Watch Review: Scurfa Diver One

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When a watch is designed by someone who has actual diving experience both personally and professionally it gives an added sense of security. That security is cemented when the people responsible for bringing the watch to life, actually test the watch out in the field. That is exactly what Paul does with each of his watches. Paul from Scurfa actually takes his watches into the murky cold North Sea to personally put them to the test. Of course that’s not enough for me, I have to put the watch through my own tests to be completely satisfied. Staying inside of a light box is not the lazy kind of testing/reviewing that I am talking about either. Today I will be testing out the quartz version of the Diver One from Scurfa.

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The Diver One arrived in Scurfa’s signature screw together bolt box. It is a smaller size plastic box that is unique and functional. I have had the opportunity to review a few of watches from Scurfa and each watch has arrived safely in this style of packaging. ”Watch supplied in our German manufactured Twist Box the same type of box used to supply a range of spare parts to the diving and offshore industry only made on a larger scale for Scurfa Watches.

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The blue dial and blue bezel insert what initially caught my attention. It’s a darker shade of matte blue which fits this watch nicely. The Diver One case measures at 40mm x 47.7mm x 14mm which I typically gravitate towards watches in the 43mm-45mm are. I have to say though it is nice to experience watches in all sizes, even if I don’t necessarily agree with what current trends try to dictate what I should be wearing. The older that I become I am consciously aware of not limiting myself to experiencing watches that are just in my comfort zone. The Diver One definitely wears with comfort in both size and weight. The genuine rubber strap assists with the comfort of this watch especially when I was in the sand and in the water.

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The case of the Diver One has some added details that I really appreciate and like. The drilled lugs are one of those appreciated details on this watch because I believe it not only serves a functional purposes but it also serves on an aesthetic purpose. Functionally, drilled lugs allow for easier and cleaner strap changes in my opinion by allowing you to get to the strap bar. Even with the right tools you end up with scratched lugs because some non drilled lugs spring bars are hard to access. This kind of thoughtfulness by Scurfa can also be found on the bezel and the crown.

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To reference back to what I was implying earlier about where experience in the field comes into play in the design of a watch how these details function with ease. Rotation of the bezel is done with easy grip and smooth action. I love the smooth rotation without any of that annoying extra play that plagues more watches. Something else I appreciate about this bezel is how it lines up with the markers on the dial. It drives my OCD tendencies absolutely crazy when the bezel triangle/pip doesn’t line up exactly with the 12 o’clock hour marker. The 7mm screw down crown with the signed D1 logo is a generous size to grip and to operate. The crown itself is well protected by the crown guards.

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The domed Sapphire crystal gives you the ideal ”looking glass” into the dial itself. The dial is matte blue just as the bezel insert and both look incredible together. The large white markers allow for optimal legibility in daylight situations and thanks to the Super Luminova BGW9 application it is legible at night as well. The lume on the dial glows an awesome blue which matches perfectly the faux pearl pip on the bezel. What I can honestly say without any doubt, I am 110% happy with the hands choice on this watch. No Mercedes style hands, no snowflake style hands, just perfectly sized sword style hands here. Crisp white hands, just as are the painted white hour markers. The hour, minute and second hand are ideally proportioned to this dial where they reach to the intended locations on the dial.

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This is the ideal watch to wear when you need to keep an eye on the time during activities that you know your watch is going to take some abuse. Scurfa put this watch through it’s paces and I have as well. My conclusion? It can handle it, but what impresses me more is the $200 price. Yes it has a Ronda 513SM quartz movement but it also has Super Luminova BGW9, domed sapphire crystal, drilled lugs with toughass single shoulder springs, signed crown, I can go on further to support why I think it is an impressive watch at $200. Paul certainly knows his way around in the depths of the cold, murky sea, but he also knows his way around designing a watch. A watch that can handle abuse out in the field and abuse of every day life without the worry of failure.

As always thank you for reading and your questions and comments are certainly welcome below.

Thanks to Paul and Scurfa.

