Halios Tropik SS Review

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Just a few months ago we reviewed the Halios Tropik B, one of the more interesting bronze dive watches to drop in recent memory. With a relatively small cushion case, an elegant vintage inspired dial and an interesting bronze alloy, it’s the kind of unique design that comes along once in a while and leaves a lasting impression. This seems to be the MO for Halios, whose watches are always different from the herd and priced very fairly.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_DIAL3

In tandem to the Tropik B, Halios released the Tropik SS, or stainless steel model. Though the same watch in terms of general DNA, the different material, and inclusion of a rotating bezel, make the Tropik SS a different experience. When you browse contemporary sub $1000 dive watches, you are likely to find something missing; dress divers. Sure, there are brands that make smaller or downsized models, but they are still clunky, tool watches. Hearkening to the mid 20th century, the Tropik SS has an elegance that while not a “dress watch” in the classic sense of the word, is refined and modest. Part of what makes a 60’s Rolex Submariner or an Omega Seamaster 120 or a Wittnauer Super Compressor so wearable and stylish is that they were from an era where sport watches were much more subtle; they were gentleman’s sport watches.

The Tropik SS successfully reimagines much of the qualities that made those watches effortlessly cool and still popular today, while not feeling derivative. It’s modestly sized, but not too small, clean, simple and versatile. It’s also built to a very high standard, with modern components such as a ceramic bezel, domed sapphire crystal and Miyota 9015 movement. And even though this is as close to a modern dress diver as we’ve seen recently, the watch sports 300m water resistance and more than enough toughness to hold its own. For the a surprisingly tempered price of $650, the Tropik SS is also a good value.

Halios Tropik SS Review

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_face1Case: Steel
Movement: Miyota 9015
Dial: Black
Lume: BGW9
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Sharkskin
Water Res.: 300m
Dimensions: 41 x 48 mm
Thickness: 14mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 6.5 x 3.6mm
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $650

Case

Like the Tropik B, the SS has a 41 x 48 x 14mm cushion case design. This makes it small for a modern dive watch, but very comfortable as a mid-sized sport watch. 22mm lugs give it broad shoulders, which adds some masculinity. The cushion case form makes for a more unique watch than a slab sided design. Though from above the bezel dominates, the ever so slightly squared mid case adds mass, while maintaining elegance. From the side you can make out rounded surfaces, starting at the bottom, jumping up to the bezel and continuing across the domed sapphire, giving the whole case an interesting, flowing geometry.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_CASE2

Other than the steel it self, the rotating bezel is the biggest visual change from the Tropik B. Standing fairly tall, the wide toothed bezel is easy to grip and well-pronounced. The 120-click uni-directional mechanism is very tight, in a good way. There is no wiggle and no chance of accidentally clicking over. When you do turn it, it’s snappy and precise.

Off of 3 is a 6.5 x 3.6 mm screw-down crown, which proportionally suits the case. It has a simple grooved design for easy grip, and a tapered side, towards the case, for a flush fit. On the outer side is a domed black insert with Halios’ 3 crescent metallic moon logo. It’s a very nice detail that activates an otherwise plain area.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_CASE5

The case back is solid and simple. In the center is a line drawing of a capricorn, encircled by various details. I like that this subtly plays off of the Omega “sea monster” that you’ll find on many of their case backs, referring to vintage divers, but being their own.

Dial

The dial and bezel designs are where most of the vintage feeling of the Tropik comes from, as well the dressier elements. The dial in particular feels like it could be taken out and placed into a different case, perhaps one like the Hamilton Intra-matic, and feel at home. That is to say, it works in a dress dive setting, but doesn’t have the typical bold dive markers. The primary index consists of applied steel rectangular markers with lume fillings, doubling at 12, longer at 3 and 9. The silver edges of the markers pick up and reflect light, for a bit of decoration.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_DIAL2

At 6 is a gap with a small lume dot and the date window. On the Tropik B, the window is at 3, but I think 6 makes much more sense visually, keeping symmetry intact. Halios goes the extra mile and customizes their date wheels to match the color of the dial and/or have correct proportions for the window.

Around the outer edge is a minute/seconds index of white lines and dots. It’s a simple execution that adds some legibility during the day time. Below twelve is a large but fitting Halios text logo and above 6 are two lines, “TROPIK” and “300m”. The word Tropik is written in a pale gold color, which subtly distinguishes it from the other text.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_DIAL5

The black ceramic bezel insert is just plain sexy. It’s light on markings, giving it an instant vintage feel, but the markings that are there are well stylized to add character. Simply consisting of dots and numerals with a triangle at the origin, there is a substantial amount of negative space, which allows you to appreciate the ceramic. The font used on the bezel is attractive as well, with pencil thin lines and nice, wide zeros.

