Ah, Aeromatic 1912. You enthrall us all with your magical timepieces. Many an eBay newbie has been drawn to your bold lines and unusual styling, as well they should. You’re taking chances, I suppose, and the only thing folks can say bad about you is that you’re not really a German watch.
That said, please welcome the Tauchmeister 1937 – Diver Craft 1000M Helium-Safe GMT Retrograde. Wow, that was a mouthful.
A diver, to be sure. A big diver—46mm with a 270 mm strap. It has a Citizen GP01 quartz movement and a unique, if unfortunately designed, retrograde GMT hand.
But what lies behind that handsome diver logo and bold orange? Nothing we haven’t seen before and won’t see again.
Let’s begin by stating the obvious. If you take this thing down to 1000M, you’d better have a back-up. While the back may say 1000M and the eBay page may say 1000M, this ain’t a 1000M watch. It’s a big, fat watch, and it survived a snorkeling trip to the Florida keys, but I wouldn’t stake your life on its water-fastness.
That said, what is good about this watch? Well, it looks cool. The bold hands and lume are quite striking and it’s got a very nice rubber band that fits a big wrist. In fact, the band was almost too long, and it tended to hang over the watch when it was fastened.
It has a second time zone—more about that later—and a trusted movement calibre. It has a nice fat bezel that is fun to turn, has an interestingly styled case, and screw down crown and “helium valve” for that extra touch of class.
The hands are quite big and luckily I was able to read this thing under water with no trouble. Granted, we weren’t hitting Cousteau depths, but it was the open ocean. The bezel turns with a heavy click and there aren’t many positions. The helium valve is at 9 o’clock and the crown is at 4. This is a hacking movement, meaning the seconds hand will stop when you pull out the crown, and you set the date and GMT at the same position and the time at the final position.
Now for the bad news. The retrograde GMT is all but useless on this watch. It depends on a fat arrow to point to the time in the second time zone. The numbers are so small as to be unreadable and the arrow kind of points to a number that could be anywhere in a three or four hour range. Then, for about half of the day, the hands cover the GMT portion, ruining the view. Oh, what frustration! I tried to wear this on a cross country flight and it was useless. I eventually just switched back the the D.Freemont diver.
Another pet peeve? The date window. The text in the window was huge but the font was almost unreadable. It was delicate and fey, not at all befitting a diver of this monstrosity.
The lume is laughable and the crown and “helium valve” are extremely difficult to grasp. While this is a big watch, these parts are not for big fingers. Because they are no knurled, the slip and slide and wiggle out of your grasp. Not a good choice for a watch to be used in wet situations.
These things go for about $150 to $200 on eBay. I suppose that is a fair price. But, as I consistently reiterate, you’re much better off getting an Orange Monster or the like rather than a hunk of strangely knurled steel. Aeromatic doesn’t produce a horrible product and it’s eminently affordable, but it just seems like there are so many better folks with better watches out there and there’s no reason to stop at this beast. Still interested? Pick it up on eBay,
but caveat emptor.