Watch Review: Memphis Belle Heritage

My grandparents came over from Sicily many moons ago with a few possessions, a small amount of saved cash and a big stash of hopes & dreams. As they took root in their new country, and as the years went on in constant pursuit of tapping into that stash of hopes and dreams, my grandmother was extremely raising their 7 children and my grandfather was busy working in his barbershop and putting himself through law school. My grandparents never lost sight of those hopes & dreams. They both did everything with love and passion, something that I continue to draw great inspiration from. I am drawn to drive and passion in a lot of aspects of my life. I will narrow it down to our subject at hand, watches. Recently Wes from Nodus watches brought something that I have often thought about. That thought is how the big names in the watch industry have replaced that drive from passion with the drive to make money. That’s why I am drawn more to microbrands, independent watch makers, ect. They are still driven by passion because they have more to lose and have heart, they have a face, they aren’t hidden behind huge marketing bullshit. At Basel this year ROLEX made something quite apparent, the shift away from big brands has made them take notice. Quite apparent by the new meteorite dial ROLEX. Unfortunately in my opinion simply taking design cues from microbrands isn’t enough to fill the void of that lost passion.

That passion made me take notice of the Italian company Memphis Belle Watches. Their Heritage line specifically is what caught my eye. (Alessandro provided the history of Memphis Belle which is posted at the end of the review. The “cushion” style case is a wonderful historic nod to those early Italian days of watch making. Alex’s design decisions on the Heritage watch definitely aren’t a mistake. The 46mm CuSn8 bronze “cushion” style case is such a comfortable size that allows room for some nice details. The short curved lugs assist in the everyday wearability of the Heritage, keeping it from any overhang on my 7 1/4″ wrist. If I wasn’t so obsessed with watches, I would easily forget that I was even wearing a watch. It makes me chuckle to hear grown men complain about the weight of a watch. If you are complaining that a watch is too heavy, you surely need to get your ass to the gym.🤷🏻‍♂️ The profile of the Heritage has some serious that are cushion deliciousness and are a great nod to the early days of Italian dive watches. The drilled lugs are a welcome function driven design detail. Ease of strap change and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, aka win-win set up.

As you can see in the pic above, the crown features one of my personal favorite images, a skull. The Buddhism viewpoint of a skull is my personal favorite and if you are interested I highly recommend reading more about it. Also while you are researching, I also recommend researching the Flottiglia Mas skull logo that is found throughout the Heritage watch(Case back, crown, dial). We know that the crown looks good, but how does it function? Function is very important and the crown functions without issue. Easy to grip, easy to operate. Now with the fixed bezel there’s no function to worry about but the design deserves mention. The raised letters and numbers on the bezel are done with absolute precision. They are the perfect breeding grounds for some beautiful patina as you can see in the picture below this paragraph. “Remember to dare” A great reminder to not allow yourself to fall into that dreadful daily routine which never changes, never challenges, never inspires……..

I definitely find myself gravitating towards those things that I know that I like and that I know that I am comfortable with, matte black dials are one of my comfortable happy places. Taking the “remember to dare” into a smaller account, I dared to go outside my comfort zone by choosing the textured brown dial. This was a choice I haven’t regretted once. The color of the dial plays so well off of the color of the blue-green patina and the darkened bronze. I also think that the details on the dial all work together brilliantly to add to that old, underwater treasure feel that the Heritage Predator watch encompasses. I see some dials that are just so flat, void of detail of depth, but this dial definitely doesn’t suffer from that. The texture and the coloring of this dial start the depth process for this dial. The off white/cream colored markers are slightly raised adding another layer of depth. I like the choice of Memphis Belle’s decision to go with a California dial for the Heritage watch. While on this love fest, I want to mention that I love the skull logo both in the light and in the dark! Yes that’s right, the skull received that same lume treatment as the markers and the hands.

The two hands on the dial are driven by a trialed and true engine ETA 2824-2. Nuff said. The Heritage has a nice depth rating of 300m of water resistant insurance. The Heritage possesses a great deal of Italian charm that is achievable without hurting the wallet like something from Ennebi, Panerai, vintage Anonimo, would. I was very impressed with the quality of this watch. The Heritage definitely has a place amongst my Italian watch collection because of it’s respect it pays to the past Italian watch makers yet Memphis Belle infused it with their own DNA which is done in a classy not gimmicky manner. I personally have found my tastes evolving and I now prefer my without a rotating bezel. How can a dive watch not have a rotating bezel? Well before you drink more Rolex flavored Kool-Aid, allow me to answer. I read an article about the Italian frogmen from the 1950’s and how their missions where mostly done in shallow waters approximately 6 meters of depth, carrying small oxygen tanks, and a breathing device that is uses treated air to prevent carbon dioxide retention. These shallow missions did not require decompression stops(as required by deep dives), therefore there’s not a need for a rotating bezel.

I definitely recommend the Heritage watch to those looking for that charm of Italian watches of yesteryear, but are on a budget. I would love to own a pre-public Panerai watch, but unfortunately I don’t have the depth of wallet to buy one at auction. (Panerai did not sell their watches to the public until 1993) The Heritage is executed extremely well both in terms of quality and in terms of overall design. If I had a say in the design of this watch I would have added a more oversized crown and slightly wider hands. But that is just catering to my own personal preferences. Memphis Belle watches are definitely worth a second look. I purchased my watch from my brother and friend Val from

Valentino Baielli Fine Watches

https://www.memphisbellewatches.com

Alessandro Roman, born in Genoa, but of Friulian origins.

