Portland, OR based Vero has returned with the Open Water, a dive watch inspired by the geography of the Pacific Northwest. Vero makes colorful, sporty, design forward watches, so it feels very natural for them to try their hand at a traditional dive watch in their own unique design language. Their first diver is a logical extension of their previous SW series (see Ed’s review here) but also very much it’s own thing. Let’s take a look.
There are two distinct Open Water colorways available at launch. The Crown Point is named for a peak in the Columbia River Gorge, and has a deep navy blue dial with high contrast white hour markers and a black bezel. The blue shade of the dial was chosen as it recalls the view of the river from the Crown Point summit. The other variant, North Coast, has a bead blasted finish and monochromatic gray dial and bezel, which is reminiscent of the early morning fog that so many associate with the Pacific Northwest. Blue accents on the bezel provide a small pop of color without breaking up the gray, fog theme.
The 41mm case has short lugs that angle sharply downward. From the top, the Open Water has the the appearance of a classic, mid century dive watch, but the view from the side reveals a case that’s a bit more complex, particularly on the crown side where crown guards come together at a steep angle to protect the black coated crown, which is a fun modern touch. The watch has been designed to be as compact as possible – Vero envisions their customers actually using their watches while active and clearly don’t want the Open Water to get in the way. To that end, it measures just 11mm tall (and 47mm lug to lug), which is an impressive figure for a diver with 200 meters of water resistance.
The dial details on the Open Water are somewhat restrained, but well implemented. There is minimal text on the dial – just the brand’s wordmark and small logo near 12:00, and the word “Automatic” at 6:00. Hour markers are simple squares and rectangles, with the 12:00 marker getting a double index. The hands have a matching blockly appearance, and lume has been applied throughout. Vero has also lumed the bezel in five minute intervals, which in our opinion should be standard on any modern dive watch.
The Open Water can be ordered on a Haveston nylon strap or a new bracelet that is Vero’s own design. Roughly resembling an Oyster style bracelet, Vero’s version has fully articulated links that have been designed with long wearing comfort in mind. It also tapers from 20mm to 18mm at the clasp, which should make for a lightweight and comfortable wearing experience reminiscent of classic vintage sports watches. The Open Water is powered by a Sellita SW200 movement, which has been regulated by Vero following the assembly of each watch. Vero claims accuracy of +/- 5 seconds per day.
It’s worth noting that with this watch, Vero has changed their strategy somewhat in that they are no longer manufacturing watches in the United States. They’re working with Swiss partners for manufacturing of the case, dial, and other components, with assembly and regulation taking place in the US. Vero’s focus has shifted to providing first rate customer service on every transaction, including a “no questions asked” warranty that they say prioritizes getting your watch back on your wrist as soon as possible should something go wrong.
The new Open Water is available to order right now, directly from Vero, for $875 on a bracelet, or $810 on a strap. Vero