Watch Review: Helm Vanuatu

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Company: Helm Watches

Website: http://www.helmwatches.com

About the company:

HELM Watches, and the company behind the brand―The Helm Group Limited―are American owned and operated, with roots in North Carolina. Conceived in the summer of 2014, HELM Watches was founded in September of the same year and our first watch, the Vanuatu 300m Automatic, was introduced in October, 2015.

Our mission is simple: To produce durable, affordable, dependable timepieces inspired by adventure and exploration, and designed to survive a lifetime of both.

The same spirit of adventure and exploration that inspires our brand and our watches (the kind of spirit, incidentally, that sometimes gets the better of common sense) is what inspired us to move half way around the world in the first place to launch a new company and a new brand among a sea of other brands. Undoubtedly, it will be one of our greatest adventures in this life. We would be honored if our watches can become a part of yours.

To ensure every watch is up to the task, we committed to quality from day one. And that’s a commitment that involves more than just words and good intentions. Regardless of the product in question or the country of origin, if multiple parts and multiple suppliers are involved, consistent quality is tough to maintain―especially from the far side of an ocean. So we packed up and switched sides, relocating to Hong Kong and southern China to keep a close eye on our suppliers and monitor every step of the production process.

So our commitment remains. Because it’s the only way we’ll fulfill our mission―to produce watches you’ll want to wear for life, and make them tough enough that you can. An unrealistic goal in today’s throwaway society? Perhaps. But we’d rather aim high and miss the mark than aim low and hit it. And we love a challenge. It’s kind of what we live for. So HELM Watches was born. And behind the brand is the challenge we set for ourselves, which inspires us, inspires our products and we hope will inspire anyone who straps on a HELM watch: It’s time to stop dreaming and start doing. It’s time to chart a course, grab what you need and get moving. It’s time for life.

Named for the South Pacific island nation famous for its coral reefs and a WWII shipwreck, the HELM Vanuatu epitomizes rugged functionality. Featuring a 316L stainless steel case and bracelet, automatic movement, screw-down caseback and crown, sapphire crystal, unidirectional bezel and 300 meter depth rating, the ISO 6425 compliant Vanuatu will go as long and as far as you do―above or below the waves. Also included with the watch is a durable NS1 Nylon Strap, a perfect option if you’ll be in the water or just want a lighter weight alternative to the stainless bracelet.

 

The Packaging:

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The packaging on the Vanuatu is stealthy, simple and effective. The outter cardboard sleeve is black with the Helm H bullseye logo. Pulling the outter sleeve off unveils the inner box which is harder, more dense cardboard box. The lid is signed with Helm and the logo. Inside the box contains the watch attached to a watch pillow, bracelet, nylon strap, polishing cloth, water condensation testing card, warranty card and instructions manual. The cards are in a nice envelope with the H bullseye logo which is attached to the inside lid by Velcro. It’s a nice tight little package. Not overdone.

 

The Case:

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From Helm “This same commitment to quality was behind the decision to test our dive watches in accordance with the ISO 6425 standard, which requires submerging every complete watch for 2 hours at a pressure equal to 125% of the watch’s water resistance rating. It’s a time consuming process that most brands don’t bother with. But our feeling is, if a dive watch doesn’t keep water out, it’s not much use, and we think we should be the ones to discover that―not you. It’s certainly not the easiest way. But then, most things done well usually aren’t done the easy way.”

Water resistant to: 300 m / 30 atm / 990 ft
Tested in accordance with ISO 6425:1996

WEIGHT:
With Stainless Bracelet (full length): 225 grams
With NS1 Nylon Strap: 120 grams

The 45mm(with crown, 42mm without) X 14mm H, 50mm lug to lug case is constructed from traditional 316L stainless steel and is brushed throughout the entirety of the case. Brushed SS is the perfect choice for dive/tool watches because these style watches are meant to be used and abused, not babied. High polished cases not so much.

The Bezel is 316L Stainless Steel and is 43 mm in diameter. It has a stainless steel insert with black PVD coating. The bezel markings are white oil with luminescent coating and are spaced in 5 minute marks. The bezel rotates 120-clicks, in an unidirectional rotation. At first I did not like how the bezel felt on this watch as it rotated. It was grinding and skippy, not a bit of fun rotating as bezels are to spin. I was pleasantly surprised after a month on the wrist, it became smooth and consistent and the clicks sounded perfect.

That’s why I spend much more time with a watch, you can’t possibly get an accurate feel and experience from a watch after spending only a few hours with it. I don’t care how much experience a person has under their belt with watches, it still doesn’t give a fair understanding/experience when you don’t spend adequate time with a watch.

The bezel is easy to grip and operate. The bezel also sits tight against the case with no extra play when pressure is applied down on the bezel. I get irritated when a bezel has play in it regardless, but more so when it doesn’t sit tight around the case, or one side of it has some space between the case/bezel and the rest of the bezel is tight on the case.

The 8mm screw down crown is very easy to grip and operate and it well protected by the integrated crown guards. It’s signed with the Helm bullseye H logo, it’s a really nice focal point and immediately caught my attention. The first pull of the unscrewed crown sets the date and the second pull of the crown allows you to set the time. The immediate unscrewed crown with no pulling allows you to manually wind the watch. The non crown side of the case is void of anything such as He release valve,etc..

