Dive Watches


I just posted up a video review of this cool little boutique diver from Raven. Limited edition of 50 pieces in the no-date configuration, quite rare… you’ll never see anyone else rocking one of these! Hope you enjoy the video review:

Posted this on Youtube last week, and forgot to share it on here. Hope you guys enjoy the video review guys! Haven’t posted one in a while since all my time is taken up with work and family! But still trying to keep things afloat here. Very cool watch from Crepas, and I felt they got a lot of things right for a watch of this price point.

Raven, a sister brand to Benarus, launched a cool vintage style diver early last year called the Vintage 40mm. The watch was released in a limited edition of 200 pieces with a date, and 50 pieces without a date. I was fortunate enough to procure one of the rare no-date versions which I am reviewing here today. A very nice nod to the vintage Submariner.

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The watch has 40mm Submariner inspired stainless steel case, with a domed acrylic crystal. Some cool vintage features are the gold tone mercedes hands and red/orange dial and bezel highlights. The watch wears very nicely for a 40mm watch, similarly to the new 40mm Submariners. The bezel insert is old-school aluminum. Lume is C3 SuperLuminova.

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This shot catches the cool curve of the acrylic crystal and shows off the coin-edge of the bezel. Its a very well machined piece of kit, with very precise and deliberate machining, giving the watch a sense of quality. Since these were priced in around $450, I wouldn’t have necessarily expected it to feel like a Rolex, but this watch is no slouch.

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A beautiful job on the deep precision machined crown. Love the Raven logo on it, and it feels good when in use. You can also get a better idea of what the Bezel edge looks like here, with all the contours.

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The watch comes with two NATO straps (One leather, one nylon), as well as a stainless steel bracelet which is shown here. Its a nice oyster-style bracelet, with screw-in links and a standard stamped clasp. The clasp does have a nice deep etching of the Raven logo, which is nice.

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The caseback is very clean, with nothing but a large, deeply etched Raven logo and the serial number, which I have blurred out. Very clean and nice. Compliments the rest of the watch nicely in its simplicity. Underneath the caseback beats a Miyota 9015 movement with winding and hacking features.

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And the best for last – the wrist shot. For a 40mm watch, this wears remarkably well. The cool domed acrylic crystal, clean, precision machined case, and overall styling really come together well in this nod to the Vintage Submariner. I really think then did a fantastic job and Raven will continue to be on the radar for me when it comes to Sub-style divers.

Hexa Watches is another boutique watch company with its roots founded in the online watch forums. I do like the marketing and style that Hexa brings to the table, however, and feel like it brings something a bit more unique and out of the ordinary than your run of the mill boutique Dive watch.

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Here’s the K500, with its beautiful tool-like bead-blasted 44mm stainless steel case. Its a meticulously crafted piece of kit, and very well engineered. The flat sapphire crystal is AR coated in the inside and 3mm thick. It almost disappears in the right light. I’ve got the Hexa K500 mounted on a DaLuca Chromexcel NATO strap, and I think it looks fantastic!

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The unidirectional dive bezel has chunky sprocket-like knobs around it and has 60 clicks. The only complaint I would have about the bezel is that it moves accidentally all the time… while I’m not a diver, I do like keeping my bezels centered because I’m just OCD like that so when it moves a few clicks by accident almost every time I wear it It kind bugs me.

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The screw-down crown is uniquely placed at the 10:30 position and looks pretty cool, but because it has very chunky crown guards around it its somewhat difficult to use. However, you’re not often changing the time, so its not a huge deal. The sharp, angular lines that surround it make it look really cool and more than worth the trouble.

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I couldn’t get a shot of the whole back because the NATO strap covered most of it, and it doesn’t move easily without removing the pins because they’re very tight to the watch case. I think certain thicker watch straps might not fit on the Hexa K500 because of this. The movement within this awesome dive watch is a Sii NE15/Seiko 6R15 Automatic Movement which features handwinding and hacking ability. They’ve also adjusted it to 5 positions in-house for maximum accuracy. All Hexa K500’s are also assembled by hand in the USA.

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Overall this is an incredible watch, and at $625US for the strap model, its not too badly priced. While I won’t say this is the bargain of the century, its affordable but offers a very unique and identifiable design that is distinctly Hexa. Throw in the kick-ass Lume by Lum-Tec and the very reliable Seiko 6R15 automatic movement in a bomb-proof bead-blasted case, you have one of the coolest looking military styled dive watches on the market.

Ancon Watches, a new brand which appears to be based out of Malaysia or somewhere in Asia, launched late 2012 with little online presence and a fairly large dealer network in Asia especially. Unlike most grassroots boutique brands that have launched in the last few years, Ancon didn’t do it with lots of online support and collector feedback. They took a lot of the styles that have made recent brands popular like Bronze Cases and Chunky Dive watch styling. They currently have three models, all of which are quite similar using the same overall case with some changes to dial and crown guards/crowns. The Domain ownership information is hidden for their domain, which makes you wonder. Companies like Rolex and Breitling do not hide their Domain Ownership information, not even companies like Helson hide their Chinese roots in their domain registration.

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This is the first watch released by Ancon, the Sea Shadow. A very nice piece, and priced decently at $700 with free shipping. The watches are most likely made and assembled in Asia, and feature Miyota 8215 movements. The case measures 45mm in diameter and 15.5mm thick, so this is quite the beast of a watch. The overall specs are good and the styling is good, but I just can’t get around the smoke and mirrors about hiding the origin of the company. Clicking on “about us” takes you to some info about how their watches are named after historical boats, and talks more about the watches themselves… it really has nothing a typical “about us” page would have. I understand that Asian watch companies are always trying to sound like they are European, but the more vague they are, the more it looks like they’re trying to hide something. Most luxury watch buyers are quite intellligent.

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This is the Sea Shadow California, with the California style dial in the same case as the regular watch. Nice pieces, and for the money, they seem fairly reasonable compared to some other watches out there. I personally wouldn’t fork out $700 for a Miyota movement, no matter how cool the Bronze case is, but I can see many people buying these. There have been reports that they have already been popping up second hand in Asia in the last few months, so people are buying them in large enough quantities that they are being sold again. Either way, they’re a nice looking watch, but I personally wouldn’t be interested unless they come in around $400.

Check out their third and latest model, the Magnus, as well as some more detailed information on their site here:
http://www.anconwatches.com/

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