After Baselworld showed us wonderful things from Breitling, Tudor, and Carl F. Bucherer, I want to take a moment and go back to the affordable end of the pool. I want to talk to you about the Spinnaker SP–5033 Cahill. This is one of my favorite affordable watches.
I’ve written a lot about Spinnaker watches in the past. I’ve covered the Tavolara, the Haas, the deep diving Overboard, the solar powered Chronograph, and more. I’ve come to expect every one of them to fail me in some way- usually in regard to lume. One of the more humorous examples was the Tavolara, where the dial indices had lume and the hands were so weak as to not be lumed at all.
The Cahill redeems them. This is the watch they should have made all along. The hands and indices on the dial glow brightly in green. The bezel numerals are lumed in blue. The bezel insert is a gloss type that recalls the Bakelite bezels of years past.
It isn’t without its rough edges, but that’s what’s endearing here. The dial is textured to resemble the aged dials of old watches. The case sides are brushed roughly. The indices have brushed top surfaces, and occasionally in the light it looks as if the lume seeped into the grain of their brushing–although it doesn’t look that way in the dark. The hands are large and flat, as are the indices. The hands are large enough, and almost long enough. The minute hand doesn’t quite touch the minute markers, but it does line up with the furthest end of the indices. It’s acceptable, and looks good. The date window has a white surround, and a short indie just to its right. A nice touch is that the date wheel is black with white numerals, so it otherwise fades into the dial.
The roughness extends to the feel of the crown. It’s attached to a Miyota 82xx movement, and the crown screws down with a bit of roughness in feel. Setting the time, you can feel each individual gear tooth. The bezel action is good, tight, and with little backlash or play.
The case is a 43mm stainless steel with thin lugs that emphasize the case. The lugs have a polished beveled edge, and the end of the crown is polished as well. The case is a displayback showing off the blue rotor that’s been placed on the automatic movement. The watch comes on a leather strap that is thick and said to be treated to be water resistant, but an gray NATO is provided as well.
I don’t normally wear a 43mm watch, finding them to be too big and heavy. Because this one comes on leather, it’s already lighter, weighing about 115 grams. I don’t mind that it’s a tank because it’s light enough to not drag me down. This watch makes me smile to look at it, and more than anything, that’s what I want out of a watch. I know that’s unhelpful, but it’s the culmination when all the design elements work – hand length, case shape, weight, dial appearance, lume, and the feel of the bezel. When it all comes together, even if it’s rough, it makes me smile. This is good value for money.
This is no silky smooth multiple-thousand dollar watch, and it doesn’t feel like one. It feels like someone rescued a vintage watch from an antique shop or your grandfather’s jewelry box, and got a good one – if there’d been such a large watch with maxi dial made back then. There’s nothing I don’t like about this watch. It’s affordable, fun, and easy to wear despite the large size. Everything about it punches well above its weight, without trying to copy a Submariner directly, unlike the Legend or Invicta we reviewed before. My hope is that every watch Spinnaker makes going forward could be as good as this one. The Spinnaker SP–5033 CAHILL is available in three variants – silver, PVD and gilt, or PVD with an orange-vintage lume for $380 USD. The SP–5042 is a variant of the watch which comes in 5 different color ways, powered by a Seiko movement, for $230 USD. The SP–5042 has unusual hands that aren’t the classic Mercedes style. If you get one, make it the SP–5033, it’s a better interpretation of the vintage dive watch. Spinnaker-watches.com
If you’re interested in the Cahill, use the discount code ‘WWR30’ to receive 30% off. That means, you could have a Spinnaker SP-5033 for as little as $266.
- Brand & Model: Spinnaker SP–5033 CAHILL
- Price: $380
- Who we think it might be for: You like a diver that looks vintage, but isn’t a direct copy – upsized to the modern large size with large hands and lume indices
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes. Yes, I would.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Anything that can be done to improve time-setting feel.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The lume. The large indices. Yes.
($266 with WWR30 discount)
Tech Specs from Spinnaker Watches
- Case size: 43mm
- Height: 16mm
- Case material: steel
- Crystal: lightly domed, mineral
- Strap: leather or NATO, pin buckle clasp
- Movement: Miyota 3 hand with date, from the 82xx family of calibers.
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