I love a lightweight watch. In steel, this usually means I need a smaller watch, or a thinner watch. The difference between 140 and 160 grams is something I can feel, and as the day wears on, it gets
worse heavier. This all gets better when wearing a watch made of that difficult-to-work-with metal, titanium.
This is one of the most complete dive watches, and is an update to the vintage Tudor submariners, but rather than being a gentleman’s diver with metal surrounds for lume plots, the design of the watch is intended as a tool watch for the water. With its deep dive water resistance and the helium release valve, it’s fitted as a real dive tool–nevermind that any real diver uses a dive computer these days.
The hands are snowflake types, from the vintage Tudor Submariners of 1969 and later. They’re lumed with bright blue, and have white surrounds. The lume plots on the dial are raised squares nestled in a notched chapter ring. The bezel is a fine toothed coin edge bezel with lumed ceramic insert. The lume matches the blue of the dial. The color is a matte black, and it looks great.
The case is, as said, titanium. It’s got pointed crown guards, and a large crown that’s easy to adjust. The opposite side of the case has a helium release valve, because this is a serious diver’s watch in design. The case is brushed, and beveled nicely. It wears very comfortably, even though it is a 42mm size case. Normally, I would prefer a 40mm, but it works here. The crystal is a sapphire with anti-reflective coating, making it easy to look through.
The bracelet is also titanium, with solid end links, brushed sides, and a nifty spring-loaded clasp. The clasp has three levels of adjustability, after which the spring kicks in. If you need more length than that, there’s also a diver extension that unfolds. Parts of the fold over clasp are made of stainless steel. It’s tight, not rattly, and the end links have no gaps between the lugs. The clasp adjustability on this specific example has a small issue, where it doesn’t lock preciselyinto its three positions, but otherwise, it feels like everything was made well, and it all adds up to the sort of rugged, tough quality you’d want in a watch like this.
The movement is an ETA 2824-2, which does as reliable a job as ever at moving the hands around the dial. The movement is the heart of the watch, and an ETA is a workhorse that is a solid choice, and will be relatively easy to service by any competent watchmaker. For whatever reason, we tend to place greater importance on a Swiss movement than, say, Japanese, and among the Swiss, greater still on ETA.
The lume is bright, and looks great in color from dial to bezel insert. The traditional pearl in the bezel insert at 12 is replaced with a circular lume dot in the triangle, and the square lume plots on the dial look great nestled in their chapter ring.
All in all, this is a solid watch, built well, with a nice, crisp matte dial, bright lume, an easy to adjust crown. It’s an easy wearer, and one that I enjoyed for the past couple of weeks. The titanium doesn’t account for a huge weight savings on its own – there’s steel in the bracelet clasp, remember. The Tudor Black Bay weighs 166 grams, this watch weighs about 157 grams, and other watches with completely titanium bracelets weigh even less. This isn’t exactly scientific, in that neither bracelet has their full set of links installed. Essentially, titanium is lighter, but this watch may gain a little weight from having steel on board.
The quality of materials is there. The comfort is present. The clasp is a minor annoyance, but that’s limited to this specific example. The end links on the bracelet fit the lugs, leaving no sunlight to shine through between end link and lug. The dial, hands, and date wheel all look good. The print on the dial is nice, and in this example, a svelte two lines, rather than crowding the dial with four or more.
There’s just one thing; This watch is a replica. How on earth could we, a more-or-less legitimate watch review site, cover a replica watch? Like this: Our mission is to try and help more people become interested in wristwatches, fascinated with all things mechanical. People buy replicas, and they enjoy them, gathering on replica websites to talk about them with other replica-owning enthusiasts. These enthusiasts include modifiers, who live for knowing the most minuscule details of their favorite watches, and modifying their replicas within an inch of the watches’ life until it looks, acts, and bears many parts of the original. Their cardinal rule is, ‘don’t pretend it’s not a replica.’
A word is required on water-resistance. The watch bears the same dial markings as the original, but it’s not necessarily water-resistant to that depth. Even though it’s very similar in construction, it’s entirely possible that the seals should be greased, and the watch should be pressure tested before taking it to any real depth. It’s fine for a swimming pool, but exercise caution if you were to take it on a dive at all.
How can we talk about quality when we’re talking about a replica? It’s important to remember that quite a lot of parts of respectable watches are made in China, including Swiss watches. Swiss law requires that a watch be assembled in Switzerland, to comply with the requirement that the majority of the added value be generated in Switzerland. You could have a Chinese case, bracelet, dial, etc. and a mostly Chinese movement assembled in a self-storage unit in Switzerland, and it would still fit the Swiss definition of “Swiss Made.” Indeed, storied Swiss brands have told me in the past that they make the cases in China, that it’s too expensive to do so in Switzerland. All this is to say, we know very well that manufacturing in China is capable of making high quality watches. We set out not to address any of the trademark infringement issues, but to only address, is this a well-made watch that could be enjoyable to wear? Yes. Yes, it is.