Since we started w&w, Dievas has been a brand we’ve kept an eye on. They don’t come out with new products that often, but when they do, they tend to be interesting. Since the release of the very popular Vortex model, they’ve been on a tactical watch kick that recently reached an apex with the introduction of super-hardened steel cases. By making this step into the world of over-engineered super-tough watches, they’ve gotten into the territory of brands that typically cost quite a lot more. Their newest watch, the Shadow, not only offers high end components and machining that earns the “Made in Germany” label, it has a look that is altogether unique, balancing the sinister dark of a phantom with the legibility of fluorescent markings and hands. At $1,430, the Shadow is an easy and exciting way into the world of tactical watches that though costing several hundred to thousands less than similar watches, doesn’t cut corners to save or disappoint.
Case: 6Steel Black
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Dial: Black w/ Fluorescent Yellow
Lens: Domed Sapphire
Strap: Rubber and Leather
Water Res.: 500m
Thickness: 14.5 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 5 mm screw down
Weight: 156g (our measure)
Warranty: 1 year
One of the many highlights of the Shadow is its deep black, super-hardened, German made, steel case. 6Steel, Dievas’ proprietary material, is approximately 6 times harder than normal steel (1300Hv), which is achieved through a 20-day tempering process. Over that, there is a black “plasma coat”, which I imagine is a fancy way of saying DLC (diamond like coating) that is itself even harder than the 6Steel at 1800Hv… And the 6Steel is not limited to the body of the case, but rather is used for every component including the case back, bezel and crown. What does this mean for you?.. Well, basically, this watch is tough. Real tough. Your daily life is not going to result in scratches, nicks or abrasions, and you should feel more confident in wearing this watch in an active environment. It’s sort of a guarantee that your watch visually isn’t going to age at the same rate as a typical steel or PVD watch. That being said, a hard case does not translate to shock protection, so don’t go jumping out of airplanes without a chute…neither you nor your watch would be in great shape after.
The case design itself also exudes a tough and masculine demeanor. If you are familiar with the watches of Kobold, then you have seen this case before. Designed for a watch with practical and tactical usage, this case is bold, sleek and aggressive. It’s also quite large, measuring 45 x 54 x 14.5 mm and has a fairly simple overall shape. The most visually significant details are the thick straight lugs that protrude from the center of the case. Each lug is a mighty 5mm thick and 12mm long, giving them a strong appearance. At 8 there is a screw-down crown shrouded by crown guards on either side. The left-hand crown is actually a great design feature that not only makes the watch a bit more unique, it makes it much more comfortable to wear. Also on the left side of the watch, at 10, is an automatic helium-escape valve for those of you with underwater bunkers.
Topping off the case is beautifully machined 60-click unidirectional bezel. The design of the bezel is also a bit unique. Whereas typically bezels are fairly tall, this bezel is thin and flat, with an elegant curve to it that flows seamlessly into the domed sapphire crystal. Not that the rest of the case doesn’t suggest as much, but the build quality and detailing visible in this one component is suggestive of the overall high manufacturing standards Dievas holds itself to. Measuring 46mm in diameter, the bezel overhangs the case ever so slightly making it very easy to grasp and turn…and turning the bezel is genuine pleasure. The bezel has a proper amount of resistance to it, and when turned it clicks over with an aggressive snap going just past the mark, then precisely shifts back to line up.
As the name “Shadow” implies, this is a watch that is defined by its dark appearance. Yet, unlike typical phantom or blacked out watches, the deep black dial of the Shadow is punctuated with shocks of fluorescent yellow. Though perhaps betraying the otherwise stealth exterior, the day-glow tennis ball color is vibrant and electric. The color, which is a custom Superluminova pigment, allows the watch to be read easily while simultaneously giving it a unique personality.
On the dial, the yellow can be seen as hour markers consisting of triangles for 12, 3, 6 and 9 and dots for the hours in between. The date, which is visible through a window at 6, is also this color on a black background. I was really glad to see that they went the extra mile and customized the date wheel, rather than going with a more typical white on black. On the bezel, the yellow is featured on the 0/60 marker and for the markings up through 15 minutes. Lastly, and most significantly, the hands are almost entirely coated in a thick layer of the stuff. The hour and minute hands are large and roman sword style while the seconds hand is a thin stick. The yellow is most potent on the hands, making them really pop. In the dark, everything glows an acidic green. The hands glow most brightly, followed by the markers on the dial.
