Watch Review: Gruppo Gamma Mk IV Vanguard

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Company: Gruppo Gamma

Website:

http://www.gruppogammawatches.com

Specification:

Class
Mk IV Vanguard

Functions
Date, hours, minutes, seconds, elapsed time

Case
Stainless steel, brushed
Diameter 42 mm excluding crown and lugs, length 50 mm lug-to-lug, thickness 14 mm excluding 1.5 mm crystal height, lug width 22 mm

Movement
Seiko Instruments NH35A (4R35)

Weight
140 g with strap

Water Resistance
20 ATM/ 200 m/ 660 ft

It is often hard to change things up when you have something that you know has worked in the past with success. Pondering things, you have to ask yourself “do I keep with the formula that I know has worked or do I try something different, venture out knowing it can either be a hit or a miss?” Think about all the people throughout history that decided to take that chance. Some created something completely different and others took a chance to improve upon a good foundation. Change is definitely a good thing and so is taking chances. It’s really what life is all about if you want to get the most out of it. There is something commendable about when a person knows the risks involved but that doesn’t stop them from trying. That is what Naoki from Gruppo Gamma has done. Today we take a look at his risk that he most recently has taken, the Mk IV Vanguard.

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The first thing that I took notice when handling the Mk IV was the case size. The dimensions of the brushed stainless steel case are 42 mm excluding crown and lugs, with a length of 50 mm lug-to-lug, thickness 14 mm excluding 1.5 mm crystal height, and finally a lug width 22 mm. You will definitely notice that it is smaller than the past GG offerings. The more compact Mk IV looks good. I was pleasantly surprised on how good a GG looks in 42mm. I admit, I was a little nervous when I heard that Naoki decided to go with a 42mm case. I’m initially pleased.

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Something else that is a bit different on this GG model is the crown guards. There are two bolts on the crown guards and they aren’t just for decoration, these bolts actually hold the crown guards in place. This really adds to that tool watch feel, since you have something that is functional rather than just for decoration aesthetics. These crown guards job is to protect the screw down crown. Lining damn near perfect is the raised signed ‘Gamma IIII’.  Not only is this crown easy to grip but it also operates smooth as butter.

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The other thing that I was hesitant about this watch when I first heard about its potential specs is the bezel. Upfront it’s a 120-click unidirectional rotatable bezel, stainless steel. I was ok with that, but then I heard it was coming with PVD-treated insert, plain no markings on it except for a C3 luminescent pip/faux pearl. I really imagined that it would make the Mk IV way too sterile, but I am actually surprised how nice it looks in person. It really adds a unique look to the MkIV and creates a nice border for the dial. The 120 unidirectional magic of this bezel is addictive to rotate and sounds like heaven to the ears. It is a little tricky at first to get the feel for rotating the bezel, but once you figure out your finger placement technique it’s smooth & easy. How can it get any better? How about adding the fact that it lines up perfectly with the dial. Yep, it just got better.

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The brushed stainless steel sides of the bezel are always a personal favorite of mine on GG watches because they add a touch of tool/rugged styling. This little detail is achieved by the flathead screws that are found around the edges of the bezel located at 2, 6, 10. The drilled lugs are nicely angled allowing the MkIV to sit comfortably on the wrist with virtually no overhang. No big or bulky lugs here, just some proportionate thin lugs that look great on this watch. The strap is held in place by screw bars, my personal preferred way to hold a strap on a watch.

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A first for me on a GG watch is the exhibition case back which is a combination of stainless and sapphire crystal. This allows you to see the Seiko Instruments NH35A (4R35), that beats at 21600 per hour and has 24 jewels. The rotor is bi-directional winding or it can be hand-windable, which can be done by unscrewing the crown and rotating it while in the first position. The accuracy of the NH35A runs between -25 to +35 s/ day, and has a power reserve of 40 hrs. So far during my review this particular MkIV is keeping +9 seconds per day. The rotor is signed and decorated with Côtes de Genève aka Geneva stripes. What I think would have made for a killer detail is if the Gruppo Gamma skull logo was either engraved on the rotor or an actual cut out. This would push this from just another exhibition case back and push it to an awesome looking feature/detail.

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The matte black dial is all about deception(hence the reason for the custom Decepticon strap). It wasn’t until Naoki clarified this little detail for me. I originally thought that the MkIV numerals were printed on the dial but I was wrong. The MkIV is actually a sandwich dial but what makes it different is that the numerals are filled with C3 luminescent goodness. Not only does this look amazing in the daylight, but it makes for flashlight bright glow at night. The lume on this watch glows like a champ. It actually casts glow onto the wall. The dial is actually referred to as a SuperSandwich Dial.

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We already established that the hour markers on the MKIV are amazing, but a dial can be made or broke by the hand choice. Luckily Naoki is a master at what he does and the silver hands are perfect on this dial. The red second hand is perfection. Adding just the right amount of color on the matte black sea. The arrow head on the second hand has a lumed tip and the hour/minute hand are filled with lume.  The hands are proportional to the dial. I appreciate the fact that the second and minute hand both reach the minutes/seconds track that borders this dial. The track itself is crisp white which matches perfectly the text on the dial which is found below the 12 and above the 6. ‘Gruppo Gamma’ ‘Vanguard’ ‘200M’. Simple, crisp, text. Neatly tucked away between the 4 & 5 o’clock markers is the date window. Maintaining a stealth like presence with its black wheel and white printed numeral, the date window steps back slowly and can disappear into the dial. Dial purest can even appreciate that.

