Gavox Avidiver Review

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When it comes to watch design, combining cues from different watch types can often lead to unfortunate compromise. Trying to do two things at once usually means that neither one is done particularly well, and there’s a pile of dress divers and the like that can attest to that fact. So when the Gavox Avidiver was first announced, my initial reaction was one of skepticism.

But somehow the Avidiver’s mash up of pilot and dive watch cues is like mixing chocolate and peanut butter—it just works. Divers and pilot’s watches are both traditionally rugged, utilitarian machines. Mixed together the way they are here results in something that appears modern and playful, yet still totally useful. On the wrist, The Avidiver feels like an all-terrain tactical instrument, and with 200 meters of water resistance and a unique take on a “Super Compressor” style internal bezel there’s utility for days. Coming in at $720 ($610 w/o VAT), it’s a hell of a watch for the money. We got our hands on the black and white-dialed variants, so let’s take a closer look.

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$610

Gavox Avidiver Review

Case
316L stainless steel (optional PVD)
Movement
Miyota 9015
Dial
Black, white, and blue (not shown here)
Lume
BG-W9 (black/blue), C3 (white)
Lens
Sapphire with AR
Strap
Silcone
Water Resistance
200m
Dimensions
43mm x 50.8mm
Thickness
12.8mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
5mm x 3mm
Warranty
2 years
Price
$610

Case

Unique and more complex than initially meets the eye, the case of the Gavox Avidiver cuts a modern, utilitarian profile on the wrist. The 43mm size is hefty, but not quite overwhelming, helped in part by aggressively curved, almost hooked lugs that are set a broad-shouldered 22mm apart. The style here cleaves closer to the pilot side of the pilot/diver combination.

In terms of geometry, the case design is extremely straightforward, with straight sides and only a small, simple bevel on the bezel to break up the lines. While that might sound a bit straightforward or dull, it actually helps sell the purposeful, military feel of the watch far better than a more ornate case would. This is further underscored by the finishing, which is either in light all-over brushing or a Spec Ops-worthy black PVD coating. No fancy polishing or mixed surfaces here–it’s all business.

Of course, what really jumps out are the two Super Compressor-style screw-down crowns at two and four. The slightly undersized pair is flanked by squared off crown guards, which balance out the crowns and add some visual heft to that portion of the case. With deep, sharply cut teeth and a crisp, tall signature, the machining on the crowns is impressive, especially at this price point.

While the four o’clock main crown is signed nicely with a Gavox “G,” the two o’clock bezel instead gets marked with an orange triangle. It’s a great example of instant visual communication—the crown with the orange triangle controls the orange triangle of the inner bezel. Clean, graphic, and brilliant. Given the watch’s aviation vibe, there’s also another little (possibly unintentional) aeronautical nod to the orange triangle formerly used as a roundel by the Dutch Air Force.

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One complaint about the main crown, however, is the lack of distance between crown settings. It can take several tries to pull out the crown to the quick-set date position without accidentally overshooting and jumping to the time function.

Around back, a medium-sized display window gives a glimpse of the Miyota 9015 heart. The movement is well decorated, with Côtes de Genève and a thin, laser-etched rotor signed with the Gavox winged V emblem. The simple addition of a display back to a 200-meter rated dive watch is no small feat either, and speaks volumes about the quality of the construction at a price point that comes in well under $1000.

Dial

The dial of the Gavox Avidiver is a mix of pilot and diver cues, and like the case, it too leans more toward the aviation side. The sandwich design has the hour markers shining through the main layer of the dial, rendered entirely in a generous helping of Super-LumiNova. Paired with the vibrant handset, the Avidiver (especially the white-dialed variant) glows like a torch.

The Arabic numerals at three, six, and nine are a classic pilot touch, but feel fresh and modern here thanks to Gavox’s streamlined, simple font. I’m not usually a fan of numbers on a dial, but here it feels slick and rightly tuned in to the overall feel of the watch. The other indices are simple tapering rectangles, except for the 12 o’clock position that is rendered in a wide V. The use of negative space is clever here, as the orange pointer of the inner bezel (more on that later) is framed perfectly by the marker when zeroed out at 12. These two elements form an attractive, dynamic focal point for the dial.

