While not particularly original in their exterior (with the recent batch of respective calibers courtesy of Ronda, relatively inexpensive quartz watches with retrograde indicators are a dime a dozen these days,) the dressy Grovana Day Retrograde family may be of some interest to those looking to add an affordable “nine-to-five” timekeeper to their collection.
Grovana, the Swiss watchmaking brand that also manufactures (yes, unlike many other “entry-luxury” brands out there that simply outsource their watches to third-party production facilities, Grovana actually builds their watches on their own premises; their movements are bought from other vendors, though) and distributes worldwide a lot more expensive watches under Revue Thommen brand, has presented yet another addition to their range of dressy wristwatches.
Aptly named Grovana Day Retrograde, the gadgets feature a pair of complications that, while not terribly expensive to make, give the timekeeper a lot trendier appearance, while seriously increasing their readability.
Available in stainless steel (ref. 1721.1532, pictured) or in flashier rose gold-plated steel case that measures exactly 40 mm in diameter, the Day Retrograde family is -surprisingly enough- positioned as a unisex watch. On further consideration, I may add that there may be some merit behind the move, since, like a modern Japanese car, the watch seems to lack any character whatsoever, although it is still good at doing its job: time, even on the model with a silvered dial, is adequately legible at any lighting conditions; the large date indicator, while not even remotely as fascinating as Glashutte Original’s Panorama Day complication, is extremely easy to read; and the retrograde Day of Week display makes the dial looks, well, nice.
Yes, it is powered by a cheap, yet reliable Ronda 7003.L quartz movement that makes both “complications” possible, but the mechanism is reliable enough and is way more accurate than a self-winding ETA caliber with an add-on module.
Judging by the look of the final product, the movement comes as is, without any visible modifications to the reference design. If that is indeed the fact, then the movement will offer you at least 48 months of continuous operation without replacing the standard 1.5 V battery, which is basically what a normal buyer of this product would expect from the watch.
It is also worth mentioning that the quartz movement is built on a metal chassis and can even be repaired if broken. Well, I guess it is still more financially feasible to simply throw it away and replace it with a new caliber.
As I have already noted, the watch looks featureless, but that’s okay, especially if you are tired of Japanese quartz-powered timekeepers that are also very good, but tend to offer somewhat fussy exterior designs (at least, in this price range.)
The design of this particular (Ref. 1721.1532) timekeeper looks quite balanced, although I would have preferred the dial to be presented in a nobler (and less unisex) anthracite color. Also, the typefaces for the big date calendar and the hours look defiantly different, which is also not very good.
See also: Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec Calendar
Grovana Day Retrograde (Ref. 1721.1532) specification
Price: €995 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Caliber Ronda 7003.L, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, retrograde day, big date
Power reserve: 48 months
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 40.00 mm
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Genuine leather with crocodile pattern, stainless steel folding clasp