BARIGO Penta 55, a minimalistic meteorological wrist instrument

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Founded in Southwestern Germany in 1926, BARIGO made a reputation for themselves with their quality weather instruments and altimeters. BARIGO instruments have found their place in ships, sailboats, museums or wine cellars. Thirty years ago, the company also started making mechanical analogue altimeters for skydivers, climbers and hikers.

In the early 1990’s the company introduced its first line of digital altimeters, in which the No. 44 digital altimeter with compass and weather station received the prestigious 2004 Red Dot Award.

Hans Gabriel SchrollIn 2011, their outdoors watch PENTA received the OutDoor Industry Award. The person responsible for the looks of this timepieces was Munich-based designer Hans Gabriel Schroll, who signed previous works for BARIGO and watchmaking companies like Watch People, Wempe or XEN. Sadly, mister Schroll passed away in July 2011, just before his latest design for BARIGO received the OutDoor Industry Award.

The dial of the Penta 55 follows the BARIGO philosophy of legibility and ease of use. The Germans gave birth to DIN standards, which inspired ISO standards, so I guess it made sense to the BARIGO team to stick to SI units: the integrated thermometer shows temperatures in Celcius and the electronic altimeter shows the altitude up to 9000 metres. For the first 1000 metres above sea level the device shows tens of meters. Measurement above 1000 metres are shown in kilometres. Besides a compensated electronic compass, the watch also features a weather forecast using 3 different symbols (sunny, cloudy or precipitations) and an alarm.

Brands like Casio, Suunto, Tissot and Timex have been making instruments watches for years, if not decades, and these watches usually require to switch the digital display from one information to another. BARIGO really nails it by simultaneously showing all the readings on analogue subdials.

While it remains very clean and uncluttered, I can’t help thinking that the dial could use a slightly heavier layout. As an example, the BR01 Phantom created by Bruno Belamich for Bell & Ross is also uncluttered but somehow comes stronger.

Anyways, the watch stays true to the other Bauhaus-styled instruments built by BARIGO. In terms of size, it comes at 45 mm wide with a thickness of 16 mm. The crystal would allegedly be mineral, and the straps seems to be oiled leather. I can certainly see some nylon variant being fitted.

The watch can be purchased on several German online stores like for EUR 550.

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