Review: Paul Gerber PuristS Tenth Anniversary Model 42

 By: AndrewD : July 21st, 2011-19:57

Paul Gerber PuristS Tenth Anniversary Model 42 Wristwatch


By now all of the Paul Gerber P10’s have been delivered. We have seen the ‘un-boxing’ of several, which is always an exciting moment – made even more so by the inclusion of Swiss Lindt chocolates! So I thought I would add a few words and observations about the watch.

The P10 is based on Paul’s Model 42 that comes as either a Pilots watch or the funkier “Synchron” with green luminescent numerals and hands. The bold and sporty 42mm diameter case is crafted in titanium, and there is a matching signed titanium buckle and an oversized screw-in crown (the water resistance is 10ATM / 100m). The case is made in two pieces with a flat sapphire exhibition back held in place with 7 titanium screws. The front sapphire is gently domed. Up until the Model 42, all Paul Gerber watches were produced in precious metals: gold or platinum. With the Model 42, Paul wanted to offer a more affordable watch, but also wanted to use a material other than steel. The lighter, high grade titanium seemed an appropriate material for a larger sports watch.

Model 42 Prototype Synchron and Aviator watches (Image credit: Magnus Bosse )

Model 42 Synchron and Aviator watches (Image credit: Paul Gerber)

Screw-in oversized titanium crown

Paul has designed a unique engraved dial for the P10 watch with a recurring “PuristS” logo orientated in two directions, 180 degrees apposed. The dial and date ring is galvanized to produce a dark silvery-grey colour to match the titanium case. Black superluminova is applied to the hour and minute hands, indices and date wheel. The font is of Paul’s own design.


This dial is just amazing. I didn’t particularly want a P10 piece that was ‘branded’ as a PuristS watch, but the words themselves are quite subtle and most people (even watch lovers) don’t immediately see it unless you point it out. Instead the central engraving catches and reflects the light in many interesting ways. From a distance it looks like a modified wave guilloche pattern. And when you look a little closer you see the ‘owl eyes’ of the “P” and then finally (with a bit of squinting) the recurring “PuristS”. To me it’s a timeless design; modern but with Art Deco touches. I find it endlessly fascinating, and another watch that should come with a warning about operating heavy machinery while wearing it. Certainly driving home with it on the wrist is rather distracting!

The first glimpse - dial engraving first posted on May 9, 2011

The legibility of the watch is superb with large numerals, bold hands and oversized date wheel. As a nice watchmakers touch, the tips of the minute and seconds hands are curved downwards towards the dial. The hour and minute hands have black superluminova, but the seconds hand does not.

The watch houses an ETA 2824-2 movement (25 jewels, Etachron regulator, bi-directional automatic winding with the winding and reversing system on top of the movement). Paul chose the ETA 2824-2 because it met all his requirements for adapting his automatic winding system, along with having the date function. In addition he wanted to offer a more affordable watch than would be possible if he used an in-house movement. However, Paul has used the highest level of movement available (ETA movements come in three grades - standard, elaborated and top) and he does not find any reason to do anything to the base movement.

But there is still plenty of horological fun to be had. Paul has extended his twin winding rotor concept and we now have three synchronized rotors with gold weights, each on custom-made ball bearings. I asked Paul at IGOTT2 about the efficiency of the triple-rotor system and he said that they have the equivalent inertia of three individual micro-rotors. But the real advantage is in reduced wear-and-tear. When a single rotor is used, the bearing is always loaded on one side. This asymmetry is less with two rotors, but even better with three, with the load evenly distributed around the central winding gear, translating into greater longevity of the pivots and bearings. The ETA 2824-2 normally has a PR of 38 hours and I have certainly found the winding system to be very efficient, even during periods working at my desk.

The other benefit of this winding system is that it looks cool and, of course, is unique to Paul Gerber timepieces. The ETA 2824-2 is only 36mm (x6.1mm) in size and is usually lost in large watches, but the rotors swing right to the edge of the case and also allow a ‘spacer’ on which are engraved the details of the watch: “Paul Gerber, Zurich”, “Cal. 42” and “One of Ten”. For the P10, Paul has finished the movement to a higher standard than the production Model 42, with blued screws and chamfering and perlage applied to the synchron base plate.

Application of perlage using hand-spotting machine (Image credit: Paul Gerber)



And just for that final stamp of individuality, the P10 strap is made by a Swiss saddle maker from salmon skin. According to Paul the saddle maker was used because it was difficult to find more formal strap makers willing to produce only 10 custom straps. And he chose salmon because it was “something so different and a little special”. The strap is hand stitched and lined with pig skin and is beautifully soft and velvety to the touch. The platinum-grey colour (with hints of purple) again complements the case and luminova, and the texture sets off the dial engraving. It may be the most polarizing aspect of the watch, but I think it’s an inspired choice.


