Some of us have had enough of vintage inspiration, while others can’t get enough, even after ’60s diver reissue number five. Spinnaker has just released some colorful takes on the Spence 300 Automatic, allowing the vast line to cater to both groups.

The Spinnaker Spence 300 Automatic is a solid Miyota-powered wrist buddy that can go full-on retro. On the other end of the scale, it can be also a vivid, modern-looking, minty summer hit. Can Spinnaker’s modern twist and the Spence’s 24 possible looks be enough for a seasoned watch collector? Let me unbox it, and we’ll see.

The Spence 300 Automatic

Spinnaker’s way

I’ve long advocated for the smaller players on the watch scene, and my sentiments haven’t changed. To me, brands like Spinnaker offer good design, which counts for so much whether you’re buying a €300 watch or a €10K grail. At first glance, the Gunmetal version of the Spence 300 Automatic seems to offer good value at US$650 / €618.95. Sporting a modern brushed gray dial, the watch also comes in a nice travel box with a Tropic-style rubber strap as a bonus.

Spinnaker has made a wise move with the Spence, keeping it accessible at under €700. This bestselling model now has six new colorways and is a great first watch for a newcomer to the hobby. For a more seasoned collector, it allows for a big dash of color for a new summer watch, keeping it mechanical while not breaking the bank. It’s a pretty good combo if you ask me. The clean design has a classic three-row bracelet and tool-watch case but shows a chameleonic personality, walking the line between retro and modern. Straight out of the travel case, this Gunmetal version feels contemporary with a Tudor-like case design and some vintage cream detail.

The Spence 300 Automatic

Could the Spence 300 Automatic be perfect for a newbie?

With 12 colorways available, the Spence 300 Automatic has three good things going for it. Let’s run them down. The most obvious is its versatility. On the pure merits of its tech specs, it is a great everyday sports watch with mid-sized comfort. You’ll first notice the 300m depth rating, which is impressive for a case just 10.9mm slim. The 40mm diameter, comfortable 48mm lug-to-lug, and steel bracelet cover most bases, while a bonus Tropic-style rubber or leather strap provides a vintage feel or a more modern, tonal look. And that makes a good segue to the second big pro. The vast color choice transforms the Spence from a retro-rich to a thoroughly modern tool watch without any prominent homage characteristics.

The Spence 300 Automatic

The Crimson Red, another Spence 300 Automatic color option from Spinnaker

If you’re new to the game and used to an Apple or Garmin on your wrist, a mechanical watch is a big, somewhat frivolous expense. There, I said it. But it is also a reminder that time is precious and should be cherished with some periods of disconnection. Consider a mechanical watch a meditative tool; you’ll view things differently. That’s a crucial third point, and around €620 is a lot less than you’d spend on a therapist or yoga retreat, right? The steel toughness of the Spence might even inspire you to snorkel or climb a hill or two with your cell phone buried silently within your backpack.

The Spence 300 Automatic

A solid first impression

The number of choices on Spinnaker’s table is pretty awesome for one watch. It might even be one of the widest ranges of dial and bezel options for one watch model. The safest route is the Pitch Black version, which has a timeless, clean-cut vibe similar to a Tudor Pelagos. But this Gunmetal version has a more vibrant personality and the glimmer of some rose gold touches.

The Spence 300 Automatic

The gray sunray dial has a modern look, but vintage-tinted beige lume and brushed rose-tone hands offset it, with everything framed by a blue 60-minute dive bezel. An AR-treated sapphire crystal protects the dial, which has more to unpack. You get big luminous indices and a classic broad-arrow handset for legibility. This is enlivened by touches of orange in the depth-rating print on the seconds hand. The beige lume carries over onto the five-minute markings on the bezel, while rose-tone numerals and minute hashes fill it out. You’ll also notice discrete blue frames for the hour markers on the gray dial, which are a nice touch. The crown is a big, grippy, screw-in type, and this version comes with a blue Tropic-style strap to transform it into a lighter summer diver.

A colorful everyday watch

Spinnaker’s Spence 300 Automatic houses a solid, well-known Miyota 9039 movement with 24 jewels. I have owned it in watches costing up to €2,000, so I’ll vouch for its good build. The rest of the Spence is no revolution, but that’s exactly why it is a good watch. If Spinnaker had only offered it in all-black or green, it wouldn’t be too exciting to me or someone new to the game. But with the audacity to launch such a wide range of colors, the brand is catering to our ever-picky wishes.

Sure, the Spence 300 Automatic can be a perfect monochrome tool, but at US$650 / €618.95, it can also be an affordable way to try out a dash of color. I’d struggle with the extensive choice, to be sure. But whether you opt for a rich Crimson Red on leather or Sea Green and never take the bracelet off, it might become that daily wearer you were looking for. With a modern tonal gray dial that matches the brushed steel bezel frame, the Gunmetal version on my wrist packs a big punch. It also offers the best of both worlds, blending a modern size and specs with just the right amount of retro. Check out all the options on the official Spinnaker website.

What about you, Fratelli? Even as seasoned collectors, maybe you’re still color-shy? In the comments, let me know what you think of Spinnaker’s take on the classic tool watch.

Watch specifications

Spence 300 Automatic
SP-5097-77 Gunmetal
Gray with sunray finish and beige luminous indices with blue frames
Case Material
316L stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40mm (diameter) × 48mm (lug-to-lug) × 10.9mm (thickness)
AR-treated sapphire
Case Back
316L stainless steel, screw-in
Miyota 9039: automatic with manual winding and hacking, 28,800vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve, 24 jewels
Water Resistance
300m (30 ATM)
Stainless steel three-row bracelet (20mm width) with brushed finish and push-button deployant clasp, additional blue Tropic-style rubber strap
Time (hours, minutes, seconds) and 60-minute dive bezel