When it comes to racing inspired watches, I’m a big fan of them! In the microbrand world, there are only a few available that look good, most of them are either very large and chunky watches either the design isn’t the best looking. Of course, the price is also very important as most of them are a bit pricey for what they are, but one day I was scrolling some posts on Instagram and notice this one company called Grip Auto and they make very affordably priced racing/car inspired watches. Right now they have only one collection called Tourismo which is time and date only watch. But I read one article, don’t remember which one, but they had an interview with the founder and they are thinking of releasing chronograph somewhere around 2019/2020! The company itself is pretty new, I think they only launched in 2018. The company is based in Australia and founded by Dom Italiano.
So the watch came in a very nice leather pouch. At this price, I was really expecting only a cardboard box, but I was really surprised that it comes in a very nice leather travel pouch. Inside you will find the watch and instructions. The one that I chose is the Tourismo Blue which has a steel case, blue dial and strap. There are also 3 other variations, but from them all, I think this is the best-looking one! The first impressions were good! The quality and design are really nice for the price!
So the Tourismo case is made of 316L stainless steel. The machine work is pretty good. The case has a polished and satin-brushed finishing which is also done very well. The case shape is round with nice crown guards on the side. The case diameter is 40mm which I think is perfect. I like that microbrand companies now are releasing small sized watches as I remember that when I got into watches, almost 99% of microbrand companies had big and chunky watches. On the wrist, the watch wears really great and is perfect for everyday use throughout the week. At 3 o’clock we have a push-pull crown which is really grippy and easy to use when setting the time or date. On the back, you will find a solid snap-on case back and this is probably the only thing I don’t like on this watch. I’m just not a big fan of them as I had many problems with case backs like that in the past when it comes to opening/snapping it back on and of course, the water resistance always will be low for these type of case backs. On the case back we have laser etched Grip Auto logo which is a combination of the old steering wheel and a rim which looks like a BBS. Around the logo, we have laster etched specifications. On top, we surprisingly have a sapphire crystal. I review a lot of watches and mostly the ones that are in this price range have mineral glass only, the cheapest one that I reviewed that had sapphire glass was probably twice as much as this one costs. The water resistance is 5ATM (50M) so taking it into water is a big no-no.
The dial is pretty busy, but in the same way, it is easy to read and I think fully legible. Before the watch arrived for the review, I thought that the dial would be busy, but when I received it, it looked really good! So around the dial, we have a white chapter ring minute track. The Arabic numerals 12 and 6 are applied and red/orange. The black half circles on both sides seconds track and batons for rest hour markers. The inside is blue inside and it almost has this geneva line look that you usually have on the movement finishes. Right under 12 marker we have the Grip Auto logo in black, at 3 o’clock we have Tourismo written also in black and at 6 o’clock we have a wide date window. The date wheel is white, but here it looks good as the chapter ring is white. The hour and minute hands resemble the spokes of an old steering wheel which is one of my favourite details on this watch, and a pretty clever idea, the only other watch I know that has these hands is the BRM BT-12, but those ones cost a lot more money than this one. The second’s hand is black and with a red tip. This style of the dial isn’t for everybody as I know many of my readers like more of a classic looking watches, but I think this one is a pretty well-executed dial with some fun details from car world like those hands.
The movement inside the Tourismo isn’t an Automatic which I actually thought it had at first before I even contacted them, but it has a very reliable Japan made Miyota 2115 quartz movement. It keeps an extremely accurate time of +/- 20 seconds a month. The second-hand lands nicely on the minute markers, just perfect in line. Usually, on these affordable watches under 200$, I see that many of them have a problem of making the seconds hand land on every marker precisely. The battery life on these usually is 2-3 years.
The strap is very cool too and kept in that automotive style just like the watch with that perforated leather and red contrast stitching. The strap itself is blue and feels very supple so it wears nicely on the wrist and doesn’t require the usual wear in period. The underside is lined with a softer beige material that gives more comfortability on the wrist. The tang-style buckle is made of stainless steel and has a nice polished finishing.
Overall the watch is more than you would expect for this price. The only thing I wish they made another version, maybe a bit thicker, but with automatic movement and maybe customize the rotor with some car rim design or steering wheel design, I think it would look killer! Anycase the watch is really great! The size is just where it should be, it wears comfortably on the wrist and looks good too! Yes, there are some watches you can buy for this price that would be a better investment of your money, but this is something unique and not so many people have them, you probably won’t run into another guy with a Tourismo on his wrist like you would if you wear Seiko or Casio for example.
Price: 180$AUD ($134 USD) @ gripauto.com.au
- Case diameter: 40 mm
- Lens: Sapphire crystal
- Case Material: Stainless steel 316L
- Caseback: Stainless steel 316L
- Strap: 18mm – Leather Rally
- Water Resistance: 5 ATM (50 m)
- Movement: Japanese Miyota 2115
- Warranty: 12 months