Today’s watch is something I stumbled on completely by accident – and boy oh boy, what a happy accident it was! The watch is the GMT Diver offered up by The BaliHa’i Project. Now, before you go and write this of as “just another diver”, let’s take a closer look at the company, and what they’re producing.
First, what’s up with that company name? They’ve taken their inspiration from the book South Pacific, where BaliHa’i was an unreachable paradise island. The founders felt that captured the laid-back attitude they wanted to capture – with a serious side hiding underneath. Why did they start the company? They’re watch enthusiasts who felt that they could make a better watch. So they set out, taking various cues from current and vintage models that they loved, and came up with their interpretation of a “best of breed”.
Now that brings us to the watch they currently have available, the GMT model. This is a serious tool watch, meaning it’s meant to be used and abused. The 44mm stainless steel case is rated water resistant to 1000m, and includes an automatic helium escape valve at the 9 o’clock position. Right off the bat, you can see this watch means business.
It also features an ETA 2893-2 automatic movement, 120 click rotating bezel, flat sapphire crystal with AR coating on the underside and a 22mm steel bracelet. The bracelet itself has a divers safety clasp as well as a ratcheting dive extension, further increasing it’s usability. Of course, if you don’t care for the bracelet, it also ships with a rubber strap.
It’s not all function with this watch, however. As you can see in the picture at the top of the post (and the ones below), this is a very good looking watch. They offer it in three varieties:
- Version A: Gray MOP dial, sapphire crystal bezel inlay, blue and orange hands
- Version B: Sunray brushed blue dial, red and white hands, sapphire bezel with lumed background
- Version C: Black PVD-coated finish, black dial with black lume, silver hands, PVD bezel
Of these three, I was surprised that the one that drew me in the most was the mother-of-pearl dial. It’s a finish that’s generally associated more with small accents and/or women’s watches – but it just plain works on this diver. Of course, if that’s not your cup of tea, there are the other two to choose from. The “stealth” version would be my second choice, but then I must be a contrarian, as BaliHa’i informed me that Version B is their most popular variant.
Regardless of the model you choose, you’re going to get something that’s extremely visible in low-light conditions. The watches have C3 SuperLuminova applied liberally on the dial and bezel – and of course on Version B, you have a fully-lumed bezel. Also? You’re going to get some great artwork from Gene Gonzales in the form of the company logo engraved on the caseback.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m very happy I stumbled across this company. Though relatively young, they have a great name and following out on the various watch forums, and they seem very enthusiastic about what they’re bringing to market. For $900, you’ll get a very functional and visually-striking diver with date and GMT complications that will absolutely stand out from the rest of the pack.
(For more pictures, you may wish to check out this forum thread)