One thing that could be seen as a negative, perhaps depending on your usage of the watch, is how reflective it is. The dial is gloss black and the ceramic is high gloss too. On one hand, this makes everything very crisp and the blacks very deep. The sharpness and glints of light work towards the dressier aesthetic. On the other, it reflects everything. So, when you look straight on, you are likely to see yourself looking back. This can be a bit distracting (also hard to photograph) and sometimes obscures the dial.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_LUME1

The hands continue the restrained elegance of the watch, with a design that also could be found on a non-diver. The hour and minute hands are slender tapering swords with a peaked center, creating sides that reflect differently. Their lume fillings are diamond shaped for an added and well executed detail. The seconds hand is then a thin stick with a lume filled rectangle towards it’s tip. Like the Tropik B, the SS features BGW9 superluminova, which glows a cool blue. Though perhaps less potent than C3 green, the BGW9 is long lasting, legible, and simply nice looking.

Straps and Wearability

The Tropik SS currently comes with a 22mm genuine sharkskin strap (ethically harvested). There will be a bracelet that can be purchased separately available soon. The sharkskin is definitely an interesting choice, with a pronounced texture that is between lizard and leather. It’s colored black to dark grey with a gold/khaki colored stitch that picks up the Tropik logo on the dial. While I appreciate the uniqueness, I didn’t love the feel or cut of the strap. It’s a bit plasticky, and is clearly filled with foam filling. It doesn’t have the heartiness of leather. It’s also a straight cut, which I don’t think was the right choice. 22mm lugs are quite wide for a 41mm case, which needs to be tempered with a tapering strap. Otherwise, it sort of out weighs the watch. The pre-v style buckle similarly felt too large, distracting from the case. One nice detail here though is that the inside surface is signed Halios.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_STRAP1

Luckily, a watch like this will look good on many different types of strap. People have posted pictures of them on Milanese style meshes, after market tapering Oysters, NATOs, rubber straps, etc, always to great effect. A strap we thought looked really cool was an Italian tan/khaki suede strap, which can be found on ebay (from seller colareb). The tapering shape brings out the case geometry, while the dark tan color emphasizes the black dial and the gold Tropik logo. The sueded leather is then a bit more rugged/casual and speaks towards the trend of Subs on suede.


HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_SUEDE1

On the wrist, the Tropik SS wears well. The size and cushion shape make it very comfortable. It’s big enough to look sporty, but small enough to feel like a more casual design. Since it still boasts 300m water resistance, and there is added scratch resistance from the sapphire and ceramic, it’s also totally functional as a nimble sport watch. That said, what is most appealing to me is the aesthetic and style of a vintage inspired dress diver. Given proclivities towards smaller watches and vintage watches, it’s hard to find a modern dive watch that isn’t an homage, that suits my taste. The Tropik really achieves this well. It’s the kind of diver that is as at home with a t-shirt and jeans as in an office or otherwise more formal setting. The elegant dial mixed with the robustness of a bezel, makes it very versatile.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_WRIST1

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a smaller diver that has the style of a vintage watch, but the build of a modern watch, the Halios Tropik SS is for you. The fit, finish and aesthetic all really come together for something fun, easy to wear and versatile. For $650, the watch is also very competitively priced for a unique piece available in small quantities with a Miyota 9015, especially one with a ceramic bezel.

HALIOS_TROPIK_SS_BEZEL1

At the time of writing this review, the black dial/bezel model is unfortunately sold out, but will be available again in the spring/summer. There is a blue version as well, which is pretty great looking, but very bright, so you have to be really into blue to pull that off. I’d love to see more versions/variations on the Tropik, perhaps a gilt dial version with golds hands and applied markers (wink wink, nudge nudge) for an even dressier variety.

Be sure to read our review of the Tropik B as well, as that version is very exciting and different.

by Zach Weiss

Images from this post:
Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw
  • Nice review.

    I’ve come close to pulling the trigger on the black dial several times, but I’d like to see one in person first. Plus they’re supposedly releasing a bracelet for it and I’d love to see it on there.

    I’ve read complaints about the non-tapering strap and large buckle for both this and the Tropik B. I guess I feel like the buckle is not huge, especially compared to many of the Pre-V buckles out there. Maybe I’ve become desensitized to huge buckles?

    I do agree that a tapered strap and smaller buckle dress the watch up a bit more. I consider one of the benefits of the Tropik SS to be its ability to dress up or down depending on the shoes it’s wearing.

  • Thanks for another great review! I have to say that when I received my Halios SS the buckle was the one thing that really stood out as odd to me. The size of the bucket really seemed to go against the aesthetics of the watch in general, however, with that being said I actually don’t mind the sharkskin strap as much as others do. The way light plays off of it mimics some of the reflective properties of the dial, markers and bezel.

    I really liked your suggestion of the suede strap. It brings a level of casualness to the watch while still working with the feel of the watch. It might be just me, but I have actually had a difficult time finding a strap that I like with this watch. The best parts of the watch that make it a great dressy diver also make finding a strap that can straddle the line between rugged and refined a challenge.

  • Nice brushed case! I know I’m gonna hear thunder but that’s always been one my issues with Subs or Rolex in general is the bling always makes them a bit too VeGa$. I refuse to accept that dress watches have to be shiny and thin. Dagnabbit.

  • I have the same Pelle strap, great vintage styled straps.

