Watch Review: Crepas Hydrographer 1942

It was back in the simpler days during the late 1990s when a certain dive watch enthusiast discovered a rare dive watch that dated back to the 1940’s. A watch that resonated with this dive enthusiast who was driven by passion and an idea, to resurrect this forgotten treasure of the deep. That idea then turned into a quest in 2008, a quest to raise it from the deep. It wasn’t until in 2018 when every thing finally aligned for OceanicTime to raise this treasure from the graveyard of the dive watches of yesteryear, the Hydrographic Survey Watch. Their mission, along with Crepas, was to modernize Britain’s “most legendary dive watch.” A dive watch that has been long in retirement since it’s active duty during World War II. This relic has been resting quietly in a museum, until being called to serve once again. It was to be the inspiration for Oceanictime’s vision. Unfortunately the desk of this veteran watch is quite unsuitable for every day wearing due to its shear size and weight of the solid Silver construction not to mention the well-oversized canteen style crown. Owning and wearing the original watch is no easy task they are extremely rare This military diver originally made by Longines, is technically referred to as the Hydrographic Survey Watch. It’s original mission was for the British Royal Navy frogmen that manned human-torpedoes missions during the Second World War. These frogmen wore the Hydrographic Survey Watch on their missions.

A bit of detail with the Oceanictime signature on the top of the case between the lugs

Fast forward to modern days and we have a much more wearable version thanks to Oceanictime and Crepas. The appropriately named Hydrographer comes in a 45mm x 15mm thick, stainless steel case. The blasted finish on the Hydrographer was my perfection of choice between the 3 available options. The Hydrographer is also available in a polished case and in a brushed case. The matte finish of the blasted version was the one that spoke out to me the most. The Hydrographer case is simple in design yet it is absolutely beautiful. Inside the case, ticking and beating away is a Swiss ETASA 2892-A2 movement. A trialed and proved rugged movement, ideal for this style of watch. The Hydrographer has an unique and an appropriate water resistance of 1942m. The precise 1942m is a nod to the Hydrographic Survey Watch of 1942.(1942m is signed on the bottom of the case between the lugs)

I was pleasantly surprised by the sterile bezel. When I first saw the pics of the Hydrographer I assumed that the bezel was fixed so when I had the watch in my possession, I was completely caught off guard when I discovered that it rotates. The two notches cut into the bezel allows for easy grip for unidirectional rotation. The bezel sits so evenly and tight against the case that it looks like it is a solid part of the case itself. I love discovering “hidden details” like that and thankfully it’s not the only one. The case back also has a little hidden detail which is perfectly centered on the case back. Unconventionally placed in the center of the case back is an automatic helium escape valve. I love this unique placement for the release valve. This placement helps to keep the side of the case clean, allowing the Hydrographer to maintain that sterile aesthetic. The case back features very minimal engraved text which continues with the consistency of design and history.

The “broad arrow” is a direct military nod to the original Hydrographic Survey Watch

In my opinion, the oversized crown is the design highlight of this case. It not only pays homage to the canteen crown of the 1940’s Longines watch that the British Navy used for the hydrographic survey, but it is modernized for more functional use. In my opinion the Hydrographic Survey Watch was the British answer to the Italian Navy’s Panerai watches. I actually prefer the more manageable version of the crown on the Hydrographer as opposed to the chained canteen of its predecessor/inspiration. Obviously the Hydrographer’s crown is extremely easy to grip but thankfully it functions flawlessly/smoothly when manually winding it & when setting the time. The edges of the crown assist with it’s operation no matter what environment you may be in. During my review I was fortunate enough to test this out in cold environments filled with snow, ice, rain, dirt, etc…. so I can tell you with complete certainty that it functioned without flaw no matter what the weather may be. The wired lug style on the Hydrographer is a nice nod historical but again the historical nod comes with a modern take. Thankfully the modern take on the Hydrographer doesn’t have solid wire lugs. In the past the solid continuous wire lug would prohibit you from completing a strap change. The modern design instead has lugs designed with a spring bar. The Hydrographer does come with a nice calf leather and a nice nylon strap. Jacob straps did an excellent job on the straps. The craftsmanship is great quality and so are the materials they use. To add to the personal experience, the straps are made to size and order. Like a lot of watch lovers, I always have to change my straps up. (as you can see in the pictures in this review.) My personal favorite combo is the Vario Crazy Horse leather coal black Zulu strap. For those of you who love changing the “shoes” on your watches, the Hydrographer has a lug space of 22mm. Be warned, the Hydrographer loves to change it shoes.

