A Hands-On Look At The New Dietrich SD-2 “Missions Maritimes” Skin Diver
There’s a chance that this subtitle raises a couple of questions about the Dietrich SD-2 Skin Diver. But before I explain exactly what an “amphibian field watch” is, let me first come clean. The confession I want to offer is that I only just found out this detail about the watch. You see, I find it more interesting to wear the watch first and read the press release later. This allows me to get an honest first impression of a watch and helps me better approach how I feel about it. Sometimes reading the press release is an experience full of disappointment and contradiction. Other times, it confirms exactly what you might imagine about the watch. With the launch of this latest Dietrich, I experienced the latter, but with a twist.
At first glance, you might imagine that the Dietrich SD-2 is a dive watch. The watch has a dive bezel, a screw-down crown, plenty of lume, and great legibility — as any dive watch worth its salt should. This suspicion feels all but confirmed when you realize that the “SD” stands for “skin diver”. However, there are one or two clues, hiding in plain sight, that might already reveal to you what reading the press release revealed to me — the fact that this watch was not conceived as a dive watch, but rather as an “amphibian field watch”. It’s no great twist, but it’s something that shows the deep level of thoughtfulness and conceptualization that went into this piece. But what exactly does this mean? Let’s take a closer look.
The Dietrich SD-2 “Missions Maritimes”
To understand what places the Dietrich SD-2 into this middle-of-the-road position, you first have to understand why it isn’t what you might think it is. It’s not a true diver’s watch because it only has 150m of water resistance. This is where the “skin diver” name can offer some explanation. A concept made popular in the 1960s, skin diver watches are similar in form to dive watches but with a few key differences. The first is that they are often slimmer, smaller, and more refined than traditional dive watches. Additionally, they offer somewhat less water resistance, with the average water resistance rating of a skin diver being 100–150 meters. Is this starting to make a little bit more sense now? Good! Let’s look at the next key piece of DNA in this watch. I’m talking about the “field watch” aspect of the Dietrich SD-2.
To me, the perfect example of a field watch is the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical. It perfectly exemplifies the functional, legible, minimalist aesthetic of these military-inspired timepieces. Another staple of field watch design is a 12-hour dial with an additional set of 24-hour markings. That said, it’s not a necessary element, but rather something that has become synonymous with the typical design. Clearly then, the field-watch influence is one that is more present in the Dietrich SD-2 in terms of form. The slim, chamfered, and beautifully finished 38.5mm case certainly fits the bill. And when it comes to legibility, I was completely blown away. Especially with my incredibly reflective Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic as reference. I took the watch with me on a weekend bike ride to the seaside here in The Hague, and even in direct sunlight, the SD-2 remained perfectly legible.
So, what exactly do you get for the $1,150 (incl. shipping, ex. VAT) price tag? Well, the beautifully designed 38.5mm 316L stainless steel case is a slim 12.9mm thick. The lug-to-lug is a very wearable 46mm, and the lug width is 20mm, which means you’ll be able to wear it on all your favorite straps. And all you fellow NATO fans out there will be happy to know that, despite the semi-hooded lug design, you can indeed wear it on even quite a thick NATO. The quick-release-equipped rubber strap is incredibly comfortable, yet it doesn’t feel flimsy. It has a honeycomb pattern on the top and ridges along its length on the inside for ventilation. It tapers from 20mm at the lugs down to 16mm at the buckle. Speaking of the buckle, this signed, steel element features a brushed finish, unique design, and the same chamfers as the case.
A domed sapphire crystal offers some beautiful distortion of the glossy “Abyss Black” sandwich dial. The watch will also be available with a matte “Azure Blue” dial. Both the dial and uniquely shaped hands (which feature a brushed finish) are filled with C1 lume. The “markers” are outlined in white and match the crosshair pattern on the dial, as well as the Dietrich logo at 12 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, the French words “Missions Maritimes” can be found, a hint at both the French roots of the brand’s founder as well as the intended purpose of the watch. The bezel has been redesigned from the first SD-1 to taper down to its sharply machined edges. It’s grippy and features what is possibly the best bezel action of any microbrand watch I have experienced so far. The grip design is matched by the screw-down crown, which is signed with a fish logo.
If you’re looking for a do-anything, go-anywhere watch that is handsome, thoughtfully designed, and beautifully finished, the Dietrich SD-2 might be your best best for just over €1,000. Inside the watch, protected by a sterile screw-down case back, an ever-reliable Sellita SW200 ticks away with 38 hours of power reserve. The watch is delivered with both the textured NBR rubber strap and a black NATO strap. The watch will be available for pre-order from today onwards on the Dietrich website. Deliveries are expected to take place in the last quarter of 2022. With its refined Black Bay-esque charm, perfect size, and unique aesthetics, this is going to be a hard one to pass up!
But what do you think of the Dietrich SD-2? Is this one you could see yourself rocking all summer long? Let me know in the comments below.