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Initial Impressions: Helson Skindiver

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Articles | 12.30.2011

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*Check out our full review of the Helson Skindiver here.

A few months ago I came across a “for sale” post on WUS for a Helson Skindiver, C3 Lume edition with date, in like-new condition for a good price. At the time, I thought these were never going to be made again, so I jumped at the opportunity to get this watch, as I find the Fifty Fathoms homage watches to be near irresistible for a few reasons

(some of which I touched on in my review of the Seiko 5 SNZH53): their military design translates perfectly into contemporary style, their significance in watch design history (the original, that is) and their relative obscurity. Of course Helson has released a second batch of the Skindiver since, but this is perhaps my best impulse purchase to date, as it instantly became my favorite watch I own.

The Skindiver comes in a fairly large plastic diving capsule that unscrews on one end. Inside is a tightly fitting foam insert into which the watch and 2 complimentary straps are placed. There is also a warranty card that states the date of purchase, serial number of the watch and official signature. While the packaging might not be the most useful after the fact, as it is sort of cumbersome and does not hold too much, it does present the watch very well and it certainly over-protects it during shipping. Helson doesn’t fuss about with the packaging, making you think this is some precious piece of jewelry, rather it is a functional diving watch that happens to be very well styled.

Taking the watch out for the first time, I immediately could tell that the pictures I had seen of the watch did not do it justice at all…Anything I had seen completely lacked in showing off the exceptional design features, minute detailing and robust construction of the watch. Granted the feel of a watch is hard to portray in an image, but when you look closely at the toothed edge of the bezel, the satin brushed surgical stainless steel, the tolerances of the case, the domed acrylic crystal… you can get a sense that it the Skin Diver is a solid and exceptionally well-made watch. Pair that with the ETA 2824-2 movement at its heart, picture-perfect vintage styling, incredible lume and decent price and you have one hell of a great watch.

Full review, gallery and video review to follow

  • Jose M.

    looks nice, the case design reminds me a lot to the classic Russian diver Vostok Amphibia.

  • Andy Mensing

    Just ordered mine today. Your pictures have moved me from quiet obsession to outright slobbering anticipation. And to think, my watch addiction began on the Cote d’Azure in 1962 with a early diving watch made by Lip.
    Helson has fanned my fires a hundred times higher.