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




Uhuru is an South African brand created by Nick Warner who later moved to New Zealand. Warner who was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, took design cues from his native land to make his first watch. Uhuru in Swahili means “freedom” and the logo is a raised fist for freedom. Uhuru watches successfully raised enough funds through Kickstarter to start selling their watches directly to consumers.

316L stainless steel case
44mm diameter case (excluding crowns)
Miyota 8215 movement
Exhibition sapphire crystal back
Double domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating
Internal rotating bezel operated by the 9H crown
Super Luminova hands
20 ATM water resistance




Uhuru watches was one of the first Microbrands I found on Facebook. At the time it was only a concept and the watch has come along way from the original design concept to the present finished product. Kickstarter is a popular way to start out your watch company with limited funds. I have seen the Microbrand world blow up in recent times. The amount of Kickstarter watch campaigns have increase so much that it’s tough to cover each one. This is why I tend to weed out the common pieces that look the same and choose to cover the truly original designs. The Uhuru Impi is certainly a piece that is unusual and different from any other watch I have covered. The Impi was name after a Zulu warrior armed with an assegai spear and a large cowhide shield. The curves of the case and the strap design of the Impi Automatic draw on the shapes and textures of the shield. The assegai can be found in the shape of the spearhead hands. The watch features a unique double crowns with the one at 9 o’clock operating the internal rotating bezel and the one at 3 o’clock sets the date and provides hand winding.






Uhuru features a 44mm case, Miyota 8215 movement, and double domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating. The watch also feature double crowns with internal rotating bezel, 316L stainless steel case, Super Luminova hands and 20ATm Water resistance. The Uhuru double crowns at 9’oclock crown used for the internal bezel that rotates and the 3’oclock crown that sets the time and date as well as provides a hand winding option. The 200M water resistance should provide ample protection for swimming, showering and scuba diving. I prefer Uhuru’s matte finish case to polished steel as fine scratches are less visible. I normally prefer watches with a 40-42mm case but the 44mm wears surprisingly well. I also own a Panerai watch with a 44mm case and like the solid wrist presence of a larger watch. The Uhuru feels solid on the wrist and has a bold design that differentiates itself from other Microbrands watches on the market. The dial comes in black or ivory and the one in this review is the ivory which is a yellowish-white matte finish color. The ivory color dial is a nice change of pace from the usual black/blue/white dial divers. The lume on the watch could be a little better although I had no issue reading the time at night.








When I first got a hold of the Impi watch I was impressed with the level of craftsmanship that the watch offers. I compared it to higher end Microbrands such as Magrette and Lum-Tec. I have recent timepieces from both companies and the Impi compares well with these brands. Kickstarter is a great place to find new watches but when all the watches look the same I get bored and it’s refreshing to find a uniquely designed watch like the Uhuru Impi. Overall the Uhuru Impi is something special and a great first watch from Nick Warner. If I had to pick just one watch to introduce someone to the Micro Brand Watch World it would be the Impi.

Positives
Unique design
Great backstory behind the brand
Affordable price
Nice premium leather strap
Quality timepiece
Superb customer service
Great wrist presence

Negatives
May be too large for some
Lume
Some would prefer a 9015 over the 8215

The Impi Automatic is available now in Ivory dial with brown strap for $349 HERE

Nick Warner is working on his next watch release for Uhuru Watch Company as well as founding Microbrand Watch World, a community focused site that promotes crowdfunded watch brands and the blogs that review them. Check out MBWW HERE

Disclosure: Manufacturer supplied review sample for the review



John JY Lee is back with his 3rd Kickstarter campaign. The new Crossfire 500M features a bold new take on the California Dial. Cobra de Calibre Crossfire 500M will have a depth rating of 500M and run the reliable Miyota 9015.


