A maker of their own movements (‘manufacture’), they are mainly known for their formal and dress watches as well as the famous ‘Tourbillon under three gold bridges‘ of 1884.
As mechanical watches regained popularity, there was a strong demand for sporty and especially dive watches. Looking back, it was probably started by the introduction of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, which demonstrated a market for high-end sport watches. After that, the marquee Swiss brands followed suit: Jaeger LeCoultre with the Master Compressor series, Vacheron Constantin with Overseas, Audemars Piguet with the Royal Oak and Offshore and Girard-Perregaux with the Sea Hawk.
Put yourself into the mindset of the person leading the effort. Your firm has literally centuries of proud history behind it; you’re not just going to bang out a ‘me-too’ design. You’re going to strive to integrate your firm’s themes and strengths into an entirely new design.
- Model reference 49950-19-632-FK6A
- In-house GP033R0 automatic movement. 28,800 vph, 46 hour power reserve with sub seconds and date complications.
- Water resistant to 1,000m (3300ft)
- Double-domed sapphire crystal with dual-sided antireflective coating
- Rubber-filled 120-click unidirectional steel bezel with raised numerals
- Stainless steel case, 44.8mm by 15.1mm, 55.5mm lug to lug. 160g with strap.
- Fitted rubber strap with butterfly deployant, on-wrist pushbutton micro adjustments. Standard 22mm lugs.
- Automatic helium escape valve at two o’clock
- Signed 7.8mm crown, at four o’clock, with integrated crown guards.
- List price of approximately $9,700
Let’s take a close look at the dial and layout. Start with the figure-eight / infinity shape of the power reserve and sub seconds:
Also notice the date window – it’s very deeply set, with an sloped and mirror-polished well. You’ll not mistake this watch for any other.
As you’d expect, the case detailing and finishing is first-rate:
Interestingly, the Sea Hawk II is available on leather or rubber straps, but no bracelet. The strap is cut-to-fit, with a very nice pushbutton-release double deployant.
Those small holes on the ends are spring-release micro adjustments. This is a great idea, as you can expand the fit a bit on a warm day without taking off the watch. The clasp is brushed-finish and signed with the logo:
The rubber strap is very comfortable indeed. At 160g, it’s medium-weight and unobtrusive on your wrist. The bezel is raised-numerals with a rubber infill. Edging the bezel are square-cut crenellations that, combined with the rubber, make this the easiest bezel to grab I’ve encountered. Very grippy, very precise in feel, a very functional design.
Luminosity is supplied by multilayer SuperLuminova on hands, dial and bezel dot. Easily legible for 8-10 hours. Note an interesting design choice: the power reserve is lumed, but the second hand is not:
Most dive watches have either a matte-finish or glossy dial. The Sea Hawk is a very subtle speckle finish. This half-illuminated picture shows how in bright light the texturing is visible, but in anything less than full sunlight it looks matte black:
The movement is the in-house GP033R0. As it’s a solid case back, I have no pictures. Timekeeping was chronometer-grade, winding very smooth. Kind of what you expect from a top-tier Swiss diver.
For comparison purposes, here’s a shot next to my IWC. Notice how much better the anti-reflective coatings are on the Sea Hawk (The watches are nearly identical in size).
In fact, that one was one of the most striking things about wearing this watch; the crystal just isn’t there, to a greater degree than I’ve ever seen. A bit of research leads me to believe that they are using the services of a company called Econorm for their crystals’ coatings; serious optics-grade materials. Anti-reflective coatings are one of those small things that no one shops for, but make a big difference day to day.
Subjectively, the Sea Hawk II is a superbly detailed and finish diver from one of the old-school Swiss brands. Made in small numbers, it’s a brand and style that very few people will notice. I like the bold, unique design, first-rate visibility day or night, and of course the timekeeping too.
[Ed. note - I just wanted to mention that in addition to Paul's excellent review thoughts, I love how the crown guards and right strap lug are designed together for a very slick, integrated look. This is a fantastic high-end diver that should be on people's list when looking to spend in the $10,000 range for a top-notch luxury diver that actually has credibility "in the field."]