When I first heard of the vantablack watch I was convinced we were on the brink of something meaningful. The watch itself was to use vantablack, the blackest black there ever was, and it was said that the material looked like the space time continuum had ruptured, sending a little piece of antimatter into our realm.
Looking at the Chronotechna SeaQuest Dive now, I’m not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong: this is a well made dive watch. It has interesting styling, a great case, and great lime. But the vantablack gimmick is just that – a gimmick – and you can easily ignore it when looking at Chronotechna’s offerings.
None More Black
I bought the “blackest watch ever made” on Kickstarter in August 2021. Those were heady days, if you’ll recall, and I decided to splash out on a $650 watch to see what the vantafuss was about. The watch arrived about a month ago and I’ve been thinking about how to write about it since, given my relative disappointment.
The watch runs a Sellita SW200-1 movement and features a dual-level face, one level of lume behind a vantablack plate. The SeaQuest Dive is exactly what it says – a dive watch rated for 30 ATM – and it has a one-way bezel and comes on a rubber strap. There is a smoked crystal exhibition back that shows off the stock Sellita movement.
Vantablack is the blackest black material there is. Created a researcher named Ben Jensen, the material is “absorbs up to 99.965% of visible light perpendicular to the material at 663 nm.” It’s supposed to be super dark but on this watch it just looks a little messy. Further, the punched watch face looks oddly dirty, as if the logo wasn’t punched correctly. It’s a frustrating look for an expensive watch.
Chronotechna itself is a Czech company and it is a brand based on an older watch and clock brand that ran during the early 20th century. In theory the company has been around since 1946 but was only revived in 2018. The vantablack gimmick appeared last year, probably in an effort to give the brand a little boost and I’ll admit I was intrigued.
And, arguably, this is a nice watch. It is very well built and nicely styled. I personally am not a fan of “flat” unadorned faces – this model, for example, looks to me like a sheet metal shed in someone’s overgrown back yard – but your taste may vary.
As far as workmanship, Chronotechna did a great job. While the watch is a bit small for my taste, the whole thing is balanced and pleasant to wear. The lume is amazing as well, giving off a lovely, ghostly blue on the bezel, hands, and from the plate behind the face.
Now here’s the problem: at $600 this was a good watch. At $1,370 it’s not such a great watch. It’s fairly standard, vantablack notwithstanding, and as a Czech micro brand I would have priced this a bit more affordably. I agree that Swiss quality is worth a premium but it’s not work $1,370 of premium. They could have priced this at $800 or so and maintained my high opinion of the watch. As it stands, however, I can’t support this watch at that price.
Should you buy the Chronotechna SeaQuest Dive?
Not really. If you really like it and like the idea of a vantablack watch then you could do worse. As it stands, however, I’d let Chronotechna do a little more work on the watch to earn its $1,370 price tag. The whole tail is sloppily made while the case, band, and movement are lovely. But, we’ll all agree, if the face is bad it spoils the rest of the experience.
You can check out the watches here.