The Tusenö Shellback V2 is a stylish Swedish dive watch that’s a cut above most independent offeringsJamie Weiss
Swedish watches have something of a mixed reputation. On the one hand, you’ve got awesome independents like Maen, Triwa and Rec Watches… And on the other hand, you have the king of dreck, the notorious Daniel Wellington. Tusenö is very much in the former camp, however: a quality microbrand out of Gothenburg that stands out from the pack thanks to its considered designs, of which the Shellback – their dive watch offering – is a particular stand-out. Just in time for Christmas, Tusenö has overhauled the Shellback for the first time since its release in 2021, responding to customer feedback and making it both a prettier and easier to live watch.
While the name ‘Shellback’ might lead you to believe that this Tusenö has some sort of bulbous caseback (it brings to mind the famous Rolex ‘Bubbleback’ nickname), that’s not the case, pardon the pun. It instead refers to a term for a veteran sailor, traditionally one that’s crossed the equator and been initiated with a traditional ceremony.
In fact, the Tusenö Shellback has a pretty approachable, function-over-form case that measures up at 40mm in diameter and 11.9mm thick, excluding the crystal, which is subtly domed. Its stainless steel case is almost uniformly brushed, aside from a sharp polished chamfer along its lugs. It’s crisp, inoffensive and easy to wear thanks to its gently curved lugs which sit flush with its screw-down caseback.
Four versions of the Tusenö Shellback V2 are available: three in stainless steel with blue, black and white dials; and one in black DLC stainless steel. The latter and the white dial variant feature steel bezel inserts, while the blue and black dials are accompanied by polished ceramic bezels that afford an added sense of colour and contrast along with heightened scratch-resistance.
The Tusenö Shellback’s dial is easily its most attractive feature and demonstrative of Tusenö’s attention to detail. It features a sandwich construction with deeply recessed indices and a date window at 6 o’clock. A thin arrow-tipped seconds hand is balanced by robust hour and minute hands, the former of which features a novel hollow design that provides a bit of visual flair.
Turn the lights off and the Tusenö Shellback impresses even more. As a watch writer I’m often guilty of using the phrase “a generous amount of lume” but hot damn, this watch absolutely glows! Tusenö has been more than generous with the Super-LumiNova for this baby. A detail I appreciate is how the minute track is also lumed: this makes it so much easier to accurately read the time in the dark. The zero pip on the bezel and the edge of the date window also get a helping of lume.
Tusenö shared that their first attempt at a bracelet for the Shellback was a flat beads-of-rice design which, “although visually appealing, didn’t quite align with our vision and overall feel.” The Shellback V2 instead sports a sharp flat-link design that feels extremely premium. Like the Shellback V2’s case, it’s brushed with crisp chamfers. The best bit: it has on-the-fly micro-adjustment, something many dive watches from more established, expensive brands still fail to offer.
A significant upgrade Tusenö has brought to the table for the Shellback V2 is replacing the Ronda R150 that powered the V1 with the prolific Sellita SW200. Tusenö is offering the Shellback V2 in both date and no-date versions, so if you’re a stickler for date window-less dials (can’t relate, sorry) then that should come as good news.
Sometimes a watch is more than the sum of its parts, and I feel that’s the case with the Tusenö Shellback V2. There are plenty of decent microbrand dive watches these days but the Shellback V2’s sandwich dial and on-the-fly micro-adjustment are two very big ticks in my book, and the rest of the watch is executed to a high standard too… But it’s just quite charming in a way I find hard to describe. Tusenö are on to a winner here.
Tusenö Shellback V2 pricing & availability
Pre-orders open for the Tusenö Shellback V2 on the 14th of December at 3 pm GMT. Subscribers to Tusenö’s mailing list will enjoy a one-hour pre-access window. Tusenö has confirmed that production is already underway with set and limited quantities, with an estimated delivery of mid-2024. Each pre-order includes a Shellback V2 and a complimentary Tropic-style rubber strap. Price: €649 for steel, €749 for DLC.
|40mm (D) x 11.9mm excluding crystal (T) x 47mm (LTL)
|Stainless steel, black DLC stainless steel
|200 metres, screw-down crown
|Polished black, brushed blue, semi matte black, semi matte white
|Screwed flat-link steel bracelet, quick-change function
|Sellita SW200, automatic, date and no date option available
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date, unidirectional diving bezel
|Pre-orders open on 14th December 3 pm GMT