Alsta Resurfaces—Introducing the Nautoscaph II Dive Watch

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A few months back, I wrote an article about a great dive watch with a storied history: the Alsta Nautoscaph. In that piece, I focused on the original release from the ’70s, and rightfully so since we were looking at things from an “Affordable Vintage” perspective. But in that article I also touched on a couple of homage pieces, one of those being the Nautoscaph II from the newly revived Alsta brand.

Alsta was brought back from the dead in 2014 by Scottish actor Angus MacFadyden after an almost 40-year hiatus. From there, it took three years for the company to develop the Nautoscaph II, and it isn’t surprising that it took this long to bring the model back to life. The Nautoscaph came in a variety of configurations—there were round and cushion-shaped cases, different styles of indices, date and no date, multiple bezels, etc.—so I’m sure that trying to arrive at a singular design here was a challenge.

Introducing the Nautoscaph II from Alsta. It’s not the exact “Jaws” watch, but it does have bite.

Ultimately, Alsta went with a 40mm stainless steel case and bezel rather than opting for a contrasting black insert. At 40 mm, the piece is noticeably larger than the original, but from a marketing perspective I understand the decision and really appreciate that Alsta showed some restraint here and didn’t go even larger. The case borrows from some of the more slabby, geometric variants like this one here. It’s not the exact Jaws watch, but it’s nevertheless a good looking diver.

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Polished hands that catch the light.
The Super-LumiNova is a torch at night.

The hands are filled with Super-LumiNova, as are the painted lume plots, which can appear elongated from the distortion caused by the dome of the hardened mineral crystal. That said, the tapered sword hands here are just the right width and length, and the arrow-tipped second hand is a nice touch.

My major gripe is that I wish the Arabic numerals were handled a bit better. The “12″ and “6” look a bit too large in relation to the rest of the dial (and compared to the original Nautoscaph), and I really think there should be a “9” on the dial, too. In this design, the two numerals and the date at three leave the left side of the dial looking a bit vacant.The case and mesh bracelet are both made of 316L stainless steel and like the original, the watch is anti-magnetic and rated to a water resistance of 999 feet. For the movement, Alsta fitted the watch with the Seiko NH35A caliber, an automatic movement with 24 jewels and a power reserve of 41 hours. The vintage nerd in me would have preferred an ETA in here if for no other reason than it’s closer to the original, which in later versions utilized the 2783.

Vintage watches aren’t for everyone. It can take a while to find a nice, genuine example of a particular piece, and without fail, repair costs always seem to pop up at the most inconvenient time. Sometimes an homage piece is a good alternative, and while I still prefer the original Nautoscaph in terms of design, there is a lot to like about the Nautoscaph II.

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It’s a nice option for someone who wants a modern-sized, vintage-inspired dive watch with solid build quality at a sub-$1,000 price ($879 from Huckberry).  Adding to the appeal is the fact that this is a limited edition of only 300 pieces, so odds are you won’t run into many folks wearing one. The Nautoscaph II is an interesting start for the newly resurrected Alsta brand, and I’ll be very curious to see what they come up with next. Alsta

Words by Marc Sirinsky

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