I must admit – I had not heard of Tempest Watches prior to their Viking being relaunched. In reading through some of what they went through getting this watch to market, they really did get put through the wringer with some supply chain issues. While other brands may have just thrown it all on the fire and walked away, Tempest persevered, made the necessary changes, and now have a watch ready for order.
That watch is their Viking, a tidy-looking diver with one of my favorite things to see on watches meant to head under water – a highly domed crystal (should you not share my love of bubbles, there is a flat crystal as well). This diver must be a labor of love for Ben (the owner), as he started this project back in 2010, when he grew tired of seeing watches all with the same case. While I won’t say his 45mm stainless steel case is breaking any molds, it does make a break from the styles we’ve seen a lot of this year (in divers, that is).
This is definitely a bigger watch – it stands at 17mm thick with the regular flat crystal; if you opt for the high dome, that thickness goes to 21mm. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible to slip it under a shirt cuff, it’s going to fight you getting tucked away. Of course, if you’re using this as a dive watch, then that’s a benefit – it won’t slide under any gear. Should you hit the waves, you’ll have an HEV working along with a 2000 (!) meter WR rating (as well as anti-magnetic and anti-shock ratings) to keep the Miyota 9015 movement safe and dry.
Under the crystal, you’ve got a cleanly styled dial, with stick indices at the hours, and an interesting handset that I don’t know quite how to describe. Of the dial choices, orange would seem to be the most suited to visibility under water; for those of us who stay on dry land, though, there are black or blue dials available. And for two of those three dials, I’m going to say the date wheel (which is black) is color matched. It obviously matches the black dial, and is coordinated with the orange one, which has black accents.
For the blue dial, though, it’s not quite a match – I don’t see any other black on the dial; the only black to pick up I see is coming from the domed sapphire bezel insert. Of course, this is a small detail, and it still works much better than a white date wheel would have. Given that things are just starting out, perhaps we’ll see a future iteration where we have a blue date wheel for this dial, or perhaps a change in colors of the numbers themselves for more variety.
Did you catch what I mentioned about that bezel? The 120-click (I assume unidirectional) features a lumed sapphire insert – not something a lot of watches feature. I’ve experienced it on a few different models over the last year or so, and I have to say, it’s probably my favorite bezel type. It just adds a lovely level of depth to the watch (as well as a nice bit of lume), and offers some additional protection to the main crystal (well, here, only the flat – the super dome juts up much higher).
The Viking is paired to a bracelet that snugs into the 22mm lugs, and also comes with a 5-ring zulu strap. It’s nice to have that variety right out of the box, as swapping those around can really change the character of the watch. Now, on to the pricing. It seems reasonable for the components you’re getting. The watch starts at a base of $785. If you opt for the super domed crystal, add another $80; going for a PVD finish (which looks great against that orange dial) tacks on another $50.
This is not the cheapest 9015-driven diver you’re going to find out there, nor is it the most expensive. It does offer some different styling options that I can’t specifically recall seeing in the spate of divers I’ve reviewed this year – I know combining the domed crystal as well as a domed sapphire bezel insert is a relative rarity in what’s crossed my desk. For those two items alone, I’d say this diver is worth a look. That said, I’ll be able to give you a better idea of this watch a little bit later this year, as we’re working to get a review sample in. tempestwatches.com