- Available in black, blue or white dial, in white, orange or blue hands and markers.
- Two movements: ETA 2824 at $699, or Miyota 9015 at $599.
- Water resistant to 500m
- Stainless steel case and bracelet
- Bracelet is 22mm, hex-keyed solid end bar, solid links and solid end links, flip lock with fixed-length wetsuit extension. Screwed links and 4 micro-adjustments. Special hex key tool provided.
- Sapphire crystal with inner antireflective coating
- Automatic helium escape valve
- SuperLuminova on hands, dial and bezel
- Lumed bezel, plastic
- 40.8mm across, 14.4mm thick, 42.0mm wide at the bezel, 46mm at crown. 51.7mm lug to lug.
- Signed 7.9mm crown with massive 6.9mm crown guards
- 32mm dial
- 255g on the bracelet, 135g on the Isofrane-style rubber strap
It's a serious dive watch, with 'big shoulder lugs' and oversized square-cut crown guards:
From the side:
I found the crown guards a bit too large, they're only 1mm smaller than the crown and leave little metal to grab when you need to screw or unscrew it. On the plus side, it's pretty much impossible to strike the crown, so if you're especially tough on your watches it's a plus.
Here you can see the hex-keyed bar used to attach the bracelet. Helson includes a two-piece driver for changing straps:
There you can see the solid end link, massive bracelet construction and the bolt/nut construction. I like this design; the recessed hex keys are easy to use and, unlike a flat blade, won't risk scratching the case as you apply force. The bar itself is very strong, much more so than spring bars.
I was initially puzzled when I opened up the canister and saw this - it's not obvious that the driver unscrews into two pieces. D'oh!
On the other side, the flush-mounted automatic helium escape valve:
I'm not fond of helium valves, as they're a potential leak source that almost no one needs. Alas, they are de rigeur on dive watches with few exceptions. Notice the beautiful bezel teeth, with their gear-like profile and easy-to-grab case overhang. Well thought out.
The watch is heavy enough that I only wore it on rubber straps. That brings the weight down to a very comfortable 135g, light enough that I wore it biking, playing ultimate and day to day.
And of course, I had to try it on my orange/red Ocean Diver strap:
Quite fun to wear. Visibility day or night is excellent, with plongeur-style hands that are nice and large. Lots of SuperLuminova makes the dial and bezel visible for many hours:
The movement in this version is the trusty ETA 2824; as expected timekeeping is excellent. For $100 less, there's a version with the Miyota 9015, a very comparable competitor with very similar specifications. I've not tried the Mioyta personally, but would expect good performance from it as well.
At 14.4mm, it's medium-to-thick, and the square-sided case is best with short sleeves:
Overall, this is a very solid and well-made dive watch. If you want a less obtrusive look, the black on black is a good choice; personally I like the blue on white and find it great fun to wear. The 42mm is size is just right, and with a 32mm dial it's maximized for readability. I'm also quite fond of lumed bezels, both for function and just the enjoyment of seeing it light up at night. For $699, this is a very good value for money: Helson has a 12-month international guarantee and excellent after-sales service.