September 5, 2008
by Ariel Adams
My best friend is not a watch fanatic like I am, but he does appreciate having a watch. His tastes are very conservative, but I never really understood what that meant; as though some unspoken formula dictated his tastes. Some amorphous mixture of understated looks and non offensive appeal. We came up with a name for this which typifies the look; “Republican watch.” The term has nothing to do with the political affiliation, but more a perception as to the fashion style employed by those individuals who could be categorized as harboring less than flamboyant intent with some attention to not being boring.
Over the years I’ve brought watches to his attention asking him what he thinks, often times hearing about how a watch is near or far from his Republican watch ideal. I never seemed to get it on the dot, with my avant garde tastes and wide appreciate for function and flair. I was about to relinquish to the fact that I’d never discover a watch that fit his tastes perfectly. That is until I saw the Swiss Army Dive Master 500m, and instantly I knew, “this is the epitome of the a Republican watch.” That’s not a bad thing at all, and it is a watch I’d proudly wear myself. According to him, the watch is “really nice” (that is passionate for him as a non-watch lover) because is has conservative good looks, with an element of subtle flair that endows it with lasting appeal. Lets examine what Victorinox (Swiss Army) does right with this particular Swiss Army watch.
The lineage of this watch stems from two places. First, the style derived from the Victorinox shield logo. The mixture of sharp angles and curves are employed in direct relation to the logo placed in the 12 o’clock position. Meaning, that all over the watch angles and curved edges come together in a seemingly appropriate harmony. Take for example the arch located where the crown connects to case, and the gentle curved of lug incorporation and crown protectors. Then notice the same type of lines on the bottom of the Swiss Army logo. Then, you can see the many sharp angles located on the bezel, bracelet and sides of the watch. These are analogs to the upper portions the shield logo.
Although this is not a GMT watch, it does have a military time indicator around the circumference of where the hour hand travels. This is a vestige of the “army” heritage of the watch. Because most militaries operate on the 24 hour clock, it is important for soldiers to have both times available. For this reason, you’ll find a lot of Swiss Army watches having small 24 hour markers in the middle of watch dials. These elements are pure Victorinox heritage.
Then you have a distinct Rolex Submariner influence in this watch. For one, you have the bracelet which is a Swiss Army take on the classic three-link steel bracelet. One of the most successful bracelet designs ever created, and well utilized here. Then there are the hour markers on the watch dial. Now you know you are in Rolex territory. Replace the Swiss Army logo with a Rolex crown, and you’d not be able to distinguish the two very easily. To Swiss Army’s benefit they wisely decided to make the hour markers raised units that are attached to the dial with a thick amount of luminant, similar to how Rolex does it. I have no problem with Swiss Army using this tested and approved design and layout that for whatever reason, makes for an extremely legible watch.
The bezel is a combination of many things. A couple of other Swiss Army watches, perhaps a little Breitling thrown in the mix. So many rotating diver’s bezel have a look such as this that it is hard to decipher one specific source of the design. Swiss Army adds a bit of character by removing one alternating sections of girth on the first 15 minute scale as a method to more easily measure the first 15 minuted which is an important measurement for divers.
The Swiss Army Dive Master 500m series is distinguished from other Dive Master watches by being water resistant to 500m, and having a look all its own. The line is offered in two metals in three styles. There are steel versions, a beautiful steel gun metal version, and a titanium version. There are also several dial colors to choose from. Polished steel, black, metallic blue, orange (not my choice), and a gun metal finish. I probably like the blue or polished steel faces the most. The metal bracelet options are complimented by true rubber diver straps, but I’d stick with the metal bracelets unless you really need the rubber strap for diving purposes.
The majority of models have quartz movements. Honestly, I don’t really have a problem with this. These are very nice work horse models. Get too fancy with mechanical movements, and they might suffer from not being “Republican enough.” Prices are fair, from about $350 – $750 depending on the style and metal selected. There is actually an automatic version available as a Limited Edition which is about $1,200. Honestly, I would probably stick with the quartz version because they are a nice value, and more importantly, the Swiss Army Dive Master 500m Automatic Limited Edition models have a different face which are not as nice as those on the quartz model.
With pride I can finally say that I have discovered the perfect “Republican watch.” While there are many other watch which employ conservative looks with a hint of style, this Swiss Army watch is a perfect exemplar.
See Swiss Army Dive Master watches here.See Swiss Army Dive Master Watches on Amazon here. [phpbay]swiss army dive master 500m | swiss army dive master 500, num, “”, “”[/phpbay]