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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,
What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturers?

1. Quality of watches relative to a known large-scale manufacturer?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet
2. Quality of watchesrelative to other small-scale manufacturers?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet
3. Delivery experience?
4. Ownership Experience
5. Product service experience?

Who are your top 5 and why?

Small Scale Dive Watch Manufacturers:

· BaliHai
· Bathys
· Benarus
· Boschett
· Corvus
- Dwatch
· Enzo Mechanica
- Kazimon
· Kobold
· Korsbek
· Kremke
· MkII
· Nauticfish
· Ocean 7
· Prometheus
· Stowa
· UTS
· Zinex

This may not be a comprehensive list so please add more if I missed some. My current frame of reference as a dive watch is a Ball Engineer Master II Chronometer. I own a Stowa, but not a dive watch.

Thanks,

Bob
 

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... you forgot Orsa.

I can speak for Benarus, Boschett, and Orsa and make the same statements about all 3.

  • More than you'd get for the money from any Major Manufacturer, both from a content and fit and finish perspective.
  • From a delivery perspective you are always dealing with an over-attentive owner. Delivery is usually spectacular along with superior packaging and extra accessories.
  • Ownership experience is unique as you likely will not see another person with one.
  • Product service is usually stellar as once again, it is always attended to by the owner.
If you pick a watch you like from pictures, it is highly unlikely you will be dissatisfied with any of the above manufacturers with maybe only one or two exceptions. I haven't found any in my limited experience.
 

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Most (certainly not all) of them aren't manufacturers but designers/entrepreneurs.
 

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... you forgot Orsa.

I can speak for Benarus, Boschett, and Orsa and make the same statements about all 3.

  • More that you'd get for the money from any Major Manufacturer, both from a content and fit and finish perspective.
  • Form a delivery perspective you are always dealing with an over-attentive owner. Delivery is usually spectacular along with superior packaging and extra accessories.
  • Ownership experience is unique as you likely not see another person with one.
  • Product service is usually stellar as once again, it is always attended to by the owner.
If you pick a watch you like from pictures, it is highly unlikely you will be disatified with any of the above manufacturers with maybe only one or two exceptions. I haven't found any in my limited experience.
I'll echo all those sentiments and add Precista and Debaufre to the list.
 

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hi, i can speak from owning 2 stowas and 4 ocean 7s.

fit and finish of the stowas is first rate easily equal to much more expensive watches and service is extremly good. lume on my prodivers is unreal.

ocean7s good watches nice design but not on the level of stowa, really like the braclets. not as refined a design as stowa and the lume isn't as good but very tough watches.

take it easy
cricketdave
 

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Will speak to what I own or am in the process of acquiring.

· MkII (own one custom, a 2nd custom due next month and a 3rd preordered)
1. Quality of watches relative to a known large-scale manufacturer?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet
All aces save for lume, which I feel is a very subjective matter depending on your basis of comparison, it may not be the best of the pack, but it is my no means poor.
2. Quality of watches relative to other small-scale manufacturers?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet
My custom came flawless, and is the most accurate thing in my collection.
3. Delivery experience?
Customs take time, and feel it to be worth the wait.
4. Ownership Experience
First of three, speaks for itself.
5. Product service experience?
Have had no need to have the piece serviced.

· Ocean 7 (Own one 2nd purchase pending this month or next on a reserved list)
1. Quality of watches relative to a known large-scale manufacturer?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet
Well finished and fitted pieces, quality, value and collaborative design process on some models.
2. Quality of watches relative to other small-scale manufacturers?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet
Zero complaints, quality product.
3. Delivery experience?
Professional, period. Shipment notification, tracking number, good packaging, presentation, accuracy, etc.
4. Ownership Experience
Own one, about to own two, participate in the forum, please with product, approach and philosophy.
5. Product service experience?
Aces, expectations exceeded, and I’m demanding and picky about my watches.

· Zinex (First watch inbound, responsive to inquiries, to the point and timely, professional communication and notifications, tracking information, etc., thus far everything meeting expectations based on the praises of others.)

Who are your top 5 and why?

No tops perse, I would not own multiples or keep anything I wasn’t pleased with.
 