Other specs include

42mm External Bezel case in 316L Stainless Steel Case with Sapphire Crystals Top & Bottom

Miyota Calibre 9015 with Smooth Sweeping Second Hand

Custom Rotors with Beautiful Geneva Stripes

Swiss Super-Luminova on Dial & Hands

Soft Genuine Leather Bands with Signed Matching Buckle


The project is fast tracked for a February 2016 shipping date with prototypes already made and the factory ready to start production.


Check out the campaign HERE


Helm Watches Vanuatu 300m Automatic diver is now available for sale. Buy it now for $350 plus $45 worldwide shipping HERE

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

ACCESSORIES:

The LS1 Leather Strap and LS2 Leather Strap pictured at left are available separately, and at a discount when purchased with a watch.


Swiss Military latest watch the Tank features a Ronda cal. 517 Swiss Made quartz mvt., silver dial, stainless steel case/mesh bracelet, screw-down crown, sapphire crystal, 20atm / 200m water resistance. Expect more details on the watch as we get it.





I am always on the lookout for an affordable diver that is easy on the pocket yet features advance technology. A good quality automatic diver watch for under a grand is hard to come by. I believe I found a good one in the DETOMASO San Marino. DETOMASO watches is a combination of the power of motorsport and the passion of Italy.



Detomaso designs their watches in Germany and make the watches in Asia. This allows the company to offer great prices while still maintaining quality control. The watch features Sapphire glass to protect against scratches, Glass case back, 45mm case, 22mm band width, 200m water resistance and a stainless steel bracelet.






The Citizen Miyota 9120 is a new movement that features a few more complications than the popular 9015 movement. The watch features weekday, month and date display as well as a separate 24-hour display. The 2120 features 26 jewels and 28800 vibrations per hour.




The orange dial gives the watch personality and the addition of month, weekday and 24-hour displays, integrated into the dial, enhances versatility and adds a sense of style. The lume of the dial is very good when you need to read the time in the dark. The bracelet is high quality and the overall feeling of the watch is very solid.


At just under $300, the DETOMASO San Marino is one of the best values for an automatic dive watch that rivals many entry level Swiss timepieces. The San Marino is a nice chunky dive watch that would make a great daily watch to the office or during your active lifestyle. I have yet to find another watch at this price range offer the same amount of advance features.

9.5 Out of 10.

Buy it now HERE

Disclosure: Review Sample



I was in the market for a new dive watch and stumbled upon the Bombfrog 500m Professionell. The watch has a reliable Seiko movement, 500m water resistance, and comes on a rubber strap. I look for good value when I want to add something to my collection and the Bombfrog 500m is a great value for the money.





When I first opened the box of the Bombfrog 500m I thought the watch look a lot more than the price tag would warrant. The watch comes in a 46mm brushed steel case with a firm unidirectional rotating bezel. The screw down crown keep water out and 500m water resistance is perfect for a diver. The Sapphire glass is a nice addition considering the price you may get a mineral glass with other divers in this price range. The super luminous hour markers and hands provide ample amount of light for night viewing of the time. The watch features a black dial with a red seconds with date at the 3 marker.


The Bombfrog 500m Professionell comes with an extra long rubber strap. I have a 7 inch wrist and the last hole fits my wrist. This is perfect for those guys with larger wrists and those with smaller wrist can easily swap out the strap for an aftermarket strap or bracelet. The Bombfrog 500m is powered by the ever reliable Seiko VX42 Quartz Movement that will make sure you are always on time for your appointments. Bombfrog backs each watch with a 24 month warranty and a certificate of authenticity. The company tests out each watch before it’s sent to buyer for 24 hour quality control check.


Overall I am really impressed with the offering of the Bombfrog 500m Professionell diving watch. It is truly a beautiful timepiece that is built like a tank and reliable with it’s Seiko quartz movement. The features of the watch and military style makes this a must buy for anyone looking for a great accurate diver watch.

9.8 Out of 10

Buy it now HERE


http://vanspeyk-watches.com/
I am always on the lookout for an affordable diver that offers a lot for the money. Van Speyk, a brand that I first learn about from Watchuseek in 2012 has a new diver being released to the market.