The black area of the dial is also rich with design though subtlety and restraint are used to balance the bold yellow. On the matte black surface, printed in gloss are hash marks for the individual minutes that are between the yellow hour markers. Similarly, there are various words and logos printed in the same gloss black. What’s nice about this treatment is that the gloss is really only visible in certain lighting, so it does not clutter the dial. 12, 3, 6 and 9 are also printed on the dial, but in a dark grey, making them only slightly visible. The overall effect is that when you look at the watch either you see just the yellow markers, and can get a quick read on the time, or you can look deeper and see the full array of indexes and markings.
It is worth noting that an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement that has been fine-tuned by Dievas watchmakers powers the watch. The movement, which is standard grade, has been regulated in 5 positions, ensuring high accuracy. The movement also sports a DLC coated rotor, which you can’t see, but suggests a dedication to detail. As with every other watch we’ve seen with an ETA 2824-2, the movement has been reliable and shown neither inaccuracy or issues with power reserve in the time spent with the watch.
Straps and Wearability
The Shadow comes on a custom molded Italian anti-static rubber strap with one of the most badass deployment clasps I’ve ever seen. This strap is beautiful and very high quality. It’s matte black, which works well with the case, and features distinct deep grooves that match with the overall aggressive styling of the watch. The rubber itself is very soft, supple and comfortable, despite being very thick at nearly 7mm by the lugs and 4mm by the clasp. This is the type of rubber strap that you cut to fit, which ensures proper sizing and increases the comfort.
The deployment clasp on this thing seems like it belongs on the seatbelt harness of tank. It’s a black, large and heavy clasp machined with high tolerances that is just the kind of overkill we like to see on a watch of this nature. The whole thing snaps together to have a smooth gentle curve that mimics the natural shape of the bracelet. To achieve this, they moved the release mechanism to the side of the clasp in the form of two small round. Squeeze the buttons firmly and the clasp pops open. Built into the clasp is also a dive extension, which allows the watch to fit over a wetsuit, should you need it to.
The watch also includes a second strap… I’m hesitant to write too much about it since so far I’ve quite enjoyed everything about this watch. The nicest thing to say would be that it simply does not need to be included. The watch works well with the rubber strap and feels like a complete package unto itself. But, they did include an extra strap as a bonus. Unfortunately, it’s amongst the ugliest straps I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s a creamy yellow color that I can’t imagine wearing with anything, and more importantly, it clashes with the tennis ball yellow featured on the watch. If anything, this strap should have been black with fluorescent yellow stitching, but even that would have been a stretch. A simple NATO or just nothing would have sufficed as well. But, I guess it’s the thought that counts.
Despite its large size, the Shadow wears comfortably. The matte black case makes the watch look a bit smaller than it actually is and the gentle curve of the bezel and crystal make the watch feel thinner. Though the Shadow literally measures 14.5mm, it wears more like 10 or 11 and does not tower on the wrist. The watch also features various ergonomic details, most significant of which is the left-hand crown. That being said, the watch still is bold and fairly bulky. The strap itself is very thick making it tricky to fit under a shirtsleeve. Of course, this is a watch that speaks to being worn in an active environment more than the office. It’s also just fierce looking. This isn’t a watch with a warm and cuddly side. It’s austere, sharp, dense and manly.
The Dievas Shadow is a cool and daring watch with excellent build quality. The look of the watch is downright mean, but it’s finessed in such a way as to be a touch elegant. That is to say, it’s more of a Lamborghini Gallardo than a rabid Rottweiler. It’s not a watch with an aesthetic that lends itself to daily wearing, unless you are a professional snowboarder, but it certainly has the build to withstand anything you throw at it. For the right person, the Shadow is an awesome way into the higher end German and tactical watches out there. Super hardened steel, DLC coatings, highly regulated movements and machining tolerances you could only get out of a German manufacturer, make this watch a good value at $1,430. Granted, that isn’t cheap, but the watch delivers in the ways it should and similar offering from Sinn, Damasko or Kobold will cost you a lot more. And if the yellow and black color scheme is too much, this watch gives me confidence that the Dievas Focal, which is a more typical looking watch also made of 6Steel, would satisfy as well.
Thanks to our friends at Long Island Watch for supplying the review unit
by Zach Weiss