I’m excited about small companies building their own watches. Making a watch is difficult. It requires design, logistics, and negotiating experience as well as an appreciation of risk and the ability to sell something that the world thinks it doesn’t need to picky, picky watch nuts.
That’s why I was so excited to see Scorpion Watch Company, really a pair of guys out in Denver, were creating a watch brand. This is sort of like a pair of roommates creating a microbrew beer or building a bar together — it’s fun, it’s cool, and it’s potentially lucrative.
So how does the Reef Diver fare? Extremely well, I’m pleased to report.
What the guys at Scorpion did was outsource the manufacture of their watches to a Swiss company and used an automatic ETA 2824 date movement. Fair enough. It’s been done before and will be done again. But they definitely didn’t skimp on style or build-quality. The Reef Diver is a solid watch with a great aesthetic and an attractive weight and wrist-feel.
Let’s begin with the fancy box it comes in. SWC sends the Reef Diver in a heavy-duty case with an extra band and a set of information and warranty cards. The entire case and watch is signed – the SWC logo is on the case, the crown, the face, the rubber bracelet buckle as well as on the clasp of the leather strap. This is quite a feat and shows great attention to detail.
The watch itself is water resistant to 30 ATM and features a hacking date mechanism. It has a uni-directional bezel with a solid click and no play in the chapter ring. Overall, this is a serious hunk of metal.
While the Reef Diver isn’t as “heavy” as some would like, I think the size and weight are quite handsome. The Godfather-esque Scorpion logo looks badass and there’s a big monstrous scorpion brushed into the back of the case along with each watch’s individual number – I got 96 out of 100 made. The model I received was featured red highlights and they’re planning orange and black models.
What’s there not to like? Not much. The price is fair for a swiss made ETA timepiece – compare it to a Tissot Sea Star and you’re in the general price ballpark with considerably less charm – and the watch is great. But John, you’re saying, I can get a Seiko for $200. Sure, but do you know that your Seiko will be one of only 100 ever made and that you’re supporting the renaissance of American watchmaking? I didn’t think so.
The Reef Diver isn’t a “me too” watch. Sure, it’s a beefy, three-handed diver with date window, but the styling makes it stand out. The black face contrasts wonderfully with the huge white hands and pips. The rubber diving strap is quite nice and the leather strap – made in the US of A – is edged in red stitching to match the face. The minutes hand is edged in red as is the seconds hand and all of the pips. The engraved bezel is easily readable and the pip at the top of the ring – noon, essentially, is lumed with a generous dab of paint.
The finish is impeccable. There were no misaligned parts and the face was well painted and the case solid and well-made. The movement is seemingly unadjusted, but it kept perfect time for the few weeks I wore it.
The lume on the pips and the hands, hover, leaves something to be desired. It’s readable in the dark, but a little more lume would have helped matters. After wearing the watch for about two weeks I was able to tell the time in daylight and in the dark with no trouble, a testament to its staying power. Finally, the screw down crown is at 2 o’clock, a clever twist on the Seiko 4 o’clock crowns.
The watch is 52mm from lug to lug and has a diameter of 43mm. It’s a big watch without being obnoxious. It costs $799 on Scorpion’s website and it will soon be joined by a number of other models. I’ve seen lots of watches in my day and lots of ridiculous attempts at creating “just another dive watch.” The Reef Diver isn’t just another dive watch: it’s a testament to ingenuity and creativity that is sorely missing in an industry that stifles the little guy and makes do with a few boutique brands that simply jumble movements, cases, and straps and call it a new line. The Reef Diver is easy to love and the company, run on a shoestring, is worth loving. I, for one, welcome this breath of fresh air.
10 thoughts on “Review: Scorpion Watch Company Reef Diver”
I, too, am glad to see a couple of boys from the U.S. of A. making a go of it, though the design of this particular watch leaves me cold for some reason. For instance, what’s the deal with the red “50” on the bezel? What makes 50 more important the the other numbers with respect to timing dives and decompression stops? I’m also not overly fond of the diamond shaped markers. I dunno, it just seems like they’re being different for the sake of being different. That’s fine for fashion watches, but for a professional divers watch, such filigree had better serve a purpose. A far better example of this type of guerilla watch-making would be the guys at Ocean7, with their LM-1, or John at Bathys Hawaii, with his new range of automatic 100 Fathoms. In the case of the LM-l, we’ve got a watch that pay homage to the greats with its plongeur hands, yet manages to still have a look all its own while maintaining an emminently readable dial. As for the 100 Fathoms, that watch has already developed a cult following, and for good reason.
The above notwithstanding, for the price, it’s hard to argue agains the the Reef Diver being a good value. The ETA2824 has seen duty in Breitlings, Sinns, Kobolds, and SARs, to name a few, and genuine Swiss manufacturing doesn’t come cheap. In the end, if the styling floats your boat, go for it, otherwise, there are a couple of other guys out there doing the same thing which might appeal to one’s aesthetic sensibilities more. Mind you, this is just my opinion, and so long as you like a given watch, that’s all that matters.
i agree completely. i’d say bathys is #1 in this game, but these guys have some good ideas. If it doesn’t appeal to you, that’s a different story.
isn’t the ’50’ on the bezel red because the bezel turns counterclockwise . . in order to give the minute hand a new position to approach the ‘0’ from?
(a cardinal position rather than an ordinal position on the watch face)
turn the bezel so the ’50’ is at the ’35’ position and then the details in the ‘0’-to-’15’ represent a focus on the ‘9’-to-’12’ zone which are the most crucial for your dive
that’s what I infer anyway
I’m a watch rep with a large collection of a bit of everything. I’m very impressed with my Scorpion! The quality is great, and you can’t beat the price. I’m sure the new designs will impress collectors and put SWC at the forefront of American watch companies.
I’ve got a few dive watches and the Scorpion Company should be given a thumbs up and a chance to prove what they will do next! It’s a lot easier to be a critic than down in the trenches, starting a business,and slugging it out with big and small companies alike. I had to do that, and it’s a 24 hour a day ordeal.Mark
I’ve owned my Scorpion Reef Diver now for 5 months
I wear it daily for work without fail.
I find it is super comfortable and keeps great time consistently
Even after wearing it daily for work, it still looks immaculate
I find the readability of the dial is Awesome. I work nights on a regular basis and
find reading the dial one of the best i have ever seen.
I can’t recommend these guys highly enough and I congratulate them on manufacturing an excellent time piece.
All the best for the future
I have bought my Scorpion Reef Diver in Jul 07, and I am certainly very pleased with it.
Brent from Scorpion was very approachable, answered all questions and followed up with international shipping.
Look and feel are very good. I am happy that I took the risk and bought the first design.
Readability is great, day and night.
I like the idea of turning the bezel so the ‘50? is at the ‘35? position!
It runs a bit on the fast side, +15/d.
What’s up with the name change to “Serket”?
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Time for an Update
Have now had this watch for 3 years.
I wear this watch daily and it still looks new.
It still is keeping Cosc time. What more can you ask ????
Thanks guys for a Fantastic watch.
For the lucky few who bought this watch hold on to it for it is Legendary.
Hope to hear from others who still have theirs and the number they have.
Gary From Australia. No.#40/100
i want to buy this , email for me pls !