Tag Archives: Seiko NH35A

Isotope Goutte d’Eau – Review

I cannot remember when I first started seeing images for the Isotope Goutte d’Eau on Instagram; I do remember despite the great design and superb images dismissing them as being a French kickstarter brand therefore not on my radar.

My impressiion dd turn out to be slightly correct the brand was originally on Kickstarter, however the only link to France was the name of this particular model.The brand is actually the creation of Jose Miranda a Portuguese based in the UK. Having established the brand should definately be on my radar I arranged to meet Jose for a couple of beers. As with so many people in the British watch industry Jose is a super enthusiast, one of those people you can chat to really easily about watches and in particular his watches, they are after all his labour of love.

During our chat Jose let me handle some early examples of the Guotte d’Eau and I was impressed straight away, especially with the remarkably confortable metal bracelet. I left the evening with a promise of the opportunity to review the watches when more example became avalable.

With the New Year a package arrives, not one watch to review but two, both versions of the Goutte d’Eau,the Orange and the Nordblad. The Nordblad with the Sellita movement and solid caseback, the Orange with the Seiko movement and display back. Both watches were on steel bracelets but with them came an alternative rubber strap. The first impression when picking up the watches on their bracelets is weight, these would be useful to divers joked my colleague in the office. I put the watches away until I had a moment to to fit the straps properly. As the cases of both watches are identical I decided to mount the Orange on the rubber strap to enable a comparison.

Once I had managed to size the steel bracelet on the Nordblad and mount the rubber on the Orange I decided the Nordblad should be my “workday” wear leaving the rubber dive strap for the weekends.

As the Nordblad got the most wrist time I will cover this version first. This ia a special edition designed to endure the hardest Finnish winter and to dive under the ice with the Ice Freediving World Champion, Johanna Nordblad. I have put the video of her exploits above.

Technical Specifications

  • Brushed case, 316L stainless steel
  • Case diameter 40mm X 44mm (with lugs)
  • Height 13.3mm
  • Stainless steel screw-down case back (Nordblad)
  • Security inner bezel
  • Anti-reflective crystal sapphire
  • One crown with 4 gaskets at 2 o’clock for the inner bezel and one screw-down crown at 4 o’clock to adjust the time
  • Date window at 4 o’clock
  • Hands, bezel and sandwich dial with Super-LumiNova® BGW9
  • 22 mm brushed Isotope Tread Bracelet and extension clasp in 316L stainless steel
  • Water-resistance 200m / 20 atm / 656 ft
  • Automatic, self-winding Swiss caliber Sellita SW200-1
  • Power reserve 38 hours
  • Accuracy -12/+12 s/day

So, as I mentioned earlier the first impression of this watch is weight. This weight disappears when the watch is on the wrist the sensation for my fairly normal 7 1/2 inch wrist was one of comfort. Not only is the bracelet very comfortable the case design allows the watch to sit very well. This is probably due to the short lugs. For their part the short lugs do result in a snug fit should you want to change straps. Another contributing factor is the twin crown case design, with the upper crown operating the inner rotating bezel, there is no central crown that can dig into your wrist. This bezel is a neat design feature seen on several iconic watches such as the Longines Legend Diver, I personally find the traditional rotating bezel more convenient for timing baked potatoes, but this design does look really nice.

It is dfficult to decide which is the feature that makes these watches so interesting. The watch head it self has its distinctive shape then there is the sandwich dial and the subtle cut out tear drop.Then finally in the case of the Nordblad the blue details, the second hand and countdown indices 0 to 15. Lots going on but in no way overdone.

Then you turn the watch over to find the engraved solid caseback, with the tribute to Johanna Nordblad . Which is as you can see I had a little difficulty photographing.

The Nordblad I had on review was the Sellita powered date edition. It is also available as a “no date” or with the Seiko movement, both date and none. The “Swiss” version on the website for £469, the “Japanese” for an even more reasonable £349.

Now I would like to turn to the”Orange”which as I have already mentoned I straight away on the extra rubber strap. On this strap you instantly notice a difference in weight, which intrigued me so much I had to compare both watches on over kitchen scales. The result of this “scientific” check was 90 grammes on the rubber strap and with the steel almost double that at 175 grammes. Clearly the steel bracelet makes a significant contribution..