Specification

Case size 40 mm by 47.7 by 14mm, 20mm strap size
316L Surgical grade Stainless Steel
7mm screw down crown with D1 logo
120 Click unidirectional bezel
Aluminium bezel insert with Luminous pearl
Matt blue dial with brushed steel hands
Super Luminova BGW9 on the dial, hands and bezel pearl (glows blue)
Domed sapphire crystal with blue Anti Reflective coating on the underside
Ronda 513SM Non Date Quartz movement
300m ~ 1000ft
Drilled through lugs with strong single shoulder spring bars 20mm X 2mm X 1.2mm
Scurfa Watches blue rubber strap based on the Italian leather straps seen on a lot of vintage diving watches today
12 Months warranty

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Watch Review: Szanto Big Pilot Aviatore

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Personally I have always admired pilot watches from afar and I always had respect for the history behind the original pilot watches of yesteryear. They just never quite spoke to me like diver watches have. I have to say though that the Szanto’s take on an affordable pilot watch here is pulls in that vintage magic in my opinion. The overall style of this piece has beautiful vintage charm with a WWII vintage feel all around the case and the dial. The oversized onion style crown stole my heart from first sight. The styling of the crown is perfect from the blasted finish, to the edges, to the shape/ size. Crowns like this didn’t just serve on an aesthetically pleasing plane back in the day. It was for functional purposes so that the pilot could easily grip and operate the crown while wearing gloves when they were in the cockpit of the plane flying high in the sky. This push/pull style crown has smooth operation when winding, setting the time and when setting the date.

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As for the case itself, it is a combination of brushed and blasted finish. I prefer these finish choices over a high polished case, especially for this style of watch. High polished cases have their place on dress watches in my opinion. The one thing that I would change about this case is to have a solid case back that features an unique aviation themed engraving. Don’t get me wrong here, Szanto did give the wearer something to look at besides the movement itself. The Szanto logo was printed on the underside of the mineral crystal screwdown case back. If you prefer seeing the movement of a watch you still get to see it but with the addition of the printed logo.

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The lugs on this piece are very reminiscent of the welded  style that are found on those vintage WW2 pilot watches as you can see from the side by side comparison pics below. The inspiration for this piece is apparent as Szanto borrowed a lot of it’s styling cues from those early pilot watches that served as the inspiration. The lugs on this watch have a standard style spring bar holding the black leather strap in place which means you won’t have to cut your strap off or wait for it to rot off before you can do a strap change.

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I am a fan of the large matte black dial on the Aviatore it creates a large, legible backdrop for the hands and hour markers. I personally would have preferred white for the hands and markers vs. the faux patina color Szanto chose.  The cathedral style hands though were absolutely the right choice for this watch and they are probably my favorite detail on this dial. The hand nicely complement the hour markers both in color and in shape. What I like about Szanto dial design/layout is that they went traditional with 3 hands vs. a small seconds subdial. In place of small seconds, they went with a 24 hour sub dial which is more helpful in my opinion. What I mean by more helpful is in terms of use in my profession since we are on military time. I also use the second hand for timing treatments in which I find it much easier to use a large seconds hand than that of a small seconds subdial. The dial has lume treatment with Super Luminova done in that old “Radium” color fill which is found on both the hands and on the indices.

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Out of Szanto’s current pilot watch offerings, this is my personal favorite of the group. It is an affordable option in my opinion for those looking for a vintage inspired pilot watch who are on a budget. There is room for improvement on the big Aviatore watch as mentioned in the review. Are they deal breakers? That is up to personal preference. I can say that the watch has some nice vintage style designs/features. The hands are my favorite of the aesthetically appealing details on the dial and the crown is my favorite in terms of the case details. The watch is comfortable on the wrist and has a large wrist presence coming in at 46mm. It is a watch that can easily translate from the office to the weekend.

Thank you for reading and your questions and comments are welcome below.

Thanks to Szanto.

