Sunday, June 24, 2018

EVANT Decodiver Fume Black Limited Production Dive Watch (similar to Decodiver Fume Sky Blue) - A Flexible Watch that can be Worn in the Sea as well as in the Boardroom, A Review (plus Video)


Evant is a relatively new brand in the world of watchmaking. It was introduced to the world in 2017 with the launch of the Tropic Diver. I was rather smitten by the design and I decided to get a piece to see for myself. The Evant Tropic Diver Fume Blue was a handsome watch (see my review on that watch here) and I was quite pleased with the first product from a startup. When Evant launched the marine bronze version of the watch, the Evant Tropic Diver Bronze Finale, I took possession of that one as well (see my review on that watch here). For that piece Evant was able to bring together the simplicity of design, the use of exotic material and rich colours into a singular package that screams value beyond the level it was sold at.

This year, after remaining silent for since the last product launching, Evant presents a new series to the market - The Decodiver.

Similar to the Tropic Diver, the Decodiver incorporates a lot of vintage dive watches genre in its overall design. The slab surfaces and short lug styling is reminiscent to the diver watches of the 1970s. Very minimalist with just the three hands and the unidirectional timing bezel as the only complications on the watch.



The Watch

Made out of 316L stainless steel, the watch is 41 mm across (excluding the crown). Lug-to-lug is just 49 mm due primarily to the short and angled lugs. This actually makes it 'sit' on one wrist without the high likelihood of 'wrist overhang' especially those with thinner wrists. The watch is also thin relative to other comparative dive watches with just 12 mm in height. This makes it very suitable for executives to wear in boardrooms (assuming it's a suit and tie affair).



The dial surface has the gradient fume applied black paint that seems to change colour when different lighting source strikes it. Evant had the paint job to be lighter at the centre and darker the further you are from the centre. The sunburst paint job creates a radiant that is best seen personally to appreciate.

The scale on the dial has polished applied markers for the hours and painted lines for the minutes. The applied hour-markers are separated into two and painted in the middle. For the 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions, Arabic numbering is used. For the 12 o'clock position, a diamond shaped marker is used.

The dauphin tepee-shaped hours and minutes hands as well as the arrow-shaped seconds hand are rhodium plated and the only moving parts on the dial. As a dress watch, the size of the hands are fine. However, as a diver, the hands appear to be too thin. Since the watch is promoted as a diver, I suppose this is one issue that should be highlighted. Instead of the hands being tepee-shaped, perhaps it would be better if it is long sword-shaped instead.



The luminous SuperLuminova old radium paint is used on the hour markers as well as all three hands. It should gives a vintage glow to the dial at night. However, the illubminescence looks modern  green to me.



The Evant Decodiver uses a domed ceramic bezel insert with luminous indices similar to what was found on the Event Tropic Diver. It has a nice milk chocolate colour seldom seen yet pleasing to the eye. The special recipe for the ceramic bezel creates a visual and textile effect of bakelite which enhances the vintage look of the watch. The scale used on the bezel is an alternate mixture of markers and Arabic numbers for every 5-minute intervals. Only the first 15 minutes are marked with individual minute markers. The 12 o'clock marker is the tradition inverted triangle typical for dive watches.

The side of the bezel has interrupter gear tooth style surface for grip. Easy to manipulate and the 120-click uni-directional bezel moves properly without any looseness. The bezel is also seems relatively thinner compared to contemporary dive watches. Actually, it is similar to contemporary dive watches. It is the dome ceramic surface of the bezel that created such an illusion.

There are five lines of text and logo on the dial surface, the first three is located at the Northern half and consist of the logo, the brand name and the series name. The rest are located at the Southern half where the movement type and the water rating are printed on. Despite the dark dial, the texts and logo is printed in black ink. Therefore, it is difficult to read unless you are close to the dial. The use of an elaborate cursive font for the words "Decodiver" and "Automatic" gives it the aged feel to the timepiece.

Protecting the dial is a flat sapphire crystal glass that is approximately 2.5 mm thick. Anti-reflecting treatment was done on the underside of the crystal to minimise light distortion at any angles. I would have preferred a domed crystal instead.



The large screw-down crown is located at the 4 o'clock position. With a diameter of 5.5 mm, the signed crown sits in a crown guard structure that partially protects it from side impact. The barrel of the crown is cut with flat gear tooth-like geometry for gripping. On the top surface of the crown is the brand logo.

Manipulating the crown in easy. However, the spring inside the crown stem is strong and it takes some effort to push and catch the screw-thread when tightening it back down. 

The Evant Decodiver is all about flat and angled surfaces. The watch casing does not have any rounded or curved surfaces. This follows the design philosophy of vintage dive watches of the 1970s. As an extra bonus, Evant took the additional effort of incorporating multiple polishing and brushing techniques to the many surfaces. For example:

1. Top surface – Circular satin brushed
2. Connecting lugs surface – Polished
3. Sides of case – Vertical brushed
4. Thin bevel that runs from length to length – Polished
5. Crown guard – Polished
6. Sides of bezel – Polished

Having a myriad of surface styles in such a compact piece of metal takes time and effort which inevitably translate to higher costs. However, costs remains reasonable (as seen from the price of the timepiece). I suspect Evant uses more modern manufacturing techniques (using computers) instead of more traditional human workforce to reduce the production cycle. Some of you may argue that computer assisted manufacturing is killing the art of the watch artisan or master watchmaker. However, I disagree. Instead of using using file and hammers, the modern watch artisan uses computers to design and make watches. Today, more people interested in the craft can try their hands at it anywhere without the need to take up an apprenticeship with established watch brands. Micro-brands are popping up like mushrooms which shows the growing democratisation of the watch industry.