What was your earliest memory of watches that influenced you?

“Since I was very young I was used to breathing the air of time – tells Roman, class’ 68, one of the two founders of Memphis Belle – I remember that the first toy was an alarm clock that I kept near the bed, and I learned to take it apart and reassemble it. Then growing up I felt the desire to change, to try other roads, I wanted to be a cook. It was my brother Massimo, who called me back to order, I did a watch-making high school in Switzerland, the Crenchen Wosp. An excellent base: in the morning we did theory and in the afternoon we went to practice “.

What made you decide to go into the business solo?

“In ’98, my historical partner Giovanni Panucci and I decide to found Memphis Belle, from the name of the historic plane, a legendary B-17 that in 1943 carried out 25 war missions without suffering losses, nicknamed the Flying Fortress . We wanted to make a high-end super niche product for the military sector in Genoa; a challenge that friends and relatives considered a bit crazy, but we were convinced.”

What was the toughest part for you during your years in the watch industry?

As soon as we were born we went to Switzerland using almost all our initial investment, about 30 million lira to buy 500 cases. We realized only after they were without movement, that is, the engine was missing, and was no longer on the market.”

Any features that you are particularly proud of in your watches?

“We use the same materials used for the hulls of submarines and spaceships, such as zero-rate oxidation steel or pure grade 2 titanium. We need to make resistant, amagnetic, and light watches. In fact, during the Frecce Tricolori acrobatics, due to the pressure, the perception of the weight of the watch also increases by 10 times. We use only scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, with anti-reflective coating, excellent for pilots.

What sectors of the military that use your watches?

“Aeronautica, Esercito and soon the Navy, from Folgore to Bersaglieri, from Gis to Nocs, we cover land, sea and sky. We are also very attentive to design.

How many watches does Memphis Belle produce a year?

We produce from 15 to 20 thousand pieces a year, today we have sold around 870,000 pieces in 21 years of history.

Of those watches produced what percentage are exported?

“About 20%, especially in Europe, Asia, and the USA.”

Any plans for future projects apart from watches?

“Open a clothing line with our brand, to bring military style into everyday life. For a company of our size it is impossible to remain still, but you have to handle everything with extreme caution, in short it is difficult to keep up with time, but it is part of our job.”

Advertisements

Watch Review: Unity Black Pearl prototype

I find that affordable diver’s that have their own personality make for great daily wearers/beater watches. They are the perfect watch for those who don’t cry with that first scratch or with that inevitable door knob/door frame bang. These watches are typically durable, typically are able to make seamless transitions between settings and typically are comfortable to wear. They definitely fall into that no muss no fuss category in my opinion. Today I am going to explore the Black Pearl prototype dive watch from Unity Watches.

The 43mm x 14mm Black Pearl falls into the middle of most size preferences of the current watch wearing community. It’s a pretty universal size in my opinion. Maybe it’s just me, but the Black Pearl initially appears smaller that it’s dimensions. This piece will definitely fit under a long sleeve shirt cuff. The relatively short lugs help keep the Black Pearl balanced and centered on the wrist. The 300 meter diver has an AISI 316L combination finish of brushed and polished. The bezel is also identical to the case in terms of material and finish. The bezel operation will feature unidirectional rotating action on the production pieces. The bezel also features diver friendly lume on the faux pearl and on the bezel markers. Obviously comes in handy while diving and in every day use when in low-light environments/situations. I personally prefer that companies treat the bezel markers with lume.

Before moving onto the caseback on the Black Pearl, I want to mention the screw down crown. The crown features the Unity logo which is done with a deep engraving adding a nice touch of design detail to the profile of the cushion case. The crown can be easily gripped thanks to the deep gear toothed edges allowing you to unscrew/screw/operate with fluidity. The screw down caseback is pretty badass in my opinion. Old school diving helmet, tridents, sharks, Sailor Jerry goodness decorates this caseback. ‘Born to Dive” is also engraved which is a simple but old school brilliant detail.

Simple, legible and function, that sums up the dial quite well. Set on a black backdrop which is appropriate for the Black Pearl. The dial features lume treated applied markers which are a combination of circles and rectangles. The chapter ring is tied in nicely with the large white minute numerals and line markers. One detail that I could live without is the date window. Some love that detail on their watch and some hate it. 🤷🏻‍♂️ A detail that I do love on this dial is an important one in my opinion, a detail that can make or all too often break the deal for me. That detail/s being the hands. Unity has done a fantastic job selecting the right size and shape for the Black Pearls hand set.

The Black Pearl is a great little diver that has a quality designed case, a simple legible dial and a tough movement. What do I like about this watch that makes me think it’s a good recommendation? It has a reliable movement, great legibility in all environments, inspired caseback, and a nice designed case. All these details in my opinion also justify the affordable $650 price tag. The Black Pearl held up well during my review especially wear it was designed for, the water, but more importantly for most the Black Pearl kicked ass in every day life. Indoors and outdoors. The campaign is live on Kickstarter right now which you can checkout by clicking on the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1542410278/black-pearl-300-meters-the-definitive-dive-watch?ref=project_build

Thanks for reading my friends.