The key difference between these two watches is the movement. Both using relaible “work horses”, in the case of this example of the “Orange” it was fitted with the Seiko NH-35A. I expected the automatic rotor in this movement to be noisier than the Sellita but on the wrist you hardly hear it. This then brings me to the display back, Personally I prefer solid case backs especially when the movement being showcased is,sticking to equine terms, a “work horse” rather than a “show pony”.

Then finally there is the most obvious difference, the colour used on the dial and second hand. In this case orange.

Seiko Movement

Automatic, self-winding Japanese caliber Seiko NH35a

Power reserve 41 hours

Accuracy -20/+40 s/day

Of course I need to make a special mention of the distinctive steel bracelet. When I first tried the watch over a beer i was immediately strick by how comfortable it was. As you would expect on a diver’s watch this bracelet is fitted with a useful extension clasp. A non-extending clasp might make the bracelet a little less hefty and let the clasp lie a little flusher.

So conclusions- very impressive.Distinctive and well made, at a very reasonable price. My personal choice of varient would be no date, solid caseback with Sellita movement. Maybe on the NATO strap which unfortunately only tried in the pub.

Kickstarter Watches

After closely watching the launch of the Hamtun H1 diver’s watch  and the Marloe Cherwell on Kickstarter I had a little browse to see if any other interesting British newcomers are on the horizon.

I have come across two new very nice looking and reasonably priced projects both interestingly using the tried and trusted Seiko NH35A movement.

The first being the 44mm TC9-9 Divers seventies style divers watch.

TC-9 Diver

This watch will be available in  brushed stainless steel or black PVD with Super Lume paint on hands and dial . An aluminium bezel insert with 12 hour markers or minute markers.  As you might expect for a diver’s watch  water resistance is quoted at 1000 feet.

There is at the time of writing the opportunity to get this watch with a pledge of £179 or more on Kickstarter.

The second watch is from London based Alkin, who I have to admit to finding our about from them giving me several likes on my Instagram page.

Alkin Model One

This Kickstarter project has not yet gone live, so if you are interested you should sign-up to receive a notification for when they launch.

From what I can glean form the various social media postings this handsome minimalist watch should feature a 42mm 316L stainless steel case in plain brushed steel or Black PVD, sapphire crystal, an exhibition case back and 100 metre water resistance. The initial Kickstarter price should be $225.



Hamtum – Kickstarter launch

Tomorrow, Hamtun Watches are a small Southampton, British based company, launches on Kickstarter on with a goal of £20,000 to begin production.The Hamtun H1, which has been in development just over a year.

The White dial Diver
The White dial Diver

As you can see from the image above the watch promises to be very handsome.

The watch was designed in Southampton, UK and is built in China at a specialist factory.

The British brand  aim to stand out In a sea of “me too” minimalistic Kickstarter watch campaigns, the aim was to build something that was both truly affordable and high quality. Something people would enjoy wearing, not something to wear for a short period and then dispose of.

The H1 is a custom designed 41mm diameter titanium dive watch. With the exception of the movement, everything is custom made to our designs and specifications.

As well as using high-grade titanium, they have  a matte ceramic bezel, 20ATM water resistance, a double domed sapphire crystal (with anti-reflective coating inside and out), and an option of a custom designed titanium bracelet or silicone strap. It’s available in 3 styles. My personal preference going to the more traditional die watch look – white.

The  interesting part is, they are planning to launch on Kickstarter tomorrow, Tuesday 27 September at 5pm BST/midday Eastern/9am Pacific, early backers being offered the chance to buy the watch  at $199. You can see a preview of their campaign now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rossdavis/2033132819?token=7a9e8bd5 which looks like a great deal if the watch lives up to its promised high quality.

A further element I like is the their use of the Seiko NH35A automatic movement rather than the more usual, for Kickstarter brands, Swiss quartz movement. Many people still do not appreciate how tough and reliable Seiko movements are making them ideal for tool type watches.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing these watches in the “metal”.