 

Specifications:

46mm 316L Stainless Steel Case with Brushed and Sandblast finishing
Exhibition Caseback
Japan Automatic 21 Jewel Movement with 3 Hands & Date
24 Hour Subdial
Super Luminova “Radium” Color Fill on Hands and Indices
Oversized Onion shaped Push Crown
Hardened K1 Mineral Crystal
Dial with Arabic Numerals
Genuine Calf Leather Strap with Signature Szanto SS Buckle
100 Meters Water Resistant

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Watch Review: Time Concepts HLA Watch

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One of the things that I enjoy about my blog is seeing the progress that is made on various levels. One of those levels is personal progress. This is my fifth year of doing my blog and seeing the hard work that I put in is rewarded by the progress it has made. I am very proud of the progress that it has made which in turn makes me strive to work harder. Of course there is always more progress to be made. As it was pointed out recently, my writing/grammar can use some work. I am always willing to listen to constructive criticism whether if it is good or bad.  How else will you grow without an open mind and listening ears? Another level of progress that I really enjoy to see is when I have the honor to work with a watch company on several different review projects. Getting to see the physical progress that is in the form of their watches. It is extremely awesome to see a company’s watch grow in terms of improvements in overall quality. I also love to see the implantation of recommendations put into their watches. Recommendations of ideas that I or my readers have suggested.

Today we will be exploring the official watch of the Hawaiian Lifeguards. That is currently being worn by such legends of the program as Archie Kalepa, Brian Keaulana, Kalani Vierra, Ralph Goto, and many others.  I will not take away anything from the important job that lifeguards face everyday, but these lifeguards definitely have one of the best locations that I can think of without a doubt. #Iamjealous

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When I opened the box I was greeted by a bright yellow dial that absolutely popped(combined with the black case didn’t hurt the pop). I definitely respect the unique color of this dial. I love a matte black dials, but the yellow is definitely refreshing to see. It is refreshing to see a dial that is not afraid of color. I definitely recommend taking a chance on a dial color that isn’t in your comfort zone. I can honestly say it is a pleasant treat, especially when it breaks away from the norm in which we find comfort in. The shade of yellow is really appealing  to me. When I got to see it in person it reminded me of that Tonka truck yellow from my childhood. I was absolutely obsessed with the big yellow metal indestructible Tonka trucks.

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I love applied hour markers if they are done right, but I can easily say the same thing for painted/printed hour markers. Szanto absolutely nailed it with the markers on the HLA watch. The markers are beautifully shaped. The white color is crisp and precisely finished by a black border. The yellow backdrop allows these markers pop right off of this dial making for some optimal legibility. Szanto added a very nice touch of detail to the dial with the graphic that is printed under the 12 o’clock position. It absolutely holds true to the theme of this watch screaming  with Hawaian charm. This detail is thoughtfully carried over to the buckle on the rubber strap and also carrird over to the stainless steel case back. One other place that I would have liked to see this detail carried over to is the screw down crown.

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This dial would not have that completed feel without the hands that Szanto chose for the HLA watch. The shape, color, proportions work well.  The hands completely complement this dial and allow for important legibility. For the lifeguards using this piece, legibility is key.  I personally could have gone without a date window, but being a watch designed for Lifeguards, I understand the “why” of the date window . The four lines of printed text works on this dial without becoming a cluttered or obtrusive hindrance to the dial itself.

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The black PVD case is very well executed both in color and in shape. The HLA watch comes in at 43mm which has become one of my favorite sizes for a watch. The HLA wears comfortably on the wrist which of course is ideal because if this watch is being worn by Lifeguards then it absolutely should be completely comfortable to wear in the heat, water, sand, etc… The NBR rubber strap does assist in the overall comfort of this watch I believe that a nylon strap would be my second choice for comfort on this piece. While this watch is comfortable it is also functions just as well. The bezel has very little play and is very easy to grip with dry or wet hands. A bezel without extra play is something that I always look for on a watch. The screw down crown is just as easy to grip and operate. The crystal on the watch is hardened mineral crystal. I have never personally had a problem with hardened mineral crystal scratching. I have to say though if I was designing a watch that was going to be around sand a lot, then I personally would have gone with sapphire crystal for that added security in terms of scratch resistance. From HLA “we chose to use a K1 hardened mineral crystal with a very high vicker count because it will resist breaking very well and tend to scratch before breaking whereas a sapphire crystal will resist scratching much better but can break, like a potato chip. Therefore we chose the K1 for these guys given the rugged nature of their work and likelihood of banging it around a lot. ”

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This is a fun watch to wear! It received a lot of compliments on the yellow dial/black case combo from the public while it was on my wrist. It comes in at $275 for the PVD version and $250 for the stainless steel version. The HLA watch is a great knock around kind of watch. This watch is not a wallet busting watch and it’s made to handle life on the beach. I would have liked to see a signed crown on this watch and a sapphire crystal. This would have made the watch a much easier choice to purchase if it implemented those suggestions. It’s a great watch to wear when you don’t have to worry about beating up what is strapped to your wrist. The HLA Watch is the official watch of the Hawaiian Lifegaurds, a portion of the proceeds from the  purchase of the watch is donated to the HLA.