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Another first for me on a GG watch is a OEM canvas strap. I find myself anymore wearing my watches either on canvas or nylon. These are my preferred strap materials lately. The military green canvas is 70’s vintage goodness which is well made and very comfortable. The double layers of canvas are held together by green stitching. I am so glad the thread matches the strap, I think a white stitching would look cheap/tacky in the case of the MKIV. The strap has a large brushed steel buckle.  The strap is a little stiff right out of the box, but will loosen up the more you wear it and it will also age nicely. I love when canvas starts to age and get that broken in look. Like you favorite pair of jeans, full of great memories, that’s what this strap is waiting for you to create.

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That is what is so magical about watches, they are always there waiting to create memories with you. I can remember what watch I was wearing at different important times in my life. I also pick my watch for what activity I’m going to do. Some watches are just perfect to pick for some good weekend adventures. The MkIV is that watch that will go with you on some great adventures. Fear not, this watch will be able to keep up with you on land or in water thanks to its 200 meters of water resistance. It’s smaller rugged case design is perfect, 42mm and 140 grams won’t weigh you down. This watch is very comfortable.

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7 1/2″ wrist

So here is what I think is a hit on the MkIV: great universal size, the bolted crown guards, the SuperSandwich dial/lume, canvas strap and the price especially if you get in on the $399 preorder price. This watch has some of the strongest lume that I have seen on a watch, ever. It even has awesome day lume, for example when you come in from being outside and you see how bright/beautiful this watch is glowing even though the inside of the building is bright.

Speaking of price, what I have learned from my experiences with watches is that price doesn’t make a watch. What makes a watch is the vision, the heart, the passion and the execution. This is the formula for making a great watch and Naoki is mastering this formula one watch at a time. Always moving forward, never losing sight of the past but with vision for the future. A sturdy foundation has been laid for the house of Gruppo Gamma and we have seen the first floor completed. Just when we thought we have seen it all, Naoki unveiled the the beginning of the second floor with the Dive Master, now the MkIV. I like the direction Naoki is taking Gruppo Gamma.

My nit picky ways have to mention a few things that I think would make this watch even better. I know that the exhibition is something new to this series so I can understand wanting to do something different, but like I mentioned before, add the GG skull logo to the rotor or printed on the underside of the glass. I’m just not wowed by seeing watch movements anymore, I’m spoiled and need something extra to make it special.

I always like to admire the watch on my wrist by looking at it from different angles. The MkIV has so many different details that can be admired from all positions. Whether it’s from a side view to see the slightly domed sapphire crystal or looking straight down the crown side to admire the signed crown & crown guards, or just admiring the square shape of the case. The point I’m trying to make is the dial isn’t the only thing you should be staring at (even though the dial is killer) and I can guarantee you that you won’t just be staring at the dial because of all the fantastic little details that add up to the sum of a awesome tool watch. If you have been holding off from picking up a GG because of the case size, now is your chance to finally enjoy one at a 42mm size.

Thank you Naoki for this honor and opportunity to review this watch. Thank you all for reading, and as always comments/questions are welcome below.

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Custom Transformers Strap from Wear Watch

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Watch Review: Evant Tropic Diver

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Company: Evant

Website: https://www.evantwatches.com

Model: Tropic Diver 300m Vintage

Specifications:

Case Diameter: 41mm

Lug to Lug: 48m

Lug Width: 20mm

Case Thickness: 13mm

Movement: Swiss Made ETA2824-2 Automatic. Elabore grade.

Power Reserve: 38 Hours

Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel. Polished.

Crystal: 3mm Domed Vintage Sapphire Crystal with Inner Anti-reflective Coat

Luminescence: Old Radium Vintage

Buckle: 316L Stainless Steel. 20mm. Polished. Signed Tang Buckle

Water Resistance: 300M

Warranty Period: 24 Months International Warranty

Sometimes something old can become something new again. One of my favorite hobbies is repurposing and refinishing old wood & furniture. It’s a pretty awesome process taking something that was disguarded by someone, can be turned into a thing of beauty. Bringing what was once beautiful out again but in a different style is a magical process. This is what Evant tried to accomplish with their watch, the Tropic Diver. Taking what Breguet produced in 1965 with their limited edition No. 1646 which was limited to just 60 pieces, and Evant ‘repurposed’ it into the watch I have in today for review.

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Upon opening the wooden box, something vintage is immediately felt. I can’t describe how it felt to pick up the watch for the first time and examine it closer. But I can hope to describe what my brain processes through this review. The Tropic Diver’s 316L steel case is hard to ignore because of the high polished finish which gives the watch a dress style dive watch. The sides of the case and right down to the lugs are mirror polished. I’m typically a brushed case kind of guy, but this case is quite beautiful. The crown shares the polished look and keeps the continuity flowing on the Tropic Diver. The screw down style crown is 6.5mm in diameter and is signed by the Evant logo. What I like about this crown is how wide the stem tube is, it really gives the crown an extra rugged reassurance and it just looks cool as well. The crown is one of the smoothest operating crowns I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. The edges of the crown allow you to grip it easily to screw/unscrew it. Winding the Tropic diver is an absolute joy and is extremely addicting.

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The unidirectional bezel is quite unique for a few reasons. Let me first establish that it’s unique in a good way. The connvex ceramic inlay is not wide at all, it gives the dial the perfect border without intruding in the least bit. The same goes for the bezel edges. When I first looked at the bezel I thought it was a fixed bezel because of its size and edges. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it rotated and how easy it was to grip despite its size. The convex ceramic looks really good and the old radium vintage lume underneath is fantastic. It doesn’t look gimmicky at all, it looks legit vintage. In fact, I had several people ask me how old was this watch and if it belonged to my father/grandfather. What I really like about it is that there is black underneath that can be seen in certain spots of the lume markers on the bezel, giving it that true aged look like some of the lume is wearing thin/rubbed off. But when you see this glow in the dark, you can’t tell.

