This Sunday I am doing something a little different. Instead of showing off a few videos, I am going to do a pair of re-reviews, Rewind Reviews if you will, second looks at watches that we have featured here at the site. I have a pair of divers that Patrick reviewed, the Benarus Vintage Moray and the Van Speyk Dutch Diver. I have had some time with both watches, and I like them both, though they are very different.
The Benarus Vintage Moray was reviewed back in June, and Patrick had some very nice things to say about it. The one quibble he had was with the use of numerals for 12 and 6, where he felt that indices would be a better option there. I think I would miss the numbers here, and I would even be OK if they added numerals for the other ordinance points. If anything, the numbers could be a bit larger. The black dial and brown dial versions have options for numbers and indices only, without the minute track, and I might like that better. The font and the thickness of the numbers, with the generous lume, do add a bit of the vintage feel. The acrylic crystal is heavily domed, a bubble rising sharply from where it meets the bezel and then flattening out across most of the face. It gives a bit of distortion if you tilt the watch away from you, but otherwise is fairly unobtrusive.
The blue sunburst dial on our review copy is very pretty, really picking up the light. I see some comments on watches where people feel that a handset needs to stretch all the way out to the minute track, and this one would not disappoint. I don’t need it on all watches, but this works well. Both the second and minute hands run well into the minute track, and the hour hand stretches all the way to the indices. My one quibble with the handset is that the two are not of different styles, something that is part of the dive watch standard.
As a diver, I would not use the leather strap, but for every day wear, I like the strap quite a bit. The strap is thick but still pliable, very comfortable. I don’t see very much elongation around the adjustment hole, and the contrasting stitching is holding up just fine. With the beefier 44mm case, the thicker strap is a good match visually. The case itself is also interesting, a cushion style, but also with some curve and flow when viewed in profile. I wear it a fair bit and it is a very different look from the other divers I have.
Patrick had the Van Speyk Dutch diver in for a review last month, and as soon as I saw the images he loaded of the watch, I knew I was going to like it. Again, he had a lot of praise for this watch, and nothing to really point out that he did not like. Not to rain on the parade, but I need to call out one thing on the watch that has me scratching my head. Why would anyone use a 90 click bezel? When I dive, I use a computer, so the bezel is not key to me, and when I am using it to time parking meters, being off a fraction of a minute is not a huge deal, but why not use a 60 or 120 click bezel? The one here lines up every 10 minutes, but in between it is ever so slightly off. I am not OCD, but it perplexes me.
After that little rant, I will get back to what I like. The watch is definitely a Ying to the Benarus’ Yang. The color scheme on our review model was monochrome, with a grey dial and grey metal bezel insert. The dial construction is a sandwich style with only indices. The handset here does mix and match, with a bit of color for the red second hand, but the reach of the hands is a little shorter. The case is far more straightforward, with a beefy crown protector, and the watch provides a date window.
I have not reviewed a lot of watches with bracelets, and I generally prefer straps, but the bracelet on the Van Speyk is a nice change of pace and goes with the overall look. The clasp is nice and secure, with a security fold over tab and pinch to release mechanism. There is a micro adjustment in the clasp, but no expansion mechanism. The links on the bracelet feel solid, with very little play overall. The 5 segments alternate brushed and polished, which matches up nicely with the use of these two finishes on the case itself.
Of the two, it is tough to pick a favorite since they are really so different. The Van Speyk is a bit more formal looking (though it could be dressed down) while the Benarus is more casual. The are both comfortable, but the strap vs. bracelet is a sharp divide. The Benarus definitely has the vintage look, which the Van Speyk is modern looking. The Van Speyk is definitely less expensive, (about $300 with no VAT), but the Benarus ($500) upgrades the movement (Miyota 9015 vs 8215), includes an exhibition caseback, and gives an extra 100 meters (300 vs 200) of water resistance. Ultimately, I don’t think you would go wrong with either watch.