I didn’t take an immediate shine to the Carpenter G2 Brooklyn Gent. The watch was too shiny. As far as I could tell. the G2’s acrylic crystal lacked sufficient anti-reflective coating to see the indices in direct light. At the same time, the dial’s rich dark hue was MIA. And then I had a realization . . .
I’m old! The Brooklyn G2 Gent is a small watch – a 38mm timepiece that looks even smaller thanks to its thick, polished steel bezel. Do the math. Bad eyesight + small indices on a small dial = limited legibility. The moment I took off my glasses, the G2’s design sprang into focus. Literally and figuratively. At that point, the watch’s design hit me with its rhythm stick. I mean, it’s understated elegance.
The G2’s aesthetic appeal lies in the contrast between its high-polish 316L steel and the “sunray brushed” black dial. Only it’s not much of a contrast. The silver indices are like refrigerator handles – you use them without noticing them. The silver case surrounding the dial is as unobtrusive as a doorknob. The G2’s not a monochromatic minimalist watch of the day – it has white minute markers – but it’s close enough for rock and roll.
Make that smooth jazz. Topped by an acrylic box-style crystal, the G2 is one of those timepieces that’s can serve as both unobtrusive background music and “check out this guy’s chops!” entertainment (metaphorically speaking). Unfortunately, the oversized crown jutting from the G2’s case strikes a discordant note. In other words, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Like almost every other microbrand known to man, Carpenter Watches re-packages somebody else’s movement. In this case, it’s a base grade ETA 2824-2. When it comes to specifying the crown and any other bits, microbrands get what they get and they can’t get upset. Specifically, hacking seconds, Incabloc shock protection, a 38-hour power reserve and somewhere between +/- 12 and 30 seconds accuracy per day.
The ETA 2824-2’s a robust and reliable engine. There are plenty of spare parts and watchmakers who can fit them with one eye closed (and sometimes do). But it’s not pretty. The unadorned engine chugging away under the G2’s “exhibition” caseback is the horological equivalent of Soviet bloc architecture. Carpenter laser-engraves their name and logo on the rotor, but the result is so small and plain you’ll need a loupe to be fully unimpressed.
If you’re impressed by American micro-brands where Americans slot Swiss parts into American cases affixed with domestically sourced leather straps (e.g., Timex’s American Documents), this ain’t that. Aside from the movement, everything is made and assembled in China. “We used to assemble in Brooklyn,” Neil Carpenter revealed via email. “But logistically due to the lack of space, we moved assembly back to China.”
Lack of space or New York City’s sky-high taxes, stratospheric rents and unfriendly labor laws? Come to Texas Neil! Meanwhile, the G2BG runs $725. That’s a lot of money for a Chinese-made automatic watch – especially when Tissot’s not dissimilar 40mm Everytime Swissmatic mechanical runs $395. Yes but – the G2 Brooklyn Gent’s is smaller, lighter and classier. Whether that’s enough to separate you from your money is up to you. Obvs.
Model: Carpenter G2 Brooklyn Gent
Case: 316L stainless steel with a sapphire exhibition caseback
Dial: Matte black sun-ray brushed dial with applied stainless steel indices
Hands: Stainless steel
Crystal: Box-type Acrylic
Crown: Screw-down with Carpenter logo
Movement: Base grade Swiss ETA 2824-2 25-jewel automatic movement
Functions: Hour, minute, seconds, date
Strap: 19mm tapered, choice of brown or black cow or crocodile leather with stainless steel buckle
Weight: 2 ounces
Water resistance: 5 bar/50m
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
A near-monochromatic stainless steel aesthetic for people who like SubZero refrigerators – and I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Legibility * * *
It’s a small timepiece – 38mm – that glints too much in bright light. Otherwise, sterling.
The crown is large enough to be glove-friendly, but adjusting the low-end Swiss ETA 2824-2 is an imprecise obligation, rather than a sensual delight.
Comfort * * * * *
There’s a reason 38mm watches wear so well: they’re small and light.
Overall * * *
The Carpenter G2 Brooklyn Gent is a classy-looking timepiece with microbrand-standard Swiss mechanical bits, assembled in the People’s Republic of China. Not a value play, but rugged, reliable and relaxed enough to justify the choice.