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The case back is one of my favorite little gems on the Tropic Diver. The screw down case back is a real treat. Firstly, it also stays consistent with the case design/finish and with the polished finish carryover which looks great in itself. Secondly the engraving just completely enhances the look of the case back all together. The James Bond-esque diver on the case back is so nice. This is why I absolutely prefer solid case backs on a watch. Yes seeing a watch movement is cool in its own way, but a watch’s personality can be extended to the case back, and that is exactly what Evant has done here in absolute perfection.

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The dial on the Tropic dial just exudes vintage sex appeal. It is easy to view through the 3mm dommed vintage sapphire cystal that has an inner anti-reflective coating. On the dial first and foremost is the gorgeous matte black back drop that sets the tone for the mood of this watch. Now I’m not comparing this to a Rolex sub, but this matte black is just as nice as the matte black dials that I have experienced on some submariners/seadweller. There is a certain magical beauty that is encompassed by the dial on the Tropic Diver. You have to see and hold the watch in person to fully understand what I am talking about. There is something undeniablely special about this watch.

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The dial features some printed text that is crisp white, simple and just nails it set against the black dial. Located under the 12 o’clock marker you will find ‘Evant‘ & its logo and located just above the 6 o’clock marker you will find written in gorgeous cursive ‘Automatic‘ & 300m.  Speaking of gorgeous, the hands on the Tropic Diver are vintage elegance at its finest. Now of course the oblivious vintage aspect of the hands is the old radium lume and the color of the inner portion of the hands. This looks great but where Evant takes this a step further is the metal portion of the hands are aged as well. You can see what I am talking about in the macro shot above. This detail is absolutely perfect. I love that Evant took the vintage theme a step further than most. You see, Evant had added all these little details that truly add up and deliver a consistent and dedicated product.

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The markers on the Tropic Diver received the same treatment as the hands have and they are just as spectacular. At the 12 o’clock you will find a large diamond shape, at 3, 6, & 9 you will find rectangular shaped indices, and at the rest of the hours you will find large circles. The indices have a color changing property to them which changes depending on the lighting. Sometimes they appear more orange and other times they appear more yellow. They are extremely eye grabbing. Along the outer edge of the dial are printed white minute markers. The white is just as crisp as the white printed text. This dial is truly stunning. Even with the date window at 3, purest can appreciate the fact that it is a black wheel with white printed text. Not only does it look nice, but it doesn’t disrupt the overall flow of this dial. Take a look at the pic below and how nice this watch glows, especially take notice of the bezel.

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The sweeping second hand just glides around the dial. It’s smooth sweeping motion can be thanked because of the movement ticking away inside. Within the case of the Tropic Diver we find a swiss made ETA2824-2 elabore grade movement.  This movement is a true workhorse. Not only is it accurate but it is also a very durable movement. Here’s a breakdown of what the elabore grade is: it has either a Etachoc or Incabloc shock protection, nickel balance, Nivarox-2 spring, Nivaflex NO. and it is slightly decorated. During my review of the Tropic Diver it was keeping – 6 seconds per day. As I spend more time with this watch I will update this section if there is any changes.

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The Tropic Diver comes with a nice assortment of straps, one of which is my absolute favorite but I will get to that in a bit. You get:

Black Military Grade Nylon NATO Strap  250mm long.

Handmade Light Tan Italian Leather Strap  Length: 75mm/120mm; Thickness: 4mm.

Black Rubber dive strap.
Length: 75mm/120mm; Thickness: 2mm.

Canvas Leather Strap
Length: 75mm/120mm; Thickness: 4mm.

All of the straps are extremely well made with excellent professional  craftmanship. My personal favorite it the green canvas strap. I believe that the Tropic Diver looks so good on the canvas and it is the most comfortable of all the straps. The tang style buckle is polished of course and is signed with the Evant logo. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of how each strap looks on this watch, I believe that is something you should experience first hand because it’s pretty awesome trying each strap on and seeing in person the different look they create.

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Wrist is 7 1/2″ for reference

What do I think about the first offering from Evant? Well at $499 it’s a great value for one because of the movement alone, throw in the 4 included straps and this has become a great value. The quality on this watch is not to be skipped over either. Evant has made a excellent first offering with the Tropic Diver. Yes it was built upon Breguet 1646, but only 60 of the 1646 were ever made back in 1965. So chances of coming across one of those is pretty slim. I love what Evant has done here with the Tropic Diver. It delivers on quality, quantity and design.

I would absolutely have no hesitations recommending this watch to anyone. I believe it’s a must have for any dive watch fan. I was surprised about how much I liked the size of the watch. My sweet spot typically stays in the 44mm-47mm range, but there is something magical about the 41mm case on the Tropic Diver. It has stellar wrist pressance. The chamfered lugs allow the watch to conform to most wrist sizes. There are so many little details on the Tropic Diver that make it a must have piece. These are available exclusively to www.gnomonwatches.com. Gnomonwatches.com is a well trusted place to get watches from. I have delt with them many times in the past. Great customer service, fast, secure shipping made my experiences with them always pleasant.

Like I mentioned in the beginning of this review, something old becomes new again holds very true and accurate in terms of this watch. Inspired by a vintage beauty and made into a modern piece so that all can enjoy it. You certainly don’t need deep pockets either to have this watch strapped to your wrist. There isn’t anything that I can nit pick about in terms of design and execution and I certainly can’t nit pick about the huge variety of straps that truly change the look and feel of this watch. I was not disappointed and I’m pretty sure you won’t be either especially if you appreciate vintage dive watches. If you like you dive watch with a more modern look, checkout Evant beadblasted Tropic variant. It has a more military/tool watch feel to it.

I want to personally thank Evant for the honor and opportunity to review the Tropic Diver, as I am looking forward to what is coming from them in the future. Thank you all for reading and as always please ask/comment below.

