Diving into the darkness of the Gruppo Gamma Divemaster D-01N Black
Gruppo Gamma is a Singapore-based watch company I have followed since they started out in 2013. Their first watch was the Genesis, which is a homage to the 1950’s Rolex Reference 6152 which was made for Panerai. Using a basic Seagull movement and mineral crystal, this was an OK place to start out. The Genesis was greatly improved in 2014 when they upgraded the movement to a more reliable Japanese movement and sapphire crystal. In 2015 they released the Vanguard. The Vanguard has a bronze case, sandwich dial, and a rotating bezel. Their latest release is the Divemaster series, and I was able to get my hands on one.
The Gruppo Gamma Divemaster is offered in four models. All models are three-handers. The D-01 is is stainless steel case with silver second hand; the D-01R swaps in a red second hand. The D-02 is the same as the D-01 but with date. I was able to spend time with the fourth model, the D-01N, which is all black. Let’s break this thing down.
This has a very nice sandwich dial with C3 luminescent markers and numbers shining from below the upper surface of the dial. The dial face itself is matte black. All three hands carry the same lume, with the red second hand adding a nice contrast to the black dial. Topping it all off you have a double-domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the underside.
This is a stainless steel case with a DLC (diamond-like carbon) treatment on the case and the screw-down crown. This is a hefty case coming in at 44mm wide, 52mm in length, and 14m thick. Weighing in at 146g, this has a heavy feel on this wrist, something I rather like. Along with the stainless steel case back, the watch caries a depth rating of 300 meter. AKA, this is a watch that can do some serious diving. Of note, this is the first case from Gruppo Gamma that comes with a helium escape valve (more on that in a bit).
Pictures do not do justice to the look of this bezel. This is a 120 click, unidirectional bezel with a sapphire crystal insert. Movement of the bezel is tight and has absolutely no play – a major improvement from their prototype. The lumed sapphire bezel insert is a great touch to this watch that simply looks amazing.
This watch came with a leather and rubber strap. The leather strap is very soft and comfortable from day one. The rubber strap is think and bit hard to get on but for diving this is a very good strap. I can see the leather being used as my regular daily wear and the rubber strap mainly used for diving. As for diving this is a long strap which is great when needing to fit over the dive suit. I was able to fit this over my think neoprene dive glove with no problem. They both had the same buckle with their logo etched into it.
All Divemaster models come with the Seiko NH35A, 21600bph, 24 jewel movement. This is basic but reliable movement with automatic bi-directional winding, hand-windable, and hacking seconds.
That Helium Escape Valve
Ok so why in the hell would you need a helium escape valve? You don’t. Unless you are a “saturation diver”. So what are Saturation divers? They are the only divers that can really use this. They basically live on the ocean bottom for many days – or even a week at a time – hundreds of feet down. At that depth our beloved oxygen can actually kill you. To survive, you must replace most of that oxygen with helium. At depth, those tiny helium molecules make their way into your nice watch. Then, when you ascend to normal pressure the little helium molecules get bigger (less pressure, you see). If it weren’t for the HEV, they would be trapped – at least until the crystal blows off the watch. Although you may never need to use it, some will and it’s just one of those things that are almost a standard option on dive watches these days.
Gruppo Gamma has really come up with a good one here. Think this is really good diver. I tried to find faults with this but with the exception of a very basic movement, everything is very well done. There is nothing out of place or looks unfinished. The watch is very comfortable to wear all day long. The domed crystal adds character and the sapphire bezel adds a bit of class to this watch. For $519 I feel its a reasonable price for what you get. You can check them out at gruppogammawatches.com.
- Brand and model: Gruppo Gamma Divemaster D-01N
- Price: $519
- Who’s it for: Dive watch lovers and professional divers
- Would I wear it: Oh Yes
- What I’d change: Add a date to this model
- The best thing about it: The sapphire crystal bezel add such a great touch to this watch and with the lume glowing from under the crystal you can’t beat it.
Tech Specs from Gruppo Gamma
- Materials: Stainless steel with DLC treatment
- Crystal: Double domed with anti-reflective coating
- Dial: Matte black, 2 layer with C3 luminescent markers
- Measurements: 44mm wide, 52mm lug to lug, 14mm thick.
- Water resistance: 300 meters