MICRO MONDAYS: The HVD SpectreDiver is a cracking vintage diver for under $400Thor Svaboe
I do love a good 38-40mm vintage-infused diver’s watch and, while some have come and gone from my box, they always tickle my fancy. But I also enjoy a touch of bling in my tool watches. Nothing against monochrome sharpness and the pure white print on a matte black dial, but like a watch-addicted magpie, I’m always drawn to the glimmer of gilt.
So it’s no wonder the 40mm, graciously slim HVD SpectreDiver really appeals. To me, it seems like a rather good value alternative to two well-known vintage divers I invited to a gilt duel last year, and that angle will quickly become apparent. At just 10mm thickness without the domed plexi crystal it should drape around your wrist with soft comfort on its steel bracelet.
HVD stands for Handwound Vintage Design, and is a husband and wife start-up by Travis Tan & Vivian Ko of Singapore, home to established brands like Zelos and other small brand success stories. Their debut wristwatch does exactly what is says on the tin with consummate everyday style.
We know Travis Tan already from his brand RZE, while HVD is a more understated piece of vintage charm with seriously box-ticking details. There is a purity to the SpectreDiver, which is a return to a time when watches were built for easy maintenance with a minimum of components, but also made to last. I have a feeling the HVD SpectreDiver will sit perfectly as a daily wearer in a pure vintage collection, its watchbox neighbours acknowledging it as part of the family, whether they be vintage Tudor subs, early ’70s Seiko diver’s tools, or a brace of Fifty Fathoms (should that be Fathomses?)
Three versions of the SpectreDiver will be available on Kickstarter from today (July 5), and the dial colours are spot on – perhaps too much so for the price, no doubt prompting a few backers to go for a two-watch deal, and who can blame them at less than $400 USD? As if the delightful colours of Emerald, Onyx and the arctic cool Moonstone weren’t tempting enough, the dials are all limited in numbers, with the dials scratched to form a look individual to each watch. These dials make the HVD SpectreDiver stand out a mile in a sea of vintage homages, and coupled to the purist use of a plexiglass domed crystal, the mid-century look is spot-on. The bracelet has the look of a riveted skin-diver bracelet, with an outer edge to the three-link design polished to work as a great contrast to the judicious use of brushwork. The case itself will also look perfect on a soft black tropical rubber, with its 60s cool square lug opening, brushed top, and wide swathe of bevel underlining what is a seriously slim 10mm dynamic profile that’ll softly hug your wrist. But the superb case and grip-friendly crown aside, the dial is the star of the show.
The bezel is proportioned to a tee with a grippy serrated edge to twist its 120-clicks with, and a proper applied lume-filled cylindrical pip at 12 within the obligatory triangle. This encircles the lovable distortions of a plexi-dome crystal, and I feel that the maintenance with a quick rub of polywatch (Google it, mate) is well worth the soft reflections and vintage look. The three dials are all rather special. In fact, I’d go as far as calling hand-finished dials with applied indices on a sub $1000 USD microbrand watch with a Swiss movement frankly mind-blowing.
Each dial is rubbed or scratched by hand, giving the matte surface a unique criss-crossing pattern, but for this price it simply throws the value-rulebook out of the window from a great height. The main quadrant indexes are dramatic wedges, while the eight hour indexes are large, round classics.
The scene is gold-toned with cream lume (yes, I love fauxtina), to match blunt sword hands that go with the indexes. A fresh red tip to the seconds hands complete an exorbitant and rather glamorous image of last century’s peak skindiver period. The HVD SpecreDiver proves that the god of vintage is indeed in the details, and the gilt print minute track and well-judged typefaces will make you have you nodding with approval.
As you can tell, I’m finding it slightly challenging to be objective, and it doesn’t get easier when we get to the movement. The hand-wound calibre is no run-of the mill Miyota or NH35 expected for the price – none of which would stall my enthusiasm. Nope, behind a clear caseback there’s a Swiss-made, hand-wound Sellita SW210-1, beating at 28,800vph in a case with a 200m depth rating.
With a vintage bracelet tapering from 20-16mm, a push-button closure and three-point micro adjustment, all delivered with a full-grain leather pouch and a bracelet sizing tool, I rest my case. If I add the fact that the lume is Swiss Super-Luminova, you might not believe the price at less than $400USD for early birds. If you do, click on the Kickstarter campaign and you’ll find your value-sensors recalibrating.
The HVD SpectreDiver, price and availability:
The HVD SpectreDiver launches the 5th July on Kickstarter, with Early Bird prices starting at $399USD on a steel bracelet, increasing to a MSRP of $579USD after the campaign
Made in partnership with HVD Watches. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.