BLACK PEARL 300 METERS

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

AT UNITY WE`VE DEVELOPED A NEW DESIGN, OUR FIRST DIVING WATCH “BLACK PEARL” 300 METERS. BASED ON A SIMPLE AND FUNCTIONAL WATCH CONCEPT FULL OF DETAILS AND WELL DONE AND ACTUAL DESIGN. WITH 43mm OF DIAMETER & 45mm LENGTH BETWEEN SCREW BARS THE RESULT IS A WATCH VERY EASY TO WEAR, SUITABLE FOR ALL KIND OF WRIST.

CASE

CASE MECHANIZED FROM SATINLESS STEAL. AISI 316L WITH BRUSHED AND POLISHED FINISHED. DIAMETER 43 mm / LENGTH LUG to LUG 51mm / BETWEEN SCREW BARS 45mm / THICKNESS 14mm INCLUDING CRYSTAL.

BEZEL

BEZEL MECHANIZED FROM STAINLESS STEEL AISI  316L WITH BRUSHED AND POLISHED FINISHED. PEARL AT 12 HOURS WITH WHITE LUMONIVA. MARKS IN BLACK COLOUR FULL OF WHITE LUMINOVA.

BACK CASE

BACK CASE MECHANIZED FROM STAINLESS STEEL AISI 316L WITH BRUSHED FINISHED.

CROWN

POSITION AT 4 HOURS. STAINLESS STEAL SCREW CROWN WITH TOOTHED SURFACE AND BRUSHED FINISHED. WATERPROOF 300 METERS.

AUTOMATIC MOVEMENT

AUTOMATIC MECHANICAL MOVEMENT ETA 2824-2, CALIBER 11 1/2. OSCILLATION FREQUENCY 28800 A/h. SWISS MADE.

DIAL

BLACK BRILLIANT BACKGROUND WITH ROUND APPLIED INDEXS WITH POLISHED FRAME & FULL WITH WHITE SUPER LUMINOVA. WINDOW DATE AT THREE HOURS. APPLIED LOGO DETAIL.

SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL

FLAT SAPPHIRE CRYSTAL WITH ANTIGLARE COATING. THICKNESS 2mm.

HANDS H&M

H&M STEEL HANDS WITH RODHIUM BATH & MINUTES WITH RED FRAME BOTH WITH C1 LUMINOVA. SECONDS HAND WITH RED TIP AND C1 LUMINOVA.

STRAP

TWO STRAPS; SOLID METAL BAND WITH MATTE FINISHING & BLACK CANVAS WITH RED LEATHER BASE. WIDTH  22 MM. BUCKLES WITH ENGRAVINGS.

Watch Review: Kaventsmann Hadal II

How do you choose your next watch to buy? Do you base it on the brand? Perhaps your decisions are based on certain specifics on design, such as case material, case size, bezel (ceramic insert, lume, ect) For me personally I base it on the overall physical design. As many of you know my personal preference tends to go towards those unique pieces, those outside of the box thinking types. Of course there are some traditional designs that I do enjoy still as well, rare but I do. There is definitely a love affair that I have with bronze. As I have surely mentioned in the past, what I truly appreciate about bronze is that it doesn’t like to stay stagnant in it’s life. This is something that I have come to put into motion into my everyday life. In my opinion no other material used for a watch case ages as beautifully as bronze do. Even scratches are a thing of beauty on a bronze case. Then the real thing of beauty comes through, patina, bronze’s life partner. Patina is natural beauty at its absolute best which adds a depth of character to a watch case that no other material can even come close to.

Today’s bronze bombshell is no other than the Hadal II handmade awesomeness from the masters at Kaventsmann. For those of you unfamiliar with Kaventsmann, here is a bit of information about them from their website: Kaventsmann was founded by maverick watchmaker Michael Fernandez who started his new venture of creating his own watch in a small garage.

The watches are entirely handmade in Berlin Germany, the work of just one man wanting to hand build a watch for his father’s birthday.

While studying engineering & construction technology he started to build watches in 2011.

His first watch model in 2011 the “Bathyal” made of Bronze CuSn8 passed a pressure-test of 280bar.

In 2012 he developed the deepest dive-watch made of Aluminium with a pressure resistance of 300bar. This prototype was also known as C-4 proofed watch, it was tested by some guys in Fort Bragg.

In March 2017 we passed a pressure test up to 1200bar /12000m /39370ft with our Kaventsmann HADAL II Bronze, the deepest Bronze watch ever.

In September 2017 we passed the 2nd pressure test to 1200bar , this time with a watchcase completely made of high strength aluminum, the deepest Aluminum watch ever.

In German, ‘Kaventsmann’ is a term used colloquially to describe hefty objects. It is also used to describe rogue waves, relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves that occur far out at sea.

Since 2017 Immelmann and Kaventsmann produce together in one workshop to put their knowledge together.

Only a few watches leave the workshop each month.

The Hadal II has a commanding presence as soon as you lay your hands and eyes upon it allowing a quick understanding why it holds the record for deepest diving bronze watch at 1200 bar. I will save some of you time right here, right now, if you are one of those people who put your watch buying decision on the size of a watch, you can stop reading and move on to save yourself some time. If you admire handmade horological creations that follow a personal individualized journey, then please keep reading. Everyone can buy what speaks to them by all means, but my reviews for with those like myself who appreciate the unique, small brands that still have that passion for creating unique pieces, sharing that horological love, unlike the big brands that the soul drive is for the almighty dollar.

