Off the Cuff: ZENEA Ula Diver

One morning, my son asked if he could borrow my Seiko SARB035. He was wearing an attractive, well-known fashion watch at the time. After I said yes, he lifted the Seiko from my watch box and said, “Wow. This thing feels like quality.” He held both watches–one in each hand–as though sizing them up. To the eye, they are both nice timepieces, but I knew exactly what he meant. It isn’t that a good watch is necessarily heavy. I own several titanium watches that are next to weightless. It’s that a good watch feels solid. The materials are of excellent quality. The case and bracelet links are not hollow. The tolerances are high. It doesn’t jangle. Your eyes can play tricks on you, but the true test lays in your hand–or on your wrist.

Advertisements

In the immortal words of my teen-aged son, the Ula Diver by ZENEAfeels like quality.” The moment I lifted it from the box, I knew it was going to fulfil the promise of its slick good looks.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
The ZENEA Ula Diver in Obsidian Black @calibre321

The Ula Diver comes in a nicely sized 41mm case that tapers to 20mm at the bracelet. There is a fine polished chamfering along the outside of the gently sloping lugs that divides the brushed surfaces on top from the polished sides. The coin-edge bezel extends just beyond the case on either edge and there are faceted crown protectors on the right. The bezel insert is lumed sapphire and colour-matched to the dial. The reference shown here is called Obsidian Black. However, there are a total of five colourways available.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Coin Edge Bezel with Lumed Sapphire Insert @calibre321

What I like about the Obsidian, is the red second hand against the black, and the fact that the colour is picked up again by the subtle five minute markers in the outer chapter ring. All references have nicely-styled applied indices, in addition to applied Arabic numerals at the 12 and 6 positions. There is also a tasteful date window at three.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Applied Indices with BGW9 Super-LumiNova @calibre321

I always appreciate an interesting caseback, and the Ula does not disappoint here, either. There is an embossed rendering of what appears to be two traditional Oriental Koi in the form of a Pisces symbol. However, in reality, the animals are heraldic dolphins–meant to represent the continuity of never-ending time by swimming in an endless circle. Coupled with its screwed-down crown and solid caseback, the Ula offers an impressive 300m of water resistance.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Embossed Caseback @calibre321

The bracelet is another highlight. It is constructed of solid stainless steel with a mix of brushed surfaces and polished edges. The links are also screwed for simplified sizing. The clasp is signed and offers an easy release dive extension, as well as three additional micro-adjustment positions. It joins the case seamlessly with no play at the lugs.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Stainless Steel Bracelet with Solid, Screwed Links and Signed Clasp with Dive Extension @calibre321

The watch is designed in Canada, but is assembled in the brand’s partner plant in Switzerland. It employs the Swiss ETA 2824 calibre and does qualify as “Swiss Made.” The movement is very smooth and responsive in winding and setting, as is the screwed-down crown.

SPECS

Case316L Stainless Steel
41mm Diameter
48mm Lug to Lug
12mm Thick
20mm Lug Width
120-Click Dive Bezel
Screwed-down Crown
300m Water Resistance
Embossed Caseback
MovementETA 2824
28 800pbph
38-Hour Power Reserve
Crystal & DialSapphire Crystal /w AR
Lumed Sapphire Bezel Insert
BGW9 Super-LumiNova on Hands and Markers
StrapStainless Steel Bracelet /w Dive Extension
Quick Release Leather Strap
ZENEA Ula Diver
ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
The ZENEA Ula Diver, Swiss Made @calibre321

Of Interest

The ZENEA Ula Diver does not appear to cut any corners. In fact, it goes the extra mile in the small details. The Ula comes in a beautiful faux mahogany box with a reproduction of the caseback embossing in gold on top. It’s a beautiful presentation of a beautiful watch. It also comes with an extra strap. The Genuine Leather band is stitched in red, taking its cue from the watch’s second hand. It also has a custom, signed buckle in stainless steel.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Classy Good Looks @calibre321

Quibbles

If I can be really picky, I think the crown could be larger and better textured. Otherwise, this watch is perfect.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Built for Bold Adventures @calibre321

Final Thoughts

Ula means “gem of the sea,” and certainly it is a pearl of a watch. The level of construction and finishing that you receive for only $759USD ($956CAD) is something only a microbrand can offer. It’s classy good looks would be perfect under the cuff of a sports jacket, but equally at home in a T-shirt and jeans. However, it’s clearly more than a handsome face. The Ula has been built for bold adventures. Around the outside of the caseback there is a short inscription. It reads, “Because Time Matters.” If the quality of this watch is any indication, the makers of the Ula Diver certainly think so.

For more information, visit their website.

ZENEA Ula Diver Microbrand Watch Review
Pisces Embossing @calibre321

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, 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.

3 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: ZENEA Ula Diver

  1. That is one beautiful piece and really looks like something that has everything covered with the details and thought put into it. Really love your reviews. So easy to read and also easy to feel the experience of the watch with the way you write out the details. Great work Robi!

    Like

Leave a Reply to calibre321 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: