When people talk of dive watches they often use the phrase…… ‘a tool watch’. It’s used to signify that the watch is tough, well constructed, designed to take knocks and shrug off dings and scrapes and just keep going. It’s not a pretty boy, down at the wine bar, desk diver kind of watch. Oh no, it’s a watch that hangs out with the rough crowd of hairy arsed commercial divers who frequent that pub down in the bad side of town. Yea, you know the one. The one you always meant to go in but just didn’t think your resort diving certificate would cut it with those guys. Well if you ever do go there for a beer, leave the shiny vintage Breitling Superocean at home and wear an Aquadive instead…Hey, wait a minute, I’ve got a shiny vintage Breitling Superocean.. What!!!!!!!
The Aquadive Bathyscaphe has been around for a number of years now. It is available in steel and bronze cases and a GMT version as well. It has followed the ‘standard’ dive watch format with black dial and black bezel up until now. I could just blurt out what the new hotness is but in the best traditions of a tease, let’s go for the slow reveal.
I received a prototype watch from Aquadive and when I opened the package I was actually surprised to find it contained a presentation box. I thought they would just wrap it in some bubble wrap and put it in a wee box and send it off. Nope. It came fancy.
And inside that box was another nicer box.
And inside that box was the watch. Hey, whoa, wait a minute, I thought you said standard, black dial, black bezel. That doesn’t look standard. What are those hairy arsed commercial divers going to say?
I think they are going to say….”Holy mackerel, that looks good, let me see that!”
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce the prototype blue dial, blue bezel, Aquadive Bathyscaphe 100. Now before I go any further, I want to say that all the photos were shot outside on a bright sunny day. I stayed in the shadows so as to get clear images of the dial and in an effort to show the true colors of the watch as you would see it in normal daily use. Most reviews use ‘studio lighting’ with a light tent and the images of the watch look beautiful and everything is perfect. I shot these all handheld and outside. No polishing, brushing, shining, photoshopping etc. Hey, I want to be able to walk into that pub too and not have the hairy arsed divers hand me a Pina Colada with a little pink umbrella in it and tell me to feck off!!! So what you see here is what you get, real world.
The watch came with a dark blue Isofrane strap. When it is released the likelihood is it will come with a matching color strap. I have to say though the dark blue one looks pretty good with it. The lug width is 22mm so a multitude of flat end straps and bracelets will work with it. I’m a huge fan of the Seiko Orange Monster bracelet. It has to be one of the best constructed, comfortable bracelets around, especially for the price. Unfortunately it is only 20mm lug width and the shoulders are just over 22mm so they interfere with the case sides. However, judicious use of a Dremel and a couple of little clear plastic spacers and.. voila.. it fits.
All you eagle eyed chaps looking at the photo above will notice the little button in the middle of the lug. The hairy arsed commercial divers will immediately know it is a Helium Release Valve. Someone just bought you a beer and your street cred went up 5 points. See that bloke with one of his fingers missing? He just nodded his approval.
The Bathyscaphe 100 is a substantial lump of steel. We are talking 48mm wide, including the crown. 49mm long and a height of 15mm. The dial is 30mm wide and the watch head on its own weighs 162 grams. The 60 click bezel has to be one of the most easily gripped and turnable ones I’ve ever used. The crown is also large and easy to grip and turn. That hairy arsed diver with the missing finger, he’d probably use his teeth anyway, but even with one of those missing too, he’d have no problem setting the time on the Aquadive.
And then there is that caseback. Flat as a pancake. I love it. Did I tell you I had a thing for flat casebacks? Well, yes I do. For me the flatter the caseback the better the watch wears. More surface area to grab my skinny wrist.
And talking of skinny wrists….. You don’t call me Popeye for nothing…. Well, actually you don’t call me Popeye at all, especially not with these arms. But given my skinny wrists and the relatively large case, it wears really, really well and the blue dial and bezel are an absolute standout.
When I first got the watch I made a comment that it would be nice to see a glossy dial version. The dial on this prototype uses matte paint. The ceramic bezel is the same color but is glossy. I prefer glossy dials, especially black as it makes the black deeper. I find matte black dials can look gray and that puts me off. However, now I’ve had the blue Aquadive for a while, I think the matte blue works well especially outside in natural light. I don’t know if Aquadive have tried or will try a glossy blue dial but it would be interesting to compare the two if they do.
The one thing I really did notice most about the Aquadive is how easy it is to read the time under just about any lighting conditions. The stainless steel hands are perfect at any angle. Definitely this is one of the most readable watches I have ever worn. Pretty darn easy to read at night too.
The hairy arsed commercial divers probably won’t want to know that the Aquadive is made in Germany and has a Swiss ETA 2836-2 automatic movement. For them it’s down to automatic or battery. A real watch is automatic. A battery watch isn’t a watch at all, it’s just a small computer that just happens to tell the time.
What they will want to know is that the ceramic bezel is harder than a hard thing and wont scratch easily. Same goes for the Sapphire crystal. Also the case is made of a harder grade of stainless steel than used in most other dive watches so it will be less prone to scratching. All in all the Aquadive really is a tool watch. Try knocking in a nail with a G-Shock and see where you get. You could definitely use the Aquadive to knock in a nail or you could put it in a sock and mug someone with it. Hey, late Saturday night, funds are getting low, you need another beer and your dive buddy ain’t buying… I’m just sayin……
As I mentioned earlier all the previous photos were shot out in the open. Yes they give a true indication of the color you would see while wearing the watch outside. What they don’t do is show just how beautiful a blue the dial and bezel really is. So for these 2 images I used my hand to shade the watch and as you can see the blue really pops.
I think it is safe to say that Aquadive really have taken what was a classic tool watch and enhanced it. So maybe when you do venture into that bar on the bad side of town where the hairy arsed commercial divers hang out, you should wear the shiny vintage Breitling Superocean. Because if you wear the Blue Aquadive when you go in, you may not be wearing it when you come out.
For more information on the new Blue Aquadive check out this link
The watch is available at a pre-order price of $1990.00 and Watchwabi members receive an additional $200.00 discount until the end of May with this code “WWABIZS0YHQUVKELCA”
It is only only available on the shop site link above, not the main Aquadive site.
© Dr. Peter McClean Millar