I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Tawatec Watches of Switzerland. Awesome service, excellent product at a decent price.
I ordered the watch Monday night and got the watch this morning Wednesday on the West Coast USA. I don't get domestic orders this fast.
I am a dive watch nut and a lume nut. I had to get a GTLS watch a long time ago. I have had several Deep Blue and Luminox, Traser, Dievas, Ball. etc. over the years. I like them but I never end up keeping them for one reason or another.
Generally I like stainless steel or titanium cases and would not even consider carbon fiber. I am not a fan of watch companies that play on mens macho insecurities with such terms as Navy Seal, Search and Rescue, Marines, etc. I do like companies like Sinn which have a rich history of making authentic military watches for the real elite forces around the world. This dive watch and the Titan model remind me a lot of Sinn which I like. It doesn't feel like a copy but in a similar style.
So now you know a little about my style. Buying a black plastic watch with a rubber band was a big stretch for me. I also forgot to mention my preference for watches with steel or titanium bands only. So the thought of buying this watch was a huge risk for me. However, I had a certain amount of money I felt justified spending and certain wants. So after having many, many watches with varying degrees of Super Luminova on them I realized after owning and selling my tritium watches that despite the drawbacks of the GTLS( 10 year lifespan on t25 tubes) or if I can afford or like the design then T100’s will last 4 times longer but still time is limited. In any case the superiority in luminosity is clear in the GTLS system. Now finding an appropriate design with the right hardware is always daunting!
Specs for the Tawatec E.O. Diver MKII Automatic,
- Movement: Swiss Sellita SW 200 automatic movement with hack feature, self-winding mechanism, 26 Jewels, 28'800 vibrations per hour, Incabloc shock protection, power reserve 42 hours
- Functions: 3 hands, Date
- Waterresistance: to 20 atm/ 200 meters /660 feet
- Dial: black
- Hands: red second hand, white minute and hour hand
- Size: 47mm whitout crown
- High: 13mm
- Case: poly carbon fiber / antimagnetic
- Case back: screwed
- Crystal: sapphire, antireflectice coated
- Crown: on 4 o'clock, double o-ring
- Bezel: unidirectional racheting bezel with H3 tritium illumination 60 clicks-super tight!
- Strap: Rubberstrap22mm
- Warranty: 2 years on error free functionality of clock and clockwork.
- 10 years on unchanged optical readability
COLORS OF THE TRITIUMLIGHTS
orange / above the number 12
green / above the the numbers 1-11
green on the min.
green on the bezel protected under crystal
So there is another direct competitor in this type of watch from Isobrite which uses T100 tritium tubes and a quartz movement. Also I do not like the design as much as the Tawatec. I do not think it is swiss made either.
Reasons I bought the watch. Swiss made. Selitta SW200 Automatic movement, MB Microtec T25 GTLS illumination system, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, superior dial overall design and attention to details. No other watch has all of these features combined at the price I paid.
The attention to detail and build quality is impressive for a watch at this price even considering the materials used. Most watches in this range are not Swiss made nor do they have a Swiss automatic movement. I have had a lot of mid-range Swiss made watches and I liked the design elements a lot of times but the build quality was not there. Specs of dust under the crystal. Misaligned chapter rings, just other minor quality control issues I did not seem to find on the Asian counterparts until recently. Some Seiko watches have had a lot of QC issues lately and I have had a couple recently myself. So it is interesting to see a previous trend reversed or at least with Tawatec they seem to have a very good focus on quality. This is the first all Swiss made watch I have owned in some time.
