Other Watchy Bits: The Vostok Amphibia

Talk about a tool watch. In 1967, the first Amphibias rolled out of Chistopol in the Soviet Union. Chief designers, Mikhail Fedorovich Novikov and Vera Fedorovna Belova, had been charged with the task of producing a watch for the Soviet military that could withstand the pressure and temperatures of 20 atmos. But isolated from the West, the duo had to start from scratch. They did not have access to the same technologies at the disposal of more advanced Swiss watchmakers.

Off the Cuff: ZENEA Ula Diver

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.

Off the Cuff: Vanbanner LEA

The LEA is essentially a field watch (a lea is a field or grassy pasture) with dive watch specs. Its sandwich layering with its large Arabic numerals, coupled with its broad outer chapter ring designating the minutes, make for a highly legible, practical dial. It also uses a healthy dose of both C3 and BGW9 Super-Luminova on its sword hands, markers, and bezel. The 120-click, ratcheting bezel, in conjunction with the aforementioned chapter ring, also provide a functional dive calculator. In fact, the watch is equipped with a screwed-down crown and provides an impressive 300m of water resistance. Thus, as far as field watches go, it has chops.

Off the Cuff: Aquastar Deepstar

Sometimes a watch just hits you in the feels. The moment you see it, the connection is so visceral you don’t even realize what has occurred until Paypal sends you an email verifying your purchase. For me that watch was the Aquastar Deepstar.

Off the Cuff: Halios Fairwind

Lim and Hailos produce primarily water-resistant sports watches of the highest quality for prices within reach of the enthusiast community. And each release, in its own small way, is treated like the launch–if you’ll excuse the paradox–of a microbrand icon. The Fairwind is no exception.

Off the Cuff: DIY Watch Club

To begin, the DIY Watch Club Diver Series Kit strikes me as a good value proposition. If you price out the various components required for building a watch from scratch, add in the shipping and duty, and then consider all of the tools you will need to carry out the operation, $350USD begins to look pretty good. And I have also seen these kits go on sale recently for as much as 30% off. The added benefit for an inexperienced modder/builder is that nothing gets left out.

Off the Cuff: Vanbanner Parkingmaster

Legend has it that the idea behind the Parkingmaster came to LV after watching a YouTube video where a woman mentioned that she used her bezel to time parking meters. Of course, the majority of dive watches sold today never do anything more adventurous than “desk diving,” so why not repurpose the appendix? While the Parkingmaster bezel appears, and functions, more-or-less like a traditional dive bezel, it does have a “red zone” indicating that you should return to your car and feed the meter. I think that this cheeky addition would also function nicely as a wily wink among other watch enthusiasts.

On Spec: Aquastar Deepstar

The whisper of it conjures images of Cousteau, Marianna’s Trench, and the Trieste Bathyscape—in other words, the Aquastar invokes the Golden Age of maverick ocean exploration when divers pushed the limits of technology and sanity in plumbing the depths.

On Spec: Dailos Waveform

The entry-level dive watch market is a ruthless one. Seikos abound at highly competitive pricing and legendary status. Orient divers have a cult following. And the Tissot Seastar 1000 and the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba will put you into a Swiss diver for under $1000USD. Simply put, a microbrand diver must make a lot ofContinue reading “On Spec: Dailos Waveform”