Some things are just so odd that despite an initial negative reaction they become appealing. They look strange and might not make total sense conceptually, but like the VW Type 181, aka the Thing, they get under your skin, and eventually you just like it. That’s basically what has happened with me over the last few days and the newly released Dievas MG-1. At first glance, I thought, ugh, another oversized diver. Then, a little while later, I felt an urge to go back and look at it again, perhaps to confirm what I had seen. Did it really lack a bezel? Was the bezel really that wide? what color was that dial again? The more I looked, the more I got pulled in.
Dievas is a curious brand that we’ve written about a few times on w&w, but not in a couple of years. German made, but Singapore owned, they are a mix of homages and rugged tactical watches at fair, but not cheap prices. In the tradition of other German-made tool watch brands like Sinn and Damasko, Dievas cases are often CNC milled, for super sharp lines, and incorporate interesting materials, such as their hardened 6Steel (which is very similar to tegimented), “aerospace grade” titanium, and with the watch we’re looking at today, “Marine Grade High Strength Super Alloy”.
But, as I said, what’s first going to strike you about the MG-1 is its bizarre look. It comes off as massive, perhaps even a comically unwearable size, assuming that dial is a normal width. This is really due to proportions as the case, which is far from small, is 45mm in diameter, not the 55mm I feared. The super-wide, flat, all metal bezel crushes the dial, which must have a fairly modest diameter, and gives the watch the appearance of being comically large. Instead it’s just very large, with a massive 9mm crown, and according to this WUS discussion, 17mm tall to the top of the sapphire, and 54mm lug-to-lug. With a 1000m water resistance, it’s definitely a “Beast of the Deep”.
Size apart, the design is plain weird. It’s very chunky and flat, almost lacking in any aesthetic detail. At first, I found it unappealing because of this… but the more I looked at it, the sort of raw, unfinished design spoke to me. It’s as though this is a prototype dive watch from the 70’s. Machined and finished just enough to go down to some crazy depth for the sake of a test, and not intended for actual wrist wear. The dial put in there, like that of the Rolex Deep Sea Special, is more symbolic than functional.
Furthering this idea is the fact that the case is made out of a seemingly very interesting marine alloy. Made by the ThyssenKrupp company, this “super alloy” is 250% stronger, 400% more anti-magnetic and 500% more corrosion resistant compared to SS316L or Grade 5 Titanium. Definitely a cool material, one that seems similar to Sinn’s Submarine steel. With a case that big and chunky, having some extra hardness is going come in handy.
The dial they threw into the MG-1 is actually very attractive, starkly contrasting the the brutal case. It’s a sandwich dial with a hint of Panerai styling and cutout numerals all around getting larger at 12, 6 and 9, with a date at 3. The typeface is a nice play on what you typically find on this kind of dial, with more narrow and geometric forms. The real winner though is the tropical-esque surface. It’s a slightly sunburst, reddish brown almost cola color, that looks gorgeous against the yellow “aged-radium” superluminova of the surface below. The hands too feature the lume, as well as amore modern skeletonized design. Playing off of the story of this being a test watch from the 70’s, having an aged dial also seems appropriate, with elegance coming from the sun-softened black that has become brown.
The Dievas MG-1 is certainly not for everyone, but I imagine cult dive watch enthusiasts will find it very appealing. That said, it’s limited to a mere 99 pieces that are selling fast. Currently in pre-order, the watch started at $999 for the first batch, and has now risen to $1099, eventually stopping at $1290. A bit of an odd pre-sale strategy, but clearly designed to entice early buyers. At $999 – 1290, the MG-1 is actually decently priced considering it’s a very limited edition, machined one by one, made of a special steel and features an ETA 2824-2. So, if you’re looking for something odd that will standout from your other watches, and have the big wrist to pul it off, the Dievas MG-1 might be worth a closer look.