In my book, if you’re going to have more than one watch banging around in the bureau drawer, at least one of them should be a dive watch. It’s a classic and sporty look that also (usually) denotes a watch that’s ready to stand up to some abuse in day-to-day life. In other words, a tool watch. One of the more iconic styles is the compressor-style, easily deciphered by the dual-crown layout (more on that in a second). The most recent I’ve had cross my desk is the Circula Super Sport.
First, we need to define what a compressor (or super compressor) dive watch is, because not all dual-crown watches are actually one. In short, what the watch does is rely on water pressure to make it more water tight. As the bars increase, the case tightens up on itself, ensuring water doesn’t get in. I’d suggest a quick peek at this Gear Patrol article, or this one at Monochrome, for more on the topic. It’s a clever yet simple bit of engineering, which also led to my surprise discovery on the Circula Super Sport.
When we talk about dive watches that can, you know, actually dive, we expect a high WR rating. In this case, the Circula Super Sport carries a 300m rating. That means we expect crowns to be screw-down, right? And for the movement crown (the one at 4 o’clock) that is indeed the case. The one at 2 o’clock that controls the internal timing bezel? It does not screw down! Rather, it’s got a 120-click uni-directional link to the internal bezel. This was mind-blowing in some respects. For one, if you want to time something (especially if you’re on land) there’s no messing about with a screwed-down crown. Secondly, with 120-click, you’ve got precision in your setting. Uni-directional is good for the divers, as you can’t accidentally mess up your critical timing. And with it all under the sapphire crystal, well, you’re not banging your bezel – and again messing up the timing – on the world around you.
To someone not into watches, that probably seems like a minor thing. But for me, it really solidified things in my mind with the Circula Super Sport. Frankly, I can’t recall if I’ve ever had that work quite like that on a dual-crown watch before. I’m used to a screw-down crown and then a free-floating (no clicks) adjustment on the bezel, which always seems to shift a little when you screw the crown down. No such problem here. Frankly, this is a perfect example of “it’s the little things” that can really sell a person on a watch.
But hey, I’m a desk diver, and I’m easily entertained. The next thing that entertained me with the Circula Super Sport was the lume. The dial is a sandwich construction, which generally means a heftier application of Super-Luminova. They also hit the hands pretty well here, as well as the winding crown. Even in just a quick dose of sunlight, the lume on this watch basically put everything I’ve got here to shame (short of the trust Orange Monster with it’s own lume wizardry).
This makes the Circula Super Sport super legible in the dark, which is an extension of it’s daylight legibility. Again, key for a diver (or any watch, for that matter). You’ve got bold indices set into silver dial, with polished hands (with a generous amount of lume) circling over the dial, making it very easy to tell the time at a glance. Even for the timing bezel, you’ve got generously sized numerals, making the read a cinch.
No matter the watch, I like to see an option for a steel bracelet. For me, it makes the watch more flexible, as it can add a bit of formality to the watch, especially if it’s got polished bits. For the Circula Super Sport, we’ve got a fairly comfortable H-link bracelet, with the center segments giving us that polished gleam. Of course, you can opt for the stock rubber strap, but for me, the bracelet is where it’s at. As I’ve said before, you can always get an aftermarket rubber strap down the road – but finding a bracelet to fit your case, OE is about the best bet.
This made for a very comfortable fit on the wrist (once the bracelet was sized) particularly with the height of the case only coming in at 12.8mm. Thick for a non-sport watch, sure, but for a 300m diver, we’re more used to seeing that spec closer to 15mm, so shaving down the height, it’s a win in my book.
Another win for many people is going to be that there’s a Swiss movement tucked on inside. For the Circula Super Sport, that would be the Sellita SW 200-1. In smaller brands we’re used to seeing either a Miyota (to keep costs down) or an ETA 2824. On that latter one, Sellita is taking more share away from them as ETA tightens their supply. And frankly, the inclusion here of the Sellita doesn’t actually make the watch that much expensive, so it’s a solid way for a collector to add a Swiss movement to their collection without breaking the bank.
For me, I came away very favorably impressed with the Circula Super Sport. It’s legible making it a practical tool, and that impressive lume and the neat trick on the bezel crown, well, that all just sort of seals the deal for me. Sure, if the Super Compressor style case isn’t your particular tastes, well, I can get that. If you like it, though, I think you’ll come away quite pleased should you get to put one on your wrist. Speaking of, the pricing comes in at 671.43 € (on steel, as we reviewed) or 587.39 € on rubber, which roughly converts to $760 and $665. After my experience with the watch, I’d say it’s well worth it. You can check it out, and everything else the brand has to offer, over at circulawatches.com.
Tech Specs from Circula
Independent design with a real super compressor function from the pioneering days of diving watches. The bottom of the case is mounted and is sealed better and better by increasing water pressure. Made in Germany and jointly developed with over 4,500 votes from the global watch community.
The grey dial version is a 99 pieces Limited Edition without date.
Note: The cut-out product pictures show the final watch. The other pictures show prototypes that differ in some details.
- Handmade in Pforzheim, quality Made in Germany
- Swiss automatic precision movement, Caliber Sellita SW 200-1
- Scratch-resistant, slightly curved sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating on the inside
- 120-click unidirectional inner rotating bezel with indices from Swiss Super-LumiNova ® C3 X1
- Hands and indices filled with Swiss Super-LumiNova® C3 X1
- 30 ATM water-resistant, lumed screw down crown
- 40 mm in diameter, 46.5 mm lug to lug and 12.8 mm in height; 20mm lugs
- Weight: 105 g with Tropical rubber; 175 g with steel bracelet