These days, there is no shortage of dive watches being produced by smaller companies.  As such, its become more difficult (at least, it seems to me it would be) for a brand to differentiate themselves, and their products.  Today’s example from Armida definitely seems up to the task.


Now, unless you’re active out on the forums, you’re probably not even aware of the Armida brand.  They’re somewhat newer, though they’re currently up to five different models in their lineup, all built in (and shipped direct from) Hong Kong.


Back to how today’s watch, the A5, differentiates itself.  First and foremost, this is done visually, courtesy of that circular sawblade bezel (unidirectional, of course).  It’s more than just a visual gimmick – this actually gives you a nice bit of grip to hold onto when you’re setting the bezel for timing; I imagine this would be rather handy if you’re diving with gloves. Oh, and no, it won’t cut up your shirt cuff!


The next bit of design fun is courtesy of the double-domed (and AR-coated) sapphire crystal.  It’s pretty safely nested into that bezel, but it’s definitely got a nice bubble to it, which I appreciate (and if you do as well, you may want to peek at their A1 as well).  This, in turn, is housed in a massive (42mm by 17mm thick) stainless steel case which surprisingly only has 22mm lugs.


That said, the sizing of the bracelet didn’t feel too small, and actually made things quite comfortable.  And speaking of comfort, this is about the most comfortable deployant I’ve ever experienced.  This is likely due to how smooth and low-profile it makes the closure on the 5-link bracelet, and is a definitely plus.  Of course, if you’re actually headed out diving, there’s a more traditional flip-lock clasp (with divers extension) as well as a rubber strap.


It’s pretty easy to see that this watch has both brawn and beauty.  But what of the brains?  Have no fear, intrepid watch fan – here, we don’t have some unknown mystery movement.  Instead, we’ve got the well-known ETA 2824-2 keeping track of the time and date for you.  And should you hit the water, the movement will be safe – the case carries a 1000m water resistance rating, and also features an automatic helium escape valve (HEV).  While I’d likely never encounter a situation where those ratings would be pushed, it’s nice to have that engineering factor built in.


This is definitely a larger watch – and due to the attention grabbing design features, it may not be the perfect watch for everyone.  Even though I’ve never dove any deeper than the local pool, I did find myself really liking this piece – there are just a lot of smaller elements that add up to a compelling package.  Add in the fact that you can pick this up (here) for $699 shipped, it makes for a watch that pushes to the front of the pack for many, I’d have to think.


Let us know in the comments – do you like tool divers to be large and in charge, like the A5?  Or do you prefer something that hearkens to diver design, but fits more smoothly under your shirt cuff?  Oh, and for those curious, the denim that showed up in these shots is some of the great stuff coming from the folks at Gustin.


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Last Update: April 30, 2013