The lugs are curved nicely and have a unique angle cut to the ends. I actually like the flat cut ends instead of the traditional tapered cut. The lugs has holes for the strap pins which does make changing straps/bracelets easier, but I think this takes away from the smooth lines of a watch. I prefer solid lugs without holes, but this just comes down to personal preference.

The screw down caseback features a large engraved Helm bullseye H logo, it’s very well down. The caseback also features the Helm name, model name, serial number, and Diver’s 300m.

The crystal on the Vanuatu is flat Sapphire with internal Anti-Reflective coating which allows viewing the dial very easily.

 

 

 

The Dial:

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Dial: Matte Black with Luminescent Hour Markers (off-white body color with blue afterglow)
Hands: Luminescent Hour, Minute & Second Hands (off-white body color with blue afterglow)
Date Window: 6 o’clock

The dial on the Vanuatu brings together elements from some of my favorite dive watches of all time. So I am immediately biased when laying eyes upon this dial. Matte black is a perfect choice for diver/tool watches. I do not typically like glossy dials, it creates glare and also looks too blingy my personal tastes. I like that Helm used a dark grey to print the logo and the text on the dial, it’s a welcome change to the usual white printed text on a matte black dial. Don’t get me wrong I do like the white and black combo on watches, but I also like this variation. The Helm bullseye H logo is directly below the 12 o’clock hour marker. The logo is a pretty kick ass logo at that. Just above the date window at the 6 o’clock hour marker is printed Diver’s 300m Automatic, all printed in that cool stealthy grey. The date wheel is black with white printed numbers, a nice choice adding to the stealthy cool style of this dial.

One thing that I am becoming a huge fan of lately is squared hands on watches. It just adds a cool, rugged look to the dial, making it a true tool looking watch. Both the hour and minute hands are white and in the dark they have a blue glow to them thanks to the lume coating. The long seconds hand is orange with a black trimmed circle towards the tip that encircles a white lume circle. I think it’s crucial that on a dive/tool watch that the seconds hand has some sort of lume on it. The square white hour markers are also coated with lume and have that same cool blue glow that the hour hands have. At 12 o’clock the marker is square that comes down to a point, and at 3 & 6 the hour markers are rectangles. The seconds/minute markers are uniform lines that almost have an off white almost light grey appearance. In addition to the white square hour markers and little orange circles that lay above each square.

I really like the orange accents on the dial and they nicely match  the orange on the nylon strap. The dial is definitley a hit on the Vanuatu. It’s not over complicated or overcrowded and telling the time on the Vanuatu is easy in any lighting and pretty much every angle.

 

The Bracelet and Strap:

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Stainless Steel Bracelet and Folding Clasp with Brushed Finish (22 mm Bracelet Tapers to 20 mm at Clasp)
NS1 Nylon Strap with Stainless Steel Buckle and Keeper Rings

The nylon NATO style strap comes in 4 different color choices that you can chose from. I like usin the nylon strap to dress down the watch from the stainless steel bracelet. The stainless steel bracelet is perfect for my work setting since I have to constantly wash my hands. It’s a sturdy and heavy bracelet that can certainly put up with some abuse. The bracelet has a signed HELM folding clasp that is very easy to operate both opening and closing. The clasp does feature a micro adjustment of 6 hole slots to perfect the fit if your wrist size is an inbetween size after removing links when sizing it. Removing links is done by using a small flathead screw driver, the screws are not hard to unscrew so you don’t have to worry about scratching the bracelet. If you are worried though, place a piece of tape over the bracelet and poke a small hole over the screw in the tape, then proceed to unscrew. This will protect the bracelet in case the screwdriver slips off the screw. The end links of the bracelet fit tight up against the watch case with no gaps.

The one complaint I have about the bracelet, which I have with all bracelets that links are held inplace by screw pins is that they come unscrewed very easily during regular wear. Locktight can be used to correct this if one so desires. This problem isn’t anything that Helm did wrong, it happens with all bracelets that I have experienced with this style of screw pins.

It is nice to have the two options that come with the Vanuatu, I found myself switching back and forth quite a bit. It’s always nice to have options and especially when they are included with the package.

Wrist Shots on 7 1/2″ wrist:

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The Movement:

The movement inside the Vanuatu is a Seiko Instruments NH35 Automatic. It is a hacking movement and has manual winding functions. This particular movement has an accuracy rate of-25 ~ +35 seconds/day. When I timed the model I had for review, it was well within that accuracy. It was much more accurate accuracy than what is average for the NH35.

This movement beats 21,600 times per hour and has 24 Jewels. The Vanuatu has a power reserve of 40 Hours when fully wound. For the price of the Vanuatu I couldn’t be more satisfied with the movement inside. It’s comparable to an untouched/unadjusted standard 2824 ETA movement.

