Dive Watches


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/

The brand “Swiss Military Watch” is about as vague as they come, and the name often invokes poor brand recognition with confusion with Victorinox and Wenger among others. However, SMW (Swiss Military Watch) is known for their very rugged military watches that rival Marathon in their quality.

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The SMW Commando T25 is a very nicely crafted tactical style diver, with T25 Tritium Tubes used to illuminate the dial when used in dim and low light conditions. For those unfamiliar with tritium tube illumination, it does not require “recharging” like regular superluminova or old-style tritium paint. The tubes constantly glow until they’re dead, which is approximately 25 years.

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Here’s the Swiss Military Watch logo above, which is not to be confused with several of the other brands using the “Swiss Military Watch” name.

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The Commando features a 44mm case, with an orange aluminum insert bezel reminiscent of the Omega Planet Ocean. While the shape and overall style do not resemble the Planet Ocean, the color combinations and materials do. The flat black dial shows the time very clearly above the beating Swiss Automatic ETA 2824-2 movement.

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The watch has all the go-to features that schrewd Watch buyers always look for, and it checks all the right boxes. Sapphire Crystal, check. Swiss ETA Automatic Movement, check. T25 Tritium Tubes, Check. 44mm Larger and Current watch case, check. 200m Water Resistance, check. Swiss Made, check. Good bang for buck? Check!

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Overall its a fantastic watch. There’s the shot of the rather unremarkable caseback, perhaps the weakest part of the watch. The caseback is pretty generic, with shallow laser engraving of the logo and other important information such as water resistance, etc. The other important marking is the Limited Edition Numbering, which in this case is a very low production of 200 pieces. The numbering is actually machine engraved, which makes it stand out a bit more. Anyway, the caseback is the least important part of the watch to me, so its not a big deal. Overall, a superb watch for very little money. Much better than the Hamiltons and other similarly priced Swiss Watches.

Specs:
-Diameter appx 44mm – excluding screw-down crown
-Stainless steel case
-Screw-down steel case back
-Fitted with Hirsch black padded, waterproof, leather strap with orange detail stitching – original, unused, black silicone rubber dive stap in box
-Accurate and reliable Swiss ETA 25 jewel automatic movement
-Clear black face with mb microtec H3 gas illumination to hands and markers – glows all night
-Orange sweep second hand
-Sapphire crystal
-Special edition numbered of 200
-Date window at 3-o-clock
-Unidirectional steel bezel with orange insert and lume pip
-Water resistant to 200 metres

Crepas has been creating quite a stir amongst the Dive Watch community with their unique brand of dive watches, becoming one of the most sought after boutique dive watch brands in the industry. With the sheer amount of boutique brands congesting this market segment, its no small feat that Crepas has gained such popularity in such a short period of time competing against veterans like UTS and Ennebi and more sophomore companies like Ocean7 and Dievas. Every watch released by Crepas is a numbered, limited edition of 100 pieces.

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Crepas also started up a Military division called Tactico, of which has inspired this post. While I’ve been aware of Crepas watches for a while, the difficulty in obtaining one has always been a hurdle for me. With the new Tactico release of the TC2, the watch is much easier to get, and probably won’t enjoy the ultra-high resale pricing that most Crepas watches have. The watch is incoming, and I hope to receive it soon. Here she is, and the specs below.

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Specs:
Case diameter: 42mm
Bezel diameter: 40mm
Thickness: 13,70mm
Length: 50mm
Crystal thickness: 2,80mm
Crystal diameter: 30mm
Space between the lugs: 22mm
Crown diameter: 7mm

tactico-tc22

Materials:
Case, bezel, crown and case back cover: solid stainless steel 316L with a brushed and polished finished.
Crystal: Synthetic sapphire double domed.
Gaskets: Viton and Tefzel.
Stainless steel bracelet with deployant signed clasp.
Nylon NATO straps.
Vintage Tritium Superluminova at marks, hands and bezel insert.

Features:
Swiss movement manufactured by ETASA model 2824-2
Water Resistant: 50atmos/500 meters. Crown and case back cover screwed.
Anti-magnetic: 70,000 A/m. Movement protected by a soft steel cover.
Anti-scratch crystal with AR coated.
120 positions unidirectional bezel.

I was browsing around on a British Watch forum, and stumbled onto this brand called Pacardt. The cases were really cool, reminding me of Kobold and and another German Boutique brand – UTS, both of which have caught my eye at one time or another. Pacardt leans towards the chunky side, but maybe not quite as chunky as UTS. The watches have a minimalist style, with a less-is-more approach to dial design.

Currently all their watches appear to use what they call the 1T case style and come in PVD as well as plain Stainless Steel. They have an impressive 1000m water resistance, with the help of a 5mm sapphire crystal. Price is €440-750, which is pretty reasonable. Interestingly, right now I can’t tell where you can buy these aside from eBay.

Case diameter: 45.5 mm
Case thickness: 15.5 mm
Case material: stainless steel
Case back: screwed
Crown: screw-down
Bezel: unidirectional rotatable, 120 clicks
Movement: automatic, ETA2824-2 Swiss Made
Water resistant: 1000 m
Date: yes
Crystal: Sapphire crystal, 5 mm, screwed with case
Luminous hour markers: Super-LumiNova Grade A
Luminous hands: Super-LumiNova Grade A
Bracelet: silicone strap
Lug width: 24 mm, screwed
Buckle: Pin buckle, screwed

Website: http://www.pacardt.com/

Haven’t updated with my recent video reviews, so just in case you guys have not seen them. Here is the Tutima Di300 Video review uploaded a while back here. Fantastic Titanium watch with a blasted finish. Its a wonderful German-made diver with an Swiss ETA automatic movement. Superb craftsmanship and that great german tool-watch look make this a great watch.

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