Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Watch Review: Skywatch - 3 Hand Diver Watch (Part I)

Let's face it - Dads (and guys) like to collect stuff.  It doesn't matter what it is - when we collect, we collect MULTIPLES of things.  I don't think I'm alone in my affliction, either.  To wit, we dads might have:

  • Guitars ( I have four)
  • Stereo receivers ( how do I have three of them?)
  • Sneakers (am I showing my age here?)
  • Firearms (to Mommy Stuffs glee, I can't check this box)
  • Watches...
You get the point. When we go all in, we go ALL IN.  At least for a while, anyway. 

That brings me to this new post.  I have gone for over a year plus without even thinking about a new watch - and I seriously enjoy watches.  However, life (read: house, work, kids and wife) prevented me from having time or money to invest in something new.  As my knowledge and interest in watches has grown my appreciation for certain watches has as well.  I have been a fan of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Sport watches for a long time.  I am also a fan of my savings account.  The two are mutually exclusive.

So what made me want to jump back into the waters of watches?  One word:  travel.  I have some sentimental mechanical watches in my very modest collection, and the rigors of travel have begun to take a toll on them.  The having to remove them, hide them through security, getting scuffs from the ins and outs of travel, and the worry attendant to it all, told me it was time to seek a stylish, modestly priced travel watch.

Enter Skywatch.
The Skywatch 3 Hand 44mm comes in a multitude of color and strap combinations.  One can quickly see the similarities (although, thankfully, not exact duplication) to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.  One can also see the difference in pricing:  50x LESS than the FF.  I was hooked, and placed an order:  One for me (Poppy Red), one for my brother (Carbon Fiber).

Let's take a closer look at the goods.

Delivery and Packaging
When you buy something on-line, besides the normal "I hope I don't get screwed" thoughts, you think about
  • How long 'till it gets here, and
  • Will it be OK when it arrives
The how fast was pretty simple - Order on Monday, received on a Friday.  FedEx ground for $15.  Pretty fair I think. 

For me, the "will it be OK" was of more concern. 

The package from Skywatch was clearly labeled "FRAGILE", which can sometimes mean treat it nicely, or use it to practice the shot put.   In this instance, the FedEx people were kind to me - the box had nary a scratch on the outside. 
Upon opening the box, I was relieved to see additional bubble-wrap padding surrounding the watches.  Skywatch really optimized the space between the shipping box and the watch box + padding to prevent excess movement during shipping.   Good work on that, Skywatch.

My semi- trusty assistant, D Man, was happy to help Daddy Stuff remove and unwrap daddy's "Presents".   We all had a good amount of fun popping the bubble wrap sheets, startling Mommy Stuff at various points.


The plastic case that the watch comes in is quite easy to open once you remove the side stickers that hold the lid to box.  The plastic itself is pretty thick and tough looking, without excessive burrs or sharp edges. 

The watch spans two different kinds of material in the box.  The head of the watch is above a half inch thick paper / board / foam "plate", and the strap itself is wrapped around a foam core, which also is nested into a foam block.  A neat touch to prevent the strap foam to be pulled through the slot is the addition of a rigid plastic pin that is wider than the slot.  Nice attention to detail, and a good way to ensure that the watch will stay in place no matter how jostled it may be during shipping.  Inside the foam block is also a groove that houses the warranty card and product information. The face and back of the watch head also have a protective plastic film that is easily removed, and makes sure there is nothing between you and your watch. 

An obligatory, artsy / fartsy shot below:

Overall, the watch is well packaged using a minimum of excess which is probably good for Earth Stuffs landfills.

Specs and Size
The watch I chose is a claimed 44mm in diameter, housing a Swiss-made 3 hand quartz Ronda 515 movement with date.  The dial has a vintage numeral feel (similar to premium Swiss watches), matte black, with applied numerals and hour markers filled with Super Luminova.  The hour, minute and second hands are also filled with Super Luminova.

The bezel is uni-directional, and on the Poppy Red (a more vintage orange, I'd say) it has great color depth and contrast.  The bezel appears to be a 60 click unit.  The bezel on the carbon fiber watch is three dimensional and immersive.  Very, very nice to look at.

The strap width is 22mm, and is made of Italian sail cloth on the front side, leather on the back.  A nice nod to the Longines Legend Diver.

The 44mm really doesn't appear or feel as large as you might think.  I have a wonderful Victorinox Dive Master 500 Black Ice Mech in my collection, which is listed at 43mm.  I will say, the Dive Master feels and looks bigger.  Part of that may be the heft of it - mechanical movement, dual sapphire crystals, heavy and solid end link bracelet - but even visually, it just looks bigger.  I am not disappointed at all in the Skywatch in this regard, but those that may be shying away from the watch due to the size, don't let the 44mm fool you.  She looks and wears smaller.

The Skywatch is quite light, which is actually pleasant for me, since I am used to heavy automatic watches.  The strap is comfortable on the wrist, holds itself in place nicely, and the small touch of blue from the strap keeper adds even more color to my arm.

In Part II we'll cover Appearance, Quality and overall Value.

As of this writing, the writer has not been compensated for this review.  This review is for the purposes of information and experience sharing.  The views of the author are his own.



  1. What's up Chuck P. Thanks for the Skywatch out-of-the-box/package coverage and watch review!

    Gabriel Ibarra

  2. Neat watch, and good review so far. Looks like D Man is a happy and willing assistant!

    1. He certainly is! All kids like to unwrap stuff (even us older kids) and it was fun having him help!

  3. I had no idea there is so much detail to consider when choosing a watch. Where do you measure from to come up with 44mm?

    1. In this case (pun intended), you measure from one edge of the bezel to the other, because the bezel's diameter is slightly larger than the case's.

    2. The most common way to measure is across the watch from 3 to 9, measuring at the widest position. Here, as Gabriel mentions, you would use the edge of the bezel at the 3 and 9 side to take the measurement.

      You may also hear the term "Lug to Lug" dimension. That means measuring from the 12 to 6 line, starting from then end of the steel where the strap attaches to the other. I find that dimension is the most critical to wearing comfort. Too big, it looks foolish, too small it tends to be uncomfortable.