Dive Watch Releases / Articles

2016-09-28

GRUPPO ARDITO Kraken 4000M REVIEW

BACKGROUND Gruppo Ardito Watches are team of talented engineers, watch enthusiasts and professional divers that first gave birth to the brand through an Italian professional scuba diving forum, where their first project -

the Altofondale gained them a loyal following that has grown over the past 3 years to become one of the artisan dive watch brands to watch out for producing hand-crafted divers in the same vein as brands such as: Ennebi, Kaventsmann or Vintage-VDB. The Kraken is Gruppo Ardito’s third model.



PACKAGING True to their Italian artisanal roots, Gruppo Ardito have supplied the Kraken in a beautifully handcrafted wooden box with and aged metal GAW name plate. On opening the box you are greeted to a sporty bright orange felt lining adding a real sense of occasion. Inside the box was an additional handmade Italian sharkskin strap in brown with the colours of the Tricolore stitched into its sides and large strap changing tool. All very nice!



DIAL The Kraken boasts a sandwich dial in matte black with a lumed white underneath revealing trapezoidal and baton shaped markers. Printed onto the dial are: white minutes, a tiny line of text saying ‘Prodotto Italiano’ and two large logos.

The first logo at 10 o’clock relates to Gruppo Ardito Watches while the logo at 6 is the name Kraken in a contemporary bold white font, underscored by an inverted orange swoosh. The logos aren't by any means subtle but are a youthful hallmark of the GAW brand and add a welcome touch of Italian flare. I personally love the logos, but would happily lose the minute track which would allow for even bigger indexes. ;)



HANDS A simple set of semi-skeleton sword hands provide supremely legible timekeeping while a white sweeping seconds indicator with a rectangular luminous pointer let's you know that the Kraken is fully operational. Wouldn't change a thing!



CASE Gruppo Ardito design all their models from scratch - the Kraken is no different; its design while unique remains restrained - nothing outlandish here - just robust masculine shapes that flow nicely together. While the top of the case is somewhat elliptical in its design, the case sides offer gently sloping lines and soft angles.

The Kraken’s case is constructed from Grade 5 Titanium and measures 46mm in diameter by 18mm thick with a 60mm overall length. Like its namesake it is a bit of a monster, and yes, 60mm l-to-l is gonna create a slight overhang but the watch looks good - even on ladies’ wrist. If you don't believe me HERE’s a lovely wristshot courtesy of Timemonki, OceanicTime’s resident photographer.



CRYSTAL the Kraken is fitted with a 4mm thick double domed Hardlex Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on its inside.

The CASEBACK and fixed BEZEL have been securely bolted to the case with 12 Allen-screws, 6 on top and 6 underneath. The bezel is kind of like a door to a bank vault or better still a submarine hatch. It gives the watch a powerful look.



The caseback is a solid flat slab of G5 Ti with bevelled edges that have been engineered so as to make sure the watch sits more comfortably on the wrist. Etched on the back is the Kraken name along with some text and the mythical sea creature itself complete with tentacles.

Unfortunately the Kraken etching is a little too faint to be fully appreciated. G5 Titanium is incredibly hard so a proper deep engraving would have been a little tricky but perhaps laser etching the caseback or even staining it with acid would have produced a clearer result.



CROWN The Kraken is fitted with a lovely oversized screw-down crown with multiple gaskets. The crown has been etched with the GAW initials. I love the size of the crown, love the feel of it and cannot fault it.



WATER-RESISTANCE The Kraken has a mighty impressive depth-rating down to 4000 meters. Each watch has been individually tested in the GAW laboratories in Italy. 4000 meters of water-resistance is extreme even by today's standards. Only a handful of watches can match its performance - one of them for reference is the UTS 4000M.



LUME The Kraken’s dial and hands have been lumed. Actually I'm not exactly sure what lume has been used but it's probably C3 SuperLumiNova. The lume is good - just good - nothing mental! I would have liked to have had my retinas burnt out by a watch if this ilk but alas not this time.



MOVEMENT The Kraken is powered by a Swiss automatic mechanical movement, the GAW001 based on an ETA 2824-2. The watch keeps excellent time - I wonder if it has been regulated and if so to what degree because mine keeps pretty damn good time.



STRAP The Kraken is supplied with two straps, the Sharkskin one mentioned at the beginning of the post and an articulated and ventilated Italian natural rubber divers strap - you know the kind with the lovely vanilla scent.

