeks to make anything new.

Simply changing colors or material finishes to keep up with trends does add some value, but it is extremely minimal in the larger scheme of things. As a completely random example, let’s talk about wristwatches. Shocker, I know.

If a brand comes out with a new model, but all that has changed is the color of the dial finish and perhaps minor adjustments to the shapes of the applied numerals, then this new model has little added value from a redesign standpoint.

But if a brand comes out with a new model that uses a different movement, an extensive modification of a movement, and/or a whole host of different processes to create a drastically different dial construction – and then reduces the price along with all those changes – then this represents a significant added value to that model.

A great example of this is the new Garrick S4, the fourth iteration of the brand’s S line of models. It also represents a solid effort by Garrick to add as much value as possible to its watches while making them more accessible to collectors at large.

Garrick S4 with frosted dial

Garrick S4

The new S4 takes some design inspiration from the S2 but departs in some major ways, most notably switching from the proprietary UT-G03 or the UT-G04 movements to Caliber BF03, a highly modified ETA 6498, which feels higher end but allows Garrick to keep the cost down compared to previous S models.

This also allows for the complex four-piece dial to still include hand engraving and significant guilloche work without breaking the bank or looking like a lower-end timepiece.

As such, the watch is a simple time-only piece with offset seconds at 6 o’clock, which replaces the visible dial-side balance found on the S1, S2, and S3 models powered by the manufacture caliber. In this way, the aesthetic matches through generations but thanks to the movement swap the handcraftsmanship is available at a more affordable price.

The openworked dial of the S1 and S3 are gone but retained are the stylized baton hands that are becoming synonymous with Garrick. These were conspicuously missing from the S2, which featured the guilloche dial with hand-engraved chapter ring, so it’s nice to see the combination of both dial and hand aesthetics marking the S4 as a clear evolution. Since the balance is replaced by offset seconds, the dial features fine guilloche as well as a raised chapter ring.

Garrick S4: construction efforts

The dial of the S4 is by far the most traditional of the brand’s offerings, with the base dial receiving both graining and guilloche (depending on the version) with the chapter ring for seconds and hour/minute chapter ring having a brushed finish with engraved and guilloche details. The outer chapter ring boasts hand-engraved Roman numerals around the inner edge (8-4) with 5 through 7 pre-empted by the subdial for seconds. These numerals are hand-filled with ink to achieve a clean, dark finish straight out of the history books.

Garrick S4 with three kinds of guilloche

Around the perimeter of the numeral track is a small ring of wave guilloche, which, depending on dial, could be heat blued. At the outer edge we find small hashmarks and dots for the minutes, also filled like the numerals or heat blued in all the recessed areas.

The dial options allow for a variety of finishes, including plain blasted, rhodium guilloche, blue guilloche, or gold guilloche, plus the ability to choose matching colors for the hands. Departing from earlier models, the brand name plaque has lost the “England” predicated and now displays only the name Garrick within what is probably the most petite name plaque of all the Garrick models to date.

Garrick S4 with frosted dial

The engraved name is also very light and thin, which really helps with the traditional aesthetic. Historically, details such as engraved names on dial plaques were not very bold; this is a twentieth-century update. If you compare the Garrick Norfolk to this new S4 you will have no trouble believing the S4 to be the most traditionally minded of these watches to date.

But the S series has always been about the movement – it was originally the debut line for the manufacture movement – so how does it stack up against the modern mass-produced movement?

Garrick S4: value adding the movement

This is where we come back to the idea of added value. Slapping a stock, off-the-shelf movement into a case does not add any additional value beyond what the producer of that movement created.

Back of the Garrick S4 with frosted finishes

But Garrick knows what is very special about its timepieces: the handcrafted and traditional touch. So the ETA 6498 has been largely remade with a custom two-thirds plate and a beautifully finished winding mechanism cover plate.

Garrick S4 movement

Garrick also openworked the balance cock, but the highlight is the clean two-thirds plate topped by the hand-engraved cover plate. It is finished in a style that is not only traditional but feels like it comes straight out of English pocket watches of the seventeenth century.

Intricately engraved barrel bridge of the Garrick S4

If the additions were only aesthetic that would be enough, but with the reworking of the caliber Garrick has adjusted precision to within three seconds a day, putting it in the same realm as chronometer-level consistency.

Garrick S4 with guilloche dial

These touches, along with the extensive hand work of the dial is where Garrick adds as much value as possible while simultaneously keeping the price in the realm of possibility for many collectors. The brand even chose to make the case out of 904L stainless steel – a choice good enough for Rolex, which is hard to argue against, and adding another level of cool to the watch.

There are brands that do a lot to avoid adding value instead of saving cost, but not Garrick. And it shows in the creativity and genuineness of the brand itself.

Garrick S4 on the wrist

I think the S4 is Garrick’s best iteration so far simply because I feel it is the brand’s best attempt at adding value for the collector. And it is hard to argue that Garrick hasn’t done a good job. The S series has had a good run, and with the choices present in the S4 I know that Garrick isn’t done making great pieces for the fans of the brand.

Now let’s break all that added value down!

  • Wowza Factor * 8.4 Such a classic dial with hand craftsmanship written all over it!
  • Late Night Lust Appeal * 84» 823.759m/s2 Enough lust appeal to keep me up for a week!
  • M.G.R. * 54.3 A solid reworking of a rock-solid caliber: it looks and functions great!
  • Added-Functionitis * N/A Time only once again, and I love it even more. Still you can skip the Gotta-HAVE-That cream for such a lovely piece!
  • Ouch Outline * 8.1 Stabbing your finger tip just at the cuticle! Stabbing your finger hurts a lot, but it hurts strangely worse when you get yourself at your cuticle! Still, I’d take it again if I could get this watch on my wrist!
  • Mermaid Moment * Ooh that cover plate! There is so much beauty to this watch, but the crowning glory is that classic hand-engraved cover plate on the rear of the movement!
  • Awesome Total * 759 First take the case alloy (904) and subtract the diameter in millimeters (42), followed by the water resistance in meters (100) to arrive at an affordably solid awesome total!

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Quick Facts Garrick S4
Case: 42 x 10 mm, 904L stainless steel or 18-karat gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber BF03 (modified ETA 6498), 46 hours power reserve, 18,000 vph/2.5 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds
Price: From £4,995 (stainless with blasted dial) to £11,495 (18-karat gold with guilloche dial)

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Garrick S3: Experience Begets Improvement

Garrick S1: Enough Humility, This Is British Watchmaking With Pride

The Garrick Portsmouth Demonstrates This Young Brand’s Past And Future

Give Me Five! 5 British Watches From SalonQP 2016 From Bremont, Garrick, Schofield, Robert Loomes, And A Ring-In

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