 

Conclusion:

There are a lot of really nice details on the Vanuatu that makes this watch a real value for your money. You get a nice brushed stainless steel bracelet and a nylon NATO style strap. The watch has a solid stainless steel case, with a automatic movement ticking inside ticking away all for $300 plus $30 shipping world wide. The watch is extremely comfortable on the wrist on both the nylon strap and on the bracelet. So comfortable in fact that I wore this watch to bed every night during my review process. The only time that it was off my wrist was to change between the strap and the bracelet. I wore this watch during various activities, at the gym, hiking, running, swimming, climbing, and more, the Vanuatu never faltered.

I am excited to see what comes out next from Helm. I want to personally thank Matt from watches. I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this watch. It’s a great watch at an even greater value.

I would 100% recommend this watch to anyone looking for an affordable diver that is well designed and constructed.

Thanks for reading!

 

Additional pics:

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Watch Review: Waypoint Watches Adventurer

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Company: Waypoint Watches

Website: waypointwatches.com

About:

When I first decided to start Waypoint Watch Co. the most common question I got from family and friends was ”Why a watch company?” To me, Waypoint Watch Co. is not just another watch company it’s my avenue for making a positive change in people. Right now you’re probably wondering how a watch can positively change someone, but it’s not the watch itself it’s what the watch represents. My vision is to make every Waypoint Watch a symbol of positivity, a wearable reminder for you to take the time to enjoy whatever it is you enjoy most in life.

I want your Waypoint watch to be able to change the way you think. A “waypoint” is defined as a stopping place along a journey. The journey is your life, and your Waypoints are the times you stop to enjoy it. When you look at your Waypoint watch let it remind you to stop and enjoy your life. If your watch can remind you to do something as small as just think of something that makes you smile, or something as large as take a spur of the moment road trip then it’s doing its job.

You’re not buying just a good looking quality watch, you’re buying a state of mind, a new way of thinking, and a better life. You’re buying a conversation starter with other Waypoint watch owners because you know that they also subscribe to this way of thinking and a positive lifestyle. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine but if your Waypoint Watch can remind you of your quest to live the best life possible, then it’s does much more than tell you what time it is. How you live your life is your choice, make it a good one and let your new Waypoint watch remind you to stop every once in a while to enjoy the ride.

— Mike Bonanni, Founder & CEO

Model: Adventurer

Specs:

Case Size: 47mm
High quality stainless steel construction
Scratch resistant mineral crystal
Japan made 3-Hand Quartz movement
Large stainless steel dust cover protects crown from dust, debris, and water
Time/Date Function
50 Meter Water Resistance
Limited Lifetime Warranty

The Packaging:

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The Adventurer comes in a nice small black box that has a plain black cardboard outter sleeve. The inner box has the Waypoint name and logo printed in silver. The inside of the box lid also features the same style name and logo in silver. The watch is secured and strapped to a black watch pillow. Included is a certificate of authenticity signed by Waypoint watches founder/CEO Michael Bonanni and also included is the user manual. The box is the perfect size and it surely gets the job done.

The Case:

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The 47mm stainless steel case is large and has quite the rugged feel to it. The majority of the case has a brushed finish to it, my personal preference when it comes to case finishes. It makes sense to have a brushed finish on tool and dive style watches since they are meant to go on “adventures”. High polished finishes on dress watches makes sense to me. The only polished section of the case is the caseback which is simple in design in terms of engraving which features the Waypoint name, logo and model name ‘Adventurer’. The major focal point of the Adventurers case is the massive and awesome crown cover. I am a huge fan of unique crowns on watches and the crown on the Adventurer does not disappoint me. The crown cover screws down covering the crown and adds a bit of protection to the actual crown itself against dust, debris and more importantly water. The crown cover is connected to the case itself by a hinge style system. It’s connected by 4 screws two of which attach to a pin protruding from the case itself and the other 2 screws hold the crown cover. The crown cover screws flawlessly and is extremely easy to operate. The crown is a push/pull style crown, though it’s small, it is still easy to grip and operate. The first pull position allows you to set the date and the second pull position allows you to set the time.

The bezel on the adventurer is a plain brushed stainless steel bezel which is fixed. The brushed curved lugs have a good curved angle which allows the Adventurer to sit nicely on the wrist. The lugs are solid and has holes only on the inside to hold the spring bars of the strap. The Adventurer is 47mm but wears comfortable and doesn’t wear larger than its actual size. I really like the case on the Adventurer and the only design suggestion I have is that the crown cover should be signed with the Waypoint logo. A simple fix and a simple detail that would add so much to the overall look of the case.

 

The Dial:

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The large matte black dial is simple yet absolutely beautiful with the contrast of the large white print of the numerals, markers, and text. I love stenciled military style numbers on watches and the Adventurer dial is one of my favorite parts of the watch. The white numbers are evenly applied to the dial with percision. The  dial features the numbers 12, 3, 6, and 9 and by each of those four numbers are small circles. The other hour markers are white rectangles, and inbetween the hour markers are white hash lines for the minutes/seconds.

