Bathys is the little watch company that could. Founded by John Patterson, this tiny Hawaiian company sources their watches in Switzerland and offers the surfer – and landlubber – alike a little taste of that Ahola feeling.
Almost a year after the launch of their first watch, the 100 Fathoms Big Date, Patterson has topped himself. The automatic version of the Bathys 100 Fathoms is a testament to Patterson’s hard work and eye for detail.
We reviewed the quartz Bathys here on WWR and were impressed by the styling, size, and charm of this piece. The one we received this time is a PVD-coated steel case with Ruthenium Grey Dial. It runs an Swiss automatic movement – a Seltta SW200 – which was chosen because ETA is currently up in the air about selling unfinished movements to outside manufacturers. The watch has about 40 hours of power reserve and has a hacking movement, which means the seconds hand stops when you pull the crown all the way out.
First, the good stuff. The face and case are beautiful and quite legible. Patterson knows his lume and there is plenty of it on this watch. In the dark, the 100 Fathoms shines like a torch. The caseback is quite striking with a tiny map of Hawaii engraved on a sea of brushed steel. It is water resistant up to 200M. It has a sapphire crystal and is 41.1 mm in diameter.
The movement has a single date window and runs smoothly once it gets started. At first position the movement sets the date and at second position the second hand stops and turning the crown changes the time.
Now, for the bad stuff. The deployant leather clasp included with the watch – while handsome, was painful to wear. All of the edges are hard and sharp and after a while I swapped the beautiful black rubber band and was considerably happier. Thankfully, the Auto comes with both bands.
Second, the crown is too small by half. Even with my small meathooks couldn’t grab the crown without fumbling. Once I had it unscrewed, things were fine, but screwing it back into the case was a chore. I did it a few times and each time was difficult, so it really wasn’t a matter of getting used to the size. Minor issue, not a dealbreaker.
That said, the 100 Fathoms Auto was a joy to wear. It’s quite striking and actually very light, especially with the rubber band. The bold numerals and beautiful materials really stand out and it is eminently readable and noticeable.
It’s hard not to recommend a watch by John Patterson. The $775 is quite reasonable for a small-batch, US-designed watch by a very small manufacturer and it’s a great investment if you want a little of John’s Mahalo-tastic. My wife put it on and won’t take it off, so perhaps you have this year’s Valentine’s Day gift?