The Hadal II is a bronze beauty and beast measuring an impressive 49mm x 25mm. Like anything in life there are those negative stubborn people who actively choose to live a sad existence just to troll while wearing their horse blinders, with the belief that think simply buying a watch is contributing something positive to this hobby and that bashing anything that they don’t like is a real contribution. For you open-minded folks who like to expand their horological palate and appreciate listening to other things besides their own voice let us continue exploring the Hadal II together, shall we?

The main part of the case on the Hadal II is a handworked solid piece of bronze. The caseback is stainless steel and is secured by several hex nuts creating a tight seal. Like the case itself, the caseback is also quite clean, void of unnecessary jibber jabber. I am definitely a sucker for an oversized screw down crown so of course the Hadal II crown is amazing in my opinion. My only complaint about the crown is when it’s fully open it has a bit more wiggle/wobble that I prefer my crowns to have. Other than the extra play, the crown is extremely easy to grip and operates smoothly for winding/time setting. Kaventsmann was definitely mindful when designing this watch as evidenced by the position and placement of the crown. This piece is remarkably balanced in terms of how it wears with comfort despite it’s size and weight. Even with the location of the crown Kaventsmann was still conscientious of protection with the crown guard and lug as the active protectors. The shortening of the drilled lugs allowed the Hadal II to sit well on my wrist without much overhang.

The massively thick tempered domed plexiglas crystal gives a great porthole view into the Hadal’s dial. The crystal is amazing without a doubt but the dial is even more awe-inducing. Typically blue is not my first choice of a dial color but this blue works extremely well on this piece. The sandwich style just adds to my personal appeal that attracts me to this piece. The style gives depth and the orange color of the bottom portion of the sandwich looks like rust. That rust color emanates an unmistakable sunken ship soulfulness. The raw brushed minute and hour hands truly accentuate that feel and the shape/size fit this dial unbelievably well. The length of all three hands meets my personal approval which allows optimal dial legibility and hitting all their designated positions also aides in functional timing. Legibility/functional timing can be done with ease in all environments, lighting situations and wrist angles.

The Hadal II is a fantastic horological beast in every way. This watch definitely had adopted the mantra of “go big or go home!” The German craftsmanship can be easily found throughout the Hadal II. Kaventsmann created the Hadal for those of you who have an obsession with deep diving watches. Theses watched are very rare with only 10 of each variant made and as you would expect with a quality handmade piece price is also a factor. If you are unable to find one on the secondary market, head over to Kaventsmann website as the new Triggerfish watch is up for preorder. Yes the crown stabilization could be improved upon, but let your mind be eased by the lifetime warranty that Kaventsmann watches hold.

Strap: made of AK47 assault rifle leather sling, manufactured in Hungary…

Best history of Dobra straps from the master himself.

Used by a great warrior, an ex USMC, now special commando forces, the guy who gave me the Kaventsmann Acanthurus and his Zlatoust Diver as a gift to show me how much is appreciating my straps…

So a sling that came from war and returned to war after being transformed in a strap… A strap that is not afraid of water, sweat and blood… A strap that will never let you down in the most rough situation…

The brown leather strap in the pictures are that creation from Dobra. It’s one of the best made straps that I have ever owned. Handmade with hand tools, no fancy pretty boy machines here. 8mm thick, yet this strap is ridiculously comfortable on the wrist. It was tested in all environments from below zero temperatures, around water, 24 plus continuous wear on my wrist at work, at play (hiking, fishing, working out) Dobra’s work is so important to him that his straps carry the weight of a lifetime warranty. He is a true artist and a real life badass.

Thanks to Michael for creating these beautiful beasts of the deep! Thanks to Dobra Strap’s for the badass custom AK-47 strap.

Thank you all for reading.

http://kaventsmann-uhren.de

Badass skull ring from

http://intothefirejewelry.com

KAVENTSMANN Hadal II 1200 Bar

HANDMADE IN GERMANY

CASE – BRONZE

MOVEMENT – AUTOMATIC ETA 2824

DIAL – Royal Blue with Orange markers

CASE BACK – STEEL WITH INSCRIPTION

BEZEL – FIXED

CROWN – SCREW DOWN

CRYSTAL – TEMPERED DOMED PLEXIGLAS 15mm thick

LUGS – 24MM

WATER RESISTANCE – 1200 bar

DIMENSIONS – 49mm X 25mm THICK NOT INCLUDING CROWN, CRYSTAL OR LUGS

Watch Review: Schaumburg Viperfish

The Breitling Seawolf Avenger was the watch RESPONSABLE for opening my eyes to the world of dive watches. Of course I had a fondness of dive watches before, but the Avenger was definitely a world opening experience. I can still remember the feeling of holding it’s hefty stainless steel case in my hand. As I dove deeper into the world of dive watches I discovered all kinds of mystifying watches, I also discovered how many clones of dive watches. Quite a dead sea fille with unimaginative, uninspired rubbish. Even the big players in the watch world just rehash old designs over and over and over. I find myself becoming bored with the same crap dished out year after year with the almost unnoticeable changes that companies boast about at Basel each year. That is why when Shaumburg Watches explained to me their idea for a new dive watch, that instantly captured my attention and of course my interest! I must admit my friends that I was split down the middle though, 50% intrigued and 50% hesitant. Other thoughts and feelings that came to mind such as, worried, unsure……

Anything out of the norm intrigues me more so than ever this year which made me want to see this piece in person ASAP. But the other 50% was……If you look at the first pictures within this review maybe you may already know what my 50% hesitation was about. In case you don’t know, I will gladly explain. The skeleton dial was what initially caused the hesitation to swirl like a whirlpool within my head when Schaumburg told me their plans. We all know that I can’t stand a sapphire crystal exhibition case back on a diver, so when the information presented that the experience will now be on the Viperfish’s dial I wasn’t keen on this design choice. But you say, “Stephen you tell us all the time that different is a good thing”, and you are definitely right to want to throw that into my face like a cream pie.

