Wolbrook is one of the more interesting heritage brands to resurface in the last few years, a period during which all manner of historic Swiss manufacturers have returned from the proverbial woodwork. We covered Wolbrook’s initial release here, which was a relaunched version of a skindiver worn by none other than Neil Armstrong. Wolbrook, like so many other Swiss brands, succumbed to the quartz crisis in the 1970s after several decades of producing the type of honest and humble sports watches that a test pilot and future astronaut/American hero might choose for himself as his own personal watch. Wolbrook’s newest watches, the Skindiver Automatic and Skindiver Professional, don’t stray too far from the aesthetic of their debut, and if anything offer a more stripped down, vintage inspired skindiver experience.
The Skindiver WT that we profiled in 2019 was a somewhat curious watch, combining the sleek and compact proportions of a classic skindiver with a bezel that gives the user some quick and dirty worldtime functionality. That bezel layout was true to the historic watch worn by Armstrong, but might not be as desirable to a dive watch shopper looking for something practical for use in a modern environment. The Skindiver Automatic and Professional are a corrective or sorts, offering a more traditional dive timing bezel, which of course is also perfectly appropriate for timing a steak, your laundry, or virtually anything else that takes less than 60 minutes to complete.
Wolbrook gives you the choice between two versions of the Skindiver which offer subtly different feature sets. The Automatic version of the watch features an aluminum bezel insert and sapphire crystal, while the Professional makes use of a traditional acrylic crystal and a “monobloc” bezel, which appears to be a one piece bezel design that does not use an insert. Color options differ as well, wth the Automatic presented in black, white and blue options and the Professional in orange or black. The orange version of the Professional can also be had with a fully PVD coated case and bracelet, as can the blue Automatic. Also worth noting is that the Professional has a “Douglas” signature on the dial, which is a similarity it shares with Wolbrook’s first series. Douglas was Wolbrook’s sister brand during the company’s original operation.
One of the most striking features of the new watches is the layout of the dial, which features oversized Arabic numerals that are heavily coated in either green or radium colored lume, depending on which version you decide on. The Skindiver WT featured Arabics only at the cardinal positions, and the expansion here to include all even numbered hours (and the removal of the date window) creates a fuller, more coherent dial. It’s a clear improvement.
Specs on these watches should please fans of vintage inspired divers, as the dimensions appear to hit a sweet spot. The case measures 40mm in diameter and just 43mm lug to lug, which should make for a compact and comfortable wear. Case height is 13mm (13.5 on the Professional). The new Skindivers run on the Miyota 8315 caliber, which helps keep the cost of these watches reasonable. They start at $439 for the Professional model on a rubber strap, and range up to $546 for the Automatic with a PVD coated case and bracelet. More information can be found at Wolbrook’s website here.