By Steve Huyton

For a long time, Chinese-made products have been unfairly dismissed as inferior quality or disposable products. Admittedly in a region as large as China, there is a broad spectrum ranging from substandard to superlative.

Nevertheless, tech giant Apple exclusively manufactures in this country and it hasn’t deterred consumers at all. Within the watch industry, the label Swiss-made still carries a lot of weight. However, there are a lot of brands like Ciga Design that are changing people’s perceptions.

This company shook the world of horology on its head by winning the Challenge Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2021 awards for the phenomenal Blue Planet.

The Ciga Design Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition

For that reason, I was delighted to hear of another formidable piece called the Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition. This watch was unveiled in 2023 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of mankind’s conquest of Mount Everest.

I’ve always been fascinated with innovative design and that was the catalyst for writing books about this subject. My philosophy is to select based on creative merit rather than brand status. This strategy I believe is more advantageous for the reader because they are offered increased diversity.

That’s why I’m very pleased that brands such as Ciga Design are getting the recognition they deserve. The business is the brainchild of multi-disciplinary designer Zhang Jianmin who specializes in fields like architecture, graphics and product design. After twenty-six years of commercial experience, he decided to launch his own watch brand. In my opinion, the Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition is their most ambitious creation to date.

Hilary Quote

Ciga Design have set the tone for this watch by using a quote from mountaineer Sir Edmund Hilary: “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

These words are very inspiring and captivate the essence of the Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition.

Fortunately, I got to inspect one of these amazing timepieces and was incredibly impressed with the overall quality. Aesthetically this watch has a distinctive Avant-Garde appearance normally found in Haute Horlogerie watches that retail for multiple times the price.

The proportions have also been well considered. With a 45mm titanium case, this piece sits comfortably on the wrist and is suitable to wear with formal/casual attire.

What makes the Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition so special is the meticulous attention to detail. Remarkably, Ciga Design’s chief designer personally embarked on a journey to the base of Mount Everest to source rock for the dial of the watch. This creates a 3D texture that perfectly frames the exposed central tourbillon carriage.

Other incredible characteristics include ice axe-style hands engraved with the signatures of both Sir Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norway. Ciga Design has also added a nice touch by including the four world flags of Britain, Nepal, India and the United Nations. Overall the minimalistic composition is highly effective and the quality first rate.

Beneath the architectural façade lies a very sophisticated in-house customized hand-winding movement. The Calibre CD-05 comprises 33 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.

This exquisite mechanism is visibly showcased via the sapphire crystal exhibition engraved case back. Functionally the Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition features hours, minutes and seconds. The watch also has a very impressive power reserve of 120 hours and is water resistant to a depth of thirty meters.

As a perfect finale, the Central Tourbillon Mount Everest Homage Edition is presented on a textured rubber black strap with a complimentary titanium buckle. With a retail of $3,600, I believe this watch is very competitively priced.

Steve Huyton is an industrial designer, illustrator and author who publishes Total Design Reviews

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