I feel the watch looks better on rubber as it kind of fills in the blanks where a typical diver would have a timing bezel etc thus giving the Kraken a more purposeful look.



The Sharkskin strap comes with a multi-piece roller-BUCKLE like an Ennebi while the rubber strap has a fairly standard looking buckle. My NumeroZERO actually had a roller-buckle fitted to its rubber strap so I was a little disappointed that this one didn't have the same awesome buckle. There is however some more of the faint etching on its side which does make it a little more special.



QUALITY We need to remember that the Kraken has been hand-machined from one of the toughest metals that there are. This has then been given a beautiful utilitarian sand-blasted finish, so unlike the Grade 2 divers that we see covered in swirls and scratches - this G5 Ti deep sea monster is going to be tough to inflict wounds upon - in other words it's going to hold up very well, thank you very much!

Everything from the dial, the bezel has been executed beautifully. The caseback engraving could certainly be improved upon, but it's a minor complaint.



PRICE The GAW Kraken has a price of 1980 euro. This is a lot of watch for the money. You will struggle to find anything as beautifully finished in the artisanal sector for less - trust me, and not with an extreme depth rating or in Grade 5 Titanium, either.


©OceanicTime

OVERALL I've been reviewing dive watches for neigh on eight years now, it's nice gig, I can't complain, but it can be a tough one at times mainly because there has been a glut of vintage styled divers - they're all very nice but they do get a bit samey.

It's watches like the Kraken that come along and offer us breath of fresh air. I realize that 4000 meter, fixed-bezel dive watches are a niche product, but God, am I happy to be reviewing something from this specialized niche within the dive watch industry.

The Kraken is exactly the type of dive watch that gets my juices flowing - it's a living breathing, deep sea diving machine. It literally gives me Goosebumps, and after more than a decade of watch collecting it is one of those watches that reminds exactly why I got involved in dive watches in the first place.

If places of worship can connect us with God then it's dive watches like the Kraken that can connect us with the abyss and for me is what it's all about - amen!

https://sites.google.com/site/gruppoarditowatch/

2016-09-26

ULYSSE NARDIN Diver Chronograph MONACO LE

Introducing the new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Monaco Limited Edition, a commemorative divers watch that is once again delivered in the same sporty red and blue colours shared by previous Monaco Limited Edition divers. [2012] [2013] [2014]



Its minute counter shows the heraldic pattern of the Principality of Monaco, which is also present on its Sapphire crystal caseback while the words ‘’Monaco Yacht Show 2016’’ are written on its blue dial with its markers and hands also showing the colours of the Monaco flag.



UN who have been the official sponsor of the Monaco Yacht Show for the past eight years have a solid nautical history and have produced timekeeping instruments that have guided sailors and divers alike with exact precision for many a decade.



The Diver Chronograph Monaco Limited Edition comes in a limited series of 100 Stainless steel pieces powered by a self-winding movement: the in-house designed UN-150 Calibre with its Silicium escapement. Seconds hand in the centre, small seconds at 9 o'clock, 30 minutes at 3 o'clock, 12 hour counter and a round date window at 6 o'clock offer complete chronograph timekeeping.



UN’s diving DNA is displayed as much by the watch's generously-sized 44mm case as its unidirectional rotational divers bezel - the outside of which has been fluted, no doubt ensuring an excellent grip – while a rubber coated screwdown security crown and Sapphire crystal ensure a respectable water-resistance to 300 meters.

The new Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Monaco Limited Edition of 100 pieces, Ref. 1503-151-7M/93-MON comes on a Stainless steel divers bracelet with and folding divers clasp.

2016-09-25

UNIMATIC Modello Uno U1-B LE Brushed STEEL

UNIMATIC Watches of Italy have released two new special editions of their debut diver, the Modello Uno in a limited series of 240 pieces –

of which, 200 pieces are in Brushed Steel priced €450 + VAT. The watches will ship out from the 1st October 2016.



We’ve seen the Modello Uno before, it’s a really nice looking diver – it’s quite simple but with some old school references – however there’s nothing overly derivative about it.

The U1-B has also has a number really appealing design features, some borrowed such as the serial number engraving in between its lugs and the sterile bezel that recalls Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms 3H from the 1970s.



I really like the simplicity shown here, it’s a tried and tested route when designing a dive watch and in many ways is the only way to achieve that classic / timeless look that we all love.

