Davosa is the Swiss watch brand you don’t pronounce with confidence. After some time on the wrist, I have some confidence in the value proposition of the brand’s Ternos Black 40 Automatic Diver with a 200m water resistance rating. It’s a Submariner homage with a sub $1000 price tag, and you may want to give it a look.
Davosa has ancestral roots in the Swiss watch making world, and its Web site chronicles the family lineage like my dad describes my family tree. Here are a some names and photos, and here you are. At some point in the watchmaking family tree, the Davosa name appears as do decades of watch models.
Watch-wearing geeks strive to have a watch for any event. The Ternos offers the utilitarian simplicity of a dive watch with the bang-it-up or dress-it-up potential. Get past the philosophical discussion around homage watches for now. Davosa has those. There’s a GMT Batman that Patrick reviewed earlier here. You might even find a Tudor Ranger looking watch too.
For me, this watch sparked the initial ohhh and ahhh out of the box. It was its weight that I noticed first. It is noticeably heavier than my vintage chronograph. The dial design was immediately relatable as it recalls its Rolex Submariner inspiration. This model has the date window and the cyclops magnifier, and so I didn’t notice the subtle off-white luminescence on the dial at first.
The case is the perfect dimension for my 7.5” wrist at 40mm wide without the crown. But remember, it’s not just the width of the case that influences how it feels on your wrist. This watch was a perfect fit with a 48mm lug-to-lug length. It’s a modest 12.5mm high and fits nicely under a shirt sleeve, if you’re into shirts. The case back is solid with a Davosa’s logo on the back, which is also on the dial under 12 o’clock. The back is nothing to look at but it does indicate the movement number. The case back does protrude out from the edge of the midsection of the case when you look at its profile and it has a respectable 200 meter water resistance. Overall the case is finely machined, smooth and rides easily on the wrist.
The crown guard offers the protection you’d expect as it provides shoulders for the signed, stainless steel, screw-down crown. This is added assurance on its water resistance and doesn’t get in the way as you unscrew it to set. It glides easily into date-changing mode and then out a second click to the time setting mode.
The unidirectional bezel has the solid 120 clicks we expect with just a little play in it as you aim the pip on the minute hand. The bezel is not exceptionally easy to grip and turn but I have sausage-fingers not surgical instruments on the end of my hands. You may have better luck. The black bezel is a good width and starting at the triangle pip at 12, it has the 15 minute marks for decompression countdown. This is also perfect for measuring my maximum attention span. The only luminescence on the bezel is the dot of Super-LumiNova on the triangle.
The most striking feature on this dial is the cyclops magnification over the date. It is a functional addition to the smaller dial size, but it might demand too much attention on the crystal for some people. Ternos has other models including those a 40mm without date and 42mm with date and no magnification. If you like a date on your smaller diver, then you will need to learn to like the cyclops.
The dial is flat black and the Davosa name at 12 o’clock stand out in size but not in contrast or color. In fact, this surprised me, as it is often hard to read. Maybe that’s intentional. The three lines of copy at 6 o’clock offer just the essential information on model, depth and movement to help the casual watch geek get the facts. The hands and applied indices are lined in a gold and mix well with the Super-LumiNova to create a hint of vintage, aged color.
The hour and minute hands are typical, but the minute hand is not as long as I’d prefer since it doesn’t reach the minute track at the edge of the dial. If you like the hacking feature to synchronize your watch to your iPhone, then you may find yourself adding light to the dial so you can find the exact minute mark.
The lume is bright and typical and the second hand is easy to follow. The lume on the pip doesn’t want to last as long as the indices, but that might be because of its smaller size.
The hacking and hand-winding movement is an automatic DAV2824, which is their version of the tried and true ETA 2824 movement. The sweeping second hand and date function are all typical. Some might say the date is an unnecessary addition to the die-hard diver watch, but don’t worry about that. Ternos has those two, case sizes without out dates or cyclops.
The watch and bracelet weigh 176 grams compared to the ubiquitous Seiko SKX at 143 grams. It’s also a typical 20mm wide bracelet and tapers to 18 mm at the clasp. It has a brushed finish on the top of the bracelet and polished sides. It is smooth and has precise case integration at the lugs.
There are other dive watches that compete in this price space including Hager Aquamariner, Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red, Christopher Ward’s C60 Trident Pro. These are all comparable to Davosa’s Ternos Black 40 Automatic, but the Ternos is a solid Swiss contender with US distribution, two-year warranty and free shipping. It offers a practical design with a mechanical, tried-and-true movement with a sapphire crystal. It’s a desk diver’s dream at a respectable $769. See it here.
- Brand & Model: Davosa Ternos Black 40 Automatic 200m Diver
- Price: $769
- Who we think it might be for: This is for the person who wants the features and look of a dive watch legend without the price.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: You bet!
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would rethink the date window on the black dial and make the bezel easier to grip.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The classic design and simplicity spoke to me the most. Well, it didn’t really talk. It made me think about those two things.
- Brand Model: Davosa Ternos Black 40 Automatic 200m Diver Reference: 161.555.50
- Movement: Automatic, DAV2824
- Case diameter: 40mm
- Case height: 12.5mm
- Lug to lug length: 48mm
- Lug width: 20mm at case tapering to 18mm at clasp
- Weight: 167 g
- Case material: All Stainless Steel
- Case back: Screw down
- Crown: Stainless Steel
- Crystal material: Sapphire
- Water resistance: 20 ATM
- Strap/Bracelet material: Stainless Steel
- Illumination: Super-LumiNova
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