Signed titanium pin buckle

Most of you will know from the IGOTT2 reports [Click Here] that Paul was unhappy with the first batch of dials (after the engraving is done in-house, the dials are sent out for galvanizing and then to a third company for application of the superluminova). The completed dials were too dark and Paul had to engrave new ones and go through the process again. This delayed delivery by 6 weeks but as ‘compensation’ Paul has included the rejected dial and date ring with the delivered watches. He also signed the rear of the dials and it is a testament to his attention to detail. Having the dials side-by-side one can see the effect Paul was trying to achieve, and it was definitely worth the effort and additional time involved to get this aspect of the watch perfect.

Paul Gerber has signed the rear of the rejected dial

In conclusion, I am over the moon with my first Paul Gerber watch. I ordered the watch the moment I saw the engraved dial. I was a little concerned about the garishness of the engraving, but it is far from that. I was worried about the 42mm size, but the light titanium case and short lugs allow it to sit very comfortably on my wrist. The Cal. 42 movement with its triple-rotor winding system is unique, attractive and mesmerizing to see. The icing on the cake for me was meeting Paul, Ruth and Michel Schmutz (their US importer and long time friend) at IGOTT2. Paul is an industry legend, having worked on projects for many of the large manufactures. It is a pleasure to own one of his timepieces and I suspect it will not be the last.




Additional images

The ten completed P10 watches awaiting the journey to their new owners (Image credit: Ruth Gerber) ...

An early prototype, demonstrating the transition from the Model 42 ...

Comments from Paul Gerber:

 By: AndrewD : July 21st, 2011-20:49

Hi All,


I asked Paul and Ruth Gerber about some of the points you have been bringing up since the P10 watches were delivered. Firstly Paul is “very pleased that the watch has been well received by the PuristS and that the watch has raised so many questions.”


Regarding the thickness of the dial as shown by Mike (Cazalea):


“The dial actually is not thin. Normally a dial measures 0.40mm thick. I made this dial a little thicker at 0.50mm because of the large diameter. The material is brass which is very nice to work with.  The engraving was done with my Witech 604 CNC milling machine.



(Image credit: Mike - Cazalea -)

What was the process of getting the "PuristS" design from paper onto the engraved dial?

“The ideas are always the same. I really try to make something which has not been done before.  With this dial I tried to continue with a look that is similar to, for example, the Retro Twin watches along with my Tourbillon Model 25. I got the idea of Guilloching the particular word “PuristS”. If I only simply wrote the word PuristS, one after the other, there would have been large spaces between the letters. So I looked for another option. Thus I came up with the idea to write the word normally (straight) then turn the dial 180 degrees and then back straight and so on. I found the end result harmonious and as far as I know, this has not been done before.”

The original PuristS P10 dial design (Image credit: Paul Gerber)

Witech 604 CNC Milling Machine (Image credit: Paul Gerber)

How are the movement screws blued?


I blue the screws as follows: I screw the screws to a plate for grinding. I then polish the screws to a very high finish. After cleaning, I heat the screws while still on the plate and dip everything into a blue salt process, increase the heat gently to acheive the desired blue color. Then I immediately remove everything from the solution and allow to cool. I then clean the screws and they are ready for assembly.


And the seconds hand is not superluminova, but the black paint colour matches?


Only the hour and minute hands, along with the numbers, are luminous.  There are only 4 choices of black superluminova, for the PuristS watch I used black B1,N1. Please note, however, that even this superluminova lights very weak and will not last the whole night. On the rejected dial the wrong superluminova was used and does not really luminate at all. You can really notice the difference between the dials.


What does the Reference number engraved on the case back refer to? Is it is a unique serial number for that individual piece?


“Regarding the numbering, the reference number is 420 (Cal. 42 titanium) and following this number is a sequential number used for my records. For example, “Ref. 420-30” means it is the 30th watch using the titanium case.”


And the rotors are in rose gold?


“The rotors are made of 18ct rose gold N4. 18ct works very well for milling and the end result is a very nice quality finish.”



Mr. Gerber would like everyone to know that if they ever find themselves in Zurich, they are always welcome to have a firsthand look at his workshop and see how everything is made. Mr. Gerber only asks that if someone would like to visit that he or she either contact Michel Schmutz at Intro-Swiss in the United States or the Gerber’s in Zurich to make an appointment for a visit.




Ps. Paul Gerber has been a long time ‘friend’ of PuristS and I would like to direct you to an interview that he did with Thomas in 2002: Click Here ...


PPs. my thanks also to Michel Schmutz who assisted with translation.

Great little 'interview' Andrew!

 By: sidneyc : July 22nd, 2011-02:47
Thanks for sharing some of Herr Gerber's wisdom with us!

Love your mini interview. There's nothing better than actually knowing the story behind a beloved watch and the watchmaker's decision process etc. It's interesting to hear how clever Herr Gerber have come up with such a harmonious yet sophisticated engraving.

The more you discover about this watch the more you'll love it.

There are many ‘layers’ …

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:32

Thanks Sidney. I agree with you that there are many ‘layers’ to the Gerber P10.


On the surface it looks like a relatively simple grey-toned sports watch, but the engraved dial and then the intriguing automatic winding 'complication' – with the splash of gold colour – when you turn the watch over makes it so special.



nice interview! [nt]

 By: playtime : July 22nd, 2011-05:17
No message body

Video: PuristS P10 dial engraving

 By: AndrewD : July 21st, 2011-21:01

“… I made (the) dial a little thicker at 0.50mm … the engraving was done with my Witech CNC milling machine … as far as I know, this has not been done before.”



