Dive Watch Releases / Articles

2017-03-23

ROLEX Sea-Dweller Ref. 126600

It seems like it was only yesterday that Rolex released their brand-new Sea-Dweller 4000; in fact that was three years ago so what’s happened in meantime that warrants another new Sea-Dweller model?



To start with it was exactly 50 years ago in 1967 that Rolex first designed a dive watch to meet the demands of sea-dwelling folk – in particular their mates working for COMEX who were for the first time starting to spending pre-longed periods of time at depth which involved decompressing in Helium filled chambers.



The short version of the story is - Helium being the tiniest of molecules was starting to seep into the cases of the watches worn by COMEX’s SAT divers. The Helium built up inside the watch case, until upon returning to the surface it reached a critical level of pressure with the resulting force popping the watch crystal out the case.



This of course was not on, so in answer to the problem Rolex’s engineers invented the Helium Escape Valve, a feature that has become somewhat ubiquitous on a divers watch and to be honest unless you’re a SAT diver is an absolutely redundant and superfluous feature that we just happen to love all the same. However it is important to remember that Rolex invented it first and it does serve a purpose.




That was 50 years – today Rolex presents the brand-new Sea-Dweller Ref. 12660 which boasts 4 new features over the current Sea-Dweller 4000. First off is a new 43mm in diameter case which is the same size as the SD’s bigger brother the DEEPSEA.



Then there’s an all-important aesthetic feature – the Sea-Dweller in red, a nod to those famous watches worn by COMEX back in the day that can fetch silly money when going to auction.



The next feature isn’t going to be appreciated by everyone; the Ref. 12660 has a magnifying lens AKA Cyclops over the date-window. Personally, I love it as it kind plays on the Sea-Dwellers tool-watch character. However to the purist it might be considered a bit of an eyesore.



I don’t think anyone will be complaining about the fourth and final new feature of the Sea-Dweller Ref. 12660 which is fitted with the latest generation Rolex caliber 3235. With a total of 14 patents, it offers basic gains in terms of precision, power-reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields as well as reliability.



The new 3235 incorporates the new Chronergy escapement patented by Rolex, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, it is also insensitive to magnetic interference.



An optimized blue Parachrom hairspring is fitted to the oscillator, the true heart of the watch. Patented and manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy, it is up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.

A Rolex overcoil ensures its regularity in any position. The caliber 3235 is also equipped with a self-winding module via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its new barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of caliber 3235 extends to approximately 70 hours.

2017-03-22

KAVENTSMANN Hadal II Bronze 12000M

Named after the realm of the mythological Greek underworld, the Hadal or Hadopelagic Zone is composed of the ocean’s deepest trenches – you can’t ger any deeper!



The same could be said of this new 12000 meter uber-diver from Kaventsmann. The Hadal II Bronze 12000M was recently tested by the Fraunhofer research institute in Germany to 1200bar which makes it the world’s deepest bronze mechanical diver!



The Hadal II will be handmade in Kaventsmann’s workshop in Germany with a dial made by Immelmann and powered by a Swiss automatic movement. Price and availability TBA, so stay tuned for more info.

http://www.kaventsmann-uhren.de/

2017-03-21

SPINNAKER Dumas REVIEW

BACKGROUND UK based, Spinnaker are a sports watch brand focusing on affordable nautical inspired wristwatches. They have recently produced two new series of vintage inspired divers watches that have been named after historical scuba-diving pioneers.



The HASS after Hans Hass and more recently the DUMAS after Frederic Dumas an underwater archeologist, who collaborated with Jacques Cousteau on several of his diving expeditions during the 40s, 50s and 60s.



The Dumas (particularly) seems to have caught the attention of the collector’s market and with good reason as it is a very handsome looking dive watch but what else does offer besides its good looks?



DIAL The Dumas comes in two dial variants – blue or black. The black version has red highlights around its markers while the blue version has yellow. The combination of yellow and blue is always a hit. For an “affordable” wristwatch, the level of detail on the dial is really excellent.



We have a glossy blue background with applied lumed markers and a handset that includes a prominent yellow sword minutes hand, a wide hour hand and a lollipop-style sweeping seconds hand. At 12 o’clock is a large Spinnaker sail logo and underneath that the Spinnaker name in yellow script.



Using the logo as the 12hr marker is a pretty cool idea – we’ve seen this done before – sometimes it works other times, not so much. Actually I really don’t mind it – maybe because it’s a nautical symbol, perhaps also because it’s been lumed. To others, though, it might be a bit of an eyesore.



