CIGA design U series blue planet watch review

Fancy having the whole world in your hands – or at least on your wrist? Then check out the CIGA Design U Series “Blue Planet”.

CIGA Design U Series “Blue Planet” Review

Chinese watches are often dismissed by collectors, who believe that they are mass-produced, cheaply-made and use only derivative designs. Bucking the trend is CIGA design who make watches that challenge the best of the Swiss manufacturers’ efforts. You don’t have to take my word for it, they’ve won 17 design awards. This watch, the CIGA Blue Planet, won the Challenge Watch Prize at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG): the first Chinese brand to do so.

At a glance

CIGA Design U Series “Blue Planet”

$1,099 (about £910)
Case size
Water Resistance
CIGA Design

Even during the unboxing process this watch oozes class. I thought at first the watch was missing and I’d been sent a book, but your CIGA design U Series is cleverly hidden within the pages. Simply attach the strap and you are away! I was sent this watch free of charge, so bear that in mind when reading this (and any other) reviews.

Case and Movement

You’re not buying a Blue Planet watch for the movement, but you expect something half-decent for the asking price. Certainly, the bulk of the purchase price is going on that exquisite dial, but I was surprised to see the movement simply described as “CIGA Design self-designed movement”. Of course, it would go against the proud Chinese-made credentials of CIGA Design to use a foreign-made movement, so this choice makes sense. I don’t know if it’s an adaptation of a Seagull calibre or something completely new, but the specs say it’s accurate to -15/+30 seconds per day with 30 jewels and a 40-hour power reserve.

The titanium case is really well machined, with tight tolerances and a great finish. You get a sapphire crystal on top with decent anti-reflective coating and a display window at the back which I believe is made of mineral glass. You can see the quality of the finish on the movement through the case back, and all the engraving is crisp. The crown is particularly well designed, being easy to operate but blending nicely into the curves of the case. Despite its size – 46mm – the curvature of the design, the lightweight titanium and the hidden lugs make this a very wearable watch even for the smaller wristed enthusiast.

Dial and Hands

Okay, maybe “dial and hands” is a misnomer in the case of the CIGA Design Blue Planet: instead of hands, you tell the time from the rotation of that stunning sculpted micro-landscape dial. Take the star, and read the hours and minutes across from the rotating inner ring and fixed hour ring. Essentially, it’s like a sundial in reverse, using the rotation of the planet (seen here from the perspective of the Far East rather than the more familiar Western view with Great Britain at the centre) to tell the time. It’s quirky, it’s fun and whilst it’s not so easy to tell the time that’s really not the point here: you are buying this watch to make a statement.

Just like other watches veering towards novelty such as the MAALS Jump Over the Moon, I shouldn’t like the CIGA Design Blue Planet watch. But I do. A lot. I just think there is something indefinable cool about the way it looks and it is one of those watches that will genuinely attract interest from strangers – if that’s your thing.

Strap and Buckle

The fluorine rubber strap is excellent. It’s soft, supple and comfortable with quick release pins – useful, given that the watch and strap are provided separately in the box. The buckle is not particularly exciting, but it works – and that’s really all there is to talk about with buckles.

CIGA Design U Series “Blue Planet” – Video Review

At a glance…

  • Excellent finishing all round, especially the sculpting on the planet
  • The case design makes a large watch very wearable
  • Just look at it – it’s really cool!
  • The bold design won’t be to everyone’s taste
  • Telling the time is not so easy at a glance
  • £900 is a lot of money to spend on a watch from a lesser-known non-Swiss brand

CIGA Design U Series “Blue Planet” – The WRUK Verdict

I love the CIGA Design U Series, even though I can’t imagine many occasions I would wear it. It’s beautifully made, with exceptional design and really does provide a talking point. The downside of this bespoke design is that it costs as much as a mid-ranged Swiss-made tool watch that would be more versatile and arguably retain better resale value. But if you want to buy a dive watch you aren’t shopping for a CIGA Design Blue Planet. This is a watch that screams “look at me” and will provide a talking point and I am sure there will be few similar watches in your collection. Highly recommended.

Buy a CIGA Design U Series “Blue Planet”

You can buy a CIGA Design watch direct from the brand at this link.

Get 10% off until 31st December 2022 with code: “Wristwatch Review UK”

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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