For the second year in a row, Spinnaker has teamed up with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to create a capsule collection of limited-edition timepieces that support the UK-based charity’s efforts to protect our world’s oceans. Expanding upon last year’s sold-out series, the new Spinnaker MCS lineup for 2023 takes three of the brand’s best-selling dive watch models and gives them the full sea-life aesthetic overall with bright ocean-themed colors and dials that showcase stylized images of aquatic creatures. Additionally, while each of the new Spinnaker MCS watches features a different marine animal on its dial, all three of them are produced as limited editions of 300 pieces, and a portion of the proceeds from each sale are donated directly to the Marine Conservation Society in order to help support its initiatives for cleaner and healthier oceans.

Launched alongside a green sea turtle-themed version of the brand’s Hass diver and a blue whale-inspired rendition of the Spence 300 is the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition (ref. SP-5125), which embraces a red and blue colorway with a design that is inspired by the giant squid. Additionally, rather than being three different versions of the same core model, each of the three watches from the 2023 Spinnaker MCS series is based upon a different collection from the brand’s catalog, and they all offer their own take on the classic diver format. Similarly, while all three of the new Marine Conservation Society watches are fitted with stainless steel bracelets, each one also comes with an extra fabric NATO-style strap that matches its specific colorway and is made using rPet (recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) that has been reclaimed from discarded plastic.

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As for the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition that is featured here, the new model is based upon the brand’s existing Cahill diver lineup, which means that it has a 316L stainless steel case that measures 43mm in diameter by 13mm thick, with 22mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 50mm. The case itself features largely brushed surfaces with high-polished bevels running down the length of the lugs, and both the signed winding crown and the solid caseback screw down to help create 300 meters of water resistance. Sitting on top of the case is a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, and it gets surrounded by a 120-click unidirectional rotating timing bezel that has a coin-edge rim and a red anodized aluminum insert. In true dive watch fashion, the bezel insert has a 60-minute elapsed time scale with an inverted triangle to represent the minute marker, and while the insert itself is red, the markings on it are blue, and all of them are also luminous to help with low-light visibility.

To produce the dials of the new MCS series, Spinnaker and the Marine Conservation Society teamed up with acclaimed wildlife artist and scientific illustrator Rachel Brooks, who created the animal images that are showcased on both the dials and casebacks of the new watches. The dial fitted to the new Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition features a deep red central section with a radial gradient effect that darkens towards the outer edge, and this is surrounded by a light blue chapter ring that contains the minute track. The applied hour markers appear as simple circles with elongated rectangles at the cardinal points, and at the 3 o’clock location is a date window that reveals a black calendar disc with bright pink numerals. The handset offers a fairly generic oversized Mercedes-style shape, although the seconds hand is finished light blue with a bright red tip to match the colors on both the dial and bezel insert.

Sitting center stage on the dial of the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition is an image of a giant squid, and it is slightly raised from the surface to give it a somewhat three-dimensional effect. Just like the sea turtle and blue whale-inspired models from the new 2023 Spinnaker Marine Conservation Society lineup, the giant squid image is done in color, which means that it appears as a fleshy tan hue against the gradient surface of the dial. When it comes to my personal preferences, I’m rarely a fan of character watches, as I feel that they often come off a bit too kitschy and seem like something that came from a museum gift shop, regardless of their price point or the specific character that appears upon them. That said, since character watches are inherently somewhat novelty pieces, it’s far easier for me to get on board with them when they exist firmly on the affordable end of the price spectrum, such as those from the Spinnaker MCS series.

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Additionally, if you are going to have a character on the dial of your watch, you might as well fully lean into it, and the raised, flesh-colored squid on the dial of the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition lights up bright green when viewed in low-light conditions. Not to be outdone by the squid, the rest of the watch also features plenty of luminous elements, and while the trio of hands and blue markings on the bezel insert are all finished with green-emission Swiss Super-LumiNova, the twelve applied hour markers on the dial glow blue for added contrast and to create a more dynamic display in the dark. From a purely functional standpoint, the glowing squid only detracts from the watch’s low-light legibility, as various elements of the animal might get confused with the hands or hour markers when viewed at a quick glance. That said, nothing about the squid is related to the functionality of the watch, and since its presence is all about creating a fun and unique appearance, I am wholeheartedly in favor of the squid being luminous.

Powering the new Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition is the Seiko NH35 automatic movement, which offers the familiar specs of an operating frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 41 hours. Inauspicious but reliable and affordable to maintain, the Seiko NH35 makes a highly practical option for a budget-friendly diver like the Cahill 300 MCS Limited Edition, and while the sea turtle-themed model from the 2023 Spinnaker MCS series runs on this same movement, the blue whale version is powered by the superior Miyota 9039, as it is based upon the more-premium Spence 300 collection. Offering the standard conveniences of hacking, hand-winding, and quick-set adjustability for the date display, the Seiko NH35 is very much a known-quantity, and on the new Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition, the movement sits hidden from view behind a closed caseback that features an engraving of a giant squid.

Fitted to the lugs of the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition is a stainless steel bracelet that tapers from 22mm at the case down to 18mm where it connects to the clasp. The bracelet itself features an H-link design with completely solid components, although the removable links are secured by friction-fit pins rather than single-sided screws. The clasp features a double push-button release with an additional top safety latch, and while it does include a wetsuit extension, it is a simple fold-out design that lacks any type of capacity for on-the-fly incremental adjustment. Included with the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition is an additional dark red NATO strap that is made using materials reclaimed from discarded plastic, and it is completed by brushed stainless steel hardware and a chunky signed pin buckle. Although the watch comes with a springbar tool and even an extra set of springbars, I would have personally preferred an integrated quick-release system to facilitate swapping back and forth between the two included options.

All three of the new Spinnaker Marine Conservation Society watches are produced as limited editions of 300 pieces, although since they are all based upon different models from the brand’s catalog, each one is accompanied by a different retail price. The “Calamar Red” Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition (ref. SP-5125) featured here is the least expensive of the trio with an official retail price of $370 USD, while the green sea turtle model (ref. SP-5123) comes in at $445 USD, and the blue whale watch (ref. SP-5124) represents the top end of the collection at $650 USD. Despite being a limited edition and including an extra fabric NATO strap, the new Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition costs the exact same as the standard bracelet-equipped version of the Cahill 300 diver, which means that buyers can opt for this unusual and colorful rendition with its glowing giant squid dial at no additional expense, with the same being true for the two other models from the 2023 Spinnaker Marine Conservation Society collection. For more information on the Spinnaker Cahill 300 Automatic MCS Limited Edition, please visit the brand’s website.

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