Armida A2 Watch Review

Armida A2 Watch Review

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

This is the Armida A2, and I like it quite a lot. Let me explain why I think this is one watch that is worthy of your consideration.

Armida is a Hong Kong-based brand, using Fullswing for manufacturing, as do other brands such as the Helsons reviewed here.

This becomes very obvious once you see the Armida packaging:

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

That's the same bulletproof plastic cylinder as Helson with foam interior. Since the sourcing was so apparent, I decided to discuss it here a bit. Fullswing makes good stuff, and their prices are excellent. I actually like that the founders are up front about who makes their watches; there's too much secrecy and disinformation in this industry. Bravo!

Moving on to the watch itself:

  • Automatic dive watch, ETA 2824 ($649) or Miyota 8215 ($499). Also available in PVD finish for $699 and $549.
  • Water resistant to 500m
  • Includes Oyster-style bracelet and Isofrane-style rubber strap
  • Bracelet has screwed links, solid end links, fixed-length diver's extension, four micro adjustments and snap clasp with flip lock. Brushed finish throughout, 22mm tapering to 18 at the clasp, 4mm thick
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Stainless steel case, signed screwdown crown and caseback
  • Lumed bezel (C3 SuperLuminova, very bright) and hands. Not sure what material the bezel is.
  • 42mm case, 43mm at the bezel, 13mm thick, 22mm lugs and 51mm lug to lug
  • 90g for the watch, 110g with strap and 175g with bracelet

Armida has a range of dive watch designs, with their no-nonsense formula right on their home page:

Our watches are tough and reliable, clean and easy to read, top quality, Tool diver watches and are very reasonably priced.

The A2 certainly qualifies. The design is known as a 'milsub,' or 'military submariner,' based on two Ministry of Defense contracts in the 1960s and 70s. The Omega Seamaster 300 and Rolex 5517, both quite similar in design due to the contract terms, are the parents of the genre. The result is one of my all-time favorite functional designs: 60-minute bezel, sword hands, dive bezel of course, as much lume as possible and a clean, legible dial. No cyclops, 15-minute bezel or excessive branding. The Armida adds some subtle refinements to the design: A steeper-sloped rehaut (more room for dial), a bit larger case at 42mm, and a low-key date window sans rim at 4:30. Of course, the modern improvements as well: robust 500m case, sapphire crystal, shock-protected ETA or Miyota movements, better lume and the new lumed bezel.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The milsub look is perhaps the only significant downside of this watch, in that it might be mistaken for the Rolex. However, very few people have seen a Rolex milsub, as their low production numbers command prices around $100,000 and without the Mercedes hands, cyclops and branding it doesn't look much like a modern model.

Personally, I care not at all. As I've said before, the military are pragmatic first and foremost, and their needs produced a superbly functional and versatile design. Lacking the polished shiny bits and bling, it can and does go from beach to jeans to suit with no effort at all. At 42mm it's the right medium sized watch, not too large and still able to slide under shirt cuffs at 13mm.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Fit and finish are excellent. The bezel, initially stiff, loosened up after a couple of days and is a nice, precise 120 clicks. The lume on it and the dial is excellent, as good as any I've seen. Lights up quickly, legible after a solid ten hours:

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Armida regulates their watches before they ship, and the results are good. This one keeps time better than any watch I've seen, running under 1/2 second per day slow! Personally, unless you really want a beater, I'd recommend the ETA over the Miyota as the 8215 is less accurate and doesn't hack. The Miyota is, however, built to survive very rough treatment and years of no service.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The bezel has teeth cut at a 45 degree angle with just a bit of lip, making for good purchase from the side and above. A good design that doesn't need to be as tall as one with vertical teeth.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The case back is part of why it's comfortable to wear, with a smooth bowl shape and laser-engraved details. Notice also the drilled lugs and that the solid end links have small flanges to assist in changes. Laser-engraved signed crown, 7.1mm.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The sides of the case and the interior of the teeth are the only mirror-polished portions. A nicely made case. Drilled lugs speed strap and bracelet changes.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews Bracelet, clasp and wetsuit extension. Machined and not stamped, solid stuff.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

With the extension closed, also shows the beveled interior edges on the clasp that keep it from digging into your wrist. I should note that the bracelet also includes two half-links, so sizing it just right is easy to do.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Now that, I submit, is a classic look.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

(Pardon the partial shadow)

Not too tall, not too heavy, stays put nicely. I wore it for swimming, cycling, a bit of volleyball and the like and it was just fine, never bumping the bone on my wrist. A good size.

Armida A2 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The included rubber strap. Same as Helson, scented Isofrane-style. Big vents are good for super hot or humid weather.

I hope that I've managed to convey how much I like this one. It's not a watch that will garner attention or praise, but if you're looking for an affordable, well-made, versatile watch that you can wear for decades, the A2 is a winner. It's hard to explain, but after a month of wearing it I'm seriously debating selling my IWC and just keeping the A2. It really is that great a watch!