Speaking of the inner bezel, the wide, deeply sloped outer ring seems like the obvious candidate for rotating bezel duty, right? The Avidiver is a bit more innovative than that. The orange triangle just inside the ring moves independently, and allows the Avidiver to be used either as a traditional dive watch with a countdown bezel or as a Zulu bezel to track a second time zone. It’s a stylish, unique approach that calls to mind both aircraft cockpit instruments and one of my favorite watches, the Seiko 6139 Pogue.

In terms of dial text, the Avidiver offers only the Gavox logo along with a depth rating and “Automoatic” script at six, allowing the oversized hour markers some breathing room. An unobtrusive date window at four completes the package.

GAVOX_AVIDIVER_DIAL_7The handset is certainly classic pilot—a pair of broad Roman swords. Gavox, however, takes a unique approach here, surrounding the healthy lumed areas in a border of bold contrasting color—orange on the white dial and a more subdued white on the black. Especially on the white dial, this border adds some personality and contributes to the immediate legibility of an already easy-to-read design. The orange-tipped seconds hand, with its winged V counterweight, also falls more on the pilot side of the spectrum. Although this would be a minor problem for most potential owners of the Avidiver, I should note that the seconds hand is without lume, which hurts the Avidiver’s functionality as a dive watch.

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Movement

Powering the Gavox Avidiver is one of the mainstays of the micro brand industry, the Miyota 9015. While some may turn up their noses at a Miyota in favor of other nameplates, let’s not forget why the 9015 is the venerable workhorse it is in the first place. Hacking, hand winding, a robust power reserve, and a smooth 28,800 bph sweep are all great features, and the 9015’s ubiquity makes it cheap and easy to fix if anything ever goes wrong. It’s a solid dependable choice, and a great option for this watch.

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Straps and Wearability

The strap choice is definitely one place where the Avidiver flaunts its aquatic side. It comes paired with a seamlessly molded silicone strap in either black, orange, or blue. The strap is soft, flexible, and very comfortable, a rugged go-anywhere choice that feels right at home in the water or on the trail. The strap continues the visual cues of the dial and handset with a winged-V shaped groove that runs between the lugs before tapering into a line that runs the length of the strap. Other little touches like the signed inner side and the thick, deeply etched buckle really help lift the quality feel of the strap.

GAVOX_AVIDIVER_WRIST_1Given the military design cues at play here, however, this watch would be great on a nylon single pass strap or a rugged leather two-piece. In terms of wearability, the 43mm size and considerable heft result in a piece that definitely has some presence, but it never overwhelmed my 6.75-inch wrist. That said, the sharply down-turned lugs did at times dig into my skin, but this stopped being a problem when I wore the watch a bit tighter against my wrist.

Obviously, this is a very casual watch, but what it lacks in formality it makes up in general versatility as a sports watch. You might not be able to wear it in the boardroom, but it’ll handle muddy trails and seawater just fine.

Conclusion

As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, mashing together two very different styles rarely creates something as good as the parts of the whole. When it works, however, the result can be pretty incredible. The Gavox Avidiver is more than the sum of its inspirational parts, perfectly blending some familiar cues and features of both styles of watch to create something rugged, handsome, and completely unique. It never feels compromised. As a new take on the affordable modern sports watch, the Avidiver is a complete success. If the styling speaks to you, it’s a hard one to say no to. To purchase an Avidiver, click here.

To read our coverage of Gavox’s other watches, check out our reviews of the Aurora, Squadron, Legacy Navy, and the Curtiss P-40.

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection.
seanpaullorentzen
  • Nick B

    Excellent watch, perfect movement choice! I wish I had the money, but I hope Gavox sells ’em all.

    • Michael Happe

      Many Thanks Nick. I also hope i sell all 🙂 on my way… Cheers and have some good time Nick.

  • Martin Gear

    I really like this watch, the face design is great. I really like the stainless case with the white face.

    • Michael Happe

      Thanks Martin; I appreciate your comment, Yes the Stainless Steel and White dial is not shown in this review but does look nice too, Strap can also be swapped to change the feel too.

  • Ian

    How is the triangle used to track a second time zone?