Hands-on – The Circula AquaSport II spawns a GMT function

By now, you should be well aware of the small but compelling watchmaking company called Circula. With a history that goes back to the mid-1950s, Circula is now in the hands of Cornelius Huber, grandson of the company’s founder. Cornelius is slowly but surely bringing Circula back to its former glory and possibly beyond that, often with input and feedback from the public to determine designs and specifications. Through watches like the SuperSport, a genuine compressor dive watch, and the fun AquaSport II diver, I’d say Circula is well on track. And now there’s a new member in the family as Circula introduces the AquaSport II GMT in two colourful variations.

From the outside, not much has changed as the AquaSport II GMT looks almost identical to its non-GMT sibling. The barrel-shaped case, a distinct style from the 1970s, still measures 40mm in diameter and 12.6mm in height (13.4mm on top of the crystal). Instead of the traditional unidirectional diving bezel, it’s now fitted with a bidirectional rotating bezel with a 24-hour scale insert. This can be either solid grey or two-tone turquoise and petrol blue, a combination already available in the AquaSport II. Once again, the closed caseback has an image of a diver, and the crown is finished with a luminous Circula logo and a coloured ring around the knurled outer edge.

Where the dial in the AquaSport II showed a wave-like pattern, the new AquaSport II GMT comes in a sunray-brushed version. It makes perfect sense to eliminate the wave pattern, as the additional details for the GMT function make it a tad busier for the eyes. It is available in petrol blue/green or grey and features a similar set-up as before. The large applied hour indices with a coloured outline and Super-LumiNova inserts are paired with the sword-shaped hour and minute hands, a coloured central seconds hand and now, a central GMT hand. This is notably shorter than the others and indicates the secondary 24-hour scale in the centre section of the dial. At the bottom, there is a date window with a disc that’s colour-matched to the dial; a small detail, but it adds to the watch’s character.

On the inside, Circula has opted for a top-grade Sellita SW330-1 automatic movement. Running at a rate of 28,800vph and using 25 jewels, it has a running time of 56 hours once fully wound. The SW330-1 engine is an alternative to ETA’s 2893-2, both so-called Office GMT movements. This means the GMT hand can be moved forward only, in one-hour increments, once you’ve unscrewed the crown and pulled it out to the second position. Rotating the crown in the other direction moves the date forward. Setting central hours and minutes is done through the third position of the crown.

The Circula AquaSport II GMT comes on a tropic-style rubber strap with a steel pin buckle. Alternatively, for a small premium of EUR 100, you can order it on a stainless steel beads-of-rice bracelet with a micro-adjustable folding clasp. It will retail for EUR 1,299 and can be ordered directly from Circula.

This might seem like a big step up from the regular AquaSport II that starts at EUR 599, but in this case, you immediately get a top-grade movement instead of having the option of upgrading to that level. And naturally, a GMT movement is more versatile and adds practicality to a watch. That being said, I still feel like Circula offers very good value for money with the AquaSport II collection and this fun AquaSport II GMT.

For more information or to place an order, please visit CirculaWatches.com.

Technical specifications – Circula AquaSport II GMT

Case: 40mm diameter x 12.6mm height (13.4mm with crystal) – barrel-shaped stainless steel case – stainless steel bidirectional bezel with two-tone petrol blue and turquoise insert – orange ring and luminous logo on screw-down crown – domed sapphire crystal, solid caseback – 200m water-resistance

Dial: petrol blue circular-brushed dial – grey dial with beige and green details also available – white outer minute track – applied orange-outlined indices with Super-LumiNova – hour and minutes hands with Super-LumiNova – orange seconds hand with Super-LumiNova triangle – GMT hand with Super-LumiNova tip – colour-matched date display at 6 o’clock

Movement: top grade Sellita SW330-1 – automatic winding – 28,800vph – 25 jewels – 56h power reserve – central hours, minutes, seconds, GMT indication, date

Strap: tropic-style rubber strap with steel pin buckle – optional beads-of-rice bracelet (EUR 100 premium)

Availability: directly available from Circula’s e-commerce platform


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