Below the gorgeous raised 5.50 mm thick sapphire crystal is the equally gorgeous matte black dial. The dial is simplistically clean like the case itself. The first charm of the Hydrographer is it’s historical inspiration and the second charm is it’s simplistic design. The Hydrographer is a prime example of when less is more. The simplistic dial consists of 12, 3, 6, with rectangular painted markers located at the in between hours. I like the faux patina color of the hour markers and of the three hands. The cathedral style hour and minute hands complete the appealing vintage aesthetic of the Hydrographer. I like how the polished metal portions of the hands catch the light. You can see examples of this in some of my pictures throughout this review. The hour markers and hour & minute hands are coated with Swiss Superluminova “Old Radium”. Crepas is always dedicated to consistency of details in each of their watches. It’s one of the things I respect about them. The “Old Radium” details hold consistent with the overall 1940’s design aesthetic of this watch. I should mention though that the lume glows brightly green when charged up allowing the Hydrographer to be equally legible in both light and dark environments. The white printed text on the Hydrographer’s dial is perfectly simple. Located below the 12H position is the Crepas propeller logo and name, & located above the 6H position is the model name. This dial is simplistic and beautiful.

The Hydrographer is a very special watch that came to light because of one man’s passion for deep dive watches. A lot of us share that passion for those dive watches that can go deeper than any human can! We also share that passion for the history of dive watches, that without we would have no modern dive watches like we do today. I am glad that Lex Martine brought this project from dream to a reality. It’s a simplistic dive watch that has so much unique personality. It has that quality that Crepas is known for and the execution of detail that has allowed them to be successful for the past 10 years. Everything on the Hydrographer functions with excellent precision. There isn’t any “sloppy” watch making or quality control on this watch. The bead-blasted finished on this case is some of the best I have ever experienced. Crepas recently finished a second batch of Hydrographers, so once this batch is gone they are gone forever.

I highly recommend this watch to those who not only appreciate the history of dive watches but also to those who appreciate something different than just another off the shelf clone diver. It wears comfortable in all settings and environments. I was pleasantly surprised by how this watch doesn’t wear top-heavy. It is definitely on my top 20 favorite dive watches of all time list for numerous reasons. Some of the obvious reasons are because of the quality, design and execution, but on a personal level it’s because of Lex’s passion for dive watches. Quick story: When I was working 12 hour night shift on an oncology unit while I was going to school full time, I would go on Oceanic’s website. I would drool over the awesome dive watches that he would feature on there. It definitely helped bring a much needed smile to my face. I would always get excited to see the new posts of watches I would have never heard about if it wasn’t for Oceanictime. I know how excited Lex was about this project and his excitement/passion/love can be seen throughout this piece!

The Hydrographer 1942 is available for purchase for 850€ at: https://www.crepaswatches.com/styled-2/photos-12/index.html

I am sure many of you know who Lex Martine of http://oceanictime.blogspot.com is and if it wasn’t for Lex, the Hydrographer would never have seen the light of day.

Why did you choose this design?

“It is a watch that I wanted to modernize and reproduce for a decade. When my 10yr anniversary (oceanictime) came along in 2018 it seemed the perfect timing.”

Why did you decide to commission the Hydrographer to Crepas?

“I had known CREPAS Watches since day one and always felt that if anyone could pull it off (the Hydrographer) it would be them”

Was it an easy process designing this watch?

“We spent months and months hashing out the best possible design. Although the design is so polarizing, it is one of my proudest collaborative projects.

Was Crepas aware of the was responsible for influencing the Hydrographer project!

“Actually even Crepas were unaware of the watch they were super excited and really put their hearts and minds into it. Nothing else like it really exists on the market.”

Thank you all for reading! Thank you to Lex Martine and Crepas.