There are a few details of the Adventurers dial that are refreshing and details I really like. The first detail that I like is the location of the Waypoint name which is located next to the 9 o’clock hour marker. The other detail that I like is the location of the Waypoint logo which is located next to the date window at the 3 o’clock position. Most watch names and logos are usually located at the 12 and 3 positions on the dial. A welcome change from the usual. The Waypoint name is printed in white and the logo is printed in red. The red logo matches nicely with the red square tip of the seconds hand. I like the square shape of the seconds hand which is a detail that adds personality to the dial. The hour hand is an arrow pointed shape and the minute hand is long straight white tipped hand. Both the hour and minute hand have cut outs which allows you to see through them and allows the black of the dial to come through. The arrow tipped hour hand is really sharp and extremely pleasing to look at. Hands on a watch can make or break a deal for me when selecting a watch, the hands on the Adventurer definitely get my approval.

The date window at 3 is over towards the center of the watch enough to allow the inclusion of the number 3 which helps balance the dial. The date wheel is white and has has black printed numbers. My only disappointment about the dial is that it has no lume whatsoever. With these large white numbers it would have been really nice to see a lume coating on them. The hands don’t have any lume either so no middle of the night darkness time telling. I believe that lume is a customary feature on tool and dive style watches. It’s just something that makes sense to me to have.

The Strap:

 

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The strap is made of very soft and pliable silicone rubber which is smooth on the top side and has small squares on the inside which grasps the wrist and reduces the spinning of the watch head, but doesn’t pull the skin or arm hair. The tang style stainless steel buckle is signed with the Waypoint name. There are two keepers on the strap, which help hold the excess strap. The strap on the Adventurer is quite long which I like because if you wanted to wear it on the outside of your jacket it will allow you to do so. I have 7 1/2″ wrists and I can easily do this. The strap is held in place by standard spring bars.

There are different strap/bracelet options on the Waypoint website, each option changes the price though from $249 to $280. The NATO strap is my personal favorite of the choices.

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The Movement:

The movement inside the Adventurer is a Japanese 3 hand Quartz movement. It’s not specified who the maker of the movement is. I timed the watch over a month period on the wrist and it’s averaged approximately +25 seconds per day. The second hand ticks around the dial as one would expect from a typical Quartz movement.

Wrist shots:

7 1/2″ wrists for reference

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Conclusion:

The Adventurer is great value tool watch that is great from wearing on the weekend for our door activities which you won’t have to worry about “beating up”. It can be that do yardwork then go hiking watch. A watch that you don’t have to be afraid to wear.  At $249 you get a nice solid case and dial with a cool and unique crown cover.

There are different strap/bracelet choices that increases the price of the Adventurer. There’s a NATO strap, carbon fiber, and a stainless steel bracelet. There is also different dial options as well. I really enjoyed reviewing the Adventurer and had a blast photographing it. I would recommend the Adventurer to someone who is looking for a unique toolwatch that doesn’t want to break the bank and perhaps looking for a starter watch.

There are two things that I would change in terms of design and those two things would be adding lume to the hands and hour markers & second add a signed crown cover.

A special thanks to Michael & Waypoint Watches for allowing me the honor to do this review!

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Watch Review: DM 1936 U-3002 GMT

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Company: Deutsche Master

Website: http://www.dm1936.com

About Deutsche Master:
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
D.M. started its journey in the middle of 2013 as a mechanical watch brand that draws inspiration from military time instruments don by aviators, commando frogmen, infantry etc since the early 1930s. With the support of D.M owners and the watch community, D.M. has grown from strength to strength and is expanding its reach to regional countries and beyond.

The significance of military timepieces and its utilitarian intentions during the early years is extremely crucial to us today as they played a pivotal role in the evolution of horology where pocket watches slowly evolved into what we know today as a wrist watch. Due to the necessity in combat and time synchronization, pocket watches in the early 1930s were forced to innovate to ease the hassle of time reading. For instance, wired lugs were added to the top and bottom ends of a pocket watch so that a make-shift strap can be slotted through both lugs in order to be strapped around the wrist.
wing
These small but notable make-shift innovations are what makes a wrist watch that we know today. With the support of D.M. owners and the watch community, D.M. has grown from strength to strength and is expanding its reach to regional countries and beyond.

Watch Model: U3002-1 GMT

The Packaging:

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The U-3002 comes in a very military inspired metal amo case with a camo travel pouch inside containing  the watch itself. The packaging fits the overall military theme of what DM 1936 is all about, military themed/inspired  watches. The all metal box is military green and features white military stenciled printed text. The lid is signed with Deutsche Master 1936, the front is signed with Military Timepieces and the back is signed Kreigsmarine. The lid closes by 2 clasps that click down in each corner. The watch is inside the box which has a camo travel pouch. The camo pouch closes with a draw string. The pouch has a carbiner attached to it as well. The box is the perfect size not too big, and is actually perfect for keeping out on display. It’s gets my approval!

The Case:

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The 48mm case is sand blasted 316L stainless steel and has a water resistance of 10 ATM. The first thing I noticed about the case is what’s attached to the non crown side of the case. At first glance I thought it was a hinge to the case, thinking it opened like an old pocket watch. Further inspection revealed that it’s a mini tool that unscrew and is removable. You can use it to remove the strap and unscrew the screw that holds the buckle pin inplace. It’s quite handy actually for quick strap changes when you are on the go, perhaps on vacation or a business trip and want to change straps quickly. It is a really unique feature that I have never seen before. The tool has threads on it and it screws/unscrews into the holder which is attached to the case itself by two flat head screws. When you screw the tool back into its holder it’s a little bit hard to grip and screw in tight. I already lost the tool from the watch because apparently I did not screw it in tight enough. A easy fix would be to add some nice knurled edges to the mini tool which would allow it to be easier to grip and turn. The crown then could have matching knurling which would be really nice.

