If you were to describe a watch that’s made in Germany from a historic brand that features a hardened titanium case, 500m of water resistance, a Sellita SW-200 movement, and a textured dial, there’s a good chance I’d be putting the price in the $2-4k range. But I’d be way off; the newest release from Circula, the DiveSport titanium, comes in under $1,000. With the DiveSport, the small Pforzheim-based brand is once again offering outstanding value that’s tough to match.
Originally established in 1955, Circula has been a mainstay in southern Germany for decades, though its presence outside the region has remained relatively small. However, that’s quickly changing, as Cornelius Huber, the grandson of Circula’s founder, Heinz Huber, took the helm in 2018 and has reinvigorated the brand, with a new focus on direct sales and a steady stream of new and interesting releases. Circula’s focus has always been on creating high-quality watches at affordable prices, and on that front, the brand certainly delivers.
The newest member of the Circula family, the DiveSport Titanium, sits alongside two other dive watches in the brand’s catalog, the SuperSport and AquaSport. The DiveSport, however, is an entirely different beast, with aggressively modern lines, high water resistance, and a hardened titanium case. As with every Circula watch, the DiveSport was developed jointly with the brand’s customer base, ensuring that they were bringing to market the watch their customers truly wanted to see on their wrists.
The case on the DiveSport is crafted from Grade 2 titanium that’s been surface-hardened to 1,200 Vickers. So, for those concerned about titanium’s propensity to show scuffs and scratches, that won’t be a problem with the DiveSport. The case itself has a brutalist aesthetic with harsh lines, steep angles, and an overall brutish demeanor. It’s a nice juxtaposition to the light weight of the titanium and mirrors the design language found on the brand’s field watch, the ProTrail. Measuring in at 42mm in diameter, 48.5mm lug-to-lug and 13.4mm in height (not including the crystal), the watch is right in line with the dimensions of other deep divers and, though it is a bit on the thick side, the thickness is less noticeable due to the light weight. Still, a slimmer case would be welcome.
The 120-click bezel is solid and easy to grip but is rather firm. The plus side is that it won’t be easily knocked out of position, but it does take a little extra effort to spin. Depending on which dial color you choose with the watch, you also get an option of bezel insert in either titanium, black DLC-coated titanium, or petrol-colored aluminum. Regardless of which you choose, each has fully lumed numerals and indices with a light lime green hue. With the raw titanium insert, the indices blend into the bezel, especially in bright light, reducing legibility. Though likely not an issue for most, if bezel legibility is a concern, it’s best to go with the black DLC-coated insert.
In addition to the multiple bezel options, you can also opt for your choice of three dial colors: black, light gray, petrol, or the yellow featured here. Circula chose different textures depending on the dial color — sand texture for the black and gray or scratch pattern for the yellow and petrol. Despite the name, the scratch pattern is more reminiscent of the Widmanstätten pattern found on meteorites or even a vintage linen dial. Whatever you call it, it’s subtle, but it looks fantastic on the yellow and, presumably, will look great with the petrol as well. The dial has a few more tricks up its sleeve, with an engraved central ring with hour indications and cutouts along the rehaut at 12, 3, 6, and 9 — a similar effect to what you’ll find on the Tudor Pelagos. For the yellow dial, Circula opted for yellow accents for minute markers along the sloping rehaut. For the other colorways, however, you get bright and playful accent colors that contrast against the dial. Even with the most subtle of colorways, there’s enough going on to keep the watch fun and interesting — perfect for the summer. One note: Though the color-matched data wheel is a bit dark in this review piece, production models will match the dial color.
The indices are all applied with black surrounds. Complementing the indices is a small black hour hand. Though not as noticeable on the other colorways, the hour hand does appear undersized in black, especially when contrasted against the oversized minutes hand. Speaking of contrast, Circula uses Super-LumiNova BGW9 for the indices and hours hand, but C3 X1 for the minutes hand and bezel markers. Overall, the legibility, day and night, is excellent. The styling of the dial itself is classic but has enough details to make it stand out and provide plenty of visual interest.
The Circula DiveSport runs on the ever-popular and dependable Sellita SW200-1 movement in Elaboré grade. This Swiss-made movement beats at 28.8kbph and provides ~41 hours of power reserve. Before the watch ships out, Circula also ensures to adjust the timekeeping so you can expect -5/+7 seconds/day accuracy.
Given what the brand is offering for the price, it would be perfectly reasonable if Circula opted for an off-the-shelf strap to keep costs in check. Instead, it went for an integrated rubber strap that matches the angular lugs, quick-change spring bars, signed keepers, and a hardened titanium tang buckle. My first impression was that the dark forest-green strap was an odd choice, but it worked surprisingly well with the yellow dial. Most importantly, the strap is soft, comfortable, and has enough holes to find a comfortable fit. If, however, you’re more of a bracelet person, then you also have the option of a hardened titanium H-link bracelet with a milled clasp for a slight upcharge of only 80 €.
On its own merits, the Circula DiveSport is a solid offering. But when you consider what you’re getting for the price relative to other brands — including the hardened titanium case, Swiss movement, textured dial, and German manufacturing — it’s truly an outstanding value. For comparison, the German Sinn T50 (though containing some dehumidifying tech and a captive safety bezel) is made from Grade 2 titanium, only the bezel is hardened, and also has a Sellita movement, but you’re looking at roughly four times the price. Impressive. If you’re after a fun and lightweight diver that will keep looking good after plenty of abuse, the Circula DiveSport is worth a close look. With prices starting at 949 € (including VAT) on rubber, the Circula DiveSport Titanium offers plenty of options to suit personal tastes, but every model offers excellent value. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.
>Model: DiveSport Titanium
>Price: 949 € including VAT on rubber, 1,129 € including VAT on bracelet
>Size: 42mm diameter, 48.5mm lug-to-lug, 13.4mm thickness (without crystal), 20mm lug width
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Heading to the beach or anywhere outdoors during summer.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for a lightweight and colorful dive watch who wants something they won’t find on other wrists.
>Best characteristic of watch:. Hardened titanium case, stellar value.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Thick; would like to see it slimmed down by a couple mm, even at the expense of water resistance.