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Watch Review: Whytes Watches Discoverer Mk 1

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Company: Whytes Watches

Website: www.whyteswatches.com

Model: Discoverer Mk1

Reminiscent of the days of early exploration into lands of vast dimensions and opportunity. The rugged and unforgiving landscape mirrored in the hardy grittiness of the people who explored and settled on the land

Exploring and discovering new things is one of most exciting things about life itself. Exploration can be done anywhere and with anything. In our busy life’s it is very hard to stop and take time to truly explore something new or someplace new. The other day as I was driving home from work I started looking at houses and buildings that I have never seen on my commute home. I’ve been driving this way home for over 5 years now and I saw so many things that I never noticed before. All because I took the time to open my eyes and took the time to look around. Think about all the things in life that we miss because we don’t take the time to look. Think about if people didn’t want to go exploring years ago, all the lands that would go undiscovered. Luckily the itch for adventure took a hold and drove explorers out to discover the hidden beauties of the world.

I may not go out to discover new lands, but I do get to go out to discover new watches that I get to explore. Today I am exploring the Discoverer Mk1. Upon opening the slick leather travel pouch, the striking dial of the Mk1 was just gleaming. So I’m going to start with the dial for this review. I’m typically drawn to black dials, but the white on this dial is absolutely beautiful. Pure ivory white with crisp black text/numerals makes for a winning combination on this watch. There are a series of sub dials on the MK1. I will start with the one at the 12 o’clock hour position which is a power reserve indicator. By unscrewing the crown and leaving in the first position allows you to wind up the Miyota movement. As you wind the small black hand starts to climb from 0 all the way up to 40 hours which means that your MK1 is full wound and will stay running for 40 hours. The power reserve sub dial is sunken into the dial and festures black printed number on a silver backdrop. This color combo looks fantastic and is very legible.

The next sub dial is located at the 3 o’clock position on the dial. This one is responsible for the indication of the month. Included in the kit is a long needle shaped tool which in itself looks awesome. This awesome looking tool serves the purpose of setting the month by pressing it into the button that is located on the crown side of the case at the 2 o’clock position. It is actually pretty addicting to use the tool for setting the month. The sub dial located across from the month indicator is the day of the week dial. This feature is down via the crown when it is pulled into the second position. This sub dial is like the others in terms of black printed texts, silver backdrop with a small black hand. All of these sub dials are very balanced and well placed on the dial itself.

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The only thing about this dial that I will nit pick about is the position of the date window which is located between 4 and 5. I believe the date window would have looked better located at the 6 o’clock hour position. The date is printed in crisp black on a white date wheel. The hours are indicated on this dial by applied markers which are polished silver with thin lumed centers. They are very beautiful. While I’m on the subject of beauty, the inner chapter ring is sharp and really completes the look of this dial. The inner chapter rings job is to indicate the minutes/seconds through a series of black lines and black numerals printed on the white chapter ring. Now this would be kind of useless if it wasn’t for Whytes attention to horological detail. They made sure that the second hand extended all the way out to the chapter ring. This little detail made me very happy. Not only does it look good, but it also comes in very handy when you are trying to time things precisely.

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The hour and minute hand are black and feature thin lines of lume down the center of each hand. I am a huge fan the hands on the MK1, the black hands look perfect against the white dial. The text on the dial was kept to a minimum, which is the Whytes name & logo and ‘Automatic’, all printed in crisp black. There’s a cool little detail that I didn’t notice right away, but after a little exploring it was an awesome discovery. Along the outer edge of the dial is small printed circles that are silver/grey which disappear and reappear depending on how you angle the watch to light. So cool! I spent a lot of time just playing with the light and watching them appear and disappear!

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The polished 316L case is finished with the attention to detail that went into the dial design as well. The case is 42mm diameter, 12mm thickness, and 20mm lugs. The sapphire crystal is bordered by rounded edges that is on 2 separate levels. This gives the case a nice finished look when looking at the watch from a top down view. The screw down diamond shaped crown is hard to ignore because of how its machined. The edges are cut on an angle which catches the light and allows the light to dance about the whole crown creating some beautiful visuals. The crown is signed with the most perfect and precise small W. The case back is held in place by 6 screws offering both function and eye pleasing aesthetics.

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The case back is brushed steel and features some nice engraving.  I love the little quote that is printed on the case back, ‘TAKE YOUR TIME’  Yes, this is a great reminder to us all to take our time and enjoy life, enjoy discovering new things, discovering new places, discovering new people. Life is a fragile gift and this world is our temporary place of dwelling. Thanks for the reminder Whytes Watches. The case back also has info about the watch engraved on it and it’s limited edition number out of 250.

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The lugs are an absolute work of art on this watch and they are my favorite part of this case. They are drilled lugs and feature long screw bars that hold the strap in place. ‘As part of our design we screw in the strap, making it simpler to replace when you feel the need, we don’t use a standard pin which is the norm with most watches. Our screws add that extra rugged security you would anticipate from a quality timepiece, and is a feature of the 19th century watches from which we draw inspiration.’ The lugs are very unique and look stunning. Whytes Watches do not use anything standard in the design of the case. It is all original and designed by Whytes in their homeland of Canada.

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The MK1 comes with 2 separate straps, a black leather strap with white stitching and a very soft calf skin brown strap with white stitching. The black leather strap is thicker at the lugs and gradually tapers down when it reaches the polished stainless steel tang style buckle. It takes a little breaking in to soften up and to allow the strap to comfortably hug the wrist. The brown calf skin strap is soft as can be from the get go and hugs the wrist so wonderfully. It features a large v shaped buckle. The brown strap dressed down the MK1 and the black strap dressed it up. Both straps are very well made and look fantastic.