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The signed DM crown is a combination of rubber and stainless steel. I’m not sure that I understand why there is rubber on the crown. It raises question in my mind because A.) it doesn’t fit the theme of the watch and B.) it’s a little too modern considering that the watch collection is vintage military. A simple knurl edged and signed stainless steel crown would have been more fitting. It’s not a major thing, just my suggestion. The bezel is matte black with a faux pearl at the 12 o’clock position and the pearl is coated in lume which is quite useful when using this watch for timing purposes,whether for traveling or diving. At the 3 and 9 o’clock positions are a single dash/line and at the 6 o’clock position is a double dash. The other hour markers are small circles. All the bezel markers are stainless steel. I used this bezel quite a bit for keeping track of times for work purposes. It received a lot of use actually for work. It’s a unidirectional 90 click rotating bezel that is easy to grip and operate. There is a little bit of extra play in the bezel and it doesn’t quite sit tight against the case. I am a stickler for bezel and crown operation, fit and design. These are the two things I immediately critique on a watch when deciding on a potential purchase. The screw down crown is easy to grip and unscrew. The first open position allows you to manually wind up the watch. The second pulled position allows you to set the GMT hand and date wheel. Turning the crown clockwise allows you to set the date and rotating the crown counterclockwise sets the GMT hand. The third pulled position allows you to set the time. The 48mm case is large but doesn’t wear larger because the lugs are very short & curved. I really like the squarish shape to the case it adds a vintage dive watch feel to the U-3002. I also like the sand blasted finish on the case. It makes it more toolwatch vs dress/blingy if the case was a high polish finish. I never quite understood why companies give their dive/toolwatches a high polish finish which shows scratches easily. A true toolwatch is meant to be put in action in the outdoors or water. The caseback is an exhibition style which allows you to view the movement inside. The caseback features some engraved text U-3002/BK, S/N 05/50, 316L, 10 ATM, Deutsche Master 1936. The crystal on the U-3002 is domed mineral crystal. I am a HUGE fan of domed crystals on watches. There is something that is so cool about them. In regards to the crystal being mineral, I have heard arguments both ways on which is more scratch resistant sapphire or mineral. I have owned both and never scratched either.

The Dial:

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The large matte black dial is very legible and is my favorite part of the DM 1936. The dial contains 3 main hour marker numerals 12, 6 and 9. The remaining hour markers are elongated triangles. All the hour markers are an off white almost cream color which makes them look like a vintage watch which markers have developed natural patina. The minute hash marks are white. A detail abou the U-3002 that I do enjoy. The inner chapter ring features military/GMT time markers 2-24 which are white in color. The dial features a small amount of text, under the 12 o’clock marker is the name Deutsche Master printed in white. Above the 6 o’clock marker is U-3002 in white, GMT printed in red and Automatic printed in white. The hands of the U-3002 are really well done with nice variations. All the hands contain lume which allows you to tell the time in darkened situations. Each hand is a different shape and color. The seconds hand is long arrow shaped with a lume tip. The hour hand is short and silver edged with lumed center. The minute hand is quite large and edged with blue with a lumed center. The GMT hand is red and has a lumed center. The variations in the hands allows you to easily differentiate between them and what they are for. I absolutely love the hands on the U-3002. Telling time on the U-3002 is extremely easy.

The Strap:

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The strap on the U-3002 is dark brown and made of leather featuring white stitching. The strap has both a nice vintage feel and a nice custom feel to it as well. It’s very soft to the touch. The strap edges is coated with rubber which makes it water resistant and even both the keepers are line with rubber. The inside of the shorter strap is stamped Deutsche Master and the longer strap is stamped Genuine Leather. The larger sand blasted buckle is engraved with Deutsche Master. The notches on the strap are clean cut sqaures which are equally spaced apart. Overall the strap on the U-3002 is very well done and is my second favorite part of the watch. The strap is about 4mm thick and is quite comfortable on the wrist. It takes a bit of wearing for it to loosen up in terms of stiffness. I really like how nice the stiching is done and I like how the buckle matches the sand blasted case and I like the dark brown color of the strap. It’s a great strap for “factory” strap, like I said before it borders on more of a custom leather strap in terms of quality vs. that of a standard watch strap.

The Movement:

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The movement is an unspecified Self-Winding Calibre: 26 Jewels, 36 hours power reserve, 21,600bph, decorated & polished. One thing about the movement that lost points with me is the movement holder itself. It’s made of plastic which over time plastic can become quite brittle and it can start to break apart. I’m personally not of fan of any plastic parts on a watch. I timed the U-3002 over a month period and it runs about +25 seconds per day. The self winding rotar on the movement is singed DM 1936. Two of the screws in the movement are blued and there is a large red gear. I like the added bits of color in the movement which adds some detail in the sea of stainless steel.

