Aquadive 100 GMT Poseidon Limited Edition Dive Watch
I love it. You just can’t beat a bit of color. And while the bright yellow isofrane strap won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, the Aquadive 100 GMT Poseidon limited edition pops just as vibrantly on a black alternative thanks to its vivid dial design. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this for dive nuts.
There is one bad thing about this watch. Only 300 will be made. I bought one on pre-order last year as soon as it was announced. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it in person until a few weeks ago. Thanks to Covid-19 keeping me away from the UK for five months, I was unable to collect it from the house that I had foolishly listed as the delivery address. Talk about a bad time to emigrate…
Could it possibly be as good as I’d hoped?
And so it sat there, for months. Waiting to be held, to be wound, to be worn. And I, on the other side of the Channel, miles away in the balmy climes of East Germany, pined for it also. Could it possibly be as good as I’d hoped? Could it possibly live up to the already high-enough expectations that had done nothing but balloon in the intervening months? Well, when I finally picked it up and slid it from its metal tube casing, I can say this: it was love at first sight.
Why it matters to me
I’ve desired a Doxa for a long time. Specifically, I’ve wanted to add one of the limited edition models to my collection. In the past, I’ve either missed out because I was too slow, too poor, or a combination of both. It drove me mad that I couldn’t land one of these classic and collectible divers, but I bade my time. It turns out that it isn’t just Guinness that’s worth the wait…
…a neat, crisply printed logo…
Why did I want a limited edition Doxa so badly? The cool partner logos printed on the dial. There’s nothing more or less to it. I’m a sucker for effective, sensible, congruous co-branding. As a diving tool, Doxa watches have an excellent reputation. Decorating the dial of such a classic tool watch with a neat, crisply printed logo of a relevant partner company adds that little bit of flare I think the standard collection is occasionally lacking (although I appreciate that the bright orange dials for which the brand is famed might be enough for some).
Not a Doxa but just as satisfying
And while this Aquadive is not a Doxa, it is pretty darn close. Aquadive is owned by Synchron, which is the company that oversaw Doxa’s most prominent period in the seventies (although Doxa is now owned by the Jenny family, the Synchron group retains strong ties to its old label, with the Aquadive website directly referencing the brand). As such, the major difference is the name on the dial. I must admit I have an odd relationship with name-power as purchasing motivation, but I doubt I am alone. Brands do matter. History. Heritage. Reputation. These things do amount to something. But before all that I profess to care more about a product’s inherent quality.
I too am weak in the face of internationally recognized marks on occasion.
Does that mean I exclusively chase smaller brands? No. I am just a man. I too am weak in the face of internationally recognized marks on occasion. But, more and more often, I find myself happy to go with a less-known or prestigious brand if it delivers on all the tangibles (and emotional intangibles) I’m seeking from a powerhouse.
The Aquadive 100 GMT Poseidon limited edition delivers on build quality. It is just an expertly executed design and concept. The material choices (the stainless steel case, the isofrane rubber strap, and the ceramic bezel inlay) come together to form a really compelling package. The lume quality on the dial and bezel is absolutely insane. It refuses to stay quiet even in relatively bright ambient light. If you walk from the outside to the inside, the watch dial and bezel will blaze with a vivid green intensity for minutes after leaving direct sunlight. Bizarrely, it looks more aqua on the photo I took below, but it is definitely green in real life.
The bezel lume
On the subject of the bezel, I have two minor gripes that I must mention to ensure what is turning into a partisan love letter to this watch remains in some way credible: firstly, the lume application is a bit weird. It is certainly generous, but perhaps too generous. The lume doesn’t sit perfectly flat against the bezel and, from some angles, looks as if it might be confused as to whether it should or not.
By that I mean its application doesn’t suggest one intention nor the other. Sometimes it looks just fine, but from some perspectives, it looks a little wobbly. It’s so incredibly functional (and the edges of the numerals and stick markers are so sharp) that it doesn’t cause me too much concern, but I think it’s worth stating that I observed this in case anyone else is feeling the same.
If you have cold hands, it probably isn’t a problem.
Secondly, the glossy ceramic insert is an absolute grease magnet. I am cursed with surprisingly clammy hands, which doesn’t help here, but I spend an inordinate amount of time with this watch on my wrist, wiping clean the bezel with my t-shirt so it retains its intended luster. If you have cold hands, it probably isn’t a problem. For me, it is a time-consuming labor of love to keep it clean.
The bezel operation
But when it comes to actually using the bezel it is an incredibly satisfying experience. So many dive watches (and I do mean so many) have poorly machined or oriented bezels. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to get right but watch manufacturers simply must put a dive bezel’s positioning and functionality top of their list of priorities. A slightly misaligned bezel or imprecise clicks, or a buttery or loose action can completely ruin a wearing experience. With so many options to choose from, brands, by and large, have to try harder.
The Aquadive bezel here is perhaps not so willful, but it is truly great.
