January 4, 2010
by Ariel Adams
It is the watch that almost was not. It is proof that a concept and a dream, as a well as a strict adherence to promise and detail are what reign supreme in the world of fine watches. The watch industry presents a special opportunity for enthusiasts of this horological creed – the ability for the small guy to take a stab at having his or her’s own watch or watch brand. Unlike most other technical industries, the barrier for entrance here is simple determination, time, desire, and of course initial investment. See how far that gets you if you want to start your own car company for example. Bottom line is that any of you have the option of making your own watch, but it ain’t easy.
Prometheus Watches is such a company. Seeded in a watch lover’s desire to take his own route in following his passions. I personally can relate – choosing to follow my passion as my profession. While getting a watch brand off the ground is theoretically clear, the devil is in the details, and the details are ‘a plenty. Independent watch makers often rely on suppliers whom they contract to make individual parts, and other contractors to put the watches together. The mire of the watch world makes is so that getting what you want is not as simple as merely asking for it. Like a brutal and meticulous task master, you must oversee the efforts of many separate groups who could care less about the end result. The idea is that only you care that your final product be perfect.
So it was that the first version of the Ocean Diver was not in compliance with the simple need for a high quality product. Sure it was salable, but it was not what Prometheus desired. The difficult decision was made to rewind the clock so to say and start almost fresh. A new series of suppliers and contractors was obtained so that Prometheus could fulfill its promise to those eagerly anticipating the final result. That being an affordable “Swiss Made” watch with a design that fans competed for. Delays plentiful, the limited edition Ocean Diver received its wink from grace, and is now available.
Prometheus offers a true niche borne wrist watch product. An item of interest developed by and for the active wrist watch enthusiast community. This isn’t something you’d ever find lurking in a lonely watch shop in a mall. Watches like this are sold direct from those who made them a reality. A passionate product rich with a hobbyists charm and a design for those who distinctly “know watches.” Their latest watch is the Ocean Diver. The first is the Day-Date model you see before you, and coming up are at least two more models, the GMT and Chronograph versions.
The Ocean Diver is a distinctly retro style, looking back to the days when ocean diving was a frontier for exploration as romantic as space, and equally mysterious. Diving watches of this era have more in common style wise with other underwater gear and machinery than they did with their prissy cousins back in clean displays in luxury watch shops. The Ocean Diver is thematically similar to vintage offerings from notables such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Longines, Blancpain, and other luxury brands that supplied professional divers as much as they did corporate board rooms. Ocean Diver style on the dial, numerals, and even the case hearken back to the 50s and 60s.
The watch itself is done in high grade steel with a beautiful bead-blasted finish. The CNC precision cut case has a lot of nice details. The bezel is notched like an underwater vessel porthole window. The curved lugs jut out with purpose and wrap around your wrist a bit. The bottom of the case is beautiful. I know that is a weird thing to say about a watch caseback, but it is true. The smoothness of the machine work is clearly evident and really enjoy the engraving on the screw down caseback. Toothing blends to mirror polish and then wave pattern engraving with details about the watch. The work is impressive even if it came from a mainstream watch maker with access to fancier machinery. There on the back you’ll also see the number of the watch in the limited edition of 500 pieces as well as the name of the man who designed the watch – Brian F. Green.
The Ocean Diver watch case is water resistant to 300 meters, and includes two crowns. One for the adjusting the time, and other for the inner rotating bezel. The crown are very well made with a grated pattern that feels tool-like to the touch and looks pretty neat. All of that is good, but what about wearing comfort? Interestingly enough the 42mm wide case feels smaller than it is on your wrist. It sits neatly on your wrist and does not appear too large. The case is 44mm wide counting the crowns. I give the watch high marks for wearing comfort as well as looking handsome and proper on one’s wrist. The design really comes alive when it is worn.
Inside the watch is a Swiss made automatic ETA 2836 mechanical movement with a Day-Date complication. I applaud Prometheus for using black colored date and day discs to match the dial. Winding the watch is smooth with the crown. I did notice a small amount of wobble from the crown when it is unscrewed. However it is totally secure once screwed in. The movement seems well adjusted and I got pretty good accuracy from the mechanical movement.
The dial clear and easy to read. Prometheus used a lot of C3 colored SuperLumiNova on the hands and markers for good darkness viewing – a must for divers, and desk divers alike. With an emphasis on utility the dial still have style. From the font of the numerals to the style of the hour markers. There is the black on black “Ocean Diver” text along with the cursive logo of the Prometheus brand. I appreciate the matte black color of the dial as well. A splash of red color is present on the hour hand as well as for part of the inner rotating bezel that is also the chapter ring. You use the upper crown (does not need to be screwed down) to rotate the inner ring that moves pretty easily with 120 clicks around the dial. Over the dial is a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating for reduced glare.
Arriving with the watch are two silicone straps. There is a black and bright red strap available for you. Changing the straps isn’t particularly easy – so you’ll probably prefer to stick with one or the other. The watch uses screw bars than need special tools to adjust (along with loosening the Loctite glue). If you know what you are doing. feel free to change the straps. I like the look and feel of the straps, but they are a bit of a double edged sword. The design is great, and the minor texturing on the strap is a welcome addition to the silicone. The tropical style straps were designed specially for the Ocean Diver watch. They are also very comfortable. The elastic material bend and moves easily, while creating a fair amount of traction on your wrist so the watch doesn’t slip around. There is also a nice brushed steel “PWC” (Prometheus Watch Company) signed buckle (sort of a joke and homage to how IWC signs their strap buckles I think). However, the silicone material attracts a lot of dust, making, at least the black strap, look like a dark gray. The red strap suffers from this issue less. Actually the straps look better when they are wet! Another issue (at least for me) with the straps is that they are very long. The watch fits nicely on my ankle actually. On the plus side is that the Ocean Diver watch will easily accommodate most any 22mm wide watch strap. So go wild with what you think looks great on the watch.
I really love the case that Prometheus provides with the Ocean Diver watch (they give you a T-Shirt as well). It is brown leather, and folds open while it is secured by an elastic loop. The housing for the watch is really firm – protecting it from shocks or being smooshed in luggage. The soft inside will also protect the watch’s finish. In all, the Ocean Diver delivers on its promise, a nicely made, highly functional, true diver’s watch with a Swiss movement for a reasonable price. At $495 (339 euros) it is hard to beat what you get here. Plus, the watch is a limited edition of 500 pieces giving it an addition level of exclusivity. For all that I give the watch an aBlogtoRead.com good value award. You can get an Ocean Diver watch directly from Prometheus’s website here.