September 20, 2019
by Rob Nudds
There are lots of reasons to get excited about a new watch release. Perhaps it comes from a brand you’ve got a lot of time for. Maybe the design is fun, novel, or eye-catching. Or possibly the price to-value -atio is just too good to ignore. Very occasionally, you run into a triple-threat release that ticks all these boxes. Less often do you run into such a release and feel it needs sharing. The Poseidon × Aquadive Bathysphere GMT limited-edition watch is one of those pieces I feel may be floating a little more below the surface than it should be. Here is a well-made, smartly put-together watch that boasts style and functionality for a truly excellent price. But with just 300 units available in this special edition, it’s worth diving in head first on this one if it strikes a chord.
Founded in 1962 before falling to the quartz crisis, the Aquadive brand was brought back from the dead in 2011. Since then, a series of pleasant but quiet releases have been doing the rounds throughout the diving community but have rarely made the kind of mainstream noise one might expect from such an accomplished package.
If you think that the Aquadive Bathysphere GMT looks vaguely familiar, you wouldn’t be alone. As part of the Synchron Group, Aquadive has some pretty close ties to famous Swiss brand Doxa. There is clearly a little bit of cross-pollination here, but it works out in a nice way. There are elements of the Poseidon × Aquadive Bathysphere GMT that seem comfortably derivative, while others that give it its own distinct character. The ceramic bezel style (engraved and filled with Super-LumiNova), alongside the yellow and black colorway of this model, reminds me a little of the Breitling Super Ocean 622331, but more in overall mien than because of specific elements. (The Breitling’s bezel font is italiscised and its dial uses Arabic numerals, for example.)
This model is particularly special because of the collaboration with dive company Poseidon featured heavily on the dial. The same logo was used when Doxa ran a similar line of Poseidon-themed watches in 2018. This kind of partner-sharing between related brands may seem a bit incestuous, but from a collectibility perspective, I actually kind of like it. I’ve always been a massive fan of Doxa specials, and this Aquadive provides many would-be Doxa owners the chance to buy in at a significantly more affordable level, while not feeling like they’ve copped out and gone for a shoddy knockoff.
Of this special edition, Rick Marei, General Manager of Aquadive Watches and Vice President of the Synchron Watch Group USA, says, “Following the Synchron Group’s super-successful instantly sold-out 2018 DOXA Sub collaboration with Poseidon, we knew our fans and collectors were hungry for more. It’s an honor for us to have the blessing of such a historic and respected dive manufacturer like Poseidon gracing the dial of our modern Aquadive Poseidon GMT watch.”
Many of the best elements seen in this limited edition can also be found in this model’s core version (which comes in four colors instead of just the yellow of the LE). The 43mm wide × 50mm lug-to-lug × 12.5mm thick case is very wearable and complemented by a quick-drying ISOfrane rubber strap. The handset of the Poseidon × Aquadive Bathysphere GMT is one of the finest I have seen on a diver at this price point. The hands are an elegant, non-standard shape, and very nicely polished. It is wise too that the highly legible GMT hand is not lumed, as that might interrupt this watch’s usability as a dive tool, which its 1,000-meter water resistance suggests is its primary application.
There is one thing that saddens me about this model, and that is that only 300 pieces will be made. While this is an understandable limitation, I have the feeling that 500 pieces (which is what each of the core Bathysphere models is limited to) would have been easily (very easily) achievable given the price, especially because this watch is powered by an ETA 2893-2 automatic movement.
A regular retail price of $1,890 is compelling enough, but if this watch is pre-ordered, Aquadive will apply a 25% discount as well as throwing in an exclusive Poseidon mission patch and two ISOfrane rubber straps in classic black and Poseidon yellow. That 25% discount means these watches will be available for a limited time only at $1,395, exclusively from the brand’s website. Learn more at aquadive.com.