Back when I wrote about the Viking Tempest in September,I covered some of the difficulties that they encountered bringing the Viking to the market, as well as my impressions of the watch. All of that was based on what I could see from spec sheets and pictures, however. Today, on the other hand, we’re able to bring you a true hands-on review.
When it came time to requesting our review sample, I knew I wanted to take a look at the Tempest with a blue dial and their super-dome crystal (an $80 upgrade). This combination has been a popular one, and to accommodate our request, the man behind Tempest, Ben, actually took the watch off his wrist and loaned it to us – now that’s some dedication!
I knew that with the domed crystal (which brings the overall height to 21mm), this wouldn’t be any small diver. Add in the 45mm diameter of the stainless steel case, and you end up with a beefy watch. Which means you shouldn’t be surprised with the overall weight of the watch coming in at 276g (on the 2mm stainless steel bracelet). Yeah, it’s a heavy watch, but in terms of the many divers I’ve looked at this year, it’s not that wildly out of line.
Thankfully, it’s not big just for big’s sake. No, there’s actually a great bit of protection built in for the Miyota 9015 automatic movement ticking away inside. First off, you’ve got a watch with a 2000m WR rating (each watch is individually tested) – which, should the watch even think about approaching those depths, the automatic HEV will come in handy. The watch is also resistant to shock and magnetism, meaning you’ve got a watch that’s ready for some adventure.
All of these specs don’t mean a thing if they’re paired with poor design – which didn’t happen here. First off, take a look at the dial. This is actually made of ceramic, which made for a lovely blue shade. The applied indices are easy to pick out, being as they’re filled with white luminous paint (Super-LumiNova C3, to be precise). That same lume also appears in the handset, which has a two-segment look to them (plus needle tip) that I don’t know I’ve seen before.
While I would have preferred to see the hands extend to where the needle tip hits, their design as it is today works quite well. I was also surprised to see that there wasn’t an option for an orange minute hand, as that would be fitting for a watch that’s truly ready to dive, as the Viking is.
In my original article on the Viking, I know I was also a tad concerned about the non-color matched date wheel. Fortunately for the watch, this really isn’t as much of an issue when you have the watch on. The date window itself is small, and the black background isn’t jarring against the blue dial (on the other dials, it would be a complete non-issue). Sure, color-matched would be nice, but perhaps that’s something for a future version.
Surrounding that high-dome bezel (which I really like the looks of), you’ve got the ever-present uni-directional bezel (120-click). Tempest included another feature here that I’ve really come to appreciate on watches with these bezels – a lumed, sapphire insert. This presents a much nicer look than your standard metal inserts. While having a fully lumed bezel as we have here may not be a practical need, it certainly is quite nice having your wrist light up like that in the dark.
Holding everything in place is one of the nicer bracelets I’ve seen from the smaller boutique divers this year as well. It’s fairly easy to get adjusted, as they do include a hex tool in the Pelican case. That said, it’s been my experience that having a second hex wrench on the opposite side is what you really need to use, and makes life much easier.
The deployant clasp has a built-in ratcheting mechanism – handy for fitting over a wetsuit, or giving your wrist a little extra breathing space during the day. I do also want to point out the finishing that’s present on the deployant links. As this is a part of the bracelet that no one ever sees, it’s interesting that they chose to put a finish on this portion at all. Aside from looking nice, I think it speaks to an attention to detail we don’t always see, especially in the under-$1000 segment.
This has been a great year for people looking to pick up a new diver watch – there have just been a number of brands either popping up new, or introducing new models into their existing lineup. Frankly, if you’re in the market for one, you’ll have a difficult choice ahead of you at this price point. That said, there are things that set the Tempest Viking apart, such as the option for the high dome crystal, the massive WR rating, and that lovely lumed sapphire bezel.
If you prefer something a little less aggressive in the looks department, it may be that the flat crystal is the route to go, making it less of a statement piece (and one that fits under more cuffs). Regardless of the choice you make, this Miyota-driven watch has a lot to offer. tempestwatches.com
- Brand & Model: Tempest Viking
- Price: $785; add $80 for the high dome crystal and/or $50 for PVD
- Who’s it for?: Someone who’s looking for a dive watch that will handle whatever they throw at it, in and out of the water
- Would I wear it?: Absolutely. Even though I don’t dive, there’s something quite alluring about that domed crystal
- What I’d change: I’d probably lose the needle-point hands, and use something that simply extended the full length
- The best thing about it: The overall combination of features and attention to detail
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