We got our first glimpse of the Galvin Alku back in August 2020. We have been lucky enough to get two watches on loan to see if it is as good as it looks.
Galvin Alku Review
The Galvin Alku comes from the first female-founded microbrand watch company in Australia. The brand’s founder, Susan Galvin, describes it as a vintage-style automatic watch with a Nordic twist – and it blasted through its Kickstarter goal last year. Now available at retail at £365 (plus VAT on import), the Galvin Alku just about makes it into “impulse-buy” territory.
The Alku is presented in a soft-touch box that feels as good as it looks. I always say that presentation is more important in a dress watch, and Alku has got the balance right here between keeping costs down and meeting the expectations of the buyer.
Case and Movement
The Galvin Alku case design is conservative but perfectly proportioned for my tastes. I love the way that the lugs gently sweep back and how the domed sapphire crystal accentuates the curve. It’s subtle, but it is clear that a lot of thought has gone into the design of this watch to make it attractive yet inoffensive, classy without being ostentatious. The finishing and wrist-feel are both spot-on. The crown is signed with the Galvin logo and setting the time, and hand-winding are both as smooth as you could wish for.
Personally, I would have preferred a solid case back to the display case back that is fitted to the Galvin Alku. The Miyota 9039 is a very good, reliable and accurate movement – but it is not particularly attractive to look at. It is also worth noting that at 38.65mm in diameter, this is a relatively large watch – and so it may be harder to pull it off with a wrist size smaller than my 7.5 inches.
Dial and Hands
Galvin sent two variants of the Alku to try out: peach and white. Both are beautiful, but the white dial was the one that spoke to me the most. Unlike the peach, which has steel hands and applied hour markers, the white dial Galvin Alku has them in a stunning blue. Set against the pearlescent, domed dial, the watch just oozes class. If you go for the peach variant, you will not be disappointed. The dial has a subtle sunburst that I could not adequately capture with my amateur photography skills, but which looks great under natural light.
I often comment on the absence of a date, but in this case, it is the right choice. The dials are well-balanced with crisp text and just the right amount of flashiness.
Strap and Buckle
Of the two straps on the loan watches for my review, I preferred the suede, which came fitted to the peach model. It is soft and flexible and just the right thickness. On the other hand, the genuine leather option was stiffer than I would like and – despite an attractive graining – did not feel quite so luxurious. You can choose a tang buckle or a single-fold butterfly deployant clasp – I would personally prefer the deployant – especially with the stiffer leather strap – as it protects the strap from folding damage better. Both are perfectly functional, if unremarkable.
The downside with the straps is that although their size does perfectly balance with the watch case, at 19mm wide, they are non-standard, and it will be harder to locate a replacement when the time comes to change them.
Galvin Alku – Video Review
What I Liked
- The design and finish of the case is perfect for a dress watch
- The dials are absolutely stunning
- For the money, the Galvin Alku is one of the best microbrand dress watches I’ve seen.
What I Didn’t Like
- The 19mm lug width will make it hard to replace the watch strap
- At almost 39mm, it may be too big for slimmer wrists
- The Miyota movement is not particularly attractive to justify a display case back
Galvin Alku – the WRUK Verdict
I review a lot of watches at WRUK, and it is easy to become complacent – especially when I see so many with shared parts or derivative designs. The Galvin Alku manages to surf the line between the conservatism you expect in a dress watch with that hard-to-define feeling of quality that is essential in the category. The dials are in another class, the bowled design bringing to mind the Rolex pie-pan design. For the money, I cannot think of a better watch in the microbrand category – if you want a good-looking dress watch with the build quality to match, the Galvin Alku is currently the best in its class.
Buy a Galvin Alku
You can buy a Galvin Alku direct from the manufacturer at https://galvinwatchcompany.com.au/