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Bathys:
1.
Quality of watches relative to a known large-scale manufacturer?
· case, face, lume, bezel, movement and bracelet

Case, face and lume as good as anyone (e.g., Omega, Pam). Bezel is a weak link in the earlier bathys, but the Ti Benthic has a good bezel. Movement is COTS unmodified....Bracelet does not exist.
2. Quality of watchesrelative to other small-scale manufacturers?
IMHO, Bathys is a top notch watch, compareable to any watch small or large.
3. Delivery experience?
Great if you like pelican cases

4. Ownership Experience
Unique pieces...make me happy.

5. Product service experience?
John cares about his customers.
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

for me i like the fact that there are non other than me walking around with a firts rate watch from an small manufacture and almost every one that see it on my wrist is can not take their eyes from it thats what i like plus the fact that you get an awsome piece at a great price :-!:-!:-!
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

I have had very few bad experiences with any of the above and I own or have owned watches from nearly all of them. It's very hard to give a top five because so many of them are excellent but Stowa and UTS are probably my favorite two.
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

I have had good experience with all 7 of the micro brands that I have owned, and if I was looking strictly for a "tool" diver or actual dive back up.. there are a few that I would revisit...... HOWEVER, I will go against the grain of many of the forum.. I liked the pieces but have since flipped ALL of them..

1. I just prefer a little more "pizzaz"... mostly, I am not a fan of bead blasting.. looks good at first... but tire of the look quickly (maybe it is just it doesn't go well with how I dress)... I prefer a mix of brushed and polished... Maybe owning 1 bead blasted piece would be alright... but for me I just prefer a little more versatile look of brushed mainly with a few edges of polished.

2. I like smooth edges and most of the one's I had had sharp edges and corners either on the bracelet or the case..... just not as nice when you compared side by side to other pieces albeit from "big name companies"... All the frickers I have owned have had "crown wobble" and the bezels had some backlash play in it as well... that always bothered me as well..

3. Matte black dials with painted markers.. sorry just not nearly as nice or nice looking as applied markers with white gold/ss outline like you get on many of the "named" pieces.. Too me this is a big difference in how nice the watch looks to me.. I think matte dials with painted are nice for a tool watch.. but no where near as nice looking as say a Rolex sub/dweller, Breitling Steelfish, Omega PO (a good looking matte dial but it does have applied trimmed indices, although I think the dial would look better with a touch of glossy finish), Oris TT1... the list goes on... the dials of those manufactures to me just blow the doors off the screen printed painted dials on the micro brands.. Once again not bad for a tool watch, but since we are comparing..

4. 24mm lugs are common on many of those you mentioned...... I hate them on all but a few pieces (Panerai and some others brands are just made for them... but now every Tom, Dick, and Harry watch has them, and I have grown to hate them..), they are over used and over done, and to me take away from many watches... 24mm bracelets do not appeal to me at all, too big, too wide, too heavy, and all you see is the bracelet... especially with folks who have average size or small wrist.. just looks doesn't look good at all..... almost cheapens the way a piece looks in all honesty... I know the forum masses will flip as they think a 24mm strap and bracelet are the beez kneez... but I don't... 22mm is my favorite..

5. Size... some of those companies you mentioned have gone crazy with size.. as have many of the forum members... Too many folks are wearing watches that are TOO big for them.. there I said it... Wear what you like and screw what others think about it... I am all for that and for the individual wearing what they like... but the reality is still that the watch is TOO big and looks TOO big... I think for a while folks associated Bigger as in Nicer or Better or Tougher or Stronger... one look at the Home Shopping watches and you will see that all their "turd pieces" are big and are still 3 payments of $19.99... so bigger doesn't mean anything but bigger! And the thickness of a lot of watches is also silly... and they look quiet silly on certain folks...

Now don't get me wrong I have like the ones I have owned, and given an abundance of funds to own LOTS of watches like many on the forum here are fortunate to have the priviledge of... I would most certainly buy another Stowa Prodiver, Enzo Mechana, and a Dread or Kenzo.. but when I compared them to Breitling Steelfish, Rolex sub, Omega PO among others...... they just didn't win out in any of the categories that were important to me... except for pricing of a couple of them.. but it seems many of the Private Label or Micro-brands suffer from the "attributes" that bother me in a watch...

To the Original Poster: When you mention in your other threads at looking and debating amonth the likes of GO, GP Seahawk, Zenith, UN MMD, Chopard, Rolex DeepSea, IWC... among others..... I just find it hard to imagine you wearing any of the micro-brands except to mow the grass or paint the house... I know I wouldn't if I had those "Grail" brands to chose from in the watch box....


I will add that Enzo, Stowa, and Korsbek were Grade A Top Notch Service and People to do business with.
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

I forgot to add... you said your "measuring stick" for this diver is your Ball Engineer Master II... even though I am not a huge fan of the Ball diver's b/c I don't care for the look of the vials on the numbers... HOWEVER.. I don't think you will find that any of the micro-brands you mentioned will even match much exceed the quality, detail, and build of your Ball.
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

I have had good experience with all 7 of the micro brands that I have owned, and if I was looking strictly for a "tool" diver or actual dive back up.. there are a few that I would revisit...... HOWEVER, I will go against the grain of many of the forum.. I liked the pieces but have since flipped ALL of them..