Lume and Wrist Shots:

71/2″ wrists

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Conclusion:

I really like the U-3002 it is a visually pleasing watch with a great military theme. There are several details on this watch that I think are hits, the case, the dial, the hands, the strap, the unique strap tool attached to the case and the metal amo box. The misses that are on the U-3002 are the rubber on the crown, the bezel play and sides of the bezel and the plastic movement holder. You do get quite a lot of watch for the $565 delivered USD. I would recommend this watch to someone looking for an affordable tool/dive watch with a nice military theme. I really like all the watches in the DM 1936 collection. There are some really cool vintage military watches that I would love to try within the collection. I would definitely put the U 3002 into my daily wearer category, that’s how much I enjoyed wearing this watch. This watch has held up nicely against some of my tests outdoors and in different extreme temperatures. The case is built solid out of a huge chunk of 316L stainless steel. There are so many things that I absolutely love about the U-3002. A few minor changes that I suggested would make this a darn near perfect tool watch.

A very special thanks to Alvin and Freddy for allowing me the honor to review this watch. It’s always a pleasure to deal with both of you. Both of you are excellent additions to the watch community.

Thank you so much for reading.

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Watch Review: Dietrich OT-1 Organic Time Watch

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COMPANY: DIETRICH

WEBSITE: www.dietrich.luxury

MODEL: OT-1

SPECIFICATIONS:

Modified automatic mechanical movement Miyota 82-S-7 with an open view on the escapement dial side.
Hour, minute, small second and 24 hour hands.
Water resistant up to 50 meters / 5 ATM.

Length: 48 mm / 1.89 in.
Width of case: 46 mm / 1.81 in.
Total width including the crown: 49 mm / 1.92 in
Height: 13.7 mm / .51 in.
Weight with leather bracelet: about 128 gr.
Comes with a double layered, reinforced, black nylon strap with, stainless
steel buckle
Length: 240 mm / 9.5 in.
Width: 24 mm / .94 in. at buckle

Custom cut Sapphire glass.
Crown sealed with double O-ring.
Case, frame and bezel, 316L steel, case and frame micro-bead blasted and coated with black PVD, bezel micro-blasted and brushed.
4 layered dial: first and third layers, sun brushed dark grey, second and
fourth layers vertical brushed dark grey.
Bright green night luminescent »Super-Luminova« on hands and indexes
underneath the sapphire glass and for the 24 hour indicator.
Black PVD coated, steel hex screws on bezel and engraved back.

BIOGRAPHY OF THE DESIGNER FROM THE DIETRICH WEBSITE

Born in Besançon, the historic watch capital of France, in 1969, Emmanuel Dietrich has had a long love affair with timepieces. Influenced by his birthplace’s culture of masterful design and technique, Emmanuel left for Paris to formalize his design education.

Graduating from the prestigious Parisian design school, the Ecole Boulle with a diploma in Interior Design, Mr. Dietrich’s creative endeavors led him to the world of product design.

After 20 years of designing for some of the world’s most prominent brands, Mr. Dietrich wanted to magnify his artistic scope and invite his audience into his own universe.

“As a designer, an object-obsessed-daydreamer, you spend your life collecting visual impressions. My mind and imagination are saturated with images and experiences that echo and mix ultimately laying the groundwork for my designs. This was the case with the conception of the ORGANIC TIME.

The ORGANIC TIME is the translation of my singular world. It is the expression of my desire for balance, a b

THE PACKAGING:

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The first thing that I noticed about the OT-1 packaging is how flat the box is. It felt like an encyclopedia in terms of size at first I really did think that is was a hardback catalog or book. It comes in a plain white outer cardboard box and inside is a large grey two-toned box. The magnetic fastened lid is a dark grey and the outer edges of the inner box is a lighter grey. The lid is covered in old text book like covering which is really well done. I really like the look and size of the box. It’s is not your traditional watch box and the overall flatness of the box is perfect for storing. It fits perfectly on a bookshelf in a line up of books. When you open the lid to the box it’s nice to see a watch that is laying completely flat, not wrapped around a watch pillow. The watch is in a very soft pouch that closes with a draw string. The pouch is grey with black stitching around the edges. The pouch is also signed with DIETRICH and the Dietrich logo. Also included inside the packaging is a hardback book with instructions inside and a metal warranty card that contains the purchase date, dealer information and serial number. The packaging definitely gets my approval.

THE WATCH CASE:

 

 

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The case is 48mm L,  46mm W, and 13.7mm thick and  the case, frame and bezel, 316L steel, case and frame micro-bead blasted and coated with black PVD, bezel micro-blasted and brushed. The case is really unique on the OT-1, it’s full of detail I don’t even know where to start. It’s truly a work of art, like the whole watch as you will soon discover. In the 4 corners of the dial side of the case are 4 hex screws that are doing some multi tasking. Right now I will just touch on what they are doing for the case itself and go into further detail when I get to the dial section of the review. The 4 black hex screws secure the micro bead-blasted bezel to the black case frame. The bead-blasting and brushing is well done and even. The case itself is basically lugless in the traditional sense which allows the watch to wear smaller than its actual size suggests. The lugs on the OT-1 create a frame like structuring which are two loops of black PVD coated stainless steel that allows the strap to slide through reminiscent of how a NATO strap essentially works when the strap pins are left in the lugs of a traditional watch lugs. The crown is signed with the Dietrich logo and functions as a traditional push/pull crown. The non crown side has a small protruding plate with the model name on it ‘OT-1’. The bottom part of the case is PVD stainless steel which creates a beautiful contrast to the top part of the bead-blasted brushed case. The hexagon shaped case is a nice departure from traditional case shapes.