23 comments
diver1
diver1

This is a rolex fake with a noname brand printed on the dial, you get this type of watch with an ETA2824 in Hong Kong and Bangkok for $100.I mean it, same quality.

 

What is wrong with this world? you are considering giving up a decent IWC for this Chinese junk, a Rolex ripp off. Do you also consider selling your an iphone to buy a clone from China? BTW, Chinese iphone clones have can handle 2 SIM cards, :-)

deepsea
deepsea

I can't believe you even review a watch like that, came on.... next time please review a rolex "replica" (fake)

MEdwardDavisIII
MEdwardDavisIII

Good review. I have the PVC version, and the divers extension deploys almost every time I take it off. I also think it's a bit heavy at 180g with bracelet. I don't regret the purchase, and wear it more than my Steinhart.

Neil C
Neil C

Well I for one, really like it. Yes it is simple, but that is what makes it beautiful, not everyone wants bling.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

Ugh, can't stand Livefyre; it never updates properly or shows the right number of comments and loads so slowly. Anyway, back on topic, this is a pretty bland-looking watch. I'm not sure why you rate the craftsmanship so highly - the lume on the bezel looks like it was applied by a five-year-old - just take a look at that wonky triangle at 12 o'clock. The screws in the bracelet links appear to be sunk to random depths. It might make a good beater but certainly not at that price.

otaking241
otaking241

Surprised at such high praise for what could easily be mistaken for a drugstore watch. You must really want to fly below the radar to want to wear this thing.At least the Helson Shark Diver reviewed recently had some whimsy; this just screams (sighs?) "guy who doesn't care."

Still don't understand why they don't slot the date window more evenly between 4 and 5 o'clock. It doesn't stand out as much as the Helson because the pips are smaller, I guess, but it still looks off-balance.

Belligerent Man
Belligerent Man

Wow! That is super plain and uninspiring in every single way.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

22/18 is really a mistake as I see it - that is too severe a taper. 22/20 would have been much better, and 22/22 would be modern and refreshing.

I'd like to see the PVD version - this matte steel looks is, as mentioned, quite played out and uninspired.

bichondaddy
bichondaddy

Well...I guess if that look is your thing....it's a nice looking watch. Me....I haven't worn a watch that looks like that since 1988....when the watch was part of our dress code. When the company downsized 3/4's of the staff....I took my watch and tossed it into the nearest river.....vowing to never wear a watch to look like that again. Not everone likes a black bezeled, black dialed watch....and I am one of them. But...that's just me.

GeoffBot
GeoffBot

Good review, good watch - I like the Millsub look, though the date wheel at 4 bothers me - I'd have preferred it at 3.

Which IWC do you have?!

Darth Hotdog
Darth Hotdog

@diver1 

I defy you to find a watch with comparable features as found on the Armida A2 for $100.

-42mm case
-date with no cyclops
-domed a.r. sapphire crystal
-mil-sub dial and bezel markings
-sword hands
-500m w.r.
-signed crown
-2 included bands stainless and iso-style rubber
-Seiko or better quality lume
-ETA2824 or Japanese Miyota Auto

Not possible for $100. And if it is possible then please post a link or photo or something..!

Cheers,
 

GeoffBot
GeoffBot

@Neil C Agreed. People who like watches will appreciate simple designs for what they are. That's not to say that everyone has to like this model, but 'urgh - it's plain/boring' could be said of LOTS of watches - calatrava, JLC moon and pp aquanaut included.

AtSeaWatch
AtSeaWatch

@Kris C I'm with yon the bracelet taper. It just looks dated, and not in a cool retro way.

Greg S
Greg S

@bichondaddy You had a specific watch as part of your dress code? Were you a Clone Trooper or something?!

bichondaddy
bichondaddy

@Greg S Afraid so...I was working for a computer company back then. Our dress code consisted of a 53 page manual. We could not wear anything not approved by "The Code"...and that even inculded our watches. I haven't owned a watch that even comes close to resembling "The Code" watch since then.

GeoffBot
GeoffBot

@phubbard Beautiful. And you'd seriously consider swapping it for this?! (lovely as it is)

bichondaddy
bichondaddy

@Russ Schwenkler@Greg S No...not EDS...I wish. I would have been much better paid!! I worked for a small regional company in AZ, NV and NM...I was a software trainer.

GeoffBot
GeoffBot

@AtSeaWatch@phubbard@GeoffBot I like the look - it's a nice watch, but I don't suppose I' shop it in for an IWC! Having not handled either I can't say for sure, but I'm sure Ariel would probably understand Paul's mentality - he loves the microbrew divers - Prometheus, Helson, Defaufre etc. I'm glad these brands can rock it with the big boys amongst the WIS.

phubbard
phubbard

@GeoffBot Yeah, I'm kinda over the joy of bling, and the reduction in size makes big difference in comfort, at least for me.

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