Go big, or go home. That must be the new motto for the gentleman over at Whitby Watch Co., who have just released their latest offering: The Intrepid X Chrono-Diver. The lure of the microbrand is often value for money. However, building a solid automatic chronograph cannot be done on the cheap. Designing one around a legendary Swiss movement…well, that’s playing in the big leagues. Wait. You want to take it diving?
By the very nature of its function, a chronograph has more points of entry than the average watch. As a result, even famous chronographs, like the Speedmaster Professional, generally do not guarantee more than 50meters of water resistance. To achieve 100m in the Speedmaster line, you would have to step up to the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Moonphase–which, of course, comes at a cost. Other popular chrono-divers would include the the Nivada Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, the Doxa Sub 200 C-Graph, and last year’s Aquastar Deepstar. But, on a bracelet, none of these is available for less than $2000USD.
The ambition behind the Intrepid X is matched only by its bold design. The 316L stainless steel case (also available in black PVD) measures 44mm in diameter and 50mm lug to lug. It is also a chunky 15mm thick with a lug width of 22mm. These dimensions–and to some degree its aesthetics–are similar to Tag Heuer’s Aquaracer and Formula 1 Chronographs. On wrist, the watch has significant presence. It looks and feels like an instrument. However, its steeply curved lugs allow it to sit securely in place. Its bracelet also offers one of the few male endlink designs that I think improves the lug to lug comfort.
The watch is almost exclusively brushed, contributing significantly to its toolish appearance. The pushers and the screwed down crown are uniformly machined and designed to match. The crown is signed with the brand’s logo. Of particular note is the juxtaposition of the unique bezel faceting against the matte black ceramic bezel insert. The former adds a touch of luxury, while the latter plays into a more tactical vibe.
The screwed down caseback pays homage to various branches of the Canadian Intelligence services with an embossing of a compass rose and daggers. In addition, inscribed around the outside is the Corps’ motto “Action from Knowledge.” Each piece of this limited edition is individually numbered.
The dial of the Intrepid X is another highlight. The subdials which dominate at 6, 9, and 12 are nicely balanced by the day/date and logo at 3. There are further subtle nods to the Canadian forces, as well. In the 30 minute dial, there is an X; while in the perpetual seconds dial there is a Latin phrase, E Tenebris Lux, or “A light in the dark.” All of this sits in a field of textured black, reminiscent of carbon fiber, and is surrounded by a sloped chapter ring and tachymeter. The applied indices and sword hands have been treated with C3 Swiss-Super-LumiNova, like the triangular pip above twelve. The crystal is flat sapphire with a coating of AR.
At the heart of the Intrepid X beats the ETA/Valjoux 7750. Since its creation in 1973, the fabled calibre has powered some of the best-loved chronographs of the last forty years. Omega, Longines, Tissot, IWC, Tudor, and Breitling have all called upon the highly adaptable 7750. The cam lever movement beats out a 4Hz pulse for smooth a chronograph sweep and a satisfying organic response on the pushers. The flyback action is snappy and practically invisible to the human eye.
The Intrepid X comes standard on a solid stainless steel H-link styled bracelet with a signed, milled fold-over clasp. It has a push-button release and three levels of micro-adjust.
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|Case||316L Stainless Steel/Black PVD Coating|
50mm Lug to Lug
22mm Lug Width
Ceramic Uni-directional Bezel
Screwed Down Case Back & Crown
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire /w AR|
12 Hour Dial @ 6
30 Minute Dial @ 12
Perpetual Seconds Dial @ 9
Day/Date Window @ 3
|Movement||ETA/Valjoux 7750 Chronograph|
44-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel H-Link Style|
/w Milled Clasp
The Intrepid X pays tribute to Sir William Stephenson–the man they called Intrepid. Stephenson, a Canadian who served in the RAF during World War I, rose to the rank of Captain and was awarded both the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross, before he was shot down behind enemy lines and spent time as a POW. However, it is his exploits during the Second World War for which he is most celebrated.
Stephenson was charged by Prime Minister Winston Churchill to head MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) operations from a New York office in the Rockefeller Centre. There he liaised with CIA officials and President Roosevelt, himself. Stephenson was also responsible for founding Camp X–Special Training School No. 103–in Whitby, Ontario. There, as many as 2000 covert operations agents were trained between 1941 and 1945.
Ian Fleming is rumoured to have based his character of James Bond on the real life Stephenson. He once wrote, “James Bond is a highly romanticized version of a true spy. The real thing is…William Stephenson.”
You’ll feel like a secret agent yourself when the Intrepid X shows up on your doorstep, housed in the Nanuk 904 Waterproof Carry Case. The Intrepid X Chrono-Diver is limited to 150 pieces (100 stainless steel; 50 PVD).
I would preferred to have seen a true fully articulating H-link bracelet here. This watch deserves it. I also think the clasp is rather pedestrian. However, all of these things cost money, and the Intrepid X, which is designed and assembled in Canada, already offers a solid “value-for-money” package.
Down the road, a fitted silicone strap would look smashing.
Goethe once said, “Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Whitby have certainly made audacious (shall we say…intrepid?) moves in the creation of the Intrepid X. It has the chunky, tactical appearance you might expect to find on the wrist of fighter pilot. It is heavy and solid, and decidedly masculine. Its size is dictated, in part, by the Valjoux 7750 under the hood, but it is also in line with its function, and integral to its personality. Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into the design of this watch–from the nods to Stephenson’s intelligence background, to the tactical inclusions of both a dive bezel and a tachymeter, and finally to the stealthy aesthetic of its carbon fiber-like dial and matte ceramic bezel insert. But, beyond the military styling, the are flashes of luxury in the case finishing and dial construction. In the end, I can’t decide if the Intrepid X is a luxury timepiece in the guise of a toolwatch, or a toolwatch hiding in a luxury timepiece. I suppose it’s both.
Pre-sale pricing of the Intrepid X is $1890CAD (approx. $1500USD). For more information on the pre-sale and launch, please visit the brand website.
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