CASE Constructed from 316L Stainless steel, the octagonal case of the Dumas measures 44mm in diameter with a thickness of 16mm. The design of the case is unmistakably vintage – perhaps not too dissimilar to the legendary Seamaster 120 AKA the Baby Ploprof or at least in the same vein as such a watch. The case has a fine vertically brushed finish with polished and beveled edges.



CROWN At 3 o’clock on the side of the case is a large polished screw-down crown with a prominent fluted grip. The crown has as a small white badge with the Spinnaker sail logo in silver which is a lovely little detail in my opinion and kind of sums the attention to detail that has been given to the watch as a whole.



The crown is nestled in the middle of the Dumas' angular crown-guard, protruding just enough so that operation of winding and time-setting is a hassle free. The top of the crown-guard also has a polished finish. The crown itself is nice and sturdy.



BEZEL The Dumas is fitted with a 120 click type unidirectional rotational divers bezel with a blue inlay. I have no idea what the inlay is made from but I can tell you that it is fully lumed with a bright glowing Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova dive-time scale. The bezel has a nice precise action – just wish it had a tad more height to it.



CASE-BACK The Dumas has a 316L Stainless steel case-back with an exhibition window affording a view of the watch’s engine complete with its custom blue Spinnaker signed rotor. The case-back is domed with a flat center. There’s the usual engraved text running around its perimeter.



CRYSTAL The Dumas is fitted with a tough K1 hardened mineral crystal. I know for some this will be an automatic deal breaker and to be honest a Sapphire crystal shouldn’t have a huge difference on a watch's overall price anyway so I can’t really explain its absence. On the plus side, mineral crystal is actually more shatter resistant than Sapphire crystal – can’t say I know anyone who’s shattered a Sapphire crystal so perhaps a moot point.



WATER-RESISTANCE The Dumas has a respectable 300 meters of water-resistance an indicator that Spinnaker designed it to have proper scuba-diving capabilities – well as much as any divers watch has since the advent of the dive computer – in short if it had to accompany you on a dive it is more than up to the job as serving as a good-looking backup.



LUME The dial markers, hands and bezel of the Dumas have been applied with Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova which emits a green light. I would rate the lume as very good – excellent – it isn’t the very best I’ve seen but at its price-point it’s right up there. The dial markers have a large surface area and as such are highly visible – torch-like when fully charged, also the seconds indicator has been lumed, something that is all too often overlooked.



MOVEMENT The Spinnaker Dumas is powered by a Japanese made Miyota automatic mechanical movement with 21 jewels. The caliber housed inside the Dumas has a custom Spinnaker signed rotor. The seconds hand unfortunately is non-hacking so this rules out the 9015. Its functions include a hours, mins, sweep seconds and a date at 3 o'clock. 



BRACELET The Dumas is fitted with a fully adjustable Stainless steel Milanese mesh bracelet with a single steel keeper. Getting the clasp thread with the bracelet and positioned to the correct size for was a bit fiddly – I think I even scratched by head once or twice but once it was set up, it was perfect. The mesh is super comfortable on the wrist – I your hard notice the watch. It looks wonderful too.



BUILD I can’t fault the overall fit and finish of the Dumas – for a 400 dollar watch it boasts a whole host of fine details: beautiful polished beveled case edges, brightly glowing Swiss C3 SLN, and a stunning bracelet. Actually the clasp on the bracelet could be a little more solid but on the plus side – it keeps the watch reasonably light.



The K1 mineral glass is a bit of a let down but in the grand scheme of things – for the collector with a box full of watches this probably won’t get abused day in day out and so will likely remain mint K1 or no K1. Also the bezel inlay might also be a little less than scratch resistant but no more so than anodized aluminum.



PRICE The Spinnaker Dumas is priced at 400USD but with the generous 30% discount that is being offered to OceanicTime readers with the “OCEAN30” code this becomes a very enticing prospect at just 295USD – an absolute bargain in my opinion.



OVERALL I think the pictures of the Dumas speak for themselves – for starters check out this WRISTSHOT courtesy of OceanicTime resident photographer @timemonki. While it isn’t a high-end luxury diver, it does have the look of one.


©OceanicTime

The Dumas is an excellent example of a retro-diver, right down to the very last detail put together by a knowledgeable team that seem to care about what they do. Sure for 295 bucks, it does have the odd flaw or two but it more than makes up for them with its obvious charms.

Please use promo code ''OCEAN30'' when ordering to get 30% off for OceanicTime readers. 

http://www.spinnaker-watches.com/

2017-03-17

DEEP BLUE Watches DEPTH STAR 3000M

DEEP BLUE Watches has a brand-new 3000M professional divers watch! The new Depth Star 3000M is based on one of DB’s most celebrated models from 2011.

It has a 316L Stainless steel case measuring 45mm in diameter with a lug-lug measurement of 49mm. The case is fitted with: a screw-down case-back and crown, a 12-click lumed divers bezel and an AR-coated Sapphire crystal.



Special Divers features include: a manual Helium Escape Valve for SAT Diving, a triple O-ring crown and double O-ring case-back in Titanium and 3000 meters of water-resistance.

Not only is Titanium tougher but it is also way more comfortable against your wrist owning to its hypoallergenic properties.

Housed in its 3000M steel case is a Japanese made Miyota 9015 caliber automatic movement with; 24 Jewel, 28,800 VPH, 40hrs of power-reserve, date, bilingual weekday and hacking sweep seconds.



It comes on a 24mm 316L full divers bracelet with: a divers extension and push-button deployant with 3 micro adjustments.

The new Depth Star 3000M from Deep Blue Watches will be officially unveiled at Baselworld and will be available to order from next month priced 999USD.

http://www.deepbluewatches.com/

CHOPARD Happy Ocean DIVER

Here’s a new diver from Chopard that’ll make you feel happy – well as least it’ll put a smile on your face! It’s called the Happy Ocean Diver – a diver combined with Chopard’s Happy Diamonds.

It’s been a while since Chopard released a proper dive watch – remember the L.U.C. Pro One GMT Diver? I still wouldn’t mind having one of those in my collection.



The Happy Ocean has a beautifully high-polished Stainless steel case measuring a modest 40mmn diameter by 13.6mm thick. It has all the typical divers features –

a screw-down case-back (engraved with a wave motif) and crown, an anti-reflective treated Sapphire crystal, a unidirectional rotational diver bezel with 12hr SLN pip, and a water-resistance of 300 meters.



The diver’s bezel has two colors combinations available; raspberry and blue or turquoise and blue – they both look great. Pity, though that the inlay is a very dated anodized aluminum rather than Sapphire or ceramic.

Powering the Happy Ocean is an in-house Chopard in-house caliber 01.01-C with 31 jewels, a beat-rate of 28,800 vph and a power-reserve of 60 hours. Its Functions include: central display of the hours, minutes and sweep seconds, and date.



Its dial is in dark blue with Rhodium-plated hands and markers also with Swiss SuperLuminova. The minute hand is in turquoise or raspberry to match the bezel. Five diamonds free-float above the dial.

The Happy Ocean Diver comes on a 20mm blue NATO strap with Stainless steel buckle. It’s actually pretty nice despite being marketed as a ladies’ diver – wonder if there’ll be a men’s version?

https://www.chopard.com/

2017-03-15

RALF TECH WRV << S >> Hybrid Black PIRATE SHADOW [review]

BACKGROUND RALF TECH is first and foremost a dive watch specialist – their first ever model, the humble WR1 accompanied a scuba diver as he set a world record for depth; however since then RALF TECH has evolved into the luxury brand that we know, today.



Sponsors of motor racing, trans-globe and trans-ocean yacht racing, the supply of wrist watches to the French special forces and other elite units, and their own in-house manufacture collection have made RALF TECH one of if not the most exciting watch brands to come out of France.



In this review, we take an in-depth look at the WRV << S >> Hybrid Black Pirate Shadow which boasts two key RALF TECH features – the use of a hybrid movement and a brand favorite motif – the iconic crossed sabers and skull of a pirate’s flag.



PACKAGING I’ll keep this as brief as I can – the WRV << S >> Hybrid Black Pirate Shadow comes as all RALF TECH models do - in an OTAN approved high-quality plastic hard-case. It’s the only way to deliver a divers watch in my opinion and that’s probably why the first ever dive watch brand, Blancpain also use the exact same cases for delivering their Fifty Fathoms in.



DIAL This is minimalism done well – everything is as it should be on a watch face, the hands and hour markers, even a minute track but it’s all so subtle, so stealthy and ultimately so chic. Sure some readability is sacrificed in the name of style but this is the French way of doing things, non?

The contrast of the black hands and markers against the almost slate grey of the dial is quite fetching – then there’s that iconic Pirates logo and large rectangular lumed seconds indicator – this is a watch that is very much evocative of diving and the sea. What’s not to love!



