True value propositions have always been an important topic for watch enthusiasts, and in recent years smaller brands have been stepping up to the plate trying to make their mark in an industry still largely controlled by the big guys. There’s no denying that we are experiencing somewhat of a micro-brand renaissance these days, and for budget-conscious buyers there’s never been a better time to get into the watch game, especially if you’re into divers. Dive watches make up the vast majority of what these smaller, web-based brands offer, and while there are plenty of choices out there, forgettable designs and a lack of innovation are usually par for the course when exploring the micro-brand universe. While not exactly a household name, Haldor is a small brand that has aimed to create a larger-than-life dive watch with some of the best specs possible at a friendly price. The result is the Haldor Abissi 1000m watch.
There are few things in this world that pique my interest the way a sturdy dive watch does. Give me a matte black dial, time-only display, a tactile and lumed bezel, and I’ll be completely satisfied. However, we can all admit that from time to time, the typical design language of your everyday diver can become stale or overdone. While I can say that I’m usually conservative in what I look for in a dive watch, I also like to see some risks and outward thinking, which are two definite factors I found in the Haldor Abissi 1000m watch. With such a particular taste in dive watches, however, the Abissi definitely served as the kind of piece that I had to spend some time with to really get myself out of my own comfort zone as a watch lover. Was this a bad thing? Not a chance.
Before really digging into the Haldor Abissi 1000m, I just have to address the obvious. This is a big watch. I first got an idea of its size when we were introduced to the Haldor Abissi but nothing would compare to actually spending a great deal of time with it. I’m no diver, but at 45.5mm wide, 57mm lug to lug, and 277g on the bracelet, it feels as if it could work as both a dive watch and a dive weight. It’s not really a deal-breaker, and even as someone that feels comfortable with a Speedmaster on a NATO most days, I totally understand the appeal of a hefty watch. Luckily, the lugs are curved enough that they eliminate any kind of overhang resulting in a fit that wears well on my 7.25″ wrist.
Lug width on the Haldor Abissi 1000m is 24mm and it’s part of what I find most disappointing in the watch. Because the bracelet itself is not tapered, this width is carried down all the way to the clasp, creating a look that is a little too chunky for my taste. When considering the watch’s cost, however, it’s understandable to see Haldor decide against a tapered design because each individual link would have to be machined at a different width, subsequently increasing the cost of the Haldor Abissi. Luckily, the Haldor Abissi 1000m also comes with carbon fiber-patterned nylon strap and a nylon “bond-style” NATO for additional options. One thing is for sure, and that is that this watch would really shine on a high-quality rubber strap à la Everest or Bonetto Cinturini.
The bracelet has a burly, aggressive, and highly machined look that goes well with the watch’s overall appearance. The links fit seamlessly and feature a variety of brushed and polished surfaces. They fit tightly all the way through and despite the bracelet’s size, it’s really easy to appreciate the quality and attention to detail that went into the construction. One very minor gripe I had was with one of the screw-down pins, which I found was slightly bent when I removed it for sizing. It’s a small quality control issue, all things considered.
Finally, the buckle itself is just as big and bold as the rest of the bracelet. It’s a flip-lock deployant and push-button design that fits securely without issue. I found that the push-button feature was a little “sticky” at times but besides that, I was never really concerned about the buckle malfunctioning.
The 316L stainless steel case borders on a kind of barrel shape that has been meshed together with a range of traditional dive watch elements. The entire case is brushed, and it exudes an aggressive angular look that’s impressively machined with a quality well beyond the watch’s price point. In some ways, it feels almost over-engineered when considering casual everyday use, but when it comes to dive watches, that’s always a good thing. The case back itself is also rock-solid and it features a deep engraving of the Haldor logo and an older commercial dive helmet reminiscent of the early AJ Morse and Son designs.