Specs:

Measures
– Diameter of the bezel: 45mm
– Diameter of the case: 45mm
– Thickness without crystal: 15mm
– Length: 52mm
– Thickness of the crystal: 5,50mm
– Diameter of the crystal: 33,00mm
– Space between lugs: 22mm
– Diameter of the crown: 8,75mm
– Thickness of the bezel: 4mm
– Thickness of the case back cover: 5,50mm 

Materials
– Case, bezel, crown and case cover made of surgical stainless steel 316L
– Crystal made of sapphire
– Gaskets made of Viton and Tefzel
– Calf leather strap and nylon strap
– Hands and dial with Swiss Superluminova “Old Radium”

Features
– Swiss ETASA 2892-A2
– Water resistant 194 atmos. / 1942 meters/ 6400 ft. Screwed crown and case back cover
– Sandblasted, brushed or polished case finishing
– Crown position at 3 or 9 o’clock
– Inside AR coated anti scratch crystal
– Turnable bezel
– Automatic helium valve at case back cover
– Made to measure leather strap by Jacobstraps
– SWISS MADE

Watch Review: BOLDR Freediver

A BIT ABOUT BOLDR SUPPLY CO:

“BOLDR Supply Company is an outfitter brand for the adventurers of the world. Based out of Singapore, we manufacture watches and gear that’s super-tough, stylish, functional, and built to be used and abused every day. Because watches are worn on wrists and your wrists follow you everywhere, you’ll need a companion that can handle any environment on your path. Strap on a BOLDR and step out of your comfort zone, comfortably.”

I can’t deny my love of the unique and different designed watches. Inspired by imagination! That is something that I believe in since I was young. It is something that my grandmother and mom encouraged and instilled within me as early as I can remember. I also have a deep love for dive watches. A style of watches that is a little harder to be unique but still maintain that important function that makes it a reliable tool. Today we will be exploring the newest BOLDR dive watch release, the Freediver. When I received the watch and first laid eyes upon it, the amount of blasted finished stainless steel is what immediately stole my attention. It just screamed utilitarian! The Freediver was designed with that utilitarian mindset. BOLDR went with the more mainstream “manageable” 40mm x 14mm and 48mm lug to lug. I am definitely at the point in my watch loving life where size doesn’t really matter but I am at the point where design and quality matter. I completely understand that people have size preferences and there should always be options available for every watch enthusiasts preference.

BOLDR’s utilitarian mindset with the Freediver is apparent by what is happening “under the hood”. The Freediver is protected not only from shocks via the parashock protection to the 9015 automatic movement but it also anti-magnetic protected. Even if you are using your watch strictly as a desk diver, there is plenty of everyday accidental abuse that you want your watch protected against. We all know the feeling from that first classic door frame/door knob bang. It’s nice to have some of that extra peace of mind from the added parashock provided protection. Those of us who are exposed to magnetic fields at work have that extra peace of mind thanks to the anti-magnetic protection. The Freediver has water resistance protection of 300 meters which exceeds the ISO 6425 100 meter depth-rating recommendation. The Freediver’s dial and bezel also meets the ISO standards and I will go further in detail on those a bit later in this review.

The Freediver is equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel. The green ceramic inlay finishes off the bezel design brilliantly. The bezel has 120 precise clicks, each of which line up with the corresponding dial markers. It’s an important detail to make sure that there is precision in alignment but it is also important that the actual function is smooth and precise. The Freediver’s bezel is easy to grip because BOLDR designed the edges with ease of function in mind. Their line of Odyssey watches are built for adventure; therefore, it not only has to handle the adventure but it has to function during the adventure. Otherwise you are just carrying deadweight on your wrist. There is no extra play or back spin on the Freediver’s bezel. Another noteworthy detail of the bezel is that it sits tight and evenly against the case itself. Thankfully BOLDR is consistent with their design because their attention to precision is carried over to the oversized crown. The edges of the crown are designed for easy grip and easy grip translates into ease of function. I had no issues unscrewing/screwing the crown. There is none of that annoying wobble that plagues some crowns. This crown lines up when screwing it down without any error of mis-threading. It functions as it should when manually winding the watch and when setting the time and date.

