CIGA Design is a Chinese brand that is making strides in the Western markets by combining innovative design with Chinese craftsmanship at competitive prices. The best example of what this can lead to is their model called ‘Blue Planet,’ telling time through a beautiful domed and textured image of the earth, which also won the GPHG Challenge category in 2021. The brand was founded in 2012 by Zhang Jianming, an experienced designer eager to put his ideas and experience into watches. His latest creation is the Eye of Horus, a watch with a skeleton movement and a rather sportive design.
The Eye of Horus can’t be compared to the Blue Planet, as the latter is more expensive and has a very high build quality. Not that the Eye of Horus is lacking in this matter, but with a retail price of $270, it is aiming at a different market segment. When you also realize that the case is made from bioceramics, you might instantly think of one brand they are trying to compete with. CIGA Design also put on a great fight, as it actually achieved in giving the bioceramic a more luxurious feel. This starts with the fact that the watch has a nice heft to it and that the bioceramic is very detailed machined. Combined with some metal elements, like the crown, screws, and decorative insert on the left side of the case, you get a feeling of quality when holding the watch.
Unfortunately, this experience gets somewhat cheapened by the silicon strap. While CIGA Design went all-in on creating also there a custom experience, with a nice pattern, the Eye of Horus symbol, and a clever design to keep the loops in the right place, the material doesn’t match the luxury look and feel that the case and movement deliver. It also has a tendency to attract dust. As the design of the metal clasp is in line with the watch itself, this also seems like an easy fix; you can simply order a different strap for the watch. I also think that this will further elevate the overall look of the Eye of Horus.
For those not familiar with it, the Eye of Horus comes from Egyptian mythology. Based on a human or falcon eye, this stylized symbol stood for protection, health, and restoration, as a protector and good luck charm for those who wore it. Next to the strap and the decorative insert on the left of the case, we also see this symbol prominently at the center of the watch, where it serves as a seconds hand. This is one aspect that gives the Eye of Horus a bit of a fun factor, as does the x-shaped skeleton movement underneath. This Chinese movement was developed as a skeleton from the start, and although industrially made, it is pleasing to the eye. CIGA Design placed a frame over some of the bridges with a rope-like decoration. This reminded me of the Richard Mille RM 53-01. Although this might not have been done intentionally, the decorations add a nice touch to the watch. The same can be said of the luminous material on the hands and hour marker, which give quite a show when they light up in the dark.
With case dimensions of 47.3 x 48mm, without the crown, the Eye of Horus sounds enormous, but it really isn’t on the wrist. The short lugs make it comfortable to wear, even on a smaller wrist, and are also aided in this by a height of just 12.1mm. As the movement proved to be a capable performer, the Eye of Horus has a lot going for it. It is fun, detailed, well-made, eye-catching, and competitively priced. It even comes with attractive packaging, in theme and above par for this price range.
Currently, CIGA Design doesn’t have an extensive dealer network or local hub in the Western markets. In all honesty, based on my experience with the Blue Planet and the Eye of Horus now, they might want to invest in this. As they offer the Eye of Horus now through Indiegogo at the reduced price of $199, you get a lot of watch for your money, but watch collectors might be even more eager to consider a CIGA Design for their collection when they have a more local presence. This would also make maintenance easier and the watch even more desirable, although they already have a leg up there as the aimed competition can’t be repaired at all.
For more info, visit CIGA Design, here