Reviewed by K.C. Kim
http://helmwatches.com/vanuatu.html
$295 with free world wide shipping(through December)
Helm Watches appeared to come out of nowhere and release it’s first watch to the market. The company is based out of Hong Kong and released the Vanuatu fairly quickly for a new startup. Although it may seem to be rushed to the market this watch was years in the making. And the company worked hard to create a watch that would be well received by the watch community. Helm Watches skipped Kickstarter and other crowdfunding routes to sell directly to the consumer through preorder. When I first heard about the watch, there was already a buzz on internet watch forums like WatchUSeek about the Vanuatu. I had a chance to go hands on with this new budget diver watch and here are my thoughts.

SPECIFICATIONS:

WHAT YOU GET:

Vanuatu 300m Automatic Watch
Stainless Steel Bracelet
NS1 Nylon Strap (your choice of 4 colors)

CASE:

Brushed 316L Stainless Steel
Integrated Crown Guards
Screw Down Caseback
Diameter (12H to 6H): 42 mm
Diameter (9H to 3H, with crown): 45.75 mm
Lug to Lug: 50 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Height: 14 mm

CROWN:

Brushed 316L Stainless Steel
Screw Down
Position: 3 o’clock
Diameter: 8 mm

MOVEMENT:

Seiko Instruments NH35 (Automatic Mechanical)
Hacking and Manual Winding Functions
Accuracy: -25 ~ +35 seconds/day
Beats Per Hour: 21,600
24 Jewels
Power Reserve: 40 Hours

DIAL & HANDS:

Dial: Matte Black with Luminescent Hour Markers (off-white body color with blue afterglow)
Hands: Luminescent Hour, Minute & Second Hands (off-white body color with blue afterglow)
Date Window: 6 o’clock

BEZEL:

316L Stainless Steel
Diameter: 43 mm
Stainless Steel Insert with Black PVD Coating
Markings: White Oil + Luminescent (at 5 minute marks)
120-Click, Unidirectional Rotation

CRYSTAL:

Flat Sapphire with Internal Anti-Reflective Coating

BAND:

Stainless Steel Bracelet and Folding Clasp with Brushed Finish (22 mm Bracelet Tapers to 20 mm at Clasp)
NS1 Nylon Strap with Brushed Stainless Steel Buckle and Keeper Rings

WATER RESISTANCE:

300 m / 30 atm / 990 ft
Tested in accordance with ISO 6425:1996

WEIGHT:

With Stainless Bracelet (full length): 225 grams
With NS1 Nylon Strap: 120 grams







Helm Watches is considered a budget diver as it’s price is under $500 and this is where good value comes in Microbrands as they sell direct to the consumer and cut the middle man out of the equation. The first thought I had when opening the box was the quality of the timepiece as it had a nice heft and solid build quality. I believe at the price that this is selling at it can’t be beat. The Helm Watch comes with both a bracelet and Nato strap with options for a leather strap options sold separately HERE. I had no problems swapping out the Nato strap and attaching the bracelet onto the watch. You can purchase a spring bar tool from the company for $10 with the watch or $18 by itself HERE.





Named for the South Pacific island nation famous for its coral reefs and a WWII shipwreck, the HELM Vanuatu epitomizes rugged functionality. The Vanuatu features 43mm case, 300M Water Resistance, Sapphire Crystal, Seiko NH35 movement, and each was is tested according with ISO 6425:1996. The 43mm case is a good size for a watch without being too over-sized. The Seiko NH35 is a workhorse movement that keeps the price of the watch lower than other movements. I like the fact that each and every watch is tested for water resistance under strict standards. Some MicroBrands have started selling bracelets separately from their watch, yet Helm Watches includes the bracelet for free plus a Nato strap. I know there was some talk about a loose bezel but the bezel on my Vanuatu had zero issues and had very little play when rotating the bezel.



I believe the Helm Watches Vanuatu offers great value and rivals higher end divers. The Sinn-like style of the hands and the overall look of the watch makes this a perfect tool watch. If you like a diver with German styling and rugged no nonsense look then the Helm Watches should be on the top of your search list. The current holiday special that makes this watch only $295 with free worldwide shipping takes this watch to the next level. At $295 shipped you are not going to find a better diver watch anywhere.

Positives
Great price
Solid build quality
300M water resistance
Every watch tested for WR
Styling
Includes both bracelet and Nato strap

Negatives
bezel spring ring causes a slight backward movement that some have reported as loose bezel

Helm watches is currently offering a special $55 discount and free worldwide shipping making this watch only $295 with free shipping. If your looking for a Christmas gift for yourself or someone else do take a look at the Helm Watch Vanuatu which you can buy HERE

Disclosure: Review unit

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