The case has some nice noteworthy high polished details that can be found on the lugs and on the crown guards. I like that the majority of this case has a matte blasted finish with those little polished areas. This combination creates a beautiful contrast but still allows the Freediver to retain it’s utilitarian appearance. BOLDR is known for their awesome case back designs and the Freediver does not disappoint. This might be my favorite one thus far. The Freediver features the mighty Kraken. A fearsome beast that ties in nicely to the green textured dial. The Kraken looks absolutely awesome and the added trident detail really makes the picture complete. The Freediver comes on a matching blasted stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet features quick release spring bars for easy change and more importantly clean release without scratching mishaps. The solid 316L stainless steel bracelet features a folding deployment style clasp with micro adjustment. The micro adjustment allows you to fine to the bracelet to get that preferred fit. I like my bracelets with a loose fit so the micro adjustment allowed me to get my desired fit. The bracelets look is finished off with the BOLDR logo. As for the function, the release buttons and clasp releases, unfolds/folds back into place without any issues. The solid end links fit flush against the case and are integrated into the lugs with precision. I really like the lugs are angular designed and shaped, it gives the Freediver some beautiful profile lines.

What’s a watch without it’s dial? Well without the dial it’s just a bracelet. The Freediver features a beautiful ombré textured, matte green dial. The color and texture is a welcome addition because I find myself always gravitating towards what I know & love. Matte black dials are my go to, so breaking from that comfort zone does make me hesitant but when that break works out, it’s definitely refreshing. The raised white numerals allow the Freediver to have optimal daytime legibility. The team at BOLDR knows that we love good lume on a dive watch so they made sure not to disappoint because they gave the Freediver a generous serving of Swiss Superluminova. I am so glad for the BOLDR team’s attention to functional details. Those details can be found on the Freediver’s custom matte hands. The hands are perfectly proportioned to the dial. Ensuring that optimal legibility, the hands are coated with Swiss Superluminova. The second hand is designed with an orange rectangular tip that is also coated with lume for that optimal legibility in low lighting situations.

One of my other favorite details on this dial is the chapter ring with the printed white minutes/seconds track. Having it raised from the dial surface creates a nice layering effect that allows for increased legibility/decreases over-crowding the dial. I also like how BOLDR used the matte rivets as markers in addition to the raised numerals. It’s a nice looking detail, simple but adds to the overall aesthetics of the Freediver’s dial. BOLDR kept the text minimalistic on the dial, limiting it to simple 3 lines above the 6H position and the BOLDR name & logo under the 12H position. A detail that I could have done without but I know some people prefer it, there is a date window located at the 6H position.

BOLDR growth is apparent with each release that I have experienced. The team at BOLDR is dialed in and extremely focused. The Freediver is an extremely well executed watch in terms of design and quality that translates into use in the field. In my opinion that is most important. How a watch handles itself when it is relied upon and how it holds up during that “hour of need” is what separates a successful release from a failed release. I’m not talking financial success, as I have before a watch can be a great seller but fail when it comes to functional quality. A successful watch is measured in quality, design and function, this is why I consider the Freediver to be a success. The Freediver is available on BOLDR’s website https://www.boldrsupply.co/collections/odyssey-freediver for $649 usd. You get a lot of watch for your money. More importantly you get a quality driven watch for your money. Every thing on the Freediver functions as it should whenever and wherever you need it to. During my review, the Freediver functioned perfectly in below zero temperatures, in snow and ice, hiking through the woods (and to grandmother’s house) and in my work environment. The Freediver was dropped several times on solid ice, down the side of a rock filled cliff, into mud and it didn’t miss a beat. I was surprised how well the case held up, no scratches and no dents.

If you are looking for an affordable dive watch, that is well made, that isn’t just another rehashed design that has been seen a thousand times before, then the Freediver is a great place to start looking. I would definitely recommend this watch for those who are most comfortable in the below 42mm case area looking for a more unique dive watch experience. Those who are bored with the same old, same old. BOLDR produces watches for those who like adventure, whether your adventure is at the desk or out in the field, the BOLDR adventure team comes from all areas of the globe, from all areas of life experiences. It’s a welcoming and tight knit “family” all sharing a deep love for watch based adventure.

