2008 sparked the launch of many new watch brands. The reason for this is the drastic increase in success of the world watch market. While the economies of most places are struggling, the watch market continues to see growth. Part of the reason for this is greater diving between the wealthy and poor. Those with resources are getting more of them, which inevitably leads to addictive watch consumption.
Callanen International is the parent company behind many “branded” watches such as Nautica and Mark Ecko. Callanen is actually a subsidiary of Timex, but we can forgive then for that. What I like is that they are an American company, using rich design to see watches that aren’t as boring as their Timex parents. Recently, they unveiled a new brand called Helix.
The Helix brand was launched using Swiss movements and high quality parts, but priced to American market standards. This means a well built watch that won’t breach the $1000 mark. They focus on functionality and good looks. Perhaps not the most aggressively designed watches, but American watch makers leave unproven design experiments to the Swiss and Japanese.
The first major watch from Helix is the Okto Deep Black. An modern and attractive diving watch, build for serious performance while being affordable. The impressive 1000 meter depth rating means the Okto Deep Black can take just about anything you can throw at it. The sapphire crystal is more than 5mm thick, and the entire back meets high technical diving watch standards.
Design wise, the Okto is a pure diving instrument, which is good if you are a diving enthusiast that will actually use the watch for those purposes. The same type of people who enjoy wearing their Suunto watches around town, will like the Helix Okto for the same reasons. This is not a dress or sport watch disguised as a diving watch; this IS a diving watch. Legibility is good, and the cool shades of blue make for impressive legibility underwater. The movement is a quartz, but that helps reduce the cost, and arguably assists the watch in being rugged.
This Helix Okto Deep Black is a limited edition, but expect other similar mainstream models. Limited edition watches are often released to garner interest in a new brand or model. Look for Helix watches online and in retailers.