Schaumburg had a few magic tricks up their sleeves, not gaudy like a certain mind freak but more liKe tongue in cheek Penn and Teller style. What Schaumburg did with their dial is definitely different, but they also insured that they gave us the wearer something that is worth looking at. They didn’t just give an off the shelf movement with nothing “pretty” to look at. I never understood the point when companies boast about having an exhibition case back but just use an off the shelf movement with nothing done to it. What’s the point right? The whole point in my opinion of the crystal peering “window” is to give you something interesting to look at. This is what Schaumburg’s achievement was here, which in my opinion was done well. Schaumburg added a real nice pallet of color on the movement which begins nicely smack in the center. The red immediately pulls the eye into the dial and into the movement. I admit that watching the movement in action did remind me of the magic of my grandfather’s pocket watch. That pocket watch was the start of my fascination with watches. So having that reminder here on the Viperfish held an extra bit of personal magic for me.

Ok I will end the trip down memory lane here for all of you interested in the quality and execution of this watch. The moderately 45mm x 14.8mm PVD steel case has nice heft to it where it doesn’t feel cheap yet still remains comfortable on the wrist. The matte black sandblasted finish gives the case a magnificent appearance to the Viperfish. In my opinion it creates the perfect set up for allowing the dial to be the center of attention. You may wonder why this model is named the Viperfish. Well, use the picture below as a clue why and also use the Viperfish itself for another clue. This feature was extremely pleasing to the eyes at night, which was so relaxing to watch the beating heart with a soft glow. That beautiful glow is extended onto the hands of the Viperfish with the center of the minute & hour hand that is coated with Superluminova and bordered with brushed steel. Schaumburg insured dial legibility in low lit environments by also coating the generous sized markers and on the lollipop style second hand. After all this is a dive watch so underwater legibility is important to those you will actually dive with this watch.

The case on the Viperfish has some subtle details that cannot go without mentioning here within this review. Some examples of these details I am referring to can be found on the lugs. The PVD case does a fantastic job of hiding these details which made me want to spend more time examining this watch. As I spent more time with this watch the details began to reveal themselves slowly. At first glance the lugs reminded me of the sexy fenders from a 34’ Studebaker with their distinctive curvature and openness adding to the side profile beauty of the Viperfish. The torque screws that assist in holding the lugs in place are an excellent example of Schaumburg’s conscious effort to go up and beyond in the execution of engineering mindfulness. I want to point out another example of this mindfulness, located at the screw down crown a there is smaller torque screw assisting in holding the crown guard in place. These details add in the overall aesthetics of the Viperfish, but more importantly they add strength reinforcement.

This is what I am talking about when I say that I love when companies think outside of the box when designing watches. I don’t review watches that are intended for the great masses, I review watches that are geared for those who appreciate the different. If you are looking for a German made quality dive watch that isn’t a clone/homage/tired design, then the Viperfish may be the watch you are looking for. Everything on this watch not only looks great, but also functions without fail, each detail big or small is purpose driven. The Viperfish wasn’t drawn up over night, nor was it inspired by another watch, it is a well planned out unique design. Some very sad and very unhappy people recently pointed out to me that all my reviews are positive in nature and why don’t I ever give a bad review. The answer is quite simple, I don’t review uninspiring watches, nor do I review watches that are crap. Why waste my time or your time on those watches? In order to create, one needs to be inspired, at least that is how I work. Of course this is the same group of unhappy individuals that also said there are too many pictures in my reviews and that the pictures are over staged. Last time I checked, a watch review should have a lot of pictures and they should be well planned out. Who wants a review with limited shitty pictures? Well besides the mentioned sad individuals.

The Viperfish exceeded my expectations of design because I honestly didn’t think that a skeleton dial was going to interest me, especially on a dive watch. I was pleasantly wrong and that’s why I love having an open mind. Open mindfulness allows you to see the world in a beautiful and positive light. The Viperfish bezel is probably my favorite detail on this watch. It functions with smooth fluidity but it also looks killer. I love the textured detailing and I love where the brushed stainless steel meets the black PVD. Absolutely lovely. The SW-20AS movement keeps excellent time in all positions, during all my indoor and all my outdoor activities and it also handled below zero temperatures. It is beautiful and it is badass, just like the Viperfish itself.

Thank you so much for reading.

A very heartfelt thank you goes to Schaumburg for the honor of this review and for creating watches that inspire.

