Introducing the Evant Decodiver, a Value-Packed, ’70s-Inspired Dive Watch

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It is a relief to witness genuine humility creeping into Evant’s language about their watches. With the release of their first watch, the Tropic Diver, Evant boasted about “their” design without mentioning that the Tropic was entirely derived from a rare Breguet diver. Further, it didn’t help things that the Tropic wore like a cat food can on my wrist (yes, I was a customer). But I’ll forgive these early missteps, especially when they’re used as humbling lessons that help the brand make better watches, which appears to be abundantly true with the newly released Evant Decodiver.

The new Decodiver with stunning fumé dials.

Evant is careful to point out that the Decodiver sports a 41-millimeter case that’s just 12 millimeters thick, and it has a lug-span of only 49 millimeters. I haven’t worn the watch, but the profile photos show lugs that reach downward at a modest angle, suggesting a far better fit for a wide range of wrists. Simply put, these are normal dimensions and shouldn’t surprise or disappoint.

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Evant is also upfront about their inspirations for the Decodiver, specifically naming Gérald Genta, the designer behind blocky 1970s masterpieces like Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak (1970), IWC’s Ingenieur (1976), and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus (1976). The Evant Decodiver’s case is not an homage to any of these specific watches, but it does pay homage to Genta’s overall aesthetic. The Decodiver’s sharp angles bring polished and brushed surfaces together to form a case with an unmistakable 1970s vibe.

The most ’70s thing about the watch, however, are the striking fumé dials, either black (my preference by far) or blue. The two-piece (polished) steel hour indicators, larger applied numerals, and the signature 12-o’clock marker are all filled with Super-LumiNova, as are the handsome rhodium-plated dauphine hands. There is no date window, making the otherwise busy dial invitingly gaze-worth.

The black dial is great, but the blue dial is no slouch either.

The best and most unique thing about Evant’s first watch was the domed ceramic bezel insert, which also had lume markers embedded in it. That bezel glowed prodigiously for hours on end. Evant has retained this wonderful bezel, more or less, on the Decodiver, though here we find standard dive-time numerals and indicators. While the original iteration of the domed bezel was an attempt to recreate a ’50s Breguet design in bakelite, it works wonderfully to create an equally era-correct 1970s vibe on the Decodiver. Evant unearthed powerful pieces of an emerging design language with their first domed ceramic bezel and their fumé dials, and they’re demonstrating a newfound fluency in that language with the Decodiver.

Solid lume on the Decodiver.
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In terms of the movement, Evant has retained their “Go Swiss of Go Home” tag line, which was, and still is, a wholly unnecessary bit of braggadocio. Inside is a stock ETA 2824-2, which we don’t see behind the solid case-back, and which will include an unused middle crown position attached to the date-wheel lurking behind the dial. Bragging about the Swiss-ness of a stock grade ETA is unwarranted for a watch that’s comparable to many Miyota-loaded offerings, not to mention the entire line of incredible Seiko divers in this price range. The 2824-2 is a great movement, but I can’t imagine anyone is going to hold up the Decodiver and command equally excellent Japanese movements to “Go home!”All told, the Decodiver is an exciting and bold watch from a brand that seems to be settling into a nice groove, and for $499 you’ll get a lot of watch: 300-meter depth rating, a proven movement, a genuinely unique bezel, the choice of two leather straps, and alluring 1970s styling. If Evant keeps improving this steadily, we can expect even greater watches from them in the future. Evant

At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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