Lately I saw an add on Instagram, offering a “Pre-Sherpa” Chronograph. To my eyes it was clearly a “Garnix”, a so called Ref. 2303 or 072/003, cause of a missing name on the dial. A beautiful watch, but an entry Enicar chronograph and not comparable to a real Sherpa Graph. Since this wasn’t the first time I read the term “Pre-Sherpa” I would like to clear up with that misunderstanding.
Lets start chronological. Pre-Sherpa would assume, the watch came to light before the year of the Sherpa Graph introduction. That means we would see those 2303 references before 1960 and with all the typical features of a pre 1960 watch. Meaning dauphine or gladius hands with a radium dial and an old reference number (like 1308 BaNCH) . I havn’t seen any of these characteristics on a “Garnix”. In fact we see Tritium dials, paddle hands and a mid 60s reference number.
The “Garnix” also can’t be seen as a precedessor, cause it is clearly aiming at another target group. Whereas the Sherpa Graph has a highly waterproof compressor case in 40mm, the “Garnix” is just 36mm wide and features just a normal waterproof case. One is a tool watch, the other is more likely a dress watch.
So lets compare the two watches, so its is easier for you to see the differences. Thanks to @longdele for the pics of his former “Garnix”.
Next to the different case size (36mm to 40mm) the biggest difference are the lugs (see A). On a Sherpa Graph the lugs have the typical Enicar style you won’t find on any other brand. They are relativly long but make the watch nice to wear. In comparison the lugs on the Garnix are smaller, so the watch in general wears smaller. The next thing you will notice from the front is the missing name on the dial (see B). Sherpa Graphs chronographs allways have the name on the dial, Garnix never. This is also why it was called “Garnix” by collectors. Garnix is German and means “nothing”. This is also an easy spot to see if a Sherpa Graph has the correct dial. Offen you will find them with “Garnix” dials which look like new.
From the side you again will notice the big difference of the lug size. Also you can see that the “Garnix” is missing a compressor crown (see C). As I allready mentioned, the “Garnix” doesn’t have a compressor case. The waffle crown is like a trademark for compressor cases, so of course you will find them on a Sherpa Graph.
Lets have a look at the caseback. Besides the different opening marks (see D) they main difference is the missing seapearl, which was also a sign for the highly waterproof chronos of Enicar. Since the compared Sherpa Graphs is an early model its also missing the big seapearl in the middle, but at least has the text “Seapearl” on the caseback.
To sum up: The “Garnix” is a nice and unique watch, but is not the precedessor nor a comparable watch to a Sherpa Graph. It was the entry line of Enicar chronographs back in the mid 60s. The term “Pre-Sherpa” is just misleading and maybe the try of some dealers to sell the watch to a higher price than they are worth. Don’t be fooled!