Specifications

* Case: PVD steel, matt sandblasted, Case back covered with Superluminova

* Case diameter: 45 mm, hight: 14,8 mm

* Water resistance: 500m / 50atm

* Sapphire crystal with AR coating

* Bezel dot: ceramic superluminova

* Base movement: automatic SW-20AS,skeletonized, red minute wheel and rotor

* Function: hour, minute, second, date,

* Strap: hightech & leather

* Option: steel bracelet

AQM 5 ViperFish

https://youtu.be/_ax2Vp77hA0

Inspired by the Viperfish the bizarre noctilucent predator of the deep sea. A diver’s watch that shows how she works during the day or night over or under water.We asked ourselves, the AQM 5 should just be a diver’s watch. The mainstream market for diving watches is large but often lacking in creativity. Why not a diver’s watch that opens your heart to the beholder. A diver’s watch that shows how she works during the day or night over or under water. The AQM 5 ViperFish has a skeletonized movement that has been perlated and rhodium plated. The movement is backlit by the Superluminova-coated caseback at night. Individual elements such as the hour wheel and the inside of the rotor have been red coated. So you see through the sapphire crystal as the rotor permanently rotates its rounds. Looking at the AQM 5 on your arm is an experience that almost makes you forget the time to read.

Watch Review: Zoid Zoomeister

I was hanging out with my kids at a local bookstore last weekend. Kids being kids(myself included), we all wanted to look through the toy section. I recently got my kids into Dragon Ball Z, which started after I took the to see the Brolly movie. As we strolled through the toy section I began to realize how many of the “new toys” there were from movies/cartoons/comics that I loved as a kid. Seeing these toys of course made me feel extremely nostalgic but it was the joy in my kids eyes that was the most awesome part of this trip. Reliving my childhood through their eyes cannot be explained in words. There was a gigantic lego Voltron, Star Wars models, Marvel/DC super heroes, classic movie monsters, Dragon Ball, Astroboy, Transformers………My oldest son picked out a Rubiks cube and my youngest son picked out a Gundam robot. It was the Gundam robot that made me realize something about today’s review watch which I will elaborate more on throughout this review.

The unique Zoomeister/ Blue from Zoid arrived on my doorstep and as soon as I opened the box I was instantly delighted at what I saw. The design is completely different from anything else that I have reviewed which of course immediately grabbed my attention and interest. For starters, the majority of the case is made up of crystal which allows you to view the inner workings of this watch from all different angles. Now Zoid inspiration for the Zoomeister is automotive inspired, but my personal interpretation of this watch is rather more of a futuristic robot inspiration. Voltron, Gundam, Soul of Chogokin, are just some of the inspiration I take from my interpretation of the Zoomeister. Now this is a large rectangular shaped case but the lug design and crown placement allow the Zoomeister to wear much smaller than the (48mm x 42mm, Case thickness: 9mm..)As you can see in the pictures the crown in located above the 12 o’clock position saving space and saving from any discomfort on the back wrist/hand.

I also like how Zoid has the lugs cut into the strap itself, and secured it with a functionally strong screw bar and an aesthetically cool oversized screw-head. You can see these sort of examples throughout this piece, which makes this Zoid’s best piece to date in my opinion. I love the details found on the inside of it’s crystal case. In each of the four corners there are piston/shock absorber style stainless steel securing pins. These are definitely some of those details that reminds me more of the oversized robots of my childhood and not that of automotive inspired. The same can be said for the cut outs in the textured dial which allow you to view sections of the automatic miyota movement. The colors on this dial, along with the texture and layers give an amazing amount of depth to the dial. This is where I truly came to appreciate the majority of this case being made of crystal which allowed me to really view this dial and all of the inner workings of this watch.

I love the blade style hour and minute hands along with the added skeletonized style of the lume treatment. The orange second hand is also beautifully done in length, shape, color and overall design. The cut outs on the second hand really make it a nice focal point on the dial. I also want to mention how this hand color matches the orange accents on this dial which are located not only at the hour markers, but also on the Zoid name & logo internally but also externally on the strap. Zoid did an absolute fantastic job of matching the colors throughout this piece. I can appreciate the uniqueness of this watch and I definitely applaud Zoid for going the individuality route, instead of blindly following the masses of watch clones out there. I personally will always be attracted to the out of the box style choices. I definitely understand why the highly popular and expensive brands don’t change the looks of their watches over years and years. Do I agree with it? No, but based on looks alone, the unique watch will always get my vote. A purist I am not.

Zoid’s limited edition of just 18 Zoomeister blue is an excellent unique piece that was made for the individual who wants something different. I personally don’t have any issues with someone who loves the traditional or with the companies that also go that design route. I simply don’t buy them. It’s that easy. Like anything, there are always those negative individuals that will insult brands and designs like the Zoomeister for being different, unique, out of the ordinary. My reviews aren’t meant for those individuals nor are these styles of watches. Save the negative breath, and simply move on. The world already has enough negative winds blowing throughout it, don’t add to it.

The Zoomeister is a great watch that is very well made in terms of overall finishing/completeness of the details. Like I mentioned earlier, this is Zoid’s best work up to date. The finish and quality on this watch exceeded my expectations. I love the functionality of the oversized crown, strap/lug designs and I love the aesthetics that give this watch it’s wrist presence. It’s just a fun watch to wear. For those individuals that share my love of the unique, this just may be the watch you have been looking for. It’s packed full of wonderful little details internally and externally. It’s one of those watches that you will find yourself staring at your wrist throughout the day, and still not be aware of the actual time.

https://zoidhours.com/collections/zoomeister/products/zoomeister-blue

Watch Review: Ocean Crawler Core Diver

What’s your 2019 gonna be? I know what my focus is, positivity. I have witnessed so much negativity, anger and hate in this hobby of ours. It is sad enough that the media focus is mostly negative, but to face it in our “escape from reality” is quite upsetting. In the past I would react to negative comments/posts with anger and during some reflection I realized something. By responding with anger I am no better than the original source of the negativity. Every year I try to grow and better myself just as I try to better my blog here. I want my experience and my readers experience to be a positive one. I try to see the beauty in everything and using this method has not only helped me overcome the demons of my past but it also has helped me realize how much more beauty and positivity there is in this world. Much more than the negative ugliness that receives undeserving attention. I have had so much positive experiences with Ocean Crawler watch owner Christian that is so inspiring. The positive focus of his brand is very apparent in each of his watch designs. The Core Diver that we will be exploring together today is packed full of diving charm.

