Hands-On Review: Circula DiveSport Titanium Madame Jeanette
Don’t we have enough dive watches? No, we don’t. We never have enough of them. Diving is a popular theme for developing and designing watches, and the watch community loves models dedicated to diving. But can the newly introduced Circula DiveSport Titanium Madame Jeanette stand out from the crowd? I think it can, and here’s why.
Let’s be honest: the ability to use a dive watch as a diving instrument isn’t its most important characteristic for most of us. However, the ingredients that go into the design of a dive watch often make it attractive — readability, robustness, ease of use, and, of course, water resistance. Let’s take the Circula DiveSport Titanium by the hand through these key elements and see how it delivers.
Circula DiveSport Titanium
But before that, let’s take one step back and briefly ask who or what Circula is. Back in 1955, the brand was founded by Heinz Huber. He was a watch wholesaler from Pforzheim and presented Circula as a watch brand on the side. Situated in the Black Forest, Pforzheim is considered Germany’s other important watchmaking region alongside Glashütte. Among others, brands like Archimede, Aristo, Defakto, Limes, and Stowa started in Pforzheim, and Circula did as well. Nowadays, Heinz Huber’s grandson Cornelius runs Circula after reviving the brand in 2018. Well, that’s it for the history lesson. Now let’s dive (pun intended) into the DiveSport Titanium.
As always with Circula, the DiveSport results from collaboration with watch enthusiasts worldwide. During the joint development of the watch on the brand’s website, over 1,000 watch fans voted on various aspects. This is a strategy that brands like Lebois & Co and Airain also use. For the Circula DiveSport Titanium, that crowd-designing process results in the availability of four dial variations, three different bezels, and two straps. The yellow-dial variant was the only one lucky enough to get a nickname, Madame Jeanette. And, of course, that’s the one we’re reviewing. For all other options, have a look at Circula’s DiveSport Titanium webpage.
Cornelius Huber adds that the date will be nice yellow on the production models, not as dark as in our pictures of the prototype.
The DiveSport’s titanium case
Although this DiveSport’s yellow dial attracts a lot of attention, the real star of the show should be the titanium case. I’m not a spec-focused kind of guy when looking for a watch, but this case is impressive in many ways. It starts with the surface finishing. According to Circula, the case is carefully sandblasted, and that’s exactly how it looks and feels. Additionally, a surface treatment provides hardening to 1,200 Vickers so that scratches will have a hard time. At 42mm, the diameter is impressive, but the thickness is — or looks — even more spectacular. Due to the cylindrical shape of the case, its 14.1mm profile is very substantial. It’s important to note that Circula’s webpage indicates a 13.4mm thickness, but that measurement does not include the crystal.
The case back of the DiveSport is made of sandblasted Grade 2 titanium and is hardened to 1,200 Vickers as well. It’s embossed with a visual of titanium in its raw state and Ti, its chemical element symbol. Water resistance is paramount for a diver’s watch, and the DiveSport provides it down to 500 meters, utilizing a screw-down crown. Some cases were tested to this value, and all others will be tested to 10 bar before delivery.
A yellow dial with scratches
As mentioned, the yellow dial of our Madame Jeanette test watch is attractive, but it is also rather special. And that’s not only because of its yellow color but also because of the handmade score marks in the paint. They offer a unique structure for every dial. The petrol-dial variation shares this special technique with the Madame Jeanette, while the black and gray dials are sand textured. The custom-made hour hand has a brushed finish and a filling of Super-LumiNova BGW9 with a blue glow, just like the hand-applied indices. The minute and seconds hands are filled with Super-LumiNova C3 X1, providing a green glow.
There are two options for bezel inserts for the Madame Jeanette version we’re reviewing here. One is in black DLC-treated titanium, and there’s the gray hardened titanium version that we have on our review watch. Circula has another bezel insert available for the DiveSport, a petrol aluminum version, but that one isn’t available in combination with the yellow dial. Mind you, the mentioned materials are just for the bezel inserts; the bezel itself is always made of hardened titanium. It rotates unidirectionally, has 120 clicks, and features Super-LumiNova C3 X1 markings on the insert.
Rubber strap or titanium bracelet
After you choose a dial and bezel, there’s the third and last choice to make — a rubber strap or a hardened titanium bracelet. For me, that’s not an easy one. As I’ve said before, I’m not too fond of rubber straps as I find that they’re not usually very comfortable. But for watches in this price league — I’ll come to the price in a second — I haven’t had fantastic experiences with bracelets either. So I’m glad that Circula sent us both the rubber strap and titanium bracelet. That made it almost immediately clear to me that I prefer the rubber strap. Something must have changed because this is the second or third watch I’ve reviewed that I preferred to wear on a rubber strap. Its dark slate-green color matches the yellow dial and gray titanium very well, and it is comfortable to wear.
Concerning the titanium H-link bracelet, it’s not that it isn’t good… It is, but at the same time, it looks and feels a bit generic, something I can’t say about the watch itself. Both the rubber strap and titanium bracelet are equipped with a quick-change system. The rubber strap has a scratch-resistant titanium pin buckle, while the screwed-link bracelet has a milled stainless steel safety clasp with three micro-adjustment holes. The bracelet does not have a dive extension.
Circula DiveSport Titanium — price and availability
The Circula DiveSport Titanium is a sub-€1,000 watch, something you probably wouldn’t expect. It’s available through Circula’s online shop. On the rubber strap, the DiveSport Titanium costs €949 including European VAT or US$799 excluding it. With the hardened titanium bracelet, it just exceeds €1K, coming in at €1,129 with VAT or US$949 without it. These prices include free worldwide shipping. Currently, the delivery time is only 2–5 business days.
Is the Circula DiveSport Titanium a serious contender in this crowded €1K price league? I certainly think so, but what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.