It is now, as Monty Python told us, time for something completely different. My past few reviews have been very much in the affordable realm of things, and the last one (the Fossil FB-01) could definitely be considered a “fashion” watch. Well, what if we went to a watch coming from a luxury fashion brand? Is it a worthwhile piece? I recently spent some time with the Versace Sport Tech Diver, and today we’ll talk through that watch.
Now, when you hear that the watch is from Versace, you might be tempted to just dismiss it as a white label rebranding exercise that isn’t worth your time. I say that, because that was my initial reaction when the PR firm pitched the watch to me for a review. I’ve learned over my years that, while that gut instinct is valuable, it behooves me to cast a critical eye past that to see what’s up, particularly if I’ve not actually had the brand on my review desk before. Frankly, once I got the watch in, I was pleasantly surprised.
That is not to say that the Versace Sport Tech Diver is going to be mistaken for something a trained diver would take under the waves on their wrist. Sure, they could, but this is more a watch for those who like the durability (and styling) a dive watch offers, without actually taking it diving. You know, people like myself, and I’m guessing at least half of you (Neal excepted, since he does dive). But yes, this is a watch you could safely swim with, given the 200m WR rating the case carries, as well as the rubber strap it comes paired to. And hey, if you wanted to time something – like a dive – you do have the unidirectional bezel.
While the lume on the dial of the Versace Sport Tech Diver is impressive (and bright), on the bezel you’ve only got the lumed pip. Sure, that sufficed 50+ years ago, but these days, I’m going to guess more luminous paint would be appreciated for diving. For us desk divers, though, should work just fine. Realizing that, you can begin to appreciate some of the other interesting touches Versace put on the watch. The case sides are carved out, showing off a woven carbon fiber inlay. The lugs are likewise carved out, with coiled springs flanking the strap (which itself was also hollowed out, and have a woven inlay placed into it). In short, Versace took what could have otherwise been a bland case and strap, cut into it, and popped some interesting visual details in there.
Will those details appeal to the dive watch purist? I’m going to go ahead and guess that to not be the case. As a design exercise from a luxury fashion house, though, it shows commitment to making the watch look like something other than a JADW (just another dive watch) attempt. And make no mistake – Versace wants you to know that they are the ones behind this watch. On the guilloche dial, you’ve got the Medusa-head logo (as well as the brand name); the brand name also shows up inside the rubber strap. On the case back, you’ve got Medusa popping up again. You also get a run-down of some of the specs on the watch.
Like, for instance, the fact that the Versace Sport Tech Diver is packing a Swiss automatic movement (and the dial confirms the Swiss Made provenance as well). What Swiss movement? That’s harder to find out, but again, most buyers of Versace watches may not care about the specifics. That Swiss label carries it’s own weight, for reliability and accuracy. And, in my (admittedly limited) time with the watch, it performed quite well. And, hey, I’ve got resources, so I did some digging and got to asking. Turns out, it’s an ETA 2824 inside the case.
In fact, while I wore the Versace Sport Tech Diver, I did not feel overly conscious of the fact that I was wearing something from the venerable fashion house. It was just another day of wearing a new watch. Yes, it was bigger than I’d prefer to buy for myself, but on the rubber strap, it was not obnoxiously heavy. Looking down on it, I frankly liked seeing all of the blue, and with the yellow accents, reading the dial was a cinch. The larger handset caught the light very nicely as well, so again, no problems reading the time.
Of course, me being me, I can’t help but wonder if a few tweaks might help the Versace Sport Tech Diver take things up a notch or two. First, while I appreciate the utility of a date display, here, it feels out of place on the dial. Imagine a no-date option, and think it would look much cleaner. Secondly, that seconds hand. Nothing wrong with accent colors and lume, but with as broad as the keystone head is, it feels out of proportion to the main handset. Shrink that down a bit, and again, I think we’d have a cleaner look.
Then again, I’m no watch designer. Presumably those behind the Versace Sport Tech Diver had their reasons, but those are the sort of details that would give me pause before I’d be putting my $2,395 down on the table. When you get into that price range, sure, you’re not quite into Rolex territory, but you are knocking at the same doors that other luxury Swiss brands call home, so competition for your hard-earned dollars should stand up to a critical eye.
For me, while I was overall very pleasantly surprised by how competent a watch the Versace Sport Tech Diver was, at the end of the day, it’s not one I’d find myself purchasing. However, if I see one on your wrist sometime, I’ll definitely congratulate you on your acquisition, and then we can talk about what drew you to it over a drink or two.
Oh, and one thing worth noting – if you go to the Versace website, you won’t find any mention of the Versace Sport Tech Diver on their – which, I admit, feels a little weird. However, it is definitely available (though, in a limited edition of 250 pieces, per the caseback on our loaner). You’ll just want to head to your local luxury retailer to pick one up – say, like Neiman Marcus. Just as they’ve mixed up the design a bit, so to have that redesigned the retail route here. But I suppose that’s high-end fashion for you – taking what you’d expect, and then getting you flip turned upside down. niemanmarcus.com
- Brand & Model: Versace Sport Tech Diver (ref. VERC00218)
- Price: $2,395
- Who’s it for? You’re a fan of the fashion house, and want a Swiss-built dive watch that doesn’t look like a Swiss-built dive watch
- Would I wear it? While I liked the details, it’s just larger than I’d ultimately prefer
- What I’d change: Delete the date, and shrink that seconds hand
- The best thing about it: All of the small details that show up in the various cutouts in the case, strap, and lugs
Tech Specs from Versace
- Movement: ETA 2824 Swiss automatic; runs by hand or wrist movement; never needs batteries & requires little care
- Case: round blue ion-plated stainless steel; 45mm
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Bezel: unidirectional, 60-minute
- Strap: blue rubber strap with butterfly clasp
- Dial: blue with date window and luminous markers
- Water resistance: to 200 meters
- Warranty: 2-year limited