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The MK1 is takes it’s inspiration from the watches of the early 19th century and is well executed from the dial to the case. It really is a refreshing and unique design. This watch breaks the mold of on what has become typical and over done which made exploring it extremely entertaining and pleasing to the horological nerd inside of me. The Miyota 9100 power reserve movement inside proved to be very accurate during my review, keeping +7 seconds. This movement is know for -10 +30 seconds per day accuracy, with 28800 vibrations per hour and has 26 jewels. The movement is the only “standard” thing on the MK1 as for everything else is original design from Whytes.

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I would classify the MK1 as a refined tool watch. I picture an explorer from the early 1900’s going on an exhibition wearing this watch. That is what drew me to this watch when I first saw it. Imagining an explorer with very limited technology because of the time period, relying on his survival skills over the lack of having advanced gear. I pictured the explorer writing with an fountain pen under latern light writing in his journal about the day’s adventure, his sleeve slides up revealing the MK1. As a reviewer, imagery like this comes from inspired pieces like the MK1. Being inspired by a watch is a very magical experience that make me absolutely love what I do.

I highly recommend the MK1 to someone looking for a unique watch that captures the beauty of yesteryear, a watch that embraces the time to take to discover new things, to discover things lost from long ago. This watch can be your companion both in the office, dressing up for date night or for your weekend adventure. This watch didn’t disappoint me and I doubt it will disappoint you. At C$549 it is a true value as you get a lot of watch for your money, not to mention the extras included.

Thank you to Whytes Watches for the honor and opportunity to review the MK1. Thank you for reading and please comment below with any questions that you may have.

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Watch Review: MTM Special Ops Cobra

 

 

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MTM Cobra

Company: MTM Special Ops

Website:

http://www.specialopswatch.com/product-category/cobras/

Model: Cobra

Specifications:

MOVEMENT | Highly Calibrated Japanese Quartz Chronograph With Alarm
CASE & BAND | Solid Titanium
BAND | Adjustable Links Are Connected With Allen Screws, Making Band Easy To Adjust With The Allen Key Supplied. Compatible with all other MTM bands
FINISH | Black DLC Coating
BEZEL | Unidirectional, Ratcheting Bezel
CROWN AND PUSHER | Locking, Screw Down
GLASS | Sapphire Crystal with Ultraviolet, Anti Reflective, Protective Coating
DIAL | Carbon Fiber or Brass – Black  Color
HANDS | Luminous (Super LumiNova)
WATER RESISTANCE | 660 Feet / 200 Meters
CASE SIZES | 44.0 mm & 47.5 mm (Without Crown) x 15 & 15.5 mm (Thickness)
WEIGHT | 6.6 oz (44.0 mm) & 7.1 oz. (47.50mm)
BATTERY | Manufacturer Rated At 3 Year Maximum
WARRANTY | 3 Years
LIMITED EDITION | Each Watch Individually Numbered
PACKAGING | Securely Shipped In Its Own Watertight Tactical Box

Growing up I fondly remember playing Gi Joe with my friends. For those of you who grew up in the 1980’s, it always came down to Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, Gi Joe vs Cobra. Two of the coolest characters from the 1980’s series. Even if you didn’t grow up with that Gi Joe, playing army was always a staple game in most childhood memories. MTM Special Ops watches connect to my memories from childhood. Today I have the appropriate model in for review, the Cobra. I very excited to take a look at this model up close.

First glance impression is tactical stealth. There is no denying the large presence of the 47mm case. Yes it’s large but it’s extremely light weight thanks to it being made of titanium and the black DLC finish gives it a stealth under the radar appearence. That stealthy finish actually allows the watch to wear “smaller” than the 47mm size. If this case was polished stainless steel, it would be a different story. The crown is something that will surely be noticed no matter what finish or material. As you would expect the canteen style crown functions smooth when screwing/unscrewing. When you unscrew the canteen it exposes the actual crown which is used to set the time and date. The Cobra also has a series of button pushers which are used to operate the alarm and the chronograph. All the pushers are easy to push and operate.

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I firmly believe that a bezel can make or break the overall appearence of a watch. The Cobra’s compass bezel hits the mark on awesome. Compass style bezels just add a touch of toolness to a watch. Which makes perfect sense since tactical and special ops is what MTM does the best. Not only must a bezel look good, but more importantly it needs to function. Smooth, ratcheting action is what you get with the Cobra’s bezel. This bezel makes me happy on all fronts and it even lines up perfectly with the dial markers.

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The thing that I have come to really appreciate on MTM watches is the square case shape. Now yes the case is 47mm, but MTM planned out the lugs to allow the watch to wear smaller because they kept them short thus cutting down on the wrist overhang. The drilled lugs feature hex head screw bars that are robust and easy to operate for strap changes because MTM includes the tools to do so. This being a tactical watch, I personally want it on the larger size, as a 40mm case would lose its rugged look and become more danty which is the exact opposite of what MTM is trying to achieve here. The Cobra features a screw down case back that has their large knife logo right in the center. I can always appreciate a good, solid case back. It’s an extension of the watch’s personality.

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I think the dial on the Cobra is just awesome. There is so much to look but not in an overwhelming way. The two sub dials is what I actually noticed first. These dials work in conjunction with the chronograph function. The sub dial at the 12 o’clock market counts the minutes and the sub dial at 6 o’clock is the chronograph 1/20 second hand. The sub dials feature gloss frames that are screwed into the dial itself giving the Cobra a nice aircraft instrument panel look.

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I’m going to jump to what I noticed next about the Cobra, and what I couldn’t help but notice is the slide rule inner chapter rings. MTM includes a specific set of instructions on how to use this awesome feature for measurement of time, speed, travel. My first experience with this type of bezel/chapter ring system was on a Breitling Navitimer. It was cool then and it is still cool now. Even if you don’t ever use this function, it’s ok because it still looks pretty bad ass. I love how precise MTM was about making certain that everything and I mean everything lines up without fail. If you are using this as a measurement tool, you want it to be as precise as possible. Am I right?

