In this blog we will give you an insight into which watches our staff would pick. Since we handle the watches on a daily basis we hope you will appreciate our experiences!
Eddie – has been working for us for around a year and is in charge of our packaging department and videos.
Nethuns Scuba SB500
When you don’t have the biggest of wrists, like me, it is important to keep in mind that the watch looks to be in proportion with your wrist. In my case, I can go to a maximum of 42mm in case diameter without looking like the watch doesn’t fit well or that I’m proverbially wearing my dad’s watch. The watch should hug the wrist, in other words the lugs of the case must roll down around and not be straight and stick out. The Nethuns Scuba 500 sits comfortably around my wrist and curves gently.
The case is made out of a solid piece of CuSn8 bronze. Bronze is a little softer than stainless steel but is does give a cool patina over time. You can choose to force the patina (see other posts in our blog about that), but I would choose to wear the hell out of it, swim with it and don’t part with the watch for a long time. This will give your watch a look which is unique to you and how you wear the piece. Also bronze is a great conversation starter because you don’t see them as often in real life as opposed to metal watches.
The dial of this particular watch is green, which would be my choice simply because it looks classy and is different from the usual black or grey dials. The green hue of the dial really plays with different light quite well, while still being legible. It does remind me of the Rolex Hulk dial, but that’s a compliment!
I am very picky when it comes bezels. While some pieces just don’t give that satisfying click, the Nethuns definitely does. Like I said before, it feels really solidly built, with a click that is not too loose or too tight, but just right. The insert is ceramic, which helps keep it in good nick.
Water resistance is rated at 500 meters, which basically means you don’t have to worry about water ever coming into the case. But when you find yourself on the bottom of the Atlantic in a diver’s cabinet, at least the watch has a helium escape valve to ensure that built up overpressure is released. So the helium escape valve is a bit of a gimmick, I can’t deny it is cool to have. The screw down crown does have a function. The crown doesn’t have crown guards, which I like, and the crown is easy to operate.
Personally I would swap the rubber strap to something of my preference. It’s a bit too long for me and would stick out too much. I personally own a SPS510 and that’s now comfortably on a leather strap.
With a reliable ticker inside, the NH35 mechanical movement, all of the above just adds up. For the price you pay for the Nethuns Scuba 500 you really get a lot of watch. Bronze case, playful green dial, ceramic bezel with lume that glows through the night, thick sapphire glass, helium escape valve, screwdown crown, 500m of water resistance and a reliable movement. All in a classic design that has proven it’s popularity.
Mary – has been working for us for over 3 years and is our in-house watchmaker.
Zelos Avant A-4
As a watchmaker, and a female one at that, I tend to look at watches differently from the boys at the office. The big watches are too hefty to wear on my small wrists and are uncomfortable during my work.
The watch I am picking for this blog is a watch I actually own myself: the Zelos Avant A-4. I enjoy seeing mechanical parts moving both on my bench and on my wrist and the A-4 has a great skeleton movement. Now let me say that there are skeleton watches and… there are skeleton watches. Most affordable ones can’t be compared to the high-end ones and simply look cheap. Zelos is using an STP movement for this watch, which isn’t found in too many watches and they have added a black coating, which gives it a futuristic look. There is an art to taking material off a movement and this STP does a great job. Sure, you can always wish for complications, but considering the price, I think there is nothing I would expect in addition to this. Up to €1000 I can’t think of a better skeleton watch and even then the options are very scarce.
What also appeals to me is the 40mm bronze case. A) because it’s 40mm and will look good on nearly any wrist and B) because it’s bronze! Mine has been getting a lot of patina, simply through normal wear. The 11mm thickness is also very nice for an automatic.
I only wish the clasp had been bronze, but that’s difficult to make in a deployant form. Now my case does look very different from the clasp, so I am tempted to replace it.
John – has been working for us for over 5 years and is closely involved with the customer service
Seeing my colleagues both opted for bronze I am going to be the traditional man and go for a nice, versatile Orient. The Orient FAF05003A is the second iteration of the ‘Curator’ series and was released in 2017 with a new, improved movement (the old one was in line with the 40 year old Orient movements that couldn’t hack or handwind, this new F6N movement does have those features).
Now the watch itself is relatively simple when you look at it with a glance, 3 hands, date window and a grey dial. When you look closely you’ll see that the devil is in the detail. Let’s start with the dial, it’s a beautiful slate grey colour and not simply grey. It has a mild effect to it, which can be described as being sunburst, but it’s more than that. The power reserve at 12 o’clock adds a practical complication, alongside the obligatory date at 3. Orient is one of the very few non-Chinese manufacturers of affordable movements with a power reserve complication. The Swiss options are a lot more expensive, so Orient is realistically the only good option.
What makes the watch so fun for me is the versatility, the sapphire glass, lumed hands and 41mm case make it both suitable as semi-dressy watch, but also as a more sporty watch. A traditional dress watch will not have lume, but it’s just more practical. The hands are also brushed, which helps a great deal with legibility (alongside the lume). Polished hands are always tricky due to the reflections.
So what do you get for €239? A good complication, powered by a Made in Japan movement, a practical watch with good legibility and a simply gorgeous one at that. This watch will be good to wear now and in 20 years because of the timeless styling. The only big no would be water, as the watch is 50m water resistant, but the leather strap does limit those options. What can you do? Just put it on a grey 22mm nato when you’re wearing it in a casual way. Done!