1. I just prefer a little more "pizzaz"... mostly, I am not a fan of bead blasting.. looks good at first... but tire of the look quickly (maybe it is just it doesn't go well with how I dress)... I prefer a mix of brushed and polished... Maybe owning 1 bead blasted piece would be alright... but for me I just prefer a little more versatile look of brushed mainly with a few edges of polished.

2. I like smooth edges and most of the one's I had had sharp edges and corners either on the bracelet or the case..... just not as nice when you compared side by side to other pieces albeit from "big name companies"... All the frickers I have owned have had "crown wobble" and the bezels had some backlash play in it as well... that always bothered me as well..

3. Matte black dials with painted markers.. sorry just not nearly as nice or nice looking as applied markers with white gold/ss outline like you get on many of the "named" pieces.. Too me this is a big difference in how nice the watch looks to me.. I think matte dials with painted are nice for a tool watch.. but no where near as nice looking as say a Rolex sub/dweller, Breitling Steelfish, Omega PO (a good looking matte dial but it does have applied trimmed indices, although I think the dial would look better with a touch of glossy finish), Oris TT1... the list goes on... the dials of those manufactures to me just blow the doors off the screen printed painted dials on the micro brands.. Once again not bad for a tool watch, but since we are comparing..

4. 24mm lugs are common on many of those you mentioned...... I hate them on all but a few pieces (Panerai and some others brands are just made for them... but now every Tom, Dick, and Harry watch has them, and I have grown to hate them..), they are over used and over done, and to me take away from many watches... 24mm bracelets do not appeal to me at all, too big, too wide, too heavy, and all you see is the bracelet... especially with folks who have average size or small wrist.. just looks doesn't look good at all..... almost cheapens the way a piece looks in all honesty... I know the forum masses will flip as they think a 24mm strap and bracelet are the beez kneez... but I don't... 22mm is my favorite..

5. Size... some of those companies you mentioned have gone crazy with size.. as have many of the forum members... Too many folks are wearing watches that are TOO big for them.. there I said it... Wear what you like and screw what others think about it... I am all for that and for the individual wearing what they like... but the reality is still that the watch is TOO big and looks TOO big... I think for a while folks associated Bigger as in Nicer or Better or Tougher or Stronger... one look at the Home Shopping watches and you will see that all their "turd pieces" are big and are still 3 payments of $19.99... so bigger doesn't mean anything but bigger! And the thickness of a lot of watches is also silly... and they look quiet silly on certain folks...

Now don't get me wrong I have like the ones I have owned, and given an abundance of funds to own LOTS of watches like many on the forum here are fortunate to have the priviledge of... I would most certainly buy another Stowa Prodiver, Enzo Mechana, and a Dread or Kenzo.. but when I compared them to Breitling Steelfish, Rolex sub, Omega PO among others...... they just didn't win out in any of the categories that were important to me... except for pricing of a couple of them.. but it seems many of the Private Label or Micro-brands suffer from the "attributes" that bother me in a watch...

To the Original Poster: When you mention in your other threads at looking and debating amonth the likes of GO, GP Seahawk, Zenith, UN MMD, Chopard, Rolex DeepSea, IWC... among others..... I just find it hard to imagine you wearing any of the micro-brands except to mow the grass or paint the house... I know I wouldn't if I had those "Grail" brands to chose from in the watch box....


I will add that Enzo, Stowa, and Korsbek were Grade A Top Notch Service and People to do business with.
That was a great reply - well thought out and well writtten. You state what it is you don't like, and then you explain WHY you feel that way. Too many posts are uninformative, concentrated on opinion without facts to substantiate the opinion offered.

Having said that, I have to confess I don't agree with a lot of what you said... But I like the way you said it! :-d
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

TakesALicking-- Well thank you... I was bored, it was raining, and I got to writing, and just kept on going... I guess WUS and the forums have become the "horn tooting" and the "info-mercials" for too many watches and brands out there... I believe out of being politically correct or fear of being slapped on the wrist, most everyone is really scared to be totally honest or actually be "somewhat honest or negative". Too many "great watch" "wear in good health" post actually... It seems whenever there is a good thread and a back and forth comparison of watches, it gets locked for some reason ... maybe b/c sponsor's are involved... sad really b/c those types of threads and reading and learning from those posters in those threads are what is interesting to me... The forum is turning into just a WRUW and Incoming and what private label/micro brand or piece is coming next and of course..."nice wear in good health"..

