This watch gave me my first experience of Deep Blue, a brand from America (Subsequently I got another Deep Blue). I got a chance to see it on Amazon and the price quoted of approximately USD250+ got me interested to know more. Two specifications that stood out were the use of automatic movement in a casing that can withstand 1,000 meters of water pressure.
After making the decision to get it, I made my order and within a week it is on my table.
Let us get the main specification of the watch out of the way first. The watch case and bracelet are made from 316L stainless steel with solid links. Powering the watch is the 21 jewel 8205 Miyota movement. This caliber is automatic, hand windable but non-hacking. It has enough main springs to save energy for approximately 45 hours of reserve.
The case measures 46 mm across excluding the crown. Lug to lug measures 52.5 mm while the lug width is 25 mm. The height of the watch is 14 mm and weighs in at 220 gm. The case-back is solid and is a screw-down.
The glass covering the dial is a flat sapphire crystal. The main crown is a screw down triple o-ring positioned at 3 o’clock. There is a smaller crown that helps control the Helium-Escape-Valve situated at the 2 o’clock position. This watch has a water resistance rating of 100 ATM or 1,000 meters or 3,300 feet.
The bezel is uni-directional with 120 clicks. It measures a slightly smaller 43 mm with lume pip at zero/60 minute position.
The dial is plain blue. The minute hand has orange boarders. All the dial markings and the hands (for the second-hand, only the tip is painted) are covered with Lume Superluminous paint.
Complications are just the day and date indicators at the 3 o’clock position. You have an option of choosing either in English or Spanish. The clasp push button deployant comes with a pop-out diver’s extension clasp. The bracelet has four removable links.
Despite the large dimensions on paper, the design of the watch is balanced. Using a wider bracelet helps mask the large watch case. It fact, it distribute the weight of the watch more evenly and hence makes the wearing experience to be more comfortable that one initial expected.
The edges are nicely rounded. There are no sharp angles to be seen on the watch. All scratched prone surfaces such as the crystal as well as the bezel face are just ever so slightly lower than the edge of the watch case. This gives a better level of protection from glancing blows.
The spaced out set of notches on the bezel is a rather nice design. The Arabic numbering on the bezel slotted into their respective nooks make it look sophisticated and very ‘gear’-like. The movement of bezel moves with purpose with very little play and you can hear the audible clicking as you turn it.
The main crown has a significant looking (and bulging) protector. The crown itself is very simple. It has no engraving and the side of the crown has deep cut machined straight grooves which does appear to fit perfectly into the sets of grooves machined to the side of the bezel. This reinforces the ‘gear’-like impression highlighted earlier. The grooving maximizes grip for winding or adjustment.
Unscrewing the crown is easily done and so is screwing it down. The screw thread in the watch case lines up very easily with screw thread in the crown. There are four positions for the crown, (1) screw-down and lock, (2) the unscrewed position which allow winding, (3) third position that allows it to adjust day (clockwise) and date (counterclockwise), (4) the fourth and final position allows adjustment for the time.
The crown for the helium escape valve is smaller and knurled than the primary crown. A ‘must have’ system if it wants to be taken seriously as a divers’ watch. Deep Blue decided for a manual system instead of an automatic one. However, the location of the valve does require a re-think. A better location would be the opposite side of the watch case. The current location is too close to the main crown.
The face of this model is blue. I like the orange minute hand on this watch and it is very easy to read with great visibility. The second hand is quite slim and bare stainless steel piece with just a pip of lume on the triangle near the tip.
Meanwhile, the case back is domed and etched with a wavy graphic with all the important information regarding the watch.
The “Oris” inspired styling on the bracelet meant that there is really no “end-links”, but rather the center section of the last link simply fits into the narrow lug gap between the wide lugs. This means this watch would not easily fit most typical width straps for a quick change of look or feel.
Nevertheless, the links connection mechanism used in the bracelet is first class. Instead of the cheaper pin-and-collar method used in cheaper bracelets, Deep Blue went for the screw pins. This same method is also used on each lugs.
The clasp push button deployant has the Deep Blue logo and brand etched on it. A stamped piece, solid and well made. The secondary security sub-clasp snaps over rounded spring loaded nubs close to the push button. This small design feature tells me that Deep Blue understands what customers want. None conscientious designers will simply use a friction fit for this to keep cost of production low. However, it would introduce friction marks on the bracelet and to me, it defaces the watch.
Below is the divers’ extension deployed. It gives an additional 2.5 cm of length to the bracelet.
The following photo shows how solid the construction of the watch. This watch deserves the ‘tool’ watch classification.
A lume shot taken in partial darkness. The liberal use of the lume paint is evident here. Bright and easy to refer too in the dark.
As highlighted earlier, the movement in this watch is the Miyota 8205 caliber automatic. A well known robust workhorse sort of movement used by many small brands. In my opinion, a model from one of three great movement manufacturers currently available today, ETA and Seiko being the other two.
This particular piece seems to be running about +3 seconds per day straight out of the box.
The option to hand wind this movement is good to have and the watch starts almost instantaneously once energy is being stored into the main spring.
The tough construction on the watch provide the comfort to the wearer that it can be used in the most harshest of conditions. The price of the watch desensitized the user from being too ‘over-protective’ when wearing it. Both combination makes a good recipe for a tool watch.
I like the blue colour on the dial and it makes it more lively.
Overall, an excellent practical sports watch.
Meor Amri Meor Ayob – Contributing Editor
Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!) on his own free time. Read his articles here.