The short and angled lugs have a width of 22 mm. Surprisingly, Evant did not provide a drill through lug hole for ease of strap replacement. Nevertheless, accessing the spring bars is not difficult.



Evant provide two style of straps with the watch. Handmade in Germany, the leather straps are tapered from  22 mm at the lugs to 18 mm at the buckle. You can either put on a Cognac Vintage Leather Strap or a Mocha Nubuck Leather Strap. When the watch arrived on my desk, it was attached to the Cognac Vintage Leather Strap.



Unfortunately only one set of Evant buckle that is machined from a solid block of stainless steel is provided. Changing straps will also requires you to transfer the buckle as well.



The solid case-back is a screw-down and looks rather plain. Some basic information on the watch is stamped on it. I would love to see a more elaborate etching or art on it. Surprisingly, I don't see any serial number or production number printed on it. Since, Evant was strongly promoting the "limited Production" aspect of the watch, they could at least prove it by printing a serial number.



Behind the case-back is the Swiss Made “Elabore” grade ETA2824-2 automatic movement. The 25 jewel and 28,800 BPH movement has and expected accuracy of +/- 10 seconds/day with a minimum power reserve of 38 hours.

This movement comes standard with a date wheel. However, the Decodiver does not have a date window on the dial so the date wheel is effectively redundant. As such, before adjusting the time, the crown must be moved by two stops before you can adjust the hours and minutes hands (the first stop connects the date wheel, the second stop connects the hands). Evant could have used the ETA2801-2 instead of the ETA2824-2 since the ETA2801-2 is a movement that does not have the date wheel anyway. Could have gotten some cost savings in my opinion.

The quality of the construction allows the watch to handle water resistance up to 300 meters or 1,000 feet.


Purchase Price

The watch was sold through Gnomon of Singapore for USD499.00 or RM2,060.07. Delivery was quick and painless. The MSRP on www.evantwatches.com is USD599.00.


The Unboxing

The Decodiver comes in a very large yet flat rectangular wooden black box. The brand's logo and name is printed in silver on the top surface. The top part of the box hinges at the back and it kept shut via magnets.



Inside you will find the a number of documents such as the manual and guarantee card as well as the spare leather strap. The watch is placed flat and tied in place using rubber ties.



Apart from the standard package, Gnomon also gave me a polishing cloth as well as a NATO strap. It was nice of them.




The Series

Currently, the Decodiver line consist of two timepieces. The Fume Black and the Fume Sky Blue. Both are limited production watches. Below is the Fume Sky Blue.



Evant did not mentioned the production limit they have set for the watch. Unlike its previous offerings which are limited edition pieces, the brand made known to everyone the numbers available. Each watch was individually numbered as well. For the Decodiver, I suspect production will continue if demand warrants it.


The Wearing Experience

Despite the watch having a 300 meter water rating, it is rather svelte. This is something that I truly appreciate as it means it can be used with formal wear as well.

The hidden lugs makes this a comfortable watch for many people. Despite the 41 mm wide width, the overall length is just 50 mm which should sit nicely on a typical wrist without (or just slightly) any lug overhang.  

 

The leather strap is very comfortable and pliable immediately from the box. However, do note the watch is top heavy. Do be careful when putting it on the wrist, it may slip and crash to the floor!

Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.




Conclusion


This is a very good value for money for a Swiss automatic caliber watch. The vintage styling resonates will a lot of people. The smallish dimensions makes for a flexible watch that can be worn in the sea as well as in the boardroom.


SPECIFICATIONS



Maker: Evant Timepieces
Movement: Swiss Made ETA2824-2 Automatic. Elabore grade
Dial: Gradient Fume Blue with Sunburst with applied luminous indexes
Luminous: SuperLuminova. Old radium
Case: 316L Stainless Steel. Mixture of Satin Brushed and Polished
Bezel: Uni-directional. 120 Clicks
Bezel Insert: Domed ceramic bezel with luminous application. Black
Crown: 316L Stainless Steel. 5.5mm wide. Screw-down. Signed
Lug: 22mm
Crystal: 2.5mm Flat Sapphire Crystal with Inner Anti-reflective Coat
Strap: 2 leather straps included.
   1. Handmade Cognac Vintage Leather Strap: Length: 82mm/114mm; Thickness: 3mm
   2. Handmade Mocha Nubuck Leather Strap: Length: 82mm/114mm; Thickness: 3.5mm to 3mm
Buckle: 316L Stainless Steel. 18mm. Polished signed tang buckle
Water resistance: 300m/1000ft
Dimensions: 41mm in diameter, 49mm lug to lug, 12mm thick
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Warranty Period: 24 months international warranty


Photo Gallery




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