Hands-On: The Circula SuperSport Is A Veritable Super Compressor Dive Watch
The story of Circula began in Pforzheim, the watchmaking heart of the Black Forest, back in 1955. Here, Heinz Huber started his main business, a watch wholesaler, and a watch brand on the side named Circula. The name Circula takes inspiration from the circulation of the balance wheel in mechanical movements. I’m not going to nitpick that a balance wheel swings instead of circulates because I’m 66 years too late with that remark. Something I don’t even have to consider nitpicking, though, is the fact that the new Circula SuperSport is a veritable Super Compressor dive watch. Let’s have a closer look at this watch that doesn’t cut any corners.
The man in charge at Circula nowadays is Heinz Huber’s grandson Cornelius. He’s passionate about watches and wants to develop the Circula brand. When Cornelius’s father Klaus-Dieter took over the wholesaler, brands like Junghans, Casio, and Orient overshadowed the lesser-known Circula brand. That made sense because those household names were more popular with the jewelry store clients. As a boy, Cornelius started off selling G-Shocks to earn pocket money, and he helped at the wholesaler every day after school. His passion for watches grew there, and it came naturally since he was surrounded by them. After graduating from university, Cornelius moved away from watches, but he came back in 2018 to focus all his energy on Circula.
The Circula SuperSport as a veritable Super Compressor
Cornelius worked hard and had his fair share of struggles, but he overcame low sales when the AquaSport raised the business and the brand to the next level. The SuperSport, however, is on an even higher level. The watch was developed in a co-creation process with subscribers of the Circula newsletter and the biggest German watch forum, Uhrforum.de. During the conception process of the watch, the specs, case, dial design, colors, and even the bracelet were the subject of passionate discussion. After the first round of discussions, Cornelius filtered the ideas and came up with graphical proposals. Then, he threw it over to forum members to vote. Over 4,500 votes were cast, which led to three versions of a veritable Super Compressor dive watch.
Super Compressors vs. Super Compressor-style watches
Now, there are Super Compressor-style watches, and there are true Super Compressors, or SCs. The Baltic Aquascaphe Dual Crown we had in the office earlier this year only looked like an SC. But the bright orange Milus Archimèdes that I wrote about in July was a real SC. Let me quickly refresh your memory regarding SCs. Super Compressor is a trademarked name for specific case designs made by case manufacturer Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA).
… the more pressure is applied to the caseback, the firmer the O-ring gasket is pressed, and the better it seals the case.
A Super Compressor uses a patented case-sealing method that actually becomes more water-tight the deeper the watch goes. That’s because the more pressure is applied to the case back, the firmer the O-ring gasket is pressed, and the better it seals the case. Most people associate a Super Compressor with dual crowns and an internal rotating bezel. And although that is a familiar SC look, it doesn’t say anything about the watch being a veritable Super Compressor. The Circula SuperSport, however, has both the looks and the functionality.
A convincing prototype
The watch I had on loan from Circula was a prototype. Cornelius sent me a whole list explaining the particularities of the SuperSport Prototype in comparison to the final product. The prototype uses an automatic STP 1-11 movement instead of a Sellita SW200-1, for instance. But you can’t see that because of the nicely engraved case back. What you can see is that the hands of the prototype are standard hands, whereas the final version of the SuperSport has polished, thinner hands. The hour hand is also shorter, and it just reaches the inner track. Also, the lume is different. On the version I had, the BGW9 glowed like a Christmas tree. I really liked the way it lit up! The SuperSport models in the Circula webshop, however, feature C3X1 luminescence.
A plethora of updates
And that’s not all. The prototype’s 120-click unidirectional internal bezel felt a bit flimsy when in use. But it too has received an upgrade. Also, the small crowns, which I found rather sharp, have been replaced by slightly bigger ones that are much smoother and easier to use. On the wrist, the Circula SuperSport is a watch that doesn’t go unnoticed. It was not a wear-and-forget kind of watch because of the weight of the case and bracelet. It felt heavy-duty, which is good for a tool watch. The prototype was big and bulky, and honestly, a bit crude. The final watches, however, are thinner — 0.7mm thinner than the one I had on my wrist — and have a more refined brushed finishing on the case, which measures 40mm across, 12.8mm tall, and 46.5mm lug-to-lug.
Three versions: blue, black, and gray
But even though there were some rough edges on the case and bracelet of the prototype, I liked the way it felt on the wrist. And I’m guessing that with the updates, the final version will be even nicer to wear. The watch feels solid. And when you take into consideration that both case and bracelet (equipped with a solid security clasp) received an update, the finalized product will deliver even more watch satisfaction. It looks traditional, but the orange details — not too few and definitely not too many — bring the SuperSport to life.
And as I said earlier, in the dark, it is a party piece. The 30 ATM water-resistant Circula SuperSport in the office had a black dial, but there’s also a petrol blue version and a 99-piece limited edition with no date and a gray dial. Looking at the pics on the website, I prefer the black version. It’s the most instrumental one of the three.
The Circula SuperSport is keeping it real in the Black Forest
Circula points out that the SuperSport is “Handmade in Pforzheim,” with “quality Made in Germany,” and it certainly lives up to the expectation that creates. The dial, with nice details like a color-matched date wheel, shows that Cornelius’s love for watches is real and runs deep. And the use of, for instance, a scratch-resistant, slightly curved sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating on the inside proves that he insists on quality.
… a wave-shaped spring in the case back that allows compression and decompression, instead of a modern-day rubber seal …
But the biggest piece of proof that Circula is taking things seriously is, of course, the fact that the SuperSport is a real Super Compressor dive watch. Cornelius opted for a watch with a wave-shaped spring in the case back that allows compression and decompression, instead of a modern-day rubber seal that makes the SC system obsolete. That speaks volumes. Circula is keeping things real in the Black Forest.
When you visit the official Circula website, you will find out that the SuperSport has a price of €799 on a metal bracelet and €699 on a rubber strap. The price includes free worldwide shipping and a two-year warranty. It’s very fair pricing for watches with a lot of attention to detail, history, and quality.
Please find and follow me at Lex Stolk • Instagram