Watch Review: SEL OmniDiver

Company

SEL Instrument

https://selinstrument.com/purchase/

Case Size

with 48mm Bezel

Case Thickness

15 mm

Weight

168g with Bracelet & Clasp

Warranty

5 years

Total Clasp Adjustment

38mm

Incremental Adjustment

24mm In 4mm Increments

Auxiliary Extension

14mm

Material

Grade 5 Titanium

Crystal

Kyropoulos Shock Isolated Suspension Mount

Timekeeping Accuracy

+/- 0.027 sec per day normal conditions

Water Resistance

600atm/6000m

About SEL

SēL Instrument is an R&D focused high-performance watch manufacturer located in Arizona, USA. Founded in 2013, our focus has been to challenge and deconstruct many traditional embodiment’s in watchmaking and re-engineer better solutions for rugged field instruments. In addition to our products, we have developed significant intellectual property with several patents pending and new research in areas including high-pressure sealing, thermal stability, and impact shock mitigation. We measure success not only by the quality of our products but also by the breadth of relationships we cultivate to support other watch manufacturers, defense contractors, and the end users of our products in the field.

The OmniDiver’s Kyropoulos sapphire is protected by a shock-isolating suspension mount. This assists with reducing the risk of fracturing the crystal which can occur from strong impacts. The crystal isn’t just protected from strong impacts but it’s unique mount also helps to protect it thermodynamically that can cause shrinking and expansion from changes in temperature.

The bezel on the OmniDiver is quite possibly the best functioning bezel I have experienced. It not only fits tight against the case itself but the operation is incredibly smooth. The smooth operation can be attributed to the silicon nitride balls that are ridiculously held to +/- .0001” gives the OmniDiver bezel the smoothest high precision fit possible on the casework. This bezel easily blows away anything ROLEX has done. Period. Inside the bezel are large ratchet pistons allowing precise indexing in all of the bezel’s 120 positions without any counter-rotation whatsoever!

“OmniDiver is powered by a next generation temperature compensating ETA PreciDrive movement capable of plus or minus 10 seconds per year accuracy. That’s substantially better than the COSC standard for certified quartz or mechanical chronometers.”

OmniDiver has special two-stage seals with separate low-pressure and high-pressure seals that react dynamically to hydrostatic pressure. SEL insured that the OmniDiver’s 6-piece titanium case to withstand 10,000psi. This helps reduce structural failures which could damage the seal integrity and adds to the overall water resistance of the OmniDiver which is 6000m by the way.

The OmniDiver features a screw down crown which is positioned at the 6 o’clock position nicely protected in between the lugs. Adding to the toughness of this watch, SēL crowns are pressure rated in the open position. Unlikely for most, but if you do forget to screw down the crown you are completely safe if you go into the water.

“OmniDiver uses SēL MKI retention to integrate lug adapters and dual case lugs for bracelet or strap configurations secured with machine screws that are captive at both ends for increased strength. All that means to you is that you can change your mind easily, from bracelet to strap or back again, in about 30 seconds with a common hex wrench (included).”

What I really like about the bracelet on the OmniDiver is that the solid titanium links and cross bars are nicely spaced, allowing any mud, sand, and dirt to slip right through. I am no fan of bracelets by any means, but those crafty bastards at SEL made a bracelet that this asshole absolutely loves. There’s an awesome picture of the OmniDiver connected to an engine puller that the bracelet is actually taking the brunt of the weight of an engine block without failure.

“The SēL WavLock, machined from solid titanium, gives you 24mm incremental adjustment (4mm increments) and a 14mm auxiliary extension. That’s 38mm total adjustment.  No tools required.  Plus, when closed, the design puts all of the stress forces into the solid titanium bottom plate instead of the hinge and catch like a trifold does.”

One of my favorite dive watches of all time is the Tudor Pelagos. As I mentioned countless times before I am no fan of bracelets but I definitely have respect for the bracelet on the Pelagos. Before the OmniDiver came into my hands, the Pelagos bracelet was my favorite and it is definitely better than the overrated SD43’s oyster bracelet. The OmniDivers bracelet, especially the WavLock is like Tudor’s but on serious steroids. There is a slight learning curve with operating the the clasp/micro adjustment but it’s a quick learning experience. It functions with fluidity and once it’s closed it’s solidly closed with confidence of staying in the closed position. The knurled edges allow for ease of sliding the adjustment over the WavLock teeth.

