Tusenö first made a splash in the dive watch market with its flagship model, the Blackwater. This piece boasted a contemporary take on an integrated bracelet sports watch with design cues from historical icons of horology. The Blackwater proved that it was more than just a handsome watch after being utilized by the Swedish Sea Rescue Society — a volunteer organization with roots reaching back to 1907. In keeping with this spirit, Tusenö has slightly revamped its logo and simultaneously introduced the Shellback, a rugged and resolute diver that is prepared to weather any storm.
The new symbol of the Sweden-based Tusenö is dubbed “The Guiding Light.” The name of the brand itself references antique literature that contains nautical charts that refer to the Swedish West Coast as “the coast with the thousand islands.” This new logo appears as a modified sector lighthouse indicator. Following the direction of this metaphorical guiding light has maneuvered Tusenö into new waters and provided the inspiration to build upon its maritime focus through the creation of the Shellback.
The team at Tusenö has clearly taken what they learned from the Blackwater and cranked the functionality and design to eleven with the Shellback. This classically styled dive watch measures a perfectly proportioned 39mm in diameter while maintaining a thickness of just 11.9mm. This places the watch squarely into the comfort zone of virtually every wrist size. The combination of 20mm lug width and a relatively short lug-to-lug distance of 47mm further bolsters the ergonomics of the Shellback. Very much in line with its new direction, there are a number of variations available in the model lineup: date or no-date, black or blue dial, bracelet or strap. This effectively broadens the appeal and provides consumers with the ability to truly zero in on what exactly their preference is.
The dial of the Shellback retains some aesthetic cues from previous Tusenö divers but dramatically deviates in terms of luminosity and construction. There is a level of depth that can only be achieved through the utilization of a double-layered design called the “sandwich dial.” In essence, the base layer is generously coated with BGW9 Swiss Super-LumiNova. On top of that is placed another layer that contains holes at each hour marker, as well as an optional date window. In the case of the Shellback, the dials are either high-gloss black enamel or a brushed blue finish. The obsidian-like sheen of the latter perfectly matches the reflective nature of the 316l surgical stainless steel case. The blue has a more subdued appearance that changes hue based upon the lighting.
The hands of the Shellback are well-lumed and the hour hand features Tusenö’s signature opening, which allows the dial text to be viewed as it passes from 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock. Though this porthole-hand is a staple of the diver lineup, the hands of the Shellback have been broadened to accommodate the inclusion of more Super-LumiNova. The optional date window is present at 6 o’clock, which helps to maintain symmetry among the remaining dot-and-dash indices. In an effort to maintain consistency, lume has been placed around this window, making it appear uniform among the other indices when light is low – a sure sign of forward-thinking design.
Surrounding the dial is a fully lumed chapter ring that contains a subtle nod back to nautical charts by featuring a mixture of single, fixed, and flashing lighthouse characters that have been manipulated to fit the style of the timepiece. The decision to utilize ceramic on the 120-click unidirectional bezel ensures extreme scratch resistance and durability. The sheen of the ceramic, particularly in the case of the gloss-black model, perfectly fits the overall refractory nature of the Shellback. The etched markings on the bezel are fully lumed as well, making this piece glow like a beacon after the lights go out. The dial is heavily guarded by a double-domed, AR-coated sapphire crystal. This dynamic duo of contemporary materials ensures that this 200m water-resistant watch can function as a tool in day-to-day life without scuffing or marring.
The Shellback is powered by a Ronda Mecano Calibre R150 automatic movement. Running at 28,800 beats per hour and capable of maintaining a 40-hour power reserve, it is a self-winding powerhouse that will remain dependable for years to come. The precision manufacturing of the Shellback is not only limited to the multi-dimensional dial, it continues through to the crown and caseback, as well. Both of these components feature the previously mentioned “guiding light” motif. The big crown (which maximizes tactile response when winding) is stamped with the star symbol. The screw-down caseback features prominent molded artwork, which makes the Shellback a joy to view from any angle.
The flat-top steel bracelet, which is standard, was designed specifically for the Shellback and tapers from 20mm at the lugs to 18mm at the clasp. In fact, the endlinks are currently being reworked for improved articulation and mobility, making for a more comfortable fit on the wrist. Keeping utility in mind, it also includes the addition of quick-change spring bars and three micro-adjustment holes. The pre-order price of the Shellback, which includes an additional tropic and NATO strap, is $649 USD (€ 649), not including VAT, and will launch on the 12th of August, 2021. Retail price once the pre-order phase has run its course moves up to $795USD (795EUR). If you are in the market for a function-focused timepiece created for enthusiasts by enthusiasts, you’re on the right track with the Tusenö Shellback.
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