One thing that I always think whenever I see a watch that I really like that I haven’t seen before I say to myself “So many watches, so little time.” We all love watches to that almost obsessive point and sometimes beyond. Of course when we see a watch we like, we want to experience it, handle it, own it. If you are like me, there is something magical about holding a watch in your hand. Watches are my escape, my zen place, my happy place. Starring at the dial of a watch is hypnotizing to me, to the point where I don’t even notice the time. Even simple dials can still be hypnotic.
Today I have in the Nethuns Lava watch with it’s own hypnotic dial. The dial color is what first caught my eye on this watch. When I opened up the beautiful wood presentation box, at first glance I thought the dial was black. It wasn’t until I removed the watch from the box and it hit the light I then realized that the dial was green. The green dial does change shades of green when playing with this watch in different lighting and the matte finish really gives the dial a nice, classic appearance.
Before I explore this dial any further there is one immediate detail on the dial that I must mention, and it is located at the 9 o’clock position on this dial. There is a circle with Helium Escape Valve printed around the circle. I have to applaud Nethuns for this placement. I am over and quite tired of the current placement “trend” of these words on the rehaut of watches. In my opinion it’s a distraction and quite frankly I don’t think it adds anything stylistic to the overall design of a watch. So thank you Nethuns for you placement choice.
The markers on the Lava are a series of circles, rectangles and a triangle. The rectangular shaped markers and triangular shape marker give you nice reference points in darker situations when the lume takes over. The 2 layer dial with SuperLuminova sub layer really glows quite brightly allowing for ease of legibility in lower light/dark situations. The hands on the Lava even have the same SuperLuminova treatment, right down to the circle on the lollipop style second hand. Nethuns added a nice touch of color to the tip of the second hand. The red nicely matches the red printed “LAVA” underneath the NETHUNS located under the 12 o’clock position. The other printed text on the dial is located above the 6 o’clock, AUTOMATIC 1650 FT=500M. Which obviously is the the water resistance for the LAVA. Nethuns kept the dial clean with the excluding the date window.
The bronze case is definitely unique. If you look at the above picture you can see how it looks like the lugs are one continuous piece from one lug to the other lug. The sides of the case curve out nicely on both sides with creates a nice contrast with the angles of the bezel. The green bezel inlay not only matches the dial, but it also matches the killer canvas strap. The combo of the ceramic on the bezel with the matte green is a highlight of the appearance/design on the case. And same as the dial changes shades of green in different lighting so does the green on the bezel. Now that I established how nice I think this bezel looks, how does it function you ask?
For starters, the angles of the bezel creates easy grip spots making rotating the unidirectional bezel quite easy. The bezel rotates so smooth and has a nice soft clicking sound. There is a bit of extra play in the bezel that is more than I am used to but the fact that this bezel rotates so smoothly and that the triangle lines up perfectly with the 12 o’clock marker, I can overlook that bit of extra play. The non crown side of the case features the helium escape valve that is mentioned on the dial. The crown is located at the 4 o’clock position and is partially tucked away into the case side which excludes crown guards and gives the crown side of the case clean lines. With the crown being tucked into the side of the case on an angle it does create a slight difficulty factor gripping and operating the crown. The crown does have some texturing and angles that do assist with gripping the bronze crown.
The finish on the case is a combination of brushed and polished, and the brushed portions look fantastic. A lot of people have said that bronze cases are just a fad, but I couldn’t disagree more. Bronze cases might never over take stainless steel as the popular choice for a case, but I would choose bronze over Titanium and gold every time given the choice of the 3. What makes bronze so fascinating to me is it is ever changing as it forms natural patina. If you aren’t patient you can also force patina, or if you don’t like patina at all, a simple bath in lemon juice will return the bronze to it’s out of the box appearance. I think that the Lava looks great in the Cu Sn bronze, with the green dial/accents give the LAVA that awesome yesteryear deepsea appearance. The stainless steel screw down case back features a nice old world map compass that adds to that deepsea charm the LAVA possesses.
Ticking away inside the LAVA is the Japanese made Seiko NH35 automatic movement, 24 jewels, power reserve 41 hours. The LAVA timed in at -11 seconds per day during the review process and then averaged out to -7 seconds per day.
The Nethuns LAVA is a great offering for those looking to get into bronze watches. I think it is a good value at $570 and can certainly hold its own against like/higher priced microbrand bronze watches. You get a unique shaped case, nice raised 3.5 mm thick sapphire crystal, sapphire bezel inlay, bright lume, a legible dial and a custom canvas strap with a nice unique buckle. The wooden presentation boxes with the patina style Nethuns plaques sets this off as a quality choice in bronze watches at or around this price point. There are a few areas for improvement but not severe to be deal breakers. Like I mentioned before the extra play in the bezel and the difficulty gripping of the crown.
The LAVA wears comfortably on the wrist, especially with the crown being located at the 4 o’clock position. The unique case shape, the bronze material, and the green dial gives the LAVA some awesome wrist presence. I definitely have no problem recommending this watch to my friends or anyone looking for a unique dive watch. This watch is built well, with a solid case. I put the LAVA through the paces and it held it’s own. That is the other thing I like about bronze, it wears scars well and adds to the appearance (badassery) of the watch.
I want to personally thank Nethuns and thank you all for reading. As always, your comments and questions are welcome below.