February 23, 2018
Nascent micro brand Haldor, based in Slovenia but whose watches are designed in Germany and then made in Switzerland, are into diving watches with substantial water resistance for their price. Last year, Haldor released a hulking 45.5mm wide diving-oriented tool watch, the Abissi, which we reviewed in depth here. More recently, Haldor announced their sophomore model, the Haldor Armis 2000m, a somewhat smaller Swiss automatic diver’s watch built with durability, dependability, and tactical operator style in mind. So strap on your matte black diving getup and check your gauges, because we’re about to go over the side and plunge into a wrist time review of the Haldor Armis 2000m.
While imagined as the more compact of Haldor’s two offerings, it’s important to note the Armis is still no lady’s Aqua Terra. With a still hefty 42mm wide by 50mm long by 14.9mm thick stainless steel case, the new Armis is a fair sight smaller than the massive Haldor Abissi, but still more than adequate in weight and girth for my child-like left arm to get in some mean curls. However, the Armis wears surprisingly well even on my 6.5” wrist, something I found surprising having read up the size before actually receiving the watch. The lugs on the Armis case are angled fairly sharply toward the wrist, allowing the watch to wrap well and fit comfortably even for me. I would even say it doesn’t look “too big” but the photos will tell the tale.
Interestingly, the Armis case is also coated with about 25 microns (I eyeballed it) of an alloy composed of steel, titanium, ceramic, and an alloy of the nickel-copper family to create a thin yet dense scratch-resistant layer. Haldor call it the “HHC-Haldor Hard Coating.” The effect is something of a bead blasted appearance which plays into the tactical non reflective look of the piece as a whole. While I have yet to really attempt to scratch the Armis, I’d imagine this coating would help keep it looking new if you were assaulted by an aggressive door frame. For those in need of the full ninja treatment, a black DLC coated version is also being produced in a more limited 50 pieces.
Case finishing on the Haldor Armis is also well done for something so utilitarian, with multi-faceted lugs and crown guards which give the Armis more than a little bit of a Sinn EZM feel. A completely unnecessary helium release valve at nine o’clock allows for the exit of compressed helium in extreme commercial saturation diving environments while drilled lugs with screwed lug bars aid the wearer in switching between the included bracelet and rubber strap. A large 7mm signed screw down crown at four o’clock screws in and out smoothly with many turns, something which makes a diver feel warm and cozy about their watch as they leave the surface.
The unidirectional 120-click diver’s bezel is also well done, featuring a lumed triangle at twelve and deeply engraved black-infilled markings all around. Bezel action is also excellent and the bezel lines up perfectly at the twelve o’clock position. An unexpected-at-this-price sapphire crystal adds to the durable package and aids the very solid looking case in achieving its impressive 2,000m of water resistance. While I won’t get started on it here, this kind of water resistance is of no use to anyone other than trash-talking desk divers but does represent a feat of engineering for such a small brand like Haldor, especially given the reasonable cost of the Armis.
Rounding out the case is an engraved, screw down, double gasketed caseback, resplendent with a crossed saber, anchor, and Haldor shield motif to give the back of the watch some badass points. I always like it when brands take the time to do a cool caseback. Though functionally unnecessary, an engraved caseback shows when a company has thought the watch through from front to literal back and gives them the chance to show off a little on-topic artwork. In this case, the caseback perfectly compliments the pseudo-military nautical theme, which is again present in the dial.
One thing a tool diver’s watch has to be is legible, especially at night. The Haldor Armis’ dial is straightforward in design, with lumed bars for hour markers and simple lumed baton hands, the hour hand in white, and the more essential to diving minute hand in red. Together, the dial and hands create an instantly legible package against the matte black backdrop of the dial. The seconds hand is red as well, with a lumed semi-triangular tip. Dial text is also minimal, with Haldor’s signature and logo at twelve and the model name in red as well as “Automatic” and “2000m/200bar” in white at the six o’clock position.
The overall effect is simple, effective, and not bad looking either. Reading the time is easy at a glance all throughout the day and night, owing to the liberal use of BGW9 on the dial, hands, and zero position on the bezel. The lume on the Armis is about as good as any I’ve seen and is right up there with the Seiko SKX we all wear all the time. Once again, the word Sinn creeps into my mind as I review the Haldor Armis dial, and I’d wager the fine folks at Haldor have a Sinn or two sitting around. Before everyone gets excited, I’m not saying the Armis is a Sinn homage or anything, but some design overlap definitely exists. While the movement requirements for such a tool watch are basically only that it works reliably and keeps time, the Haldor team has gone a step further with the Armis.