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The dial features some great lume and large indices that ensures legitability in all lighting situations, dim light, bright light, no light. 12, 3, 6, 9 are all accounted for and the other numbers are represented by large rectangle indices. You may notice the small sub dial at the 9 o’clock position and an even smaller one at the 8 o’clock position, these are used for the Cobra’s alarm. A helpful feature for those on the go. I find this feature very useful when I’m spending time in the great outdoors. Connecting to the basics without relying on extra tech such as smart phones or tablets. Keeping it simple is sometimes really refreshing. An escape from our busy, over complicated life.

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The hands on the Cobra are a first for me actually. It’s nice to see something different, especially when it works.The hands are matte gray and black. I have never had a watch with matte grey hands like these. The hour and minute hands are coated with lume of course and the arrow tip of the second hand is as well. All the sub dial hands are also matte grey, but do not feature ant lume. All of the hands on the Cobra look great. The Cobra also features a date window at the 3 o’clock position, a traditional white wheel with black printed numerals. MTM kept the text on the dial to a minimum, ‘MTM SPECIAL OPS, USA 660FT/200M WATER RESISTANT. The subtle touches of color found throughout the Cobra’s dial offers a balanced and an aesthetically pleasing look.

The Cobra gets its power from a highly calibrated and extremely accurate Japenese quartz movement. With my time with the Cobra, I never lost or gained any time. It’s very, very accurate as you should expect from a quartz movement. It has a battery life of 3 years. I was a little disappointed that the Cobra didn’t use the same battery system as the Silencer that I reviewed last year. The Silencer uses a rechargeable battery that lasts several months on a single charge. Honestly this was my only disappointment with the Cobra.

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As with most of MTM watches, you have several choices in customizing it to your personal preferences and that is what I did with the strap. My last MTM review was on a bracelet, so I wanted to see what else MTM had to offer so I decided to go with the Ballistic Velcro strap. The strap gets some getting used to in terms of functional looping it and getting the keeper in place can be a little tricky. But once you get it down, everything functions great. I like this strap because you can easily wear it over a jacket  which translates into the field excellently. Plus it keeps the watch light and retains the stealth style.

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The Cobra achieves what MTM wanted to provide the wearer, a tactical watch, that has useful features that can be easily used in all settings, especially out in the field. This watch is extremely durable and is assembled within the United States. I like that it’s made of titanium which makes it very light weight and this also translates well into the field as you don’t want any unnecessary added weight. The 660FT of water resistance comes in handy as well. Not that I advise abusing any watch purposely, the Cobra is made to handle abuse. This is an advantage of having a quartz moevement because it elimates extra parts that have the potential of getting damaged from extreme impact shock.

The Cobra is a great companion for those who are in the military or in the police line of work. It also is a great companion if you are like me and do a lot of outdoor activity. It can handle it all because it was made for it. $1500 price point some may deem this pricey for using a watch for such activity, but I for one don’t want to worry if my watch can keep up with me when I’m doing such activities. Some things come at a price and I don’t necessarily mind paying a bit extra for such reassurance. You won’t have to worry about the Cobra failing you and looking great on the wrist is an added bonus.

Thanks to MTM for allowing me to do this review, it was an honor. Thank you all for reading and as always I am happy to answer any questions. Feel free to comment or ask below.

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Wrist is 7 1/2″ for reference

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Watch Review:Helgray TCD-01 GMT

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Company: Helgray

Website: http://www.helgray.com/collections/watches/products/tcd-01-gmt

Model: TCD-01 GMT

Specifications:

Case Material: Titanium – Beadblasted
Case Diameter: 42 mm
Case Thickness: 11 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Lug-to-Lug: 50 mm
Bezel: Titanium – Black PVD – C3 Lume – 120-Click Unidirectional
Dial: Matte Black with Superluminova C3 Markers
Crown: 8×3.5 mm – Signed
Crystal: Sapphire – Slightly Domed
Movement: Ronda 515.24D – GMT-by-Disc @ 12H
Bracelet: Titanium – 22 mm Tapers Down to 20 mm – Solid End-Links
Bonus Strap: 22 mm – Nylon Mil-Strap
Water Resistance: 30 ATM (300 m)

“Helgray was founded on the belief that classic style shouldn’t be restricted to impractical and expensive old watches.”

The TCD-01 GMT certainly upholds one fact about  Helgray’s quote first and foremost, the price. It comes in at $299. I was intrigued by this price as I was reading the specifications about the watch before it arrived. I wondered to myself can Helgray really deliver a watch with these specifications, at this price point and can it look good on top of this? When I first opened up the packaging the beadblasted titanium case certainly looked nice. The finish on the case appears to be even throughout and well done. The dark grey case color gives the TCD a tool/tactical watch appearence. Size of the case: 42mm by 11mm with 22mm lugs it certainly comes in at a size that a lot of people consider their “sweet spot” Not only does the case material and finish impress me, but the fact that it comes on a titanium bracelet as well equally impressed me. Keep in mind the price point as we navigate through this review, $299.

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Being made of titanium allows the TCD to wear very light. The bracelet has a deployment style clasp with 4 hole micro adjustment to fine tune the fit. I like the way the crown looks and how well it functions. It has small gear style edged and is signed with an engraved Helgray logo. The crown is also nicely protected by standard crown guards. The crown sits flush with the crown guard with only a sligh rise above because of the domed shape. While on the subject of domed shape, the sapphire crystal is also slightly domed. The crystal is protected by the PVD finished titanium bezel. The unidirectional rotating bezel has nice tight 120 click action. The indices on the bezel are coated with C3 lume. The bezel is very nice both in appearance and function with no play whatsoever. One minor flaw is that the triangle on the bezel doesn’t quite line up with the 12 o’clock hour marker. The knurled edges on the bezel look awesome adding to the tool watch style.