THE DIAL:

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imageIf you thought the case was a work of art, wait until you see this dial. It is pretty impressive in terms of detail. First I will go back to the black hex screws that are on the 4 corners of the watch case. Not only do they hold the case together, they also function as a secure point for the top layer of the dial which reminds me of the old Swatch Watch rubber protectors that attached to the case and strap. (See attached photo.) it’s more of an X shape though on the OT-1. I like the 3 dimensional feel it gives to the dial of the OT-1. Typically I don’t personally like “skeleton dials” but the OT-1 dial works for me. I think because it has so much texture and unique variations such as the gold star that is a 10 small seconds counter or the black mesh like 24 hour counter sub dial. Everything on the dial has a very organic, plant like vibe. I love the combination of mechanical and organics. The green hour and minute hands are leaf like in texture, which are coated with super-luminova. The black 24 hour counter sub dial is read by a small arrow pointer that is attached to a labeled plate with ’24 hour counter” The plate itself is attached to the dial by two small screws. The plate protrudes from the dial itself giving yet another small detail to the 3 dimensional dial. Just like the 24 hour counter, the gold star small second counter is also labeled on a protruding plate, with some nice circular detailing that can be seen when it catches certain lighting. The plates are held in place by ‘flat head screws’ that heads appear to be polished and when they hit certain light they appear to glow. The dial only features the 12 and 6 for hours and 10 and 40 for the minutes which keeps the dial from getting to cluttered especially for the amount of detail this dial already has. The text on the dial is Dietrich at the 12 o’clock position,  OT-1 at the 6 o’clock position and Automatic at the 2 o’clock position. The balance wheel can be viewed as well through the dial side which is something that is always cool to see. I am glad that Dietrich went with a solid case back for the OT-1 for various reasons. One reason is that the way the strap works is that it would completely cover the exhibition back if it had one and another reason I think it would be overkill since the dial is already skeletonized. The case back features a very simple, yet very cool engraved fish and 50m water resistant. The caseback also is engraved with Dietrich, Organic Time, Stainless Steel and the serial number. Another real unique feature of the OT-1 is that the hour markers are applied lume that are painted on the inside of the sapphire crystal. I have never seen a watch that had the hour markers on the crystal itself. It gives the dial a 4 dimensional look and feel. It’s really cool when the lume glows in the dark, they appear to be floating. The lume when fully charged lasts through the night(I tested it for 8 hours and it continued to glow well after that.)

THE MOVEMENT:

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The inside the OT-1 is the Miyota 82-S-7 which has a -20/+40 seconds per day accuracy rate and a 40+ hour power reserve. Miyota makes reliable movements and it’s a less expensive alternative to an ETA movement. There’s not much I can write that hasn’t been written before on the Miyota movement. To set the time on the OT-1 is very simple, just pull out the crown until it stops, and then rotate the crown to set the hour and minute. The 24 hour counter automatically adjusts as you set the primary hour and minute.

THE STRAP:

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This version of the OT-1 came with a nylon strap which is like a NATO strap on steroids. It is pretty substantial in the sense that it is well made and would be well suited for a tool style watch. That’s how rugged and sturdy this strap is. The strap is quite stiff out of the box, but after about a month on the wrist it loosens up pretty nicely. It’s comfortable and balances the weight of the watch itself. The strap slides through the two loop style lugs just like a NATO strap and fastens with a buckle style clasp. The signed buckle is black PVD stainless steel which matches the bottom half of the OT-1 case.

WRIST SHOT:

Reference my wrist is 7 1/2″

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CONCLUSION:

If you are looking for a nice alternative to the usual watches out there, the OT-1  may be the watch that you are looking for. I find myself always leaning towards dive/tool watches and I found that the OT-1 is a really nice break from what I normally wear. I really like the dial and the case shape. You can tell that every detail was well planned out and a great deal of thought went into the design. Despite the size and weight of the OT-1 it is extremely comfortable. If you are concerned that telling the time is difficult on such a unique dial, don’t be. Time telling on the OT-1 is very easy to read and there is relatively no adjustment time to get use to it. The OT-1 comes in right around the $1300 price point, which might keep the curious away, but you do get a very nice watch, with a reliable movement and a very unique style watch. I recieved multiple complements daily when I wore this watch during the review process.

A very special thanks to Emmanuel Dietrich for the honor of allowing me to conduct this review and for the wonderful communication. It was an absolute pleasure meeting and talking with you.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING.