Thank you all for reading! Thank you to the BOLDR team.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case: 40mm 316L stainless steel
  • Movement: Cal. 9015 Automatic
    • 28800 bph
    • 42 hours power reserve
    • Parashock
    • Made in Japan
  • Water Resistance: 300m (990ft) / 30ATM
  • Crown: Crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
  • Dial & Hands: Ombre texture or Meteorite dial and custom matte hands with Swiss Superluminova
  • Bezel: 120-click unidirectional ceramic bezel with Swiss Superluminova
  • Sapphire crystal with AR-coating
  • Bracelet: Custom 316L Stainless Steel
    • Quick-release spring bar
    • Micro-adjustment clasp
    • Screw-pins links
  • Case Thickness: 14mm
  • Lug size: 20mm
  • Lug to lug: 48mm
  • Case Back: Single-piece screw down caseback with embossed artwork

Watch Review: Crepas Megamatic

About Crepas:

The Compañía Relojera Especializada para Actividades Subacuáticas (Specialised Watch Company for Underwater Activities) develops professional diving watches. Our watches are inspired by models from the past which have represented significant progress, using the latest technologies and advances of the watch industry. Each design must be as functional and ergonomic as possible, and can be used both for water sports and also as a normal watch. Sizes do not exceed 45 mm which means they fit most wrists. Our production is subject to a strict quality control standard at each manufacturing step, including the design and packaging of the watch to be presented to the end customer. Our watches are meant for professionals, collectors and diving enthusiasts who want a watch with a classic design but made with the latest technology, at competitive prices and always with the exclusiveness of a limited series. We only make automatic diving watches using Swiss movements and the best available materials. CREPAS offers an international two-year warranty for manufacturing defects. Technical support is available for our customers over the world through a selected independent company in USA and just as in Spain. CREPAS is located in Spain and our promoters are collectors and lovers of classic diving watches.

The case, specifically the crown and crown guards are the details that drew me to the Megamatic. Crepas offers the option to either have the crown at 3H or 9h position. It basically comes down to personal preference. I prefer to fidget with the crown when I’m wearing it, so it was an easy decision for me to go with the crown at the 3H position. These ease of grip that the 10mm crown offers is an absolute joy. Obviously the size allows for that easy grip, but also the deep/wide grooved edges assists as well. The deep grooves cut down on any slipping of the fingers when you are screwing/unscrewing, when you setting the time/date or when you are manually winding the movement. The crown is decorated with the Crepas propeller logo which gives the crown that proper finish appearance. The propeller is raised instead of engraved or laser etched, which in my opinion having it raised looks so much better than the other methods. The oversized crown is well protected by the crown guards that are incorporated from the large block of stainless steel. The large case is made of 316L stainless steel with a beautiful brushed finish to be exact.

The bezel is equipped with a ceramic inlay with lume treated numerals/markers, allowing for legibility in both light/dark environments. As for the bezel itself, it is constructed of stainless steel with a brushed finish. While the bezel profile is relatively low and sits tight against the case itself, the edges of the bezel does allow for easy grip and operation. The function of a bezel is extremely important to me and I think most dive watch fans would agree with that. The bezel on the Megamatic rotates unidirectionally with precise clicks, 120 clicks to be exact. There is no extra play or back spin with this bezel whatsoever. The precision is also carried over to the alignment of the bezel to the Megamatic’s dial.

The dial is as beautiful as the case itself. For this version, Crepas went matte black which is my personal preference for a dive/tool watch. One of the reasons that I prefer matte black is that it dramatically reduces any unwanted glare. I never understood designing a tool/dive watch with a high gloss dial and a high polished case. These types of watches are designed for abuse and not to be “safe queens”. Legibility and performance in all environments is a definite must for a dive/tool watch. The dial consists of precisely painted markers that are coated with C3 Superluminova lume. The combination of the long white rectangular markers and the lume coating allows the Megamatic dial to be legible in both light and dark situations. Now onto the hands! Oh these hands! The hands on the Megamatic are pure magic, just as they were on the Omega that was never brought into production.(*see below) I love the shape and the color of the hour and minute hands. In fact, there is absolutely no denying how much I love these hands. The legibility is not an issue whatsoever for the Megamatic dial. The blue arrow tip hour hand is tucked nicely behind the oversized rocket-shaped orange minute hand, and both of these hands come together to allow for “at a glance” quick reading. Both of the hands are then topped off by the white and unique second hand. Why is it unique? It’s unique because of where the lume is placed on the second hand. Instead of being on the tip, the lume on this second hand is on the bottom rounded portion.