Before we get started with the new diver watch, let look at a little history of the brand. Van Speyk watches is named after Jan Carel Josephus van Speyk, a Dutch national hero.

In the Golden Age the current Kingdom of the Netherlands occupied a global perch in terms of Trade, Science, Art and Military Power (especially at sea). This period of time formed an important part of the foundation of the wealth, both economically and culturally, that we in present time Netherlands find ourselves in.

Economic decline and turbulent years is what The Netherlands in the 18th century had to endure. Amidst this social rumble Jan Carel Josephus van Speyk was born in Amsterdam on the 31st of January, 1802. Although educated as a tailor, Van Speyk was fascinated by the adventures that go with the life of a sailor. He followed his heart and in the years that followed, he became a marine lieutenant and conducted many naval trading- and combat missions across the globe and even acquired the “ridderkruis der vierde klasse van de Militaire Willems-Orde”; the Dutch equivalent of the Medal of Honor.

On the 5th of February 1831, Van Speyk (29) became a Dutch national hero when he headed for the Antwerp harbor in Belgium to examine shiploads. A year prior, the Belgium Revolution led to the dissolution of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the proclamation of an independent Belgium. Upon arrival in Antwerp, a furious party of Antwerp workmen boarded Van Speyk’s gunboat “No.2”. Van Speyk then spoke the legendary phrase: “…and going down in history as an infamous Dutchman? I rather blow this ship and myself to smithereens, than surrender”. By throwing a lit cigar into a barrel of gunpowder in the ships armory, the ship exploded. Van Speyk did not survive his act. Because of his reluctance to comply and as a result of his display of devotion to his flag, he is considered an important hero in the history of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. He inspirited the Dutch civilians.

Today, more than two centuries hereafter, we follow our hearts in the spirit of Jan Carel van Speyk by manufacturing these splendid Van Speyk watches. Van Speyk precisely unifies the feeling of a majestic Dutch history and our national pride. A watch brand with an international allure, as well as an undeniable Dutch identity.


Now that we learned a little history of the brand, let look at the specs of the new Van Speyk Dutch Diver. The Dutch Diver features a reliable Miyota 8215 automatic movement along with a 42mm Sandwich dial case made of stainless steel. The dive watch also features a sapphire crystal, unidirectional bezel, 200M water resistance and a screw down crown. The watch features SuperLuminova on the hands and hour markers. The bracelet is stainless steel with brushed and polished links to offer a sophisticated classic look.


Tech Specs from Van Speyk

Made in the Netherlands (Dutch Made)
Miyota 8215 automatic movement
316L Stainless steel bracelet (logo engraved); 22mm
316L Stainless steel case (logo engraved on backside); 42mm by 13mm thick
Sapphire glass
Water resistance: 200 meter
Screw down crown
Uni-directional bezel
SuperLuminova
Double layer dial
Available in: black, brown, grey, white and blue (dial color)
2 year warranty
Wooden watch box & certificate
Price: 329,00 euro incl. VAT = 272,00 euro excl. VAT (incl. worldwide insured shipping).



The Van Speyk Dutch Diver will be shipping this month with a price tag of around $300 (excl. VAT, incl. shipping). The Dutch Made watch has already received a fair amount of press from the watch community and it is almost all positive. Those that want to preorder the Dutch Diver can contact the company through the official site HERE.

http://vanspeyk-watches.com/

via WristwatchReview


Bernhardt watches has brought back a favorite model in the Corsair. The Corsair II returns with the popular Miyota 9015 movement. The original Corsair featured a Swiss Made ETA 2824 movement, but that movement has become hard to come by. The 9015 is an upgrade over the less expensive Binnacle Diver that features a 8215 Miyota movement.

The Bernhard Corsair II is available now for $339 HERE


Australian watch manufacturer Haigh and Hastings launches a new website in anticipation of it’s M2 diver watch. You can now go to the site and customize an M2 diver with choice of colored bezel and rubber or leather strap. The Haigh and Hastings M2 sells for A$588.00.

Check out the site now HERE