Ocean Crawlers Core Diver case comes in at a size that I can really appreciate, 44mm x 15.6mm thick, L2L 50mm and a lug with of 22mm. I say a size that I can appreciate because it has a good heft to it that won’t make me feel hesitant to use it as it was intended to be used for, reliable in the field dive watch. Now just because it has a large, brushed finished stainless steel case doesn’t make it immediately reliable. There has to be other details that come into play to earn the title of a reliable dive watch. I know when I am diving or just in the water relaxing there are certain details that are a must for me.

One of those details being is that a bezel must be easy to grip, easy to operate, and easy to read. The Core Divers bezel was very easy to grip with wet hands while I was in the water and out of the water. The bezel has a combination of eye shaped notches and line marks on it that act as both aesthetic details and as functional details. Gripping the bezel to operate its precision 120 unidirectional clicks is done without fail no matter what environmental conditions you are in. The same can be said for whatever the lighting may be because the sapphire crystal bezel has BGW9 markers that make it easy to read in low-lit and dark environments. I mentioned its precision clicks and by precision I mean no extra play in this bezel.

A reliable dive watch must also have a worthy crown as well. My definition of a worthy crown is that it must be larger enough to grip with gloves on, must have easy to grip edges and it must be a screw down operating crown. First of all I have to say that I love the domed shape on the Core Divers crown. Since I went to aesthetic details first, I will continue to make mention of these details by stating the crown is also signed with an engraved Ocean Crawler logo and has gear/cog style edges. That last mentioned detail not only looks good but also lends a helping hand in terms of actual function. Like the bezel, the crown is easy to grip and easy to operate. I like the clean look of the crown side of the Core Divers case because of it having no crown guards. Located on the opposite side of the case is an escape valve to help protect the watch when in the pressure building water depths.

On the top of the case you are protected by a 4mm thick sapphire crystal (AR treated) and on the bottom of the case is a solid screw down caseback. The vintage inspired shape of the case allows the Core Diver to wear comfortably on the wrist and it also allows for it to wear smaller. The short lugs cut back on wrist over hang and the mesh stainless steel bracelet is extremely comfortably. I was really surprised on how I found the mesh pleasing in both function and aesthetics. It helps balance out the way the Core Diver how the watch wears by cutting back of potential of becoming top-heavy. I’m not typically a fan of how mesh bracelets look when I see them in pictures but seeing the Core Diver on one in person really looks nice.

There’s something so incredibly magical about the water and how the shades of blue appears to change so easily, that magic has been captured by the sunburst blue dial on this Core Diver. So much magic in fact that I found myself playing with my wrist in all different lighting. The hands, with their orange borders and 7 layers of BGW9 lume guarantees optimal legibility in all lighting situations and in all weather conditions. The applied markers and bezel insert also are received that same lume treatment. I personally think that placing a date window at 6 o’clock is more aesthetically pleasing if you must have a date window on a watch. Even more aesthetically pleasing on the Core Diver because it is a round date window. I would love to see companies stepping it up on date windows though. In the case of the Core Diver, having a blue date wheel with orange numerals would look fantastic in my opinion. I like Christian’s design choice here by the fact that his Core Divers date window didn’t eliminate the 6 o’clock marker. It helped maintain a nice balance to his dial here. I also like the depth on the Core Divers dial that is created by the laid silver minute track and the applied markers that are both set against the blue ocean depth style dial.

Someone posted a question on one of my Facebook posts questioning what does testing a dive watch in cold weather have to do with a dive watch? My response basically was this: in my experience in my years of collecting watches, reviewing watches and as an active member in the watch community, I would say that maybe 1 to 5 percent of people who buy dive watches, actually use them to dive with. Yes I do take my watches diving to test them, not for depth testing but for legibility, durability, ect. I also like to see how they handle themselves in extreme weather conditions, because if they hold up and perform well in these conditions, they are definitely going to hold up for guys who buy watches for every day use. No, I am not saying that I am better than anyone because I test my review watches to the extremes, I do it for the people so that they have peace of mind knowing that their watch isn’t going to fail them when they use them for the important things that they purchased the watch to do. Whether it is for office use, outdoors use or weekend play use. The Core Diver easily handled -30 F temperatures for 24 hours without fail.

Christian makes sure that each of his watches are delivered with quality intact. After multiple reviews I have done on his watches, I absolutely recommend them to anyone who is looking for an affordable, limited edition dive watch that not only looks great on the wrist, wears great on the wrist but most importantly functions great without fail.

Thanks for sharing my obsession and passion for watches.

Thank you Christian for making such awesome watches.