The text on the Megamatic is pretty minimal, with the name & logo under the 12H position and the model name and water resistance above the 6H position. For fans of date windows, the Megamatic has one located at the 3H position. The dial is definitely designed with optimal legibility in mind and there is no denying that the Megamatic case was built with performance abuse in mind. That performance abuse from every day wear and tear whether you are a desk diver or an actual diver hitting the water. The massive 316L stainless steel case sealed with gaskets made of viton and tefzel. This means that both materials are suitable for harsh environments and extreme temperatures. The Megamatic is also protected in the depths of the sea, with a strong water resistant of 120 atmos. / 1200 meters/ 4000 ft. Overkill? Yes! It is definitely welcome overkill though. I rather have overkill when it comes to specs on a watch. The Omega that the Megamatic was inspired from, is the same Omega that couldn’t handle the extreme temperatures. The word is that the extreme cold water drained the battery of the quartz powered watch which is one of the reasons the project was shelved. Thankfully Crepas not only resurrected the design but also made it better. I am also thankful that Crepas armed the Megamatic with a Swiss ETASA 2824-2. A true workhorse and truly reliable movement.

The Megamatic has undeniable wrist presence. The case is large but remains manageable because of the lugless design. The chamfered details on this case are some of the largest I have ever seen on a watch. They give the case a complete finished look. The solid, screw in case back also adds to the overall finished feel of the Megamatic especially because of the large Crepas propeller logo that found perfectly centered on the stainless steel case back. The complete kit is finished off and nicely presented in a PU leather roll that contains a stainless steel bracelet, a screwdiver that is used to remove the bracelet and to adjust the size. The kit also contains a custom microfiber cleaning cloth, a warranty card and 2 spare spring bars. By today’s exchange rate, the Megamatic is priced at $832.93 usd which is a good price considering the amount of watch you get and the nice kit of extras that it’s packed with. There’s really nothing that I could change on this watch, if I had to be extremely nit picky I’d eliminate the date window. That’s not something Crepas did wrong, it’s just a personal preference. From just a pure design perspective the Megamatic is an absolute joy to wear. If you are a fan of dive watch history and well made watches, then the Megamatic is definitely a strong option for you to consider. If you are like me and love to change it up constantly with different straps, you can see by my pics that the Megamatic is a great watch to change it up with.

Everything on this watch functions without flaw or fail and everything was designed for ease of use in whatever “field” you find yourself in. I used this watch at work, out hiking and out on the frozen water, and it handled itself perfectly in every situation/environment. This is one of those watches that from first sight that you know are truly special way before you pick it up and handle it. Crepas is a brand that is progressing strong with each release over their 10 year history. So many microbrands have come and gone over the past decade but Crepas is still here and it continues to grow stronger. If you are interested in purchasing a Crepas watch you can do so via their website: https://www.crepaswatches.com

Thank you so very much for reading and thank you to Crepas.

Measures
– Diameter of the bezel: 44,00mm
– Thickness with cristal: 13,55mm
– Length: 46,50mm
– Thickness of the crystal: 4,00mm
– Diameter of the crystal: 31,00mm
– Space between lugs: 22mm
– Diameter of the crown: 10,00mm
– Thickness of the bezel: 3,60mm
– Thickness of the case back cover: 2,50mm
– Clasp width: 18mm Materials
– Case, bezel, crown and case cover made of stainless steel 316L with brushed finished
– Crystal made of sapphire
– Bezel inlay made of ceramic
– Gaskets made of Viton and Tefzel
– Solid stainless steel 316L bracelet with solid clasp
– Hands, dial and bezel with C3 Superluminova Features
– SWISS MADE
– Swiss ETASA 2824-2
– Water resistant 120 atmos. / 1200 meters/ 4000 ft. Screwed crown and case back cover
– Inside AR coated anti scratch crystal.
– 120 positions bezel.
– Automatic helium valve at 3 position
– Big size minute hand. Kit
– CREPASw MEGAMATIC watch with bracelet
– PU leather roll.
– One screwdiver to remove the bracelet and adjust the size.
– Custom microfiber cleaning cloth
– Warranty card
– 2 spare spring bars

*check out this website to read and to see the Omega that this watch is inspired by:

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