I don’t care much about lume either way. It’s never been a deal breaker for me. That being said, I love how bright the day lume on the OmniDiver is. The science that SEL uses on the watch is a blend of europium, dysprosium doped grade-0 particles and UV transparent binders which makes for some of the “brightest and longest lasting strontium-aluminate illumination.” No, it’s not that bullshit that you charge from a light source and it lasts a few minutes. This lume lasts for hours, I am talking 18+ hours. My fun bouts with insomnia allows me to be awake at all crazy hours and whenever I was tossing and turning, there was the glowing lume of the OmniDiver keeping me company.

The OmniDiver comes in an appropriate box. It’s crazy large, tough and just perfect for this watch and SEL’s mantra! The Pelican 1300 case holds the WavLock Bracelet, ZULU straps, lug adapters, and a tool kit. The Wiha tool kit allows you to easily size the bracelet and access lugs for easy strap/bracelet changes.

It is hard to pick my favorite part of this watch. Usually the dial or the case is a clear winner in the race to my favorite but the OMNIDIVER is a clear exception to that. The dial and case are both winners in my opinion. The first time I saw pictures of this watch it was the hands that were responsible for catching my attention first. In person the hands are just as, if not more impressive. They are everything I want and need from a company, sized appropriately to the matte black dial, the dial is extremely legible in both day/night, and unique military design is consistent with the overall design aesthetics of the watch itself.

The busy nature of the dial on the OmniDiver works extremely well in my opinion. There isn’t a single detail that I would remove. I definitely appreciate the inclusion of both the standard and the military time. This is extremely helpful for me personally because of working in healthcare we use military time for everything. I love that the date window is NOT easy to find. Yes you heard me correctly, I like that fact because it doesn’t disrupt the flow of anything, it’s there because it’s helpful and it’s nicely tucked away with it’s cleaver shape/black wheel/white print. If you have to have a date window on a dial, this is exactly how you want it when you prefer a no date dial.

This watch is not easily lost on the wrist because of it’s shear size but extremely comfortable because the lightness of titanium. Most importantly, it doesn’t feel like a toy watch like a lot of titanium watches out there. Andrew made this watch because he was tired of watches breaking on him. The final straw was when he was looking down at the floorboards when on an important mission, seeing a watch bouncing around at his feet. Thinking to himself, that looks like my watch down there, WTF that is my watch down there. That day he decided that it was time he took matters into his own hands and he decided to design a watch that could withstand the requirements of his military lifestyle. Fast forward a bit and Andrew was ejected from a vehicle, his body sliding and bouncing across the pavement. Any normal human being would have been self concerned with injuries but not this super human, bloody and all, Andrew was more excited that his OmniDiver withstood this accident without fail! At that moment he knew he had succeeded at his watch designing/manufacturing mission!

Everything on the OmniDiver has been overthought, overdesigned, overtested and the result is a watch that functions without fail. I haven’t experienced a watch like this before. In fact, I can easily say that this watch will out-perform any tool/military watch out there. Before the negative naysayers come at me with their whining little bitch attitudes/complaints about the price, I will save their time and my time because this watch wasn’t designed for pussies like them. TRUE STORY. Designed by a professional for people who demand the most from their watch when it matters most.

This watch did not disappoint me or fail me on any level. I thoroughly enjoyed every second with this watch. I don’t review watches for the masses, I review watches for individuals like myself. Those individuals above the bullshit, above the nonsense, above everything that tries to bring the unnecessary (negative drama) to this hobby. At the end of the day these are fucking watches and at the end of this day this fucking watch is nothing but passion filled quality. Quality that will handle the demands of your daily life, whether if you are out in the military field or if your daily missions are from behind the desk, this watch won’t fail you. If for some reason it does, SEL is there to stand behind their products 100%. Andrew has even gone so far to hand deliver a watch in person. I met with him in person before this review. He is what makes this inspiring, he is what makes it fun and that is often lost in this industry/community. Listening to Andrew enthusiastically talk about how even the smallest of detail is hand done by either himself (in fact he will screw down his crown and mark it to make sure that the engraved SEL will line up perfectly once it is in the fully closed position. A detail not even ROLEX does) or his small team was one of my favorite moments in my watch reviewing experience.

For the people who prefer automatic movements, SEL is coming out with one for you soon. I will be reviewing that piece as well.

I want to personally thank Andrew for hand delivering this watch to me and sitting for hours chatting about watches/his vision/work ethic/passion for delivering the best products possible. It was absolutely inspiring and motivating.

Thank you all so much for reading!