Geneva-based watchmaker ArtyA is getting into the diver’s-style watch business in an interesting way. The ArtyA Diver Spritz with an orange-colored sapphire crystal case is an excellent example of the avant-garde direction the boutique brand is going with their sportier watches. In a lot of ways, the Spritz is a return to ArtyA founder Yvan Arpa’s roots. For a number of years, Arpa mostly designed sport watches, until he started to increasingly use wristwatches as an artistic palette. That’s actually the origin of the “ArtyA” name. The thing is, Yvan is excellent at creating sports watches, so it is great to see them come back at ArtyA. This exotic and decorative sapphire-crystal cased diver’s-style timepiece isn’t per se an authentic sports watch durability-wise, but others in the ArtyA dive watch collection are. What the Diver Spritz is, however, is a wonderful piece of jewelry that looks like a classic sports watch. It’s brilliant (literally)!
It also isn’t cheap. The clear-cased versions of this watch are known as the Diver Crystal, and come in a few different styles at prices just under 30,000 Swiss Francs. Here with an aventurine dial and orange-tinted sapphire crystal case, the ArtyA Diver Spritz costs 50% more than that. This is still less money than many other sapphire crystal-cased watches out there, but we aren’t quite at the point where a sapphire crystal case like this can be had in a watch for a fraction of this price. That time may come in the future, but we aren’t there yet. Don’t forget that when Richard Mille first introduced a sapphire crystal-cased watch about a decade ago, it had a retail price of over $1,000,000 USD.
The Diver Spritz watch you see before you here is a prototype, and there might be some minor changes with the final versions. The strap, for instance, is a simple black rubber strap with a steel buckle. Now, there is an orange rubber strap paired with the watch on the ArtyA website with what I believe is an updated buckle. With that said, you can of course still get the black rubber strap with the watch.
Sapphire crystal is a wonderful watch case material in terms of how it looks and how it feels. You also have the knowledge that it is virtually scratch-proof. Sapphire crystal case watches really don’t visually age, which means they look more or less brand new for years. This is something a lot of people like. Sapphire crystal can also be entirely transparent or merely tinted, allowing for a view inside of the watch into the internal components. Please don’t mistake this watch for plastic, since it doesn’t feel or at all age like plastic. There will be naysayers that say sapphire crystal watches look cheap, but I challenge them to criticize the material on that front if they actually wear the watch for a few days.
Unlike metal, which can bend and deform, sapphire crystal is too hard to bend. This has two implications. The first is that given sufficient impact (a hard fall on concrete for example), the case can crack or break. In fact, a lot of sapphire crystal cases break while being originally machined – which is one of the reasons that each finished case ends up being so expensive. So the question, then, is what is more valuable to you: drop resistance for the case, or scratch resistance for the surface? I would argue that most watches get more damage from scratches than being dropped (which I hope is a rare occurrence). The implication is that while sapphire crystal is in some ways fragile, it is extremely tough in other, probably more practical, ways.
Not being able to bend or deform is actually one of the reasons why current sapphire crystal cases are not very water resistant. I believe that in the future, engineers will create new ways of assembling specifically sapphire crystal cases which allow for more robust levels of water resistance. For now, most sapphire crystal watch cases are engineered like their metal counterparts, including the water resistance system which involves screw-tightening two pieces of metal with a gasket between them. The screws cannot be heavily tightened in a sapphire crystal case, because the force can easily crack the material. Thus, using the same strategy for water resistance in sapphire crystal versus metal cases does not work nearly as well. Also, no brand should use the term “waterproof” on a dial, let alone for a watch that you can’t at least go diving with.
The dial is otherwise really lovely. I even enjoy the leaf-style hands that Yvan chose for the Diver, even though you’d normally see such hands on more elegant watches. The dial is distinctive, but familiar enough in style to look classic in form. We also see a new logo for ArtyA, that I’ve not personally seen on their products until the Diver watches showed up.
This particular Diver dial is equipped with an aventurine stone base and applied hour markers. The hour markers and hands are painted with Super-LumiNova. The aventurine is deep blue with multi-color sparkles in it, which often looks like a view of stars in the night sky. There is also a definite “watery” look to it which allows it to nicely meld with the diver’s watch theme. The combination of the rich Negroni orange-colored sapphire crystal with the deep blue dial is extremely pleasant to the eyes.
Not everyone likes the “modern speed” font used for the numerals on the bezel, but it doesn’t bother me. The bezel is fixed, unlike those of most actual diver’s watches. ArtyA has said that while it may come out with a sapphire crystal diver’s watch with a rotating bezel in the future, the choice to not do it right now was intentional. Trying both ways, the brand’s team found that when you do have a rotating bezel, the view of the inner components of the rotating bezel (which were not designed to be visible) isn’t very attractive. Alternatively, a fixed bezel and no extra parts makes for a cleaner and more attractive look.
Inside the Diver Spritz is a Swiss Made automatic mechanical movement that ArtyA refers to as the AION caliber and which ArtyA claims is exclusive to them. The movement operates at 4Hz and has 42 hours of power reserve. It can be seen through the caseback of the watch (of course right?) with its bespoke skeletonized ArytA logo automatic rotor, and the NAC gray finishing on the bridges.
The ArtyA Diver Spritz case is 41mm wide, and similarly proportioned to a Rolex Submariner case. I think it is cool that even the crown is in sapphire crystal. The size is very modest and comfortable, and probably the type of overall look that will be considered unisex. What I mean is that a man, as well as a woman, could enjoy wearing the Diver Spritz because the watch isn’t per se trying to evoke a masculine or feminine quality. Rather, it is celebrating the appeal of its shape combined with its materials for a maximal emotional and communicative effect. That’s basically one definition of jewelry, and in this instance, it is uncommon that the form can complement a masculine or a feminine look.
Watches like the Diver Spritz and similar diver’s style watches are not the typical fare people expect from ArtyA. While these are decidedly cool products, I fully know that it will take some time for the community at large to discover and fully appreciate what Yvan Arpa and his ArtyA brand are now trying to do by focusing on classic sport watches with interesting artistic twists. Good stuff is coming, and right out of the gate something like the Diver Spritz is imminently more marketable on a mainstream level than the vast majority of what a lot of people have come to associate with the ArtyA brand (if they even know about the ArtyA brand). It’s probably time for those people to figure it out. I for one will miss wearing this lovely watch – even if I know I wouldn’t be able to budget for it. Price for the ArtyA Diver Spritz with its orange sapphire crystal case is 45,000 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the ArtyA website here.