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The screw down case back on the TCD features an engraved Helgray logo and some standard infor about the watch. A pretty standard case back. The TCD has a WR rating of 300M which is not too shabby if you ask me. Again keep in mind that this is a $300 watch and already we have seen some pretty good things that are commendable at this price point. So far I’d say the TCD is a pretty descent value.

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There are things about the dial on the TCD  that work and there are some things that don’t work. Let’s get the things that don’t work on the dial out of the way so we can talk about the good things, ok? There is a bit too much going on with this dial to give it good balance. There is a GMT window below the 12 o’clock hour that displays 3 numbers at once. I would have liked to see a single number display for it would have balanced better with date window at 6. Having a date window and a GMT window on the same dial creates chaos instead of balance. Both wheels are white with black printed numerals. It would have looked more pleasing to the eye if the wheels were black with white printed numerals. The date window at the 6 o’clock position completely elimated the number 6 which looks off balance with the 12, 3, and 9.

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Now let’s talk about the details on the dial that actually work. The off white hour and minute hands are skeletonized and are coated with C3 lume. They look great set against the matte black dial and match perfectly with the hour indices. The red second hand offers a bit of color/detail and matches nicely with the red printed 300m. I like that lolipop second hand is partially skeletonized as well. Yes it would have been nice to see a lumed lolipop, but this detail matches the hour/minute hand.  I’m glad that Helgray kept the text on the dial simple and limited it to their logo, name and 300m. The circle hour indices look great and are my favorite detail on this dial, aside from the hands.

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Inside the TCD is the quartz movement the Ronda 515.24D – GMT. This movement has a standard battery life 45 months.
It’s pretty accurate as one would expect from a quartz movement, which during my review process it didn’t lose or gain any time.

The TCD has a lot to offer for its $299 price point. You get a nice beadblasted titanium case and bracelet. You also get a nice nylon Mil-strap.  The PVD titanium bezel feels quality and looks great as well. The screw down crown also looks nice and functions without flaw. The busy dial is a bit disappointing as it could have been cleaned up a bit with a few simple changes, but also keep in mind that this is a $299 watch. The matte black dial is beautiful and the off white hands and indices look awesome both in daylight and at night thanks to the C3 lume.

This is the type of watch that I can wear to chop fire wood while wearing it, change the oil in my car, throw on with jeans & a t-shirt to meet my friends up at the local bar with. In other words, it would make a great daily beater that you don’t have to worry about damaging. One reason is because being made of titanium and two, you didn’t break the bank to buy it. On the bracelet it dresses up well and  you could even transition it to the office.

If you haven’t experienced a dive watch before and want to get in to see what they are about, this would be a good choice for you. You do get a lot for your dollar here. I really like the overall look of this watch as it reminds me of German made tool watches.

Thanks to Helgray for the opportunity to review the TCD. Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please post them below.

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Watch Review: Andersmann Deep Ocean

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Company: Andersmann

WEBSITE: http://www.andersmann.com/en

 

Going deep into the ocean has been a fantasy of mine since childhood. There is so much undiscovered wonderment hidden beneath the depths of the oceans of the world. A deeper water resistant/depth rating on a dive watch always adds a coolness factor to the watch. Not that I will ever go to those depths, nor is it humanly possible, but I will explain to you why it adds a coolness factor. If you research what is at the depths that the watch can go and imagine the watch going to those depths it is quite remarkable. 3000m is pretty damn deep, that’s over 9,000 feet! The amount of pressure that is at that depth is crazy, which at this depth it’s like placing 4,000 pounds of pressure upon a square inch of your body. Ouch! Today we have in the Andersmann Deep Ocean which happens to have a water resistance rating of 3000m.

Andersmann is a newer company and is headed by dive watch enthusiast Raymond Chan. Raymond is a huge dive watch fan and he is extremely passionate about watches. You can see Raymond’s passion when you first lay eyes on the Deep Ocean watch. The large 47mm x 56 L2L, 20mm high case is hard to ignore and has a wowness factor from the get go. The case has a matte grey color to it and this comes from the grade 5 titanium that it is made from. Grade 5 titanium* is highly scratch and erosion resistant. The 4.5mm thick double domed sapphire crystal is also highly scratch resistant.

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There are two things on the Deep Ocean’s case that immediately caught my attention. Both of these eye catching details match perfectly. They are of course, the bezel and the crown. Both have precise knurled edges that allow extremely ease of grip with gloves on, in the water, or just with regular wearing conditions. The knurled edges give the Deep Ocean a real tool watch look/feel. Another detail that I noticed after some serious wrist time with the Deep Ocean is how the crown & the bezel both angle in at the edges. This detail may be small, but they show Andersmann commitment to quality and precision. The more time you spend with this watch the more you will appreciate the finer details.

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The crown is signed with a raised letter ‘A’. It is a great looking little detail. The screw down style crown operates without flaw. This is probably the sturdiest crown I have experienced, ever. This crown even rivals and in my opinion out classes the crown system on the Rolex submariner and sea dweller. Both watches I had plenty of experience with. The crown tube which the stem goes into is thick and sturdy. The matte ceramic bezel inlay is a real work of beauty. The indices are raised and look phenomenal because of how they are cut and they have a sheen to them which makes them standout against the matte black bezel. The bezel also has the customary lumed pip that is in the center of a raised triangle. The pip is subset into the bezel and is encircled by polished steel. The sub setting of the pip is something that was done with great intentions. I have owned several dive watches where the pip/pearl/faux pearl are raised up from the bezel, and have been easily knocked out/off. Which is extremely disappointing, especially when a watch is defined as a rugged/tool watch built for adventure. Thankfully Andersmann recognized this problem through their attention to quality, precision and function in the field. The bezel nicely rotates anti-clockwise unidirectional  (120 clicks) and has no extra play involved.