So how about the actual watch? The U1-B has been Made in Italy and features a solid 316 Brushed Stainless steel case with: a 2mm screwdown caseback and –



an 8mm crown together with high quality gaskets allowing an individually tested water-resistance to 300 meters. The caseback features Unimatic’s signature conversion scale engraving.

Further divers features include: a highly legible black dial with maxi markers in old Radium coloured SuperLumiNova, a double-domed anti-reflective Sapphire crystal and –



a unidirectional rotational divers bezel with coin-edges and a black aluminium insert sans dive-time scale but with a single matching Radium coloured 12hr pearl.

Power comes from a SEIKO NH35A automatic mechanical movement tuned to 21600bph with 4hrs power reserve and a hacking seconds hand.



The U1-B comes on a 22mm black heavy duty nylon NATO strap with a custom Brushed Stainless Steel Unimatic signed buckle.


Like your divers with sterile bezel? So do we – check these out: [Poseidon] [Squale] [Nevon] [Benarus] [Manta Ray] [Fondale] [CH1]

http://www.unimaticwatches.com/

UNIMATIC Modello Uno U1-BN LE Black PVD

UNIMATIC Watches of Italy have released two new special editions of their debut diver, the Modello Uno in a limited series of 240 pieces –

of which, 40 pieces are in Black PVD priced €550 + VAT. 40 wasn’t nearly enough so unfortunately they have already all sold out. :(



We’ve seen the Modello Uno before, it’s a really nice looking diver – it’s quite simple but with some familiar old school references – however there’s nothing overly derivative about it.

The U1-BN has also has a number really appealing design features, some borrowed such as the serial number engraving in between its lugs and the sterile bezel that recalls Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms 3H from the 1970s.



I really like the simplicity shown here, it’s a tried and tested route when designing a dive watch and in many ways is the only way to achieve that classic / timeless look that we all love.

So how about the actual watch? The U1-BN has been Made in Italy and features a solid 316 Black PVD coated Stainless steel case with: a 2mm screwdown caseback and –



an 8mm crown together with high quality gaskets allowing an individually tested water-resistance to 300 meters. The caseback features Unimatic’s signature conversion scale engraving.

Further divers features include: a highly legible black dial with maxi markers in old Radium coloured SuperLumiNova, a double-domed anti-reflective Sapphire crystal and –


a unidirectional rotational divers bezel with coin-edges and a black aluminium insert sans dive-time scale but with a single matching Radium coloured 12hr pearl.

Power comes from a SEIKO NH35A automatic mechanical movement tuned to 21600bph with 41hrs power reserve and a hacking seconds hand.


U1-BN comes on a 22mm black heavy duty nylon NATO strap with a custom black PVD coated Unimatic signed buckle.

Like your divers with sterile bezel? So do we – check these out: [Poseidon] [Squale] [Nevon] [Benarus] [Manta Ray] [Fondale] [CH1]

http://www.unimaticwatches.com/

2016-09-22

BREITLING Chronomat 44 Blacksteel SE

They say you can’t get enough of a good thing – and whoever they are were absolutely right. They’d probably say exactly the same of yellow and black – and you know what, they’d be right again!

Breitling have delivered us another stunning Special Edition watch in a sexy combination of black and yellow – last time we saw the very cool, very deep über-diver, the 3000m water-resistant Avenger II Seawolf BLACKSTEEL,



today Breitling have turned their attention to their flagship model, the CHRONOMAT which not only gets a new black carbon-based high-resistance treatment for its sturdy satin-brushed steel case,

but also a whole new face in Breitling’s signature colour, yellow which has been beautifully contrasted with black counters and red hands.



That new black case is endowed with: a Sapphire crystal with AR-coating on both sides, a unidirectional rotational divers bezel with B’lings hallmark 4 rider-tabs in a polished finish and rubber-inlaid markers plus a large vintage–orange coloured luminous pip at 12 o’clock.



A screw-down caseback, crown and chrono-pushers - protected against shocks by substantial lateral reinforcements and a water-resistant to 200 m/660 ft nicely round up the watch’s diving features –

while a Sapphire crystal caseback provides the visuals, affording a view of the precise COSC chronometer-certified Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 with its black rotor.



A further touch of style is leant to the overall ensemble by a sporty two-tone rubber TwinPro divers strap combining a black exterior with a yellow lining – very nice indeed!