Baja Editorial Hands-on Reviews James McCabe Reviews

Handsome, Sturdy and ‘Of The First Water’ – Meet The Cowboy Of Watches, The James McCabe Baja ‘Pepsi’

To sum it up, owning a James McCabe Baja GMT is a good idea. And right now you can even get one for free thanks to our giveaway in partnership with James McCabe watches.

Handsome, Sturdy and ‘Of The First Water’ – Meet The Cowboy Of Watches, The James McCabe Baja ‘Pepsi’

Editor’s note: For our first watch giveaway ever, courtesy James McCabe watches, we present the review of the James McCabe Baja GMT Gravel Blue ‘Pepsi’ watch. To be in the running for winning this cool watch for absolutely free, all you need to do is look at a couple of criteria that we have listed at the end of this review. But don’t skip the review, because there are 2 questions at the end that you need to respond to. The answer lies somewhere in the review. Happy hunting and good luck … 

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The Premise 

If you are part of the ‘The Searchers’ on the lookout a timepiece with ‘True Grit’, then at ‘High Noon’ on Monday 22nd February AEST, get ready to board ‘The Stagecoach’ and be a part of the ‘Wild Bunch’ that will compete for the free giveaway of the cowboy of watches, the James McCabe Baja ‘Pepsi‘. 

And while it may not be ‘The Great Train Robbery’, given that we are giving it away for free, it’s even better! And for the competition, we say it’s ‘Open Range’ for anybody in Australia and USA to enter the giveaway. Now while there can be only one winner, I am sure that that ‘Lone Star’ will not be ‘Unforgiven’ by the others. 

James McCabe Baja

What Is It

‘Of The First Water’ is a cowboy expression meaning elegant or first-class. The faux-scratched and patinated and aged look brings a rugged, cowboy-esque aesthetic to the timepiece and the overall finishing and good Quality Control (QC) ensure that it looks handsome on your wrist.

This James McCabe Baja ‘Pepsi’ is currently out of stock on the website. It usually retails for £450 but last seen was discounted, coming in at only £309. For those of you who really like it, and would love to get it, but can’t find it online, here’s a golden opportunity – we are giving one of these away for free — for Australian and America residents only — as part of our first giveaway in partnership with James McCabe.

James McCabe Baja


You can buy other James McCabe watches online here. To enter this giveaway, please see below and enter you details in the form, and head to our Instagram post here

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The Giveaway starts on February 22nd at AEST, coinciding with the George Washington’s B’day. In its previous life, James McCabe was a brand worn by the legendary American President.

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Let’s be honest; not many of us can afford to buy, or even if we can, actually buy, a Rolex GMT Pepsi. And ever since the Rolex Pepsi has made the rounds of the internet, especially amongst the Instagram generation, and more and more enthusiasts have been enamoured by its beauty, tons of other homages have cropped up. Amongst them ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’.

The James McCabe Baja fortunately falls under the ‘good’ category – it’s a decently priced timepiece that offers excellent legibility, a daily-wear design, high ‘noticeability’ factor, and a comfortable bracelet (with an to use butterfly deployant clasp).

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Who is it for

I reckon this is one daily wear beater of a watch that you can wear without a hassle, own all the nicks and scratches, and given it is light-weight, and features a 100m water-resistance, it is frankly a great offering. Plus, that scratched dial or what the brand refers to as ‘signature Gravel wash’, when encompassed by the Pepsi bezel is pretty unique and doesn’t give the vibe of someone trying to pose with a fake Rolex ‘Pepsi’ 126710BLRO. Its distinctive and quirkily unique.

The James McCabe Baja GMT is the timepiece for the modern cowboy – handsome, sturdy and ‘Of The First Water’. 

James McCabe Baja

How Does It Do

The James McCabe has an impressive history, what with being the watchmaker to George Washington & Lord Horatio Nelson. This heritage is not really reflected in the current catalogue as this is more of a reboot but it’s still there. 

They have five collections – Baja, Scrambler, London, Heritage and Belfast. Within the Baja quartz family — there are also automatic versions — there are 11 offerings, split onto either GMT or chronograph complications. 

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The one we are going hands-on with today is the Baja GMT Gravel Blue retailing for £450 (~ 800 AUD) but with a discount on their website comes down to £309 (~ 550 AUD ). The aesthetic is what the brand desires as “Signature Gravel Wash”, and it is this rigged, no-nonsense aesthetic that first drew me to these watches.

In Apple Pie Order

To borrow another cowboy phrase, for its asking price, it is ‘In Apple Pie Order’ or it is in top shape.