Anyway, my post is/was just my thoughts certainly not going to be the consensus of the forum views... but I would be shocked if my points above were not shared by the majority of those who are indeed WIS but just do not par-take or know anything about the internet forums...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First off, thanks for all of you who responded to my post.

To answer Crue4's question my inquiry into these brands was out of unfamiliarity along with a frustration of not being able to find what I want in larger brands which I am more familiar with.

If some of these companies produce unique designs that are executed to a high level of quality; I am open to considering them; but I understand your comment. Remember you already have experience with some of these brands and I do not; hence my query. Some of these companies sell fairly expensive watches:

  • Kobold $3,750 - $8,850
  • RGM $3,500-$4,250
  • UTS - $2,000 - $4,500
Some of the watches that I was considering in the other post that you referred to where expensive like the GP and the Chopard, but some were priced similarly to the watches listed above (e.g. Omega Seamaster PO $3,650 and IWC Aquatimer $5,200). I realize that many of the companies sell watches in the $1,000 - $2,000 range; but given my one experience with Stowa with a non-dive watch; I was open to exploring alternatives.

I am surmising that many of these companies are mostly run by passionate entrepreneurs who invest in design, an integrated supply chain to manufacturer parts and purchase movements and web technology as a distribution channel.

I appreciate all of you taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. This post has been extremely helpful.

J

Bob
 

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I can only speak on the ones I,ve had so here goes -
Stowa , UTS , Kobold , MKII , Zinex . :-!:-!:-!:-!
EVERYONE of these manufacturers offer great products , fantastic customer service , & excellent value for money .


As for Ocean 7 , well I,ve had 3 watches off them and they were all POS , just garbage really and not worth a fraction of their asking price IMHO .
Coupled with the worst customer service I,ve ever EVER had from any company ( not just watches ) in my life . <|<|<|<|
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

Anyway, my post is/was just my thoughts certainly not going to be the consensus of the forum views... but I would be shocked if my points above were not shared by the majority of those who are indeed WIS but just do not par-take or know anything about the internet forums...

Crue, I agree with a lot of your points. I find that the micro-brands give me, can't speak for anyone else, the opportunity to own an unusual watch with a certain set of characteristics. I had an Omega SMP with black dial that I loved and flipped. I will have another one at some point and I'm sad that it is gone, but at the time, it was the right thing to do to flip it - besides, I got more than I paid for it...

Ultimately, I would like to have a Planet Ocean and some other "big name" brands, but for now - these micro brands have their place for me. Mostly I look at the pics on the forum and enjoy and have only once purchased (and yet to receive) my own.

I think there is room for watch enthusiasts as well as WIS. Sometimes budget and timing do not allow for what we really want, yet we may satisfy the itch for the time being while being cost conscious.

Anyway, I like your points and agree with quite a few, but I will only really be able to make up my mind after one (or three) purchases of such watches...
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

Crue, I agree with a lot of your points. I find that the micro-brands give me, can't speak for anyone else, the opportunity to own an unusual watch with a certain set of characteristics. I had an Omega SMP with black dial that I loved and flipped. I will have another one at some point and I'm sad that it is gone, but at the time, it was the right thing to do to flip it - besides, I got more than I paid for it...

Ultimately, I would like to have a Planet Ocean and some other "big name" brands, but for now - these micro brands have their place for me. Mostly I look at the pics on the forum and enjoy and have only once purchased (and yet to receive) my own.

I think there is room for watch enthusiasts as well as WIS. Sometimes budget and timing do not allow for what we really want, yet we may satisfy the itch for the time being while being cost conscious.

Anyway, I like your points and agree with quite a few, but I will only really be able to make up my mind after one (or three) purchases of such watches...

Let me also agree with you as well... a lot of the brands mentioned above offer affordable pieces in the $600-700 (pre-owned) and lower that pound for pound are as good or better than many choices out there in that price range.... I think they offer GREAT values and give a big thumbs up to them .... Most of my post was directed toward the much higher priced micro-brand pieces, and was not refering to the less expensive price range..... Stowa, MKII, Marcello, Enzo, Benarus, Zinex are all great choices.... I was refering more to the micro-brand pieces that run upwards of $1250+ and more...
 

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Re: What has your experience been with the small dive watch manufacturemrs?

Based on your list...

1. Stowa - in their own class

2.a Zinex
2.b Ocean 7

3. Bathys

My experience with each has been very solid, with no issues at all. Each watch delivers more than my dollars worth IMHO, and have grown to exceed my initial expectations.

This is truly a golden period for collecting IMHO. No matter your budget there is great competition, and fresh pieces coming out. The active gently-owned market allows for checking out a wide variety of what is out there today.
 
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