From https://www.oceancrawler.com/collections/frontpage/products/ocean-crawler-core-diver-blue-orange

• True water resistance to 2000 feet or 600 meters

• All Sapphire Crystal (including crystal and bezel)

• 316L Stainless steel case with brushed finishes

• Automatic, precise diver watch – no batteries needed. Watch winds itself with the movement of your wrist.

• Thick sapphire crystal glass with 4.0mm thickness. An anti-reflective coating is applied to the glass to prevent any reflection under water.

• Guaranteed to keep precise time for at least 5 years.

 

Technical Specs:

• Case Diameter (excluding crown): 44mm

• Case Thickness: 15.6mm, Lug-To-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm

• Case Material: 316L Stainless steel

• Bezel: Unidirectional Rotating Sapphire Bezel with 120 Clicks and BGW9 Markers

• Movement: Swiss Made Selitta Sw-200

• Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour

• Water Resistance: 600 meters, 2000-feet or 60 ATM

• Power Reserve: 40 hours

 

Watch Review: Strumento Macchinista Ocean Bomber II

A brand new year is upon us and it’s a start of a new journey for me both in my personal life and in my watch reviewing life. I had a lot of time to self reflect and to grow. I want my personal growth to carryover into my watch review/work. It’s very important to me to continue and move forward without staying stagnant. This year I am focusing on quality over quantity as I enter my 6th year of my blog. I am focused on watches that inspire me on a multitude of levels, and today’s watch is exactly what I am talking about. Today’s watch encompasses a passion directly from the watchmaker’s hand infused into all aspects of this watch, the Ocean Bomber II.

Strumento Macchinista is a company that is very inspiring to me because I can relate quite a bit with the man behind the brand. A one man operation that is very enthusiastic and passionate about watches and what is put out there. Nirut’s passion is apparent in every aspect of the Ocean Bomber II. The large stainless steel case is nothing short of awesome in terms of sheer size and overall execution. The wide bezel makes that initial statement straight out of the box.

If I were to try to make the Ocean Bomber even more awesome, I would have filled the arrow on the bezel with luminous material. This would have added more functionality and aesthetics to this bezel. As for the actual mechanics of this bezel rotation, it rotates extremely well with extremely smooth action and with precision. There is absolutely no extra play and the smooth ratcheting is “music to the ears”.

I am pleased that the bezel is easy to grip which can be associated with the large size of the bezel and the edges that the fingers grasp nicely. I am definitely a bezel-bater, I can’t help but to play with my watch bezel. So satisfying. I really like the thinner style of the numerals on the bezel which sit well on the brushed stainless steel wide bezel.

The OB II has a large stainless steel case with full brushed finish. Not a bit of polish on this case which is how I prefer a finish on a watch like this. This case is a serious piece of metal. I really like Nirut’s choice to have the lugs angle sharply down and having it solid stainless steel across keeping the lugs on the short side. Keeping the lugs short definitely cuts back on wrist overhang, especially for those with smaller wrists.

The hidden lug style on the OB-2 gives a more unique profile to the watch itself. How can these lugs get any better? Well if they were drilled of course and it just so happens that these lugs are drilled. The large screw down crown certainly keeps consistent with the rest of this watch. Consistent because the crown is easy to grip, easy to operate, all with extreme smoothness. Normally I’d nit pick about an unsigned crown, but the OB II simplicity adds to the sterile beauty of this piece. This sterile beauty is also carried out onto the screw down case back, “OB-2 No. 100.” Simplistic and yet fuckin beautiful.

The dial definitely doesn’t disappoint on the OB II. That simplistic beauty shines on with this dial as well. The hands are so killer. In my opinion the shape, size and color were nailed by Nirut. The long, yellow second hand definitely gets noticed and with deserved attention. The unique elongated triangular shape is what makes this hand so perfect. It would have been perfection personified if it had some lume treatment added, but the lack of lume there is definitely made up for on the minute and hour hand. These hands glow bright. The shape and color of each hand set against the matte black dial adds to the great legibility of the OB II. The wide, squared shape of the hour hand looks fantastic, as does the arrow tip of the minute hand. Consistency is a theme that carries the OB II from average diver to something special in my opinion. The application of the markers are done with precision and being set inside of the gray minute track brings this dial into a beautiful finished execution. The dial text is kept to a nice minimum as well as you can see by the pics.

The OB II is a prime example of what is nice about a watch that is produced by a nano-brand The number of watches produced is small and typically the watch maker does the quality control allowing for a damn near perfect watch experience. This is no fluke either. This is my second review of one of Nirut’s watches and they are getting better each time. I love his passion and his unique eye for detail. This is the kind of watch that inspires me on a multitude of levels. It definitely stands out in the vast sea of uninspired, unimaginative designs that is flooding the market right now. I definitely respect those who stick to their vision without compromising/conforming to current trends.

I have no reservations about recommending the OB II to anyone looking for a unique dive watch that has great attention to detail and has beautiful overall execution. A few of my simple nit picky suggestions would bring about a more perfect version of the OB II, which are adding lume to the bezel and to the second hand( the second hand is extremely visible because of the color) Of course there are so many things that I love about the OB II, the dial, the hands, the case design/size, the domed crystal, ect…. A great watch to kick off the new year with, my new chapter in life’s ever growing journey.

Thank you all for making 2018 amazing and I look forward to sharing 2019 with you all.

A very special thanks to Nirut for creating these passionate designs.