    • Could you be so kind and provide me a link where I can purchase the strap? I cant seem to find it

      Thank you

  • Nice review and photos as always Zach. I picked one up a while back and you have captured exactly what makes this vintage feel watch so attractive. I wear mine on various NATOs which gives it a more casual vibe. Its an outstanding value.

  • Max

    I had a black SS Tropik and was very underwhelmed with it. In fact, I flipped it after about 72 hours of ownership.

    In my opinion there’s just a bunch of little things that are “off” about the watch, and I don’t seem to be the only one who thinks this… They come up on the sales forums very often.

    Zack’s criticisms of the strap are very gently put… It’s horrible. I found it to be quite uncomfortable, and it just doesn’t go well with the watch at all. Not to mention the fact that it is sharkskin, which, as a passionate diver, is offensive to me regardless of how “ethically” it was farmed… The exponentially shrinking number of sharks in our oceans is a serious problem, so I found the choice extremely ironic and disappointing considering how Halios tries to market themselves as watches for passionate divers and ocean explorers.

    One of the main reasons I bought a Tropik is because of the bracelet that is coming out for it, and the pictures I saw of it, and the fact that on the Halios website they said they would be ready by late January. It was late January and I emailed Jason I think 3 or 4 times before he finally responded to me, telling me the bracelets wouldn’t be ready until March. All the while it still said “bracelets available late January” on their site.

    I found Halios’ customer service to be very bad. As I said in the above paragraph, 3 or 4 emails with the same question had to be sent before I was finally given a response. Note too, that these were not sent on 4 consecutive days. I gave him a few days to respond to each one. Halios also frequently delays the arrival of stuff like bracelets, new batches of watches for shipment, prototypes, etc. Jason may as well not give any dates at all, because it seem as if he is never right in his estimations. I understand that he places an emphasis on perfection and has to work with outsiders to source his parts, but you think he’d learn by now to be more conservative with his promises.

    Anyways, I just wanted to share a bit about my experiences with Halios and the Tropik. Know too, that I have no vendetta against Halios or anything. In fact, I currently own a blue Laguna which I bought off WUS that I enjoy a lot. It’s a great watch.

    • Max –

      I have never written on Worn and Wound and have only posted very sparingly on various forums, but when I saw your comments I decided I would post a reply. Jason/Halios has one of the very best reputations among the small dive watch brands. For me personally, he has always responded in a timely and courteous way whenever I’ve communicated with him, even for items such as small replacement parts.

      I’m a friend and neighbor to one of the guys that runs another of the small dive watch companies. I see how many communications and issues these guys have to work through to do what they do and yet, as evidenced by Jason’s own reply to your post, they remain professional and pleasant.

      You have the right to post your comments. But before you state that you’ve found Halios’ customer service to be very bad, please give it some thought. Most of the information your were looking for was already out there in numerous forums etc. For these one-person operations, much of their time that could be spent on working to deliver product is consumed in trying to respond to customers. And yet, as soon as they are able, they do respond because they care very much about their reputations.

      Trent

  • Is it just me or does the bezel logo look like a really sad emoticon?

    🙁

    Nice watch

  • Zach, thanks very much for the review!

    Max, I have to say that I’m very sorry that your experience was so disappointing. Your feedback is deeply appreciated: it provides perspective on things that I need to pay attention to.

    Jason
    HALIOS Watches

  • Great review! I have always been a fan of your photographic skills. Just a question out of the blue: How does watch wear in terms of size, comparing to Gavox Legacy Navy? Halios Tropik SS seems much smaller though the lug-lug length difference ain’t very much!

  • Very interesting watch, might just have swayed me to pull the trigger now if the black version was not out of stock. I have one question though, how does it wear with a NATO? I would definitely be putting it on one at some point if it was mine.

    • w&w

      thanks earl!

  • Love it. I love mine ;a great watch that wasn’t a copy of anything and had a retro feel. I look forward to the bracelet. I really wanted a watch like this at home under a suit sleeve or on weekends with whatever. There really isn’t much out there in this price range or value for micro brands. It’s very well executed. The strap is a minor nit when I look at it as a watch.

  • This actually looks really nice. I do like the blue lume quite a lot. The size is good too, not an overpowering 45mm or some monstrosity like that. Between this and the steinhart OVM is what I have to decide now. Great review as always!

  • Am I the only one who thinks 14mm is way too thick? This was my beef with some of the older SMP’s and they tapped out at 13mm. So much for fitting under a shirt sleeve.

    • How fat are your wrists? Personally, I can fit even a 14mm watch under a shirt cuff pretty easily.

    • I would say at least 1mm of that 14mm is the domed crystal.

  • Love the watch, but I’ve emailed twice through the “Contact us” on their site about pre-ordering or reserving one of the new run of black ones, and heard nothing.

    If they don’t respond to requests about buying something, that makes me uncomfortable about how they will respond after the sale.

    Even a “No, we can’t do that.” would have been polite.

  • Oren

    Hi, loved the review.
    Could you please tell me whats the name of the suede strap you were using here?

    Thanks

  • thejames1

    Re-reading this review after a few years, and I was surprised to see the gilt dial suggestion (which was ultimately made as a variation of the Seaforth). Nicely done W&W!