Things I really like, The design of the dial and hands. The dial does not feel like it was silkscreened in the basement of a sweet shop but rather thoughtfully designed and artfully implemented with details like a white on black date wheel, red inner 24 hour dial, same font used everywhere on dial( why do so many watch makers use like three fonts on a watch dial!!??) Great sapphire crystal. The large size of the case and dial really make the watch easy to read. The carbon fiber case- Which I thought would be a HUGE CON for me turns out that I really like the thermal properties of the carbon fiber and the light weight. Two problems I dealt with because I liked the look and strength of steel. Carbon Fiber is not as strong as steel but if it holds up I think I may prefer it?? The Tritium. I mean lets face it, without the nice swiss automatic movement and sapphire crystal this watch is NOTHING without the Tritium tubes!! The MB Microtec GTLS really live up to their reputation. This watch uses the T25 and not the T100 tubes which means that the display is not as bright. However, T25 is still extremely legible in all conditions and I would even say bright. I like the T100 tubes but here is the rub for me. Some watches just go overboard. I like the T100 tubes but they are so bright that they can literally distract me from sleep as it is like a flashlight on my wrist. Also some of the designs especially from Ball are just way too much for me. I am on the fence because I would like the longer lasting in terms of years glow of the T100's specially with an auto watch. I am going to contact Tawatec and ask about the dial or T25 tubes. Can they be replaced after 10 years?
Things I don’t like. The strap could be silicone and softer. Would love an option for a poly carbon fiber bracelet that would match the case. I do not want a metal bracelet on a plastic case watch and I do not like straps mostly. So to Tawatec- make a poly carbon bracelet with removable links and divers clasp and extension just all made of carbon fiber. Charge half the cost of the metal bracelet. The metal case back. I would have preferred a screw down carbon fiber case back or screw down metal. I know it is a tactical watch but you can still put a nice design on the back.
Other details, Tawatec not only delivered the watch super fast, they sent me an extra nato strap. The packaging on the watch is sparse which I really like. It is a pleather black bag that says Tawatec at the bottom and a pillow inside with a warranty card/instruction manual. The watch was wrapped in bubble wrap with stickers on front and back. So you can use the pillow and store your watch safely in the bag but not a lot of money was wasted on useless packaging. My personal feeling is I hate very expensive boxes because it is money I am paying for nothing. I would rather the money be used in materials and movement of the watch.
Finally my overall thoughts are very positive. I really like the design of the dial and bezel. There are small details like the red seconds hand with black base or the white on black date wheel. I really hate seeing a black on white date wheel on a black dial-just a personal pet peeve. So seeing this detail on this watch really pushed me over the edge. I could not see this watch in person before I bought it so I was very nervous about the condition from Switzerland and if I would really like the plastic case.
I have to say this watch has really changed my perspective. I really like the light weight case. With the stainless steel caseback and mechanical movement the watch still has a heft to it but it is not uncomfortable like a watch of this size in steel would be. I also like the rubber band so far. I would honestly have really preferred a silicone band but if this breaks in then I will be fine. I was going to buy a black mess bracelet but I think if anything I may buy a silicone black band and switch between that and the nato. The rubber band is not bad though and has a double buckle.
One very last note and not abig deal but whoever attached the band to my watch scraped the inside top of the lugs. Not a huge problem but a small scratch that I did notice. Other than that and a slip on one of the four screws on the case back the watch is flawless. Considering the issues I have had with many other watches of all brands this particular example even with the very minor issues way exceeds my expectation of build quality at this price. The Selitta is a welcome movement at this price. So many have the Miyota 8215-this is not the 80s!! or they have the Seiko NH-35 which is a great movement but is nothing special either. The Selitta is a very nice swiss made movement that is a clone of the ETA 2824. The movement alone is a big cost in the production of this watch. Add the GTLS and Sapphire and you have a great value.
The retail price on this watch is 600 CHF which is about $600.
Right now the Tawatec US website which you can find from the main website under the buy tab on the top right of the page is having a 30% sale. So the price of the watch is just over $400 shipped via FEDEX! I highly recommend the watch if you are looking for an automatic GTLS watch. Just be forwarned that I have a feeling and I could be wrong that if there is a sale going on then they may be releasing a new model with T100 tubes. I could be wrong but a lot of time when a company website has a sale it is because they are about to introduce a new model. That being said you know the new model will cost full retail price and if they do use the T100 tubes there will most likely be a cost increase although the retail prices seem reasonable for the quality and components used.
I hope this review is helpful to someone and I will most likely follow up with any additional comment after I own it for a while.