Hands-on: VeriWatch Octopus 1973 Date Watch

More than just a pretty face, this diver packs tool watch grit.


Dive watches, much like the coral reefs they navigate, come in a dazzling array of hues and forms. Yet, amidst the hyper-technical divers and bold chronographs, there lies a quieter charm; the vintage skin diver. Enter the VeriWatch Octopus 1973, a watch that conveys a clear message that a timepiece isn’t just about telling time or even just about diving into the depths of the ocean, but it’s also about diving into a bygone era. The brand itself has an interesting bit of history, one deeply entangled with the very spirit of dive watches. From my experience with this brand, it’s apparent that VeriWatch isn’t just a name etched on a dial; it’s a legacy spun from saltwater and sunshine, born in the golden age of diving watches. From their humble beginnings in a Bari watch shop back in 1956, VeriWatch has always felt the ocean’s pull, crafting timepieces that whisper tales of sun-drenched coral reefs and exhilarating underwater adventures. And in 2023, the tide returns to carry forth a reborn legend: the VeriWatch Octopus 1973, a diver’s companion with vintage soul and modern spirit, ready to plunge us back into the depths of history

Having previously reviewed the black dial model without date, I was initially intrigued by the VeriWatch Octopus 1973’s historical connection and one particular design element; the pulsometer scale. Now I find myself with a new companion; the VeriWatch Octopus 1973 with an eye-catching gradient blue dial and the added convenience of a date display perched at 3 o’clock. This iteration sings a different, and far more appealing, tune to my vintage-loving tendencies.

Exuding the cool confidence of the 70s, the 38mm case is made from gleaming 316L stainless steel and features subdued dimensions. It’s the perfect size for most wrists, not too bulky, yet undeniably present. The tonneau curves and squared-off lugs hug the wrist comfortably, while the screw-down crown, emblazoned with a double O-ring, promises depths beyond the pool. What truly catches the eye, however, is the caseback. Two octopus tentacles, rendered in textured relief, dance across the metal, a subtle yet delightful detail that speaks volumes about VeriWatch’s commitment to storytelling.

But the true heart of any diver is its dial, and this Gradient Blue beauty throws down the gauntlet for attention. It’s a mesmerizing dance of color, starting at the center with a deep, almost mesmerizing sapphire blue, the kind that reminds you of staring into the Mariana Trench at high noon. As the light catches it, the color subtly shifts, morphing into a rich, inky navy as it climbs the dial. Then, just before the edge, it takes a final, unexpected twist, transitioning into the faintest whisper of an azure that wouldn’t be out of place on a clear summer sky. The way the color changes is tricky, and it looks different depending on how you hold it. It’s almost like looking into an ocean where there’s no uniformity of colors, one that keeps surprising you with its shades of blue. It’s cool, you could forget to check the time because you’re too busy staring at it. The baton hands, filled with Super-LumiNova BGW9, slice through the blue, their stark white a reassuring beacon in low light. The pulsometer scale, nestled on an anodized blue aluminum ring, lends an air of tool-watch cool, while the red-tipped seconds hand adds a playful dash of color.

Speaking of tools, the VeriWatch Octopus 1973 doesn’t disappoint. The tool side of things shine thanks to the unidirectional 120-click bezel, for which my fingers itched to play with. The bezel, a clicky symphony of 120 notches in two-tone satin-finished aluminum, hummed under my touch. It was a tangible nod to the watch’s vintage soul, a reminder of days when function worked in tandem with the form.

Above it, the domed sapphire crystal, shielded by its anti-reflective cloak, winked defiance at the sun’s glare. Legibility is guaranteed, even with Old Sol trying to play peekaboo with the dial. What that means is that you can read the watch perfectly even when the sun is directly shining on it. Like its no-date sibling, this date version as well cemented the impression that the watch isn’t just for show; it’s ready to dive into life’s adventures.

Powering this underwater adventure is the trusty Swiss Sellita SW200-1, a workhorse movement known for its reliability and accuracy. It’s not flashy, but it gets the job done, ticking away silently beneath the dial.

Comfort is paramount when exploring the deep, and the VeriWatch Octopus 1973 delivers. The three included straps, each made in Italy, are a masterclass in vintage vibes. The Tropic Legend strap, with its supple rubber and vintage flair, feels like an old friend. The Sport strap, reminiscent of 70s diving suits, accentuates the ruggedness of Octopus 1973.

And for those who prefer a NATO’s casual versatility, VeriWatch provides a recycled option with 316L buckle and keepers. It’s great to see that VeriWatch included an environmentally friendly option in the straps, especially the recycled NATO strap. It’s a thoughtful choice, the one that shows that they’re thinking about their ecological footprint.

So, where does the VeriWatch Octopus 1973 stand after our underwater waltz? It’s a triumph of vintage charm infused with modern sensibilities. The 38mm size might feel small to some, and the bezel alignment isn’t Rolex-level perfect, but these are minor quibbles in the face of its overall charm and value. VeriWatch faces stiff competition in this price bracket, but with its unique story, Italian pedigree, and stunning gradient dial, it carves its own niche in the coral reef of dive watches.

Like I mentioned in the no-date variant review that I would indeed prefer a 40mm size, but VeriWatch’s commitment to the original model’s dimensions is commendable. Price-wise, the Octopus 1973 stands at an interesting place, punching above its weight while offering impressive bang for your buck with its vintage charm, Swiss movement, and multiple strap options. Even at €1,050 (including VAT) if you’re in the EU or €860 if you’re outside the EU, it’s a compelling proposition for vintage watch enthusiasts seeking a unique and reliable dive companion.

Ultimately, the VeriWatch Octopus 1973, with its Gradient Blue dial and date, is not only a watch, it’s a reflection of a time when dive watches were tools, not trophies. It’s a conversation starter, a reminder that sometimes, the most enchanting depths lie not in the ocean, but in the past. So, if you’re looking for a dive watch that whispers of vintage adventures and tells a story on your wrist, the VeriWatch Octopus 1973 might just be the timepiece you’ve been searching for.