That’s not the case for the Aquadive 100 GMT Poseidon. The bezel is a dream to operate. It has heavy, definite movement and its 120-click alignment is simply bob-on. I would say that this is the second-best dive bezel I have ever used (according to my tastes). The best, oddly enough, can actually be found on the Laco Squad Amazonas watch. That Laco is so sure about where the bezel should sit that you can actually feel the bezel pulling itself back into the correct position if you give it just a little too much of a twist. That is what all brands should aim for. The Aquadive bezel here is perhaps not so willful, but it is truly great.
Slimline? You must be joking…
Okay, I’m not going to try and tell you this is a small watch. It isn’t. It has a 43mm diameter, a 12.5mm thickness, and a 50mm lug-to-lug. That modest L2L length keeps it pretty wearable but what really helps minimize the grunt of this thing on the wrist is its height, or, should I say, lack thereof. Yes, the steep-sided bezel gives the impression that this watch would catch on every table, doorframe, or passerby without question. But the slimmed-down case band and the snugly recessed solid case back (a very wise choice) means this baby sits surprisingly low on the wrist.
The “total height” includes the drop-curvature of the lugs…
The Aquadive website actually specifies two different figures for the thickness and the total height. The first measurement (thickness) is 12.5mm. This is taken from the middle of the case back to the top of the sapphire crystal. The “total height” includes the drop-curvature of the lugs (so how high this thing would stand it you laid it on a table and measured from the tabletop to the crystal). I appreciate the transparency of providing the second measurement but I think it is confusing and unnecessary, and wish they brand had just kept things simple. For all anyone really cares, this watch is 12.5mm and should be spoken of in those terms.
Comfortable or not?
I really enjoy the smell, color, and feel of isofrane straps off the wrist, but I must admit to finding them a little bulky and annoying on. It looks majestic. There can be no doubt. But the sheer thickness could be a problem for some. I often flip my divers onto custom-made rubber straps from yellowdogwatchstraps anyway. I think I might do the same here at some point. Either that or a nice, subtle Black Ops option from Erika’s Originals…
The watch head, however, is exceptionally well balanced…
Although Yellow Dog straps are either Zulu- or NATO-style (and thus have two bands of materials running behind the watch and sitting between your wrist and the case back) the rubber (a kind of industrial vulcanized material) is really thin and helps hug a larger watch against a smaller wrist (16.5cm) like mine. The same is true of the spandex-infused webbing straps from Erika. These styles of straps pose no problems here as the watch head is exceptionally well balanced and the way it sits on the wrist makes it a real pleasure to wear.
Powering this watch is the tried and true ETA 2893-2. It is a solid movement choice that is allowed to go about its business in peace thanks to that closed case back I mentioned earlier. Some people like to see the movement of a mechanical watch regardless. For me, especially when it comes to a rugged tool watch like this, it is not only unnecessary, it is unwanted.
…who doesn’t love that cute fish, eh?
I like the extra fractions of a millimeter a closed case back can afford and, to be frank, once you’ve seen one ETA, you’ve seen them all (and I have seen more than one or two in my life). I prefer brands to get creative (or remain professionally serious) with a well-realized case back design. Here we have the Poseidon logo. An easy out? Perhaps. But it’s all business and I like that. Also, who doesn’t love that cute fish, eh?
A beautiful face
And now for that dial… Yellow, black, and white; crisp, clean, and dynamic. A white-on-black date wheel is as quiet as quiet can be, and is positioned with enough space between its righthand side and the 24-hour rehaut to allow for a luminous slither to mark 3 o’clock in the dark. Lume homogeny between dial markers, the bezel, and the hands is superb.
…I like this watch more than any Doxa I’ve ever seen…
Did somebody mention that Poseidon logo? Of course. How could I forget? It is a thing of beauty. It satisfied every desire I ever had to see the same co-branding on the face of a Doxa. Truthfully, I like this watch more than any Doxa I’ve ever seen and I am overjoyed I managed to pick one up in good time for a special pre-order price.
Quite astoundingly (in my opinion), this watch is not actually sold out. That’s partly because Aquadive chose to release the 300 planned units in batches. The final batch is currently available here. The pricing is really confusing and the only irksome thing about the whole experience (the watch, the website, and what you actually have to pay — once you’ve figured it out — are all awesome).
I think that is an absolutely stunning price for this piece of kit…
So the “retail” of this model is listed as $2,268 including VAT. Next to that price, you will see the price “reduced” to $1,788. However, beneath these figures, you will see a passage marked “September 2020 update” revising the retail to $1,890 and the pre-order price to $1,490. Both those figures relate to the aforementioned prices but excluding VAT. Be mindful, of that. While it appears there are four prices listed, the only one you will be asked to pay assuming this model never makes it out of the pre-order pricing bracket is $1,490+VAT ($1,788).
I think that is an absolutely stunning price for this piece of kit, and I’m certainly very glad I bought it when I did. I bought this watch to keep, to wear, and to enjoy, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it go up in price in a few years when all of these models eventually sell out. Learn more here.