 

 

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Watch Review: Xam Diver One

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Company: Xam Watches

website: http://www.xamwatches.com

model: Diver One

specifications:

movement – Quartz Ronda 515

Diameter – 46 mm

height – 13 mm

crystal – sapphire

Band – Silicone

Water resistant – 200 Meter

case – Stainless Steel

Bezel – unidirectional

€169.00-approximately $185.00 USD

About Xam from their website:

Time is ticking! XAM WATCHES are inspired by a combination of ruggedness and style. A jewel that every situation, raw or trivial, can and will never let you down. We also love our watches and can not stop looking at it and seeing how time is ticking … We hope that you can also find them fantastic!

PACKAGING:

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The Diver One comes in a waterproof plastic case, that is lined with foam padding on inside. The outter lid is signed with Xam in white lettering set nicely against the blue plastic box. The plastic is pretty sturdy and can be used as a travel case to keep your watch well protected during travels. The packaging is small, simple and effective. I have nothing negative to say about this packaging. I quite like it.

THE CASE:

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The 316L stainless steel case is brushed throughout including the bezel, case top & sides. The case is 46mm in diameter and 13mm  in height. The unidirectional ratcheting bezel requires 90 clicks to make one full rotation. The bezel is very easy to grip and rotate because of the squared gear style edges on the bezel edges. There is little to no play in the bezel rotation and rotates really smooth. It’s quite solid and I am very impressed for how quality it feels for a watch in this price range. I’ve experienced watches that were well over $5000 mark that bezels didn’t feel as nice as the bezel on the Xam Diver One. The screw down crown is signed with a ‘X’ and the crown operates as it should. Setting the time and gripping the crown is very easy due to the gear style edges of the crown. I wouldn’t expect a signed crown at this price point and it’s another pleasant surprise on the Diver One. The bezel has a large lume triangle at the 12 o’clock position and counts by 5’s around the bezel starting at 5 and ending at 55. The engraved numbers on the bezel are coated with black gloss and is evenly applied on each numeral and hash mark. The case back is a screw down solid case back with some engraved info on the watch model, including Dutch Made, sapphire, Swiss movement, Diver One and the Xam logo & name. The “turtle shell” style lugs are curved and solid. The curved lugs are relatively short which allows the watch to sit nicely on the wrist. The case is very solid, well made and quite heavy, in a good way. The flat sapphire crystal sits ever so slightly above the bezel itself. I really like the case on the Diver One it is really well constructed and seems very durable.

THE DIAL:

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Before I get to the dial itself, I have to say that I am a sucker for black matte dials with white numerals/hour markers. One reason they possess a certain deep beauty that I can’t explain and secondly they are very easy to photograph. They catch the light so nicley. The Xam Diver One matte black diver is very legible and can be seen both in and out of water. The hands of the Diver One are orange and each hand contains lume including the seconds hand which makes time telling very easy in low light situations. The sword style hands are large and fit the dial in a size ratio perspective, in other words they aren’t too big or too small, just right. There are not any numerals on the dial, inplace of the numerals are white, lumed rectangles. The rectangle markers have almost a 3D raised appearence to them resembling applied markers, but these markers are painted on the dial and are actually flat. The dial on the Xam is very balanced and not over crowded.  At the 4 o’clock marker is a large date window with a white date wheel and black numerals. The date window itself is bordered in a thin white square. The dial features a small bit of text ‘Xam, Diver One and 200m/660ft’. Very balanced. The dial can easily be viewed thanks to the clear, sapphire cystal.

THE MOVEMENT:

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The Xam Diver One has a Swiss Ronda 515 movement ticking away inside. With a battery life of 45 months, you won’t have to worry about changing the battery for quite some time. It has a monthly accuracy rate of -10/+20. I used to be a strictly mechanical/automatic movement kind of guy, but I have started to have an appreciation for quartz movements. I do still prefer automatics/mechanical movement, but I can appreciate a Quartz movement. The seconds hand ‘ticks’ with each movement vs. the ‘sweeping’ motion associated with automatic movements.

THE STRAP:

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The black silicone strap on the Diver One is very smooth, soft and oh so comfortable on the wrist. The strap features one keeper that is a large square that nice lines and holes that allow it not to hold water and also allows the keeper to be very pliable to slide up & down the strap easy. The strap features a very basic tang style buckle that does the job, nothing fancy or signed, just a brushed stainless steel buckle. I really like how incredibly soft and smooth this strap is and it allows the diver one to wear comfortable despite the weight of the case itself.

CONCLUSION:

The Xam Diver One is a really good value for the price. The Diver One is a solid made watch, that is great for someone looking for all the offerings of a dive watch but wanting to save money and maybe looking for their first dive watch. What I really like about the Diver One is the bezel, the signed screw down crown and the dial layout. You do get a lot of watch for $185. I would like to see the Diver One with an automatic movement option one day. The Diver one comes in 4 different dial color variations blue, white, black and orange. I would definitely recommend the Diver One to someone looking for their first dive watch.

I really want to thanks Xam Watches for the opportunity to conduct this review and for the continued support.

And thanks to all my followers and readers for making 2015 a success and I am looking forward to 2016.

ADDITIONAL AVAILABLE DIAL COLORS:

 

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LUME SHOT:

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WRIST SHOT:

refernce my wrist is 7 1/2″

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ADDITIONAL PICTURES:

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