On Spec: The AMA Diver

An Albany watch inspired by lesser-known adventurers

One of the more exciting microbrand launches on Kickstarter right now is the Ama Diver from Albany Watches. Clearly inspired by the skin diver aesthetic of the 1960s, the Ama is nonetheless a modern diver all its own.

Of particular interest is the watch’s nod to the almost lost tradition of freediving. For more than 2000 years, the Ama—predominantly young women—have been exploring the coastal waters of Japan in search of pearls.

This new watch from Albany takes both its name and inspiration from them.

As a self-confessed watch nerd with a bent toward divers—and skin divers more specifically—I find the Ama to be an attractive value proposition starting only at $299USD.

The Ama Diver Strap Choice

Specs:

Case

  • 316L brushed stainless steel 60s skin diver styled
  • 40mm case with drilled lugs
  • 48mm lug to lug with a 20mm strap size
  • 12.8mm in height (Including the domed sapphire crystal)
  • 7mm fully lumed (Swiss Super-LumiNova® BWG9) screw-down crown
  • Depth rated to 300m
  • Crown features the Albany cormorant (a symbol of nobility and bounty)
Ama Diver Signed Crown

Hands and Lume

  • Hands represent the Ama’s dive tools (knife-like hour and spear-shaped minute, and signature harpoon seconds)
  • Easily readable teal minute-hand
  • Swiss Super-LumiNova® BWG9 has been applied to all three hands and indices
The Ama Diver’s signature hands with Swiss Super- LumiNova BWG9

Bezel and Crystal

  • Anti-reflective dome and bezel insert are both sapphire crystal
  • 41.5mm, 120-click unidirectional bezel

Movement

  • Miyota 9039 (no-date version of the 9015)
  • 28800 bhp with smooth second-hand sweep

The Little Touches

The screw-down caseback of the Ama sports an attractive engraving which is based on photographs of the Ama taken in the 1950s by Iwase Yoshiyuki.

Ama diver engraved caseback

Albany has also designed a bamboo box to honour and commemorate the Japanese tradition which inspires its diver. It is embossed with the brand logo and offers a sustainable solution to packaging.

All divers come with an additional watch roll fashioned from double-waxed canvas and a micro-suede lining.

Sustainability

Like several other watchmakers, of late, both big and small (Oris, Seaborne, TFP, ect.), Albany advocates “for meaningful integration between exceptional quality and sustainability.” Their products incorporate regenerated and biodegradable materials, and they claim also to be “actively working with [their] manufacturing partners across [the] supply chain to improve consumption while reducing emissions and waste.”

Final Notes

The Seiko 62MAS is my grail watch. I could scratch that itch with any of Seiko’s recent reissues, such as the SPB143 or the SLA017 (assuming I could find one).  But that scratch would still set me back more than a $1000USD for the cheaper of the two. The Ama starts at only $299USD with the aesthetics and bones to make in an attractive alternative.

The Ama Diver launched two weeks ago (October 13, 2020) exclusively on Kickstarter and was fully funded on the first day. At the time of publication, some early-bird specials are still available. Check in on the project for more details.


On Spec articles refer to upcoming projects and rely upon available information on Kickstarter, the brand website, and promotional materials provided by the watchmaker. An On Spec article does not preclude a future full-length review in our Off The Cuff section. If you would like your project to feature in On Spec, please contact us here.

Published by calibre321

I am a writer, an educator, a craftsman, and a watch enthusiast. Follow me on Instagram @calibre321, or read my watch reviews at calibre321.com.

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