Hands-on with the Van Speyk Dutch Diver
It was back in July that we first brought you word of a new Dutch brand, Van Speyk, and their inaugural watch. As I concluded in that writeup, the Van Speyk Dutch Diver had a thread running throughout it – familiarity with differentiation. That observation was all based off of what I was seeing in the photos. The question loomed, however – would that impression hold up after seeing the watch in the steel?
Fortunately, the answer to that question is “yes”. While it is easy to see, at a glance, that the Van Speyk Dutch Diver is indeed a dive watch, it is those design tweaks that you notice upon closer inspection that start to set the watch apart. Let’s start with something that is a bit surprising to see included at this pricepoint – the bracelet. Sure, you can certainly get steel bracelets on your indie-brand diver, but there generally is a corresponding up-charge (which makes sense, given they cost more to produce). Here, there is none of that – you get the bracelet, and if you want to swap any other strap in, that’s you’re call.
For me, I rather liked the bracelet. Sure, it adds some weight (unsized, the Van Speyk Dutch Diver came in at 196g; I got the weight down to 178g after taking some links out) but it has a really great look. Sure, the five-link style is nothing new, nor is the alternative brushed/polished finish on those links (as well as polished edges). Taken as a whole, though, I felt it gave the watch just enough of a shine to set it apart. Additionally, the lines on the solid end-links closely match the upper edge of the lugs. This particular detail I rather liked, as we do not often see these lining up well on the more affordable divers.
That 22mm bracelet has a standard flip-lock clasp on it that, while nothing fancy, gets the job done. While it offers micro-adjustment positions, there is no quick-adjust or expansion ability built in to the clasp. The bracelet is set into a case that manages to be bold without being overly beefy (42mm x 13mm thick) and has the same brushed finish present on the bracelet. There is a bit of a shine via polish that is done on the edge of the bezel, as well as the unsigned crown. This surprised me a bit to not see any sort of logo, even an etched one, on the crown. Sure, it keeps it simple, but it felt to me like a blank canvas that needed something there.
While the dial it also kept simple, there is nothing plain about it. Our review sample of the Van Speyk Dutch Diver came in the grey dial that I was enamored with in the original writeup, but you can also pick it up in black, brown, white, or blue . Regardless of the color, you have some tasteful and restrained printing, limited to just the brand name and model name, some specs, and the “Dutch Made” marking. In other words, very like what you might see on some of the Swiss brands (except, well, Dutch). For me, the grey presented a crisp contrast to the white indices (no doubt helped along by the sandwich dial construction) and the polished handset. That contrast is of course something you need to be on the lookout when you have a lighter dial color, but there were no issues with it whatsoever here. I also want to call out the hour hand of the handset.
Having the bigger arrow, as we do here on the Van Speyk Dutch Diver, is a classic dive watch detail, and clearly distinguishes the hour hand. What impressed me here was how lume-filled the hand was, with just a thin sliver of the polished surface around the edge. Another sliver shows up around the date window. Normally, I am not a fan of outlines around these cutouts, but for some reason it works here. I don’t know if it’s because it mimics the hour hand, or that the date window is smaller, but it works. That said, the date window is smaller, and I did at times (in a dimmer room) have trouble picking out the date. Now, that is a function of lighting and my eyesight, but it is something to call out. As it is a dive watch, you might be tempted to delete the function. Given that most of these will be desk divers, however, the date window is a good bit of every-day functionality.
Also useful on the Van Speyk Dutch Diver is the unidirectional bezel. The insert is color matched to the dial, and has a matte finish to it. In regular wear, you can of course use it how you would underwater – to mark and end time for something (say, when your beverage will be sufficiently chilled). While a lumed ceramic bezel (or one with a sapphire crystal) would have been pretty cool, it would of course drive up the price. Sensibly, the brand went this route for their first watch. For me, the addition of the lumed pearl at the 60 minute mark elevates things a bit (over a standard flat bezel insert) and gives it that sort of vintage feel. While that seems incongruent in the overall design, it’s another detail I liked.
In the end, my original assessment of the Van Speyk Dutch Diver still stands. While it starts with a very well known dive watch look and feel, there are details that get flipped around and changed that allow the watch to stand apart some from the crowd. Topping off the whole package, we have a very affordable price (~$300, or €329 if you need to VAT) for the Miyota 8215-driven watch. Yeah, we are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to the sub-$500 dive watch segment. With the Van Speyk Dutch Diver, we have a diver that flies a little bit under the radar, along with allowing you to get another country represented in your watch box. For a collector of divers, that would certainly be something of note, especially since there are only a handful of dive watches from (current) Dutch brands that I am aware of. Of course, if I am overlooking any, let us know in the comments or drop us a line. In the meantime, this one is one I am very glad to have seen in the steel. vanspeyk-watches.com
- Brand & Model: Van Speyk Dutch Diver
- Price: $300 (more if you’re in a country that collects VAT)
- Who’s it for?: You like your divers affordable and to follow the standard template, but also appreciate some individuality
- Would I wear it?: Yes, I certainly would. I found it to be a great every day watch, capable of blending to both casual and formal environments
- What I’d change: I would not mind seeing some sort of micro-adjustment/expansion built in to the clasp to allow for “on the go” adjustment during the day
- The best thing about it: It’s all in the details with this one. If I had to narrow it down, it’s the dial and handset.
Tech Specs from Van Speyk
- Made in the Netherlands (Dutch Made)
- Miyota 8215 automatic movement
- 316L Stainless steel bracelet (logo engraved); 22mm
- 316L Stainless steel case (logo engraved on backside); 42mm by 13mm thick
- Sapphire glass
- Water resistance: 200 meter
- Screw down crown
- Uni-directional bezel
- Double layer dial
- Available in: black, brown, grey, white and blue (dial color)
- 2 year warranty
- Wooden watch box & certificate
- Price: 329,00 euro incl. VAT = 272,00 euro excl. VAT (incl. worldwide insured shipping)