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On the non crown side of the case is the helium release valve. Not only is this functionally useful for diving for releasing/regulating the pressure inside of case but it also looks good. It looks good because Andersmann signed the valve with the periodic tables symbol for helium He. I love this detail on the Deep Ocean. The drilled lugs house the screw bars that hold the various included straps in place. The lugs are slightly curved and are on the medium length side. It is hard to show this detail in pictures but the top of the lugs are polished. Polished titanium is a very hard look to achieve because of how hard of a material titanium is. Andersmann’s passion of watches shines through this detail for sure.

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I have handled a lot of titanium dive watches and I have never handled on that has had a solid titanium case back. Most have been made of stainless steel, but the DO features a solid titanium case back that is DLC coated. Awesome, just awesome.

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The dial on the DO can be described as sterilized beauty. This means that it has just what you need on the dial, nothing more and it’s done brilliantly. The sandwich style dial features a combination of numerals and circles to indicate the hours. Peeking through from the lower level of the dial is off white with an almost yellow appearance. The upper level is textured matte black. The texturizing is perfect in my honest opinion. I’ve reviewed some watches that have gone a little texture crazy which ends up looking like a complete mess. The DO gets it right. This was a detail I was a little worried about on this watch before seeing it first hand. At certain angles you can not even see any texturing.

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The printed text on the dial is simple, Andersmann, 3000M, Swiss Made, Automatic. It is exactly what you need. The text is also sharp, no wonky edges what so ever! The dial is well protected by the double domed sapphire crystal that beautifully rises above the bezel.

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Now to my favorite part of the dial on the Deep Ocean, the hands. Oh these hands are perfection personified. Semi skeletonized, wide, and long. The hour and minute hand centers are coated with lume and the edged are polished. A stunning combination. The lollipop style second hand is ocean blue. The blue just pops right off the dial. It looks amazing and matches perfectly with the printed 3000M on the dial. The second hand lollipop circle is lumed. While I am on the subject of lume, this watch glows like Green Latern’s ring when it’s charged by a light source. This lume doesn’t just fade away after a little while either, it lasts through the night. I was able to read the time with ease from 10 feet away in a pitch black room in the middle of the night. All the hands and indices on the Deep Ocean are coated with lume.

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Ticking away inside the Deep Ocean is the ETA2892-A2 top grade movement which is known to have a daily variation that doesn’t exceed 8 seconds per 24 hours. During my review of the Deep Ocean it was keeping +2 seconds per 24 hours. The movement itself is protected by a rubber O ring and titanium case ring. What can I say about this movement that hasn’t been said before. It’s durable, reliable, extremely accurate and fits perfectly with the badassery that is the Deep Ocean.

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The Deep Ocean comes with 3 different straps. It includes two rubber dive straps and one leather strap. The main rubber strap that comes on the Deep Ocean initially is extremely comfortable. I wore the DO for over 24 hours straight and it remained comfortable that whole time. The straps are very easy to change because Andersmann includes a nice set of strap changing tools and I think that screw bars are easy to change over spring bars. Another nice thing about screw bars are there are less chances of snatching the lugs because you don’t have to try to force the tool in between the lugs and the strap. The signed Andersmann buckle is made of solid titanium which is another great little detail on the Deep Ocean that makes it so special.

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I have been a lover of dive watches for a long time and I have compiled a list of top dive watches that I have had diving experience with and that I have put through some tough tests. These watches range from the $12,000 mark to the $300 mark. I can say that price definitely doesn’t always mean much besides just an amount paid. The Deep Ocean can compete and hold it’s own well against all of them in terms of quality, build design, execution and overall ruggedness. I am thoroughly impressed by the Deep Ocean on all levels. It has far exceeded all of my expectations by a long shot. Companies sometimes claim something but they don’t necessarily deliver on these claims, but Andersmann delivers on what they say. “WE THRIVE BY PROVIDING QUALITY, CLASSIC and CLEAN DESIGN dive watches. Our watches are geared towards all watch lovers and collectors, who looking for classic and functional watch for their everyday use.” This statement is truth in terms of what I experienced with the Deep Ocean.

I will highly recommend this watch to any dive watch enthusiast. The Deep Ocean comes in at $2380 CHF, which falls in my personal belief that most watches are not worth spending over $2500. I get a lot of flack for that from a lot of my watch collecting friends. I have experienced many, many watches, in all price ranges, and from that experience I firmly believe in my feelings/opinions on that $2500 price point. It’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it😝 You definitely don’t have to agree with me. In terms of the price and what you get with the Deep Ocean. It really is worth it’s price. This watch truly delivers.

Thank you to Raymond from Andersmann for this opportunity and honor. I am very grateful.

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will be happy to answer them.

 

*Grade 5 Titanium explained by supraalloys:

Ti 6Al-4V (Grade 5)
Known as the “workhorse” of the titanium alloys, Ti 6Al-4V, or Grade 5 titanium, is the most commonly used of all titanium alloys. It accounts for 50 percent of total titanium usage the world over.
Its usability lies in its many benefits. Ti 6Al-4V may be heat treated to increase its strength. It can be used in welded construction at service temperatures of up to 600° F. This alloy offers its high strength at a light weight, useful formability and high corrosion resistance.
Ti 6AI-4V’s usability makes it the best alloy for use in several industries, like the aerospace, medical, marine and chemical processing industries. It can be used in the creation of such technical things as:
* Aircraft turbines
* Engine components
* Aircraft structural components
* Aerospace fasteners
* High-performance automatic parts
* Marine applications
* Sports equipments

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