My thanks to Paul and Ruth Gerber for the following video …



Video: Bluing screws

 By: AndrewD : July 21st, 2011-21:04

I blue the screws as follows: I screw the screws to a plate for grinding. I then polish the screws to a very high finish. After cleaning, I heat the screws while still on the plate and dip everything into a blue salt process, increase the heat gently to acheive the desired blue color. Then I immediately remove everything from the solution and allow to cool. I then clean the screws and they are ready for assembly.


My thanks to Paul and Ruth Gerber for the following video …


Great work, Andrew...

 By: pplater : July 21st, 2011-23:05

...thank you. A copy of your early and definitive review will go 'straight to the pool room' (well, into the P10 watch box at least!).





No greater honour

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:35

Pleased you enjoyed the review and sharing this watch with a few PuristS friends makes it all the more special.



I have so much admiration for Paul Gerber.

 By: dxboon : July 21st, 2011-23:33
I think he is truly a genius.  His supply of innovative ideas in watchmaking seems never-ending.  The PuristS watch is so unique and beautiful.  Thanks for the review.  You've got a great watch there!


And as you know from IGOTT2 …

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:36

... Paul Gerber and Ruth have maintained their enthusiasm for horology over a long career spanning several decades.


A significant but humble watchmaker.



a watch with definite presence and a piece of internet watch history :-) [nt]

 By: alex : July 22nd, 2011-00:07
No message body

Nice thread. (nt)

 By: Ronald Held : July 22nd, 2011-05:07

thanks for your observations

 By: playtime : July 22nd, 2011-05:11
the dial is really stunning.  congrats and wear in the best of health


A very cool watch ...

 By: small-luxury-world : July 22nd, 2011-08:17
and a very well done review.

Thanks a lot for sharing!


Andrew, you really captured the spirit of this watch, as well as...

 By: Ornatus-Mundi : July 22nd, 2011-08:22

the way Paul approaches watchmaking. Very, very well done, I learned a lot!

Congratulation to Paul for an instant success, and to the owners for a truly amazing, personal and unique watch!


Paul Gerber's Atelier

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:41

Thanks Magnus.


Your visit to Paul’s Atelier was uppermost in my mind when I ordered the watch, and your comments were very helpful. It was Paul’s attention to detail and honest watchmaking that drew me in.



Thanks for the review of a unique and affordable piece Andrew. [nt]

 By: SJX : July 22nd, 2011-09:13
No message body

Regarding affordability …

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:42

Thanks SJX,


When I was corresponding with Paul Gerber over some of the details for this review I said to him that he should be very proud of this watch. While it was the least expensive of the P10 Anniversary watches, it had everything that we love about independent watchmaking: unique ideas, both aesthetically and mechanically, wrapped up in an interesting, versatile and wearable watch.


Looks like you think the same way!  J



My only worry is convincing my wife I need a Synchron too!

 By: cazalea : July 22nd, 2011-11:04
Thanks Andrew for the legwork to put this together.
It makes owning the watch a lot more fun when we can know the maker and the process.


Thanks, Andrew, for the report and pics!

 By: masterspiece : July 22nd, 2011-12:36
I highly regard the makers/manufacturers, who answer the questions posed by the PuristS.

Thanks for the video also.




Value adding ...

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:43

I agree, Bob. And even with the language barriers, Paul and Ruth went out of their way (with the help of Google Translate and Michel Schmutz) to answer my questions quickly and thoroughly. It indeed adds to the ‘value’ of the watch.



Great review!

 By: Davo : July 23rd, 2011-00:12
It was worth the wait. Well done, Andrew. 

Stunning dial indeed. .

 By: hans_jorgen_1968 : July 23rd, 2011-06:18
.... thx for sharing the pictures and especially Mr. Ferber's comments was fascinating


Thanks for your insight Andrew [nt]

 By: DonCorson : July 23rd, 2011-09:03
No message body

Congrats Andrew on your Paul Gerber watch!

 By: pingtsai : July 23rd, 2011-10:36
Great review and awesome pictures.  They really bring out the dial accents.  The strap texture is very interesting and contrasts nicely to the realtively simple look of the watch and case. Enjoy it!

Aesthetically it’s a lovely creation …

 By: AndrewD : July 24th, 2011-17:30

Thanks Ping,


Aesthetically it’s a lovely creation. The silvery-grey tones, with the engraving and strap, are perfect. And unlike many of the ‘black’ watches that were popluar for a while, you can actually read the time on this one.


It will be interesting to see if Paul takes this CNC dial engraving further with future models. He also seemed very pleased with the outcome of the PuristS watch.



Thanks for such a great review Andrew!!!

 By: TonyR : July 24th, 2011-15:39
Those three rotors are to die for! Enjoy your watch!


Loved your review!

 By: big daddy : July 31st, 2011-20:05
Love Gerber's "different" designs!