CASE This is a WRV model and ''V'' stands for vintage - like the vintage-style cushion case that models bearing the WRV name are equipped with. The cushion case is a classic style that is well-known in the dive watch industry. It’s extremely popular with collectors because of its simple timeless shape.



The case of the RALF TECH WRV << S >> Hybrid Black Pirate Shadow is in 316L Stainless steel with a tough black PVD finish. It measures 43.8mm in diameter and is endowed with all the features one might expect on a professional divers model.



BEZEL A Stainless steel PVD unidirectional rotational divers bezel with a glossy black ceramic inlay, a contrasting silver dive-time scale and luminous pip at 12 o’clock. The bezel is a 120-click type. It is pretty damn tight, so there’s absolutely no play. On the other hand it lacks any luxurious thudding or smooth gliding action.



CROWN The crown of the WRV Black Pirate Shadow has been positioned at 4 o’clock on the case side – not only is it arguably more aesthetically pleasing placed there but it also greatly reduces any unwanted rubbing against the back of your wrist. The crown has been recessed into the side of the case too – any deeper and manipulation of the winding crown might have been compromised but it wasn’t so no complaints.



CRYSTAL The WRV Black Pirate Shadow is fitted with a 3.5mm thick cambered Sapphire crystal with anti-glare treatment on its outside. You can’t beat a nicely domed crystal with a cushion shaped case – the two go hand in hand.



CASE-BACK The WRV Black Pirate Shadow has a solid 316L Stainless steel case-back engraved with its limited edition number – it’s a pretty unremarkable to be honest and I was kinda wondering why there was no Pirate logo – an opportunity missed in my opinion. :(



WATER-RESISTANCE The WRV Black Pirate Shadow has a tested water-resistance of 300 meters. In addition to this the watch is fully ISO 6425 compliant.



LUME The WRV Black Pirate Shadow is not a watch for lume freaks. Yes, there is adequate lume on the hands – including the seconds indicator and bezel pip, and it’s Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova, but it really is just that – adequate. There is no lume on the indexes which is a pity because black SLN is better than nothing at all.



MOVEMENT The WRV Black Pirate Shadow is powered by a RALF TECH caliber H002 Hybrid quartz movement with an ultra-fast automatic oscillator and accumulative recharge giving a power-reserve of 150 days from fully charged.

We all know about the benefits of quartz watches - such as not having to reset the time after pulling one out of your watch box and their high level of accuracy but you can never escape the tick tick tick of the seconds hand which can actually be even worse on a hybrid movement as the tick is a little unstable particularly before the watch has a full charge.



Thankfully RALF TECH also offer the exact same watch with a Swiss automatic movement with a smooth gliding sweep seconds hand. On a side note – you remember those elite special forces that RALF TECH equip their members with – which version do you think they go for when they’re kicking down doors catching bad guys – it’s hybrid all day long, folks!



STRAP / BUCKLE The WRV <S> Hybrid Black Pirate Shadow comes with a buttery soft black silicone divers strap with a solid steel buckle in black PVD. I ordered mine with an additional grey strap to match its dial and did a little mix and match with the grey strap and black keepers which I think suits the watch very well. The watch is also supplied with a leather band.

The leather band is non tapering so the WRV actually has quite a rugged appearance despite being a vintage-style. Perhaps a tapered strap would have helped accentuate the cushion case a little better and have ultimately looked more elegant.



On the WRIST The first thing that struck me about the WRV Black Pirate Shadow was what a hefty piece of kit it was – actually I was expecting something a little less rugged from RALF TECH’s vintage collection. But it kind of puts into perspective how solid the watches of the WRX family are.



The way in which I have configured my WRV Black Pirate Shadow gives it a really striking presence on the wrist – it is every bit as comfortable sat there too which is owed in part to that super soft, supportive wide silicon divers strap that helps to balance out what is otherwise quite a heavy watch. WRISTSHOT courtesy of @Timemonki



FINAL THOUGHT The WRV Black Pirate Shadow is all about “the look” – it isn’t exactly fashion watch but it is certainly one of the most stylish looking dive watches I’ve encountered and as the French say, c’est tres chic. It looks really good and as such gets plenty of compliments.


©OceanicTime

However beneath that charming Pirate motif beats the heart of a hybrid work horse that will hold its charge for the best part of 6 months and housing it is a rugged ISO 6425 certified 300 meter divers watch case designed to cope with whatever you might throw at it. Whether it be swashbuckling, scuba diving or socializing – it’s a dive watch for pretty much all occasions. ;)