To be quite frank, dive watches in this price segment of around 500 dollars are aplenty. Is this the best bargain o the planet? Maybe. Maybe not. But it shouldn’t matter. You get an exceptional piece for its price, worth its value. And it looks pretty freaking good too in persons if I am being honest with you. 

James McCabe Baja

The bold dial design is the main feature I like in the James McCabe Baja GMT. 

That scratched, aged, etched dial is the star; and the fact that unlike last time when I reviewed a Dartmouth brands watch, there are no QC issues. Now for a watch around 500 dollars, that’s a big win in my opinion. Even entry-level Seikos come with QC issues now and then, so it’s comforting to hear the bezel action, see the bezel align properly , and noting that the date window is sans a glitch.

James McCabe Baja

Now I know for this price point what they are offering is a quartz watch without sapphire crystal and as much as I would give extra points for a sapphire crystal, this is one of the few rare times I reckon a hardened crystal works. Simply because the brand is going with a faux-aged aesthetic here, and given the bezel is designed to scratch up, any scratches on the crystal will only complement the dial and the design.

James McCabe Baja

Talking about it as a timepiece, I am pleased to note that legibility has not been sacrificed to accommodate this faux-vintage/cowboy aesthetic that satiates my timepiece aesthetic needs. The GMT hand is bright and red, contrasting well against the green dial. It’s almost got a X’mas aesthetic to it. 

The applied Arabic numerals are again legible and lumed. Small details always add to an appeal of a watch, and the alternating sizes of the applied indices is well noted too. 

Talking about details, the Baja GMT case and dial are nicely complemented by the ‘bead-blasted’ look 5-links jubilee style bracelet is comfortable and complements the same aged, ‘bead-blasted’ aesthetic case pretty well. 

James McCabe Baja

The Specifications 

The James McCabe Baja GMT measures in at 41mm diameter, 14mm thickness, and ~48mm lug-to-lug. The universally easy-to-swap-out-straps 20mm lug inter-horn spacing is again welcome. 

The 120-click unidirectional bezel features decent bezel action with min back lag and in terms of the movement, there is not much to write except it features a Swiss parts quartz 3 Hands with GMT and Date movement. 

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If I am not wrong it uses the Ronda calibre 515.24H that is a hacking 26mm diameter and 3mm thick movement featuring 1 nickel-plated jewel, offering about -10/+20 seconds per month accuracy and ~45 months battery life. This analog quartz movement also features GMT function with quick change and makes use of a standard N0. 371 battery with 1.5 V voltage. 

Some other watches making use of this movement are the Shinola Rambler GMT that retails for about 750 USD or the Rotary Henley GMT that retails for about 285 USD or the Phoibos Eagle ray GMT for about 200 bucks. Then there is the Farer Barnato GMT that in 2016b was retailing for £440 w/ VAT.

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It’s a very good looking watch compared to the competition, has no QC issues we can find, though the pillow it came on was scratched.

The point is that this Ronda movement is fairly common and the timepieces vary in costs across the board; rest assured, you get a decent movement for a decent price with the James McCabe Baja GMT. Of-course, aesthetics matter too, and in terms of looks I reckon the James McCabe option is one of the best looking timepieces with this movement out there.

James McCabe Baja

‘Bee In Your Bonnet’

To sum it up, owning a James McCabe Baja GMT is not such a bad idea. And right now you can even get one for free thanks to our giveaway in partnership with James McCabe watches. If you like the watch and would like to win it, please see the terms and conditions below.

For the price point, I would say it’s a decent work of art encased inside a sturdy 316L steel armour. Overall, that gravel-washed green dial is a beauty to look at, especially when you allow natural light to caress it’s randomly etched strokes.

James McCabe Baja

For more information on James McCabe watches, please head to their website here. For information on the Giveaway, please read below. All images unless other wise specified are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It and are of the exact same timepiece that we are giving away courtesy James McCabe watches. 

How to win the James McCabe Baja GMT

Submit your details below and like us and James McCabe on Instagram to go in the running to win this James McCabe Baja GMT watch. By submitting your details you are signing up to the Watch Ya Gonna Do About It newsletter as well as the James McCabe newsletter. See our Instagram post here for full terms to enter as well as ways to get extra entries.

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Bonus Giveaway Entries Questions

To get bonus entries to our giveaway answer the below questions via direct message to us on Instagram

Question 1: What fruit do we refer to in the review?

Question 2: How many western movies do we specifically reference to in the review? Hint: they are in quotation marks

Thank you everyone for participating and best of luck.

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