This is probably my favorite new diver watch all year. An excellent and highly valuable find - the DWATCH is a lot of watch for the money, and as of right now aBlogtoRead.com readers can get the watches for a special price - see details below at the end of the review. While DWATCH is American operated, the owners proudly come from Israel. The company is a newer watch brand formed by a couple of seriously talented watch junkies that worked closely with professional divers to create the best possible mechanical diving watch at a price that most avid watch enthusiasts could afford. When you see the term "Professional" on the dial, it is because this watch is perfectly suited to hardcore diving duty - and so much more.
The reasons I like the DWATCH (no model names right now, just DWATCH) are all due to its no nonsense approach. While the timepiece has a great - almost retro look about it, the tool is for use, not just for show. Materials and design are all highly functional - and you can tell this just by looking at the watch. The pride you feel when wearing it is mostly due to the fact that you have a well engineered little machine on your wrist - not just some lifestyle-esque fashion accessory. Better still, is that DWATCH is all about customization. Visit the DWATCH website and you can navigate through customizing your own watch choosing dial colors, hands, bezel options, straps, etc... The options feel meaningful, and you can really make something "your own." I opted for a classic look with a high contrasting dial. Though it was tempting to consider an orange or blue dial.
DWATCHes are big at about 46.5mm wide and taller still. Still, the case is curved a bit and fits nicely on your wrist. The case is heavy with a retro styled design that gives it broad, thick looking lugs. You see this in hardcore diving watches from the 1970's. Even the most recent Rolex Submariner watches have revitalized this style a bit. The chunky high grade steel case is given a soft brushed finish (black PVD, sandblasted and polished finishes are also available) and looks like it was given the same smoothing treatment as a pebble you'd pick up on the beach. Integrated into the case is an automatic helium escape valve (also known as a helium release valve, or "HRV") just like you'd find on a Rolex Sea-Dweller. So as not to jab your wrist, the crown is moved to the 4 o'clock position - a good idea. You can see that the screw-in crown is large and easy to use. It has a grated texture that means you can grip it with gloves or while your hands are wet (through you should never submerge a diving watch with the crown unscrewed). The end of the crown is engraved with the brand's signature "D." Together, the case elements give the watch 1000 meters of water resistance. More than you'll ever need.
On the back of the watch you'll find an engraved screw-in caseback with a stingray (or manta ray) design that is meant to emphasis the nature of the watch. All the best diving watches out there have some visual indicator of where they are most at home. Under the caseback is the Swiss Made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. A common work-horse mechanical movement often found in dive watches because they are robust and accurate. I am happy to find one here, in fact, when I see a watch in this category that contains a Swiss movement without an ETA 2824-2, I wonder why it wasn't used. The case is so thick, that even putting your ear up to it, you virtually can't hear the movement operating. A testament to how durable the case it.
A major area of interest for me in any diving watch is the bezel. Not only am I a huge fan of rotating diver bezels, but I often use them to evaluate the overall quality of a watch. DWATCH gives its timepieces one of the nicest looking diver bezels I've had the pleasure of having - especially at a watch at this price. The side of the bezel has a similar grated texture that makes it easy to grip. Turning the bezel is on the harder side, but that is better than it being too easy to turn. You get 120 solid feeling clicks before you've made a full rotation. The bezel piece is all steel with no numeral insert (as many dive watches will use an aluminum insert for the numbers). DWATCH takes a more expensive approach and physically cuts out the minute markers in relief on the bezel surface. You can then get different finishes for the bezel (all steel tone, all PVD black, or PVD black on the inside like I chose). Not only does this look nice, but it communicates a lot about the durability and professional nature of the timepiece. At the 12 o'clock point of the bezel, there is a large applied lume dot.
The sapphire watch crystal is thick and curved a bit. It is also richly coated with anti reflective coating. An interesting point about the crystal is that even though it is curved (just a bit) it doesn't really distort your view of the dial when looked at from an angle. Nor does it really reflect too much light. I often find these qualities only in flat crystals - but here DWATCH has been able to achieve it with a slightly convex crystal. The dial choices are all designed to be easy to read under water, with hands and hour markers that are wide and covered in a lot of lume. Luminant on the DWATCH is very good. A few minutes of light and the watch glows legibility in the dark. Spend longer in the light, and the watch should glow all night long. Have no qualms, those of you who are picky about lume.
I chose the particular hands for the watch that I did, because they are large, and because the hour hand is in a different shape than the minute hand - which assists with quick reading of the time (your brain doesn't need to spend as much time calculating which hand does what). I am glad that the hands are the proper size as well. The seconds hand sweeps nicely and has a lume covered section as well. You could have likely predicted that I enjoy the date window. Why? Not only do I like the symmetrical placement of the case in the lower middle of the dial, but also because DWATCH knew to use a matching color date disc - to compliment the dial. Also, I like how the date window is framed. The manner in which the date window was implemented retains that function (which I like to have), and also preserves the clean look of the dial. Thus, as the design of the dial might look obvious, I suspect there was a lot of tweaking that needed to be done - and as a lover of finely engineering items, I appreciate that in anything I own.
Remember that there are many dial styles and colors available on the DWATCH. The pictured combo is just one option. You can get the DWATCH on a rubber strap or with a fine German made mesh metal bracelet. Rubber is the obvious functional choice, but if you want the best compliment to the manly retro look, (or are going to be shark hunting!) the mesh metal is the best choice. It doesn't cost much extra, and is thick, yet flexible. One problem with the metal bracelet is sizing. It doesn't' have more than a few millimeters of adjustability. Though DWATCH does have various length bracelets on hand - so be sure to go over your wrist size with them before you order one with the metal bracelet. Changing the strap is easy with the watch, and it uses thick tension rods to hold the strap or bracelet in place.
Thanks to DWATCH for the review timepiece. Reviews are 100% completely independent.