Watch Review: Skywatch - 3 Hand Diver Watch (Part II)
In Part I of my Skwatch review, I discussed some of the more rudimentary aspects of buying this watch - the shipping / packaging and the size and details (what, you haven't read it? Go ahead, click the link. I'll still be here where when you come back.... Welcome back!).
This time the focus is on Appearance, Quality and Value.
Appearance / Comfort
The watch is quite nice to look at in person, and it even photographs well.
Case - The case on my watch is stainless steel, with a brushed finish. This helps differentiate it from the newer Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, which is normally polished to a mirror finish. The case back has a simple Skywatch engraving on it that shows a little more attention to detail, and adds a little more interest for your skin. The watch may also be ordered with a case finished in black, rose gold, or hell, if you really want a chartreuse one, they probably will do that for you (for a price of course!)
Bezel - As mentioned in Part I of the review, the 60 click bezel is really the key aspect to the watch design and appearance for me. The bottle cap style of serrations on the side, done in a brushed metal finish contrast nicely with the colored bezel. What really sells it for me, and led to my purchase, was the convex profile to the bezel. It adds tactile and visual interest.
Skywatch indicates that the bezel is finished in acrylic. That helps the colors pop for sure, but that will likely be at the expense of scratch protection. Many higher end watches now use sapphire glass or ceramic for this high use part to prevent the premature aging that is bound to occur with frequent use. While moderately expensive for a Swiss quartz watch, to include such a feature would likely make this no longer affordable in it's mission as "A Dive Watch for Dive Bars."
Photo courtesy of Skywatchsite.com
Crown - Large, easy to grasp with Skywatch engraving on it. Easy to find both time setting positions. First position for setting date, second (all the way out) for setting the time. Smooth, no binding or resistance, no burrs.
Dial, Crystal and Hands - The dial on the watch is consistent with it's theme of being a dive watch, tipping it's cap to an iconic design. As mentioned previously, the Super Luminova applied to the numerals and hour markers is done quite well. I do wish there was more depth to the dial, something that would make one to want to look at it for more than the time (textured paint?). There may be opportunity for the company as they grow to do so. Good choice to make the date wheel background black and numerals white to minimize un-needed contrast on the dial.
The flat mineral crystal is one thing that I am not the most fond of on the watch. Since it's flat, it appears less opaque than other mineral crystals that I have seen or owned. I think a slight dome to the glass, nearly matching the curve of the bezel would be a knockout. The sword style hands, one of my favorite styles, have clean edges, are filled with Super Luminova and are an appropriate length. You'd be surprised how many watch companies make hour / minute hands too short or too long for their intended purpose.
Comfort - On the wrist, the watch feels light and unobtrusive. I actually forgot I was wearing it for a while. The watch has a lower profile than I am used to, which helps it slip under shirt sleeves easily. In a T-Shirt and jeans, the watch feels right at home, providing a splash of color on the wrist without being gaudy. The strap is comfortable on the skin, using a soft leather to circle your wrist.
I want to start this off by saying that I have not contacted Skywatch about the one area that I am most disappointed in. They appear to have a robust warranty and Gabriel at Skywatch has been extremely responsive, generous and kind during my purchase. He did not know I would write anything about my watch (hell, neither did I).
Neither seconds hand on the Poppy Red, or the Carbon Fiber watch hits it's marker. It's not even really close on the Poppy, slightly better on the Carbon Fiber. I can't accurately capture it in pictures, but it's noticeable to me and does reduce some of the enthusiasm for the watch. Certainly, I may not be typical (to be fair, this may not be typical either), but for the nearly $300 price, I had higher expectations of quality control. I have owned other watches with Swiss based quartz movements that have shown better alignment. To Skywatch's defense, there is more lash (free play) in some quartz movements which could lead to a wide distribution of alignments. However, being marketed as a watch that Hublot or other high end buyers would choose to wear as a rough and tumble watch for their fun times, I would suspect those discerning buyers would notice as well. I may engage their warranty process. If I do, I'll update you all on how that goes.
Had the second hands been better aligned, this would be a slam dunk. As it is, watches of this ilk are luxury purchases. There are many other items that can tell time for less money, with similar specs. Here, though, you get a great looking design, high quality bezel and case finishing, with excellent material selections for straps. My interactions with the Skywatch team have been top notch, and I suspect yours will be too. Putting aside the alignment issue (which may not bother most), I recommend this watch to those that love good design, and value that above all.