Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This is the Helson Shark Diver 40mm, and my favorite Helson yet.

The Shark Diver line started out at 45mm, added a 42mm model and now has 40mm as well. As someone who prefers 38-40 for wearability, this is great news. With three sizes and many dial colors, the hard part now is the decision!

Let's begin with a picture from Helson:

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Those are the three sizes. We are looking at the model on top. It measures 39.7mm wide across the bezel by 12.1mm thick and weighs 174g with the bracelet sized for my 7.25" wrist. The dial is approximately 30.6mm, and the case is 49.2mm lug to lug with a 7.4mm crown. Sapphire crystal with antireflective coating, water resistant to 500m, stainless steel with custom hex-keyed bars. Bracelet is 20mm wide by 3.8mm thick, non-tapering, snap clasp with fliplock and three micro-adjustments. Adjustment is via screws. All surfaces are a brushed finish.

The movement is the Miyota 9015, their answer to the ETA 2824. It's the same diameter and thickness, and nearly identical in specifications: 28800 vph; handwinding and hacking; three hands plus date; quickset; power reserve in excess of 42 hours; automatic; and 24 jewels. About the only notable difference is the unidirectional winding (the ETA is bidirectional), which sometimes gives rotor wobble and audible spin sound. Timekeeping has been chronometer-grade, very impressive. I like the color-matched date wheel here too, a very nice touch.

Compared to the larger models, the 40mm version lacks a helium escape valve and diver's extension on the bracelet. I have no use for either, but it's worth noting.

The thing I like about this dial is the vertical brushing. It changes in color and appearance as the light changes, and reminds me of other textured-dial watches like the Rolex Yachtmaster, an impression reinforced by the plain steel bezel.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The hands are bead-blasted or frosted, a matte finish that remains legible better than mirror finishes.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

At 40mm by 12mm, it's an easy size to wear. Fits under most but not all sleeves, though the design is bold for formal wear.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As I've come to expect from the brand, the luminosity is spectacular in area and brightness.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Legibility is excellent under all conditions. The coin-edged bezel is 120 clicks, and precise but stiff. The crown is really well protected by two squarish lugs, with heavy threads and gaskets.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The bracelet is solid and balances the watch well.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It's a good daily wearer, well sized for me and robust enough that you don't ever worry about it.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I like seeing the effect of the vertical brushing on the dial, it's a nice detail to enjoy.

Here's a comparison shot with the Blackbeard we first reviewed:

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Quite different in character and detail, but I fancy that you can start to see the brand identity.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

They're both quite wearable, a consequence of careful design and restrained lug-to-lug dimensions, but the SD40 wins due to reduced thickness.

Helson Shark Diver 40 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This is my favorite to-date. The size is much more versatile, and with the dressier dial color, this becomes a watch you can wear all week long. Bash it around and it'll look better, and for the price you don't have to panic about a dent or two. An understated Shark Diver. Who would have thought? helson-watches.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Helson
>Model: Shark Diver 40 grey
>Price: $599
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Normal sized people who want a great dive watch.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Bezel is stiff and slick when under water.
>Best characteristic of watch: Helson style in a size and style for everyday.

What do you think?
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  • DG Cayse

    Nice review. I like Helson products. In particular the 42mm Blue or White dial models.
    They are another marque making use if contract manufacture and seem to be testing the market.
    Availability is problematic. I surmise this is a ‘good’ thing as it might mean they are selling everything they have. 
    The Miyota caliber is proving a solid choice. Good for them. They do offer the 25 Jewel ETA 2824-2 automatic in some of their models…if available.
    Helson has built a solid following in their niche.

  • Panagiotis


  • Ryan B

    I have never seen a Helson watch that I didn’t like, and for the price
    how can you go wrong? I do not own one but they’ve been on my radar for a
    while now.

  • Tekky

    I don’t understand the watch.  To me, the dial markers look uninteresting – just painted on.  No domed sapphire.  Switched out from the ETA of the 42/45 to a Miyota… I don’t really mind a Miyota movement, but haven’t been happy with the watches I have with Miyota… though that could be assembly of the watch rather than movement problems.  Case back windows may be gauche and not suggested for deep diving, but even that would be a nice addition for this watch.  There are other watches with better lume (anything by Ball, Luminox or Traser for example.)  
    Only the bracelet is really alluring.

    • jstacey

      Comparing the lume on a Ball, Luminox or Traser (which use tritium gas
      tube illumination) to a watch like the Helson (which uses Superluminova,
      a photo luminescent pigment) will be problematic. These are two
      completely different technologies. Each illumination system has it’s
      strengths depending on the use, needs of the owner and the quality of
      the application. Tritium tube systems are great because they don’t have
      to be charged by a light source but they are also no where near as
      bright as a well charged superluminova application. Additionally,
      tritium tubes are rather thick and, in many cases, will increase the
      overall thickness of the watch (which may not be preferable to the
      design of the piece or the tastes of the prospective buyer).

      • Tekky

        jstacey I do understand, but I haven’t found a useful SuperLuminova for my world, which involves dress shirts (watches don’t charge under cuffs) and long evenings out (SuperLuminova isn’t so luminous after even just six hours.)  
        But my point wasn’t the lume.  More that I don’t see anything special about this watch, excepting the bracelet.  The crystal, markers and movement are below-class, and it fails to distinguish on lume, complications, caseback, etc.  It’s just another semi-generic diver.  For example, for less you can get the CW C60, which has nicer markers and a swiss movement.  What’s the Helson distinction?

  • Ulysses31

    Helson consistently impress.  Another handsome and robust, well-crafted design.  Great value too when you consider what you’re getting.

  • joeprez

    Great review for a great watch! I have the white 40mm and love it. I have to say that it has been difficult not caving in and ordering the silver or blue one. On another note, I am very happy that the boutique dive watches offerings are being covered in this blog, please keep them coming!

  • johnrooke

    Look at the Helson “Gauge” Watch.  One of the best watches for the money that I have EVER purchased…

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  • dahcd

    Helson is just another good buy for a dive watch, rugged, reliable for the real diver or the desk version. Others
    like deep blue, squale, Steinhart are also a good buy offering the 9015 or 2824-2, I have all of these and did not
    have to break the bank to get quality.

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  • Eric

    Please, fix the link to Helson Watches. The current one is not valid.