We’ve reviewed a handful of Ernst Benz models here, and they’ve all been very well put-together and tidy chronographs (seen here). Given that track record, it should be no surprise, then, that the Chonodiver is another very nice chronograph in the same mold.
As with the other models, we have here a larger brushed stainless steel case (47mm) that houses a quite nice movement – the Valjoux 7750 (you can see our writeup on this particular movement here). This of course powers all of the functions you see on the dial, which are:
- Hours, minutes, and subsidiary seconds
- Day and date
- Chronograph: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Combine this with the unidirectional bezel (marked out for 60 minutes), and you’ve got a watch that will let you time just about anything you might need. Of course, you can get any manner of chronograph these days, even ones powered by a 7750. So, what sets the Chronodiver apart? For me, it’s the styling, and specifically the use of blue in our sample. With the dial, you have subtle concentric circles repeating – first in larger grooves on the main dial, and then in smaller ones present in the subdials.
This is all in a great shade of blue that repeats then into the painted markings on the dial, as well as the sharkskin strap. Yes, a blue sharkskin strap. While that material (and color) might make you think of some nutty shoes, I can say it works wonderfully here on the Chronodiver. The variations in the coloration due to the pattern give it a nice bit of interest, and the strap itself was pretty flexible right out of the gate. Plus, I can only assume (as I didn’t test this specifically) that there must be some level of water resistance inherent to the strap as well, being as it’s, well, made from a shark (no lasers present, though).
Of course, blue by itself isn’t enough. Contrasting that you have nice, crisp white marking out all of the indices and numerals, as well as the handsets. This also has the added benefit of effectively “hiding” which parts are lumed. While you could look closely and tell where the lume is on the hands, say, it’s something you don’t really notice in a quick glance – meaning it presents as a more seemless sort of a design. It’s not something I’d look for in every watch (and in fact others in this lineup don’t have this feature), but it works well on this watch.
There is one design, element, that kind of stuck in my teeth a bit, and that has to do with the arrow heads used – specifically at the 12 o’clock marker, and on the seconds hands. For starters, the two arrows at 12 o’clock (dial and bezel) and seconds hands (chrono and sub) match each other. And this makes sense, as they’re complementary functions (the hour and minute hands follow the same logic). What bothered me a bit, though, was that the arrow head used on the chrono second hand is ever so slightly different from the marking on the dial. While, on one hand I understand why they’re not matching, I feel the watch might be better served by having them all identical. Then again, I’m not a watch designer, so I’m certain there was a methodology to how it ended up how it did.
I realize I’m being a bit nitpicky for a very small detail many won’t even notice (and I didn’t unless I concentrated on it), but for watches of this caliber, I think we can expect everything to be “just right” on a watch, and that was one detail that felt a tad off to me. But that was all that felt off. The other components (tightly clicking bezel, sapphire crystal, double o-ring locking crown, 200m WR) are all spot-on for this piece.
In daily wear, this watch was a treat to have on. The 47mm case wears easily, and the blue/white palette makes reading the time (and the chronos) very easy to do at a glance. While chronographs are generally considered sportier pieces, the Chronodiver has a polished feel to it, and it worked just as well at the office as it did when I had a suit on. I also liked the fact that the blue tones made for a break from the norm that we’d have with the black watches we’d normally consider to pair up with dressier clothes.
In the end, this is another great and competent entry in the Ernst Benz lineup. If you’re a fan of their basic look and feel, this is a model I’d say you could give a closer look at. And, if you don’t like the blue and white version we reviewed, they also have white and black dials (the black dial has white or orange indices), and all manner of strap options, including a matched steel bracelet. Coming in at a price of $5,500 (on the shark strap, it’s $5,625), this is a watch that can serve you well in all manner of situations and dress codes. ernstbenz.com
The Bottom Line
- Brand: Ernst Benz
- Model: ChronoDiver
- Case: 47mm stainless steel
- Movement: Valjoux 7750 (automatic)
- Pricing: Starts at $5,500; $5,625 as reviewed
- Would I wear it: In a word, yes.