Thank you all for reading and as always your comments and questions are welcome below.

Thanks to Time Concepts.

 

Specifications:

43mm 316L Brushed Stainless Steel Case
Unidirectional Rotating Timing Bezel
Screw Down Locking Crown
Screw Case Back
Lumed Hands and Dial Numbers
Multi-jewel Japanese Quartz Movement
K1 Hardened Mineral Crystal
NBR Rubber Strap with patterned back
200 Meters Water Resistant

 

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Watch Review: Achtung Aviatore

01EABAC7-1A66-4CF3-95CB-6F0A51E9C9BCThere is such a strong connection between watches and my childhood. When I see a watch that inspires me, I instantly am reminded of something from my childhood. This has been the basis of my 2018 art project, Art Inspired By Watches series, which started as a simple idea and now has really grown into something incredibly special to me. It really helps me on a multitude of levels, but for our purposes, it helps me to connect on a deeper level with the watch. The above art piece was inspired by the Achtung Aviatore which when I saw the green dial for the first time I knew exactly what I was going to do for this project. Watches have truly helped me stay focused and helped keep my head above the chaos that life throws at you.

FE576CE7-B6DB-4C2E-A9B8-880B2D93E3ADToday we will be exploring the Achtung Aviatore together. As implied by the name, this is Achtung’s Aviatore variation that will be added to their unique catalog of watches. The stainless steel case retains that recognizable Achtung design that has crazy cool wrist presence. It definitely makes a statement when you strap it to your wrist which I personally find so refreshing and appealing.

74DC2369-2BBE-4934-9CCE-C54299E37728The 48mm x 14mm stainless steel case has complementing accents of brushed and polished finishes that are precisely done with an eye for attention to detail. What I find so appealing about this case design is that it looks like the watch was ripped off the instrument panel from a plane, refined a bit, fitted with a strap and is ready for wear. The short lugs definitely allow the watch to wear well inside the large size the measurements imply, especially the lug to lug ratio. I have 7 1/4” wrists and there is no wrist over hang whatsoever with this watch. I also like the smaller details found throughout this case, the signed crown, the screws on the exhibition caseback, and even though the four screws on the top on the case are faux screws they still add a nice touch of detail.

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The green dial is what drew me into this piece initially. Gave me that Devastator influence right away for those G1 Transformer fans out there. The hands, like the case are definitely uniquely Achtung. They have so much character and charm to them which are some of my favorite watch hands out there. Team that with this killer, attention grabbing green and it makes for one hell of a dial. But with that said, my favorite part of this dial is how the hours are displayed. You have an outter circle of military hours displayed and then you have an inner circle of standard hours printed.

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The dial is extremely legible and how can it not be when you have that beautiful green dial and black printed hour markers. Right? This definitely covers daytime legibility, but what about those dark hours? Well the lume on the hour and minute hands have you covered but Achtung takes it a bit further by adding applied indices to the fixed inner chapter ring. A nice added touch and a necessary one in my opinion. All treated with a good coating of Super luminova which glows nicely throughout the night. I think it would be awesome if the whole unique second hand was treated with lume, it would look really cool at night for sure.

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What I enjoy about Achtung watches is their total disregard for what the masses go for, which currently is a trend of soulless rehash designs that lack originality and creativity. Yes this is were the money is at, but as a watch enthusiast and a watch reviewer this leaves me with no inspiration which translates as a lack of a desire to put on my wrist. Achtung infuses each of their limited edition watches with personality, individuality, originality, quality which makes for an exciting experience on the wrist. It is so refreshing to me that after all my years being around watches, that I still get excited by watches, and each review that I do it reignites my flame of passion for watches. If you are looking for an unique experience then look no further, this watch has wonderful, individualized presence on the wrist. If you want to read more about Achtung head to there website and their upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

As always thank you for reading and your comments and questions are welcome below.

Thank you to Achtung.

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