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Thread: Which cheapo dive watch?

  1. #31
    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    I bought a Vostok scuba dude watch when they became available with Amazon Prime and I have never been so disappointed in the apparent build quality of a watch. And I've owned my share of $15 Chinese eBay mechanicals....

  2. #32
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    That Timex is kind of cool (I sort of like the Matte finish) but I'd go with the Casio. I've had several Timex Expeditions over the years, and the hands/faces tend to be pretty plasticky looking. That Casio, on the other hand, is exactly the look I think of when I think Diver. It gets a ton of love around here. The rubber bracelet doesn't seem to be to your liking (though the Seiko on my wrist today has one). You could replace the bracelet easily enough and still come in cheaper than the Timex. Two other suggestions- Invicta. They have a Submariner knock off that people like. Quartz one is pretty cheap, and the Automatic is about the same price as the Timex.

    Also, while searching for the Invicta, this Sturhling Quartz popped up. No direct experience but it looks pretty nice and the reviews are good.

  3. #33
    Varsity Member Publius's Avatar
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    Which cheapo dive watch?

    Quote Originally Posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
    I bought a Vostok scuba dude watch when they became available with Amazon Prime and I have never been so disappointed in the apparent build quality of a watch. And I've owned my share of $15 Chinese eBay mechanicals....
    Grab a ďtrueĒ Vostok Amphibian. One made before the 1990s in the USSR. These watches were made like tanks back then. Until the 1970s they were actually only available through military supply depots to Soviet and Warsaw Pact naval personal and were physically marked as such on the back. So they remained true to their proletariat naval heritage back then and were utilitarian. Made to go diving and do hard manual labor at depth... Designed to just take an incredible beating and be repaired easily if they did break.

    At the end of the 1980s lots of novelty versions began to be made and exported and build quality went down. There is a famous version of this watch made in 1991 with American imagery and celebrating the First Iraq War. An odd ball of a watch seeing that itís Soviet made with American military imagery on the face for American buyers. Thatís why this version has a collectors value... Such novelty versions of this watch were exported all over the world starting with Perestroika. The build quality went even more down after 1991 and the fall of the USSR. Despite this, a thriving community of ďmoddersĒ developed around this watch which was dirt cheap and exported all over as the iron curtain came down. And soon you had Chinese versions being made with dubious quality due to the popularity of the watch. Vostok itself split into two companies in the late 1990s. Vostok Europe is in Lithuania and makes higher end watches. Russian Vostok also reinvented itself into a brand that is actually more reliable and true to the pre-1990 company but still very affordable. Only the Russian Vostok still makes the Amphibian and I imagine the quality is reasonable. I think a true modern made Vostok Amphibian retails for about $200-250 these days. Despite this, the sketchy flow of new amphibians not made by Vostok is bursting. Iíve seen modern versions that only appear like the original. But movement wise are totally different watches... Iím sure many of these are junk.

    These watches, even in their original state, all have shady winding. You always think you are going to break the watch as you mess with the crown that wobbles all over and feels feather flimsy when unscrewed. The first time you see it, itís ridiculous, I laughed out loud. When screwed down itís solid and watertight. The whole thing is actually the way it is because of the novel and cheap way the watch forms a water tight seal... Google the history of how it was designed, itís interesting and very fitting for the communist origin of the watch which was trying to compete utility wise with western Rolex dive watches for a fraction of the price back in the 60s... Despite my initial concerns, I never have never broken a Soviet made amphibian. Now the odd quirks have become part of the odd charm of these watches.

    But beyond this, the originals are just crazy beaters. For the price, even as vintage, they canít be beat. You can find a good 1980s or late 1970s vintage version from the USSR for under $100 and they probably have better build quality than the same watch made post-1990.

    This is my 1960s edition ticking away. I own 4 watches dating from before 1970. A 1940 WW2 issued ARSA, a 1941 WW2 issued Elgin, and an early 1960s Poljot Alarm. This trusty Vostok Amphibian keeps the best time of the three easily.
    Last edited by Publius; February 8th, 2019 at 08:33 AM.

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