If you enjoy lume, and I mean really enjoy lume, and have a thing for unconventional dive watches, the new Linde Werdelin Oktopus Blue Sea might right up your alley. If you became acquainted with the watch world, particularly the world of high end independents, at a particular time, you’re probably familiar with the Linde Werdelin brand. They had an altogether too brief moment of viral popularity in the watch scene, before viral popularity was even a concept you could put a name on, and like so many other brands eventually faded away. They’ve been back at a smaller scale for some time now, with a focus on a handful of core models that speak to the very particular Linde Werdelin aesthetic they’ve been cultivating since the brand’s inception, and this new version of their Oktopus diver has a particularly cool hook, courtesy of a modern master of luminescent material. Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing to know about the Oktopus Blue Sea is that it’s a limited edition collaboration with James Thompson of Black Badger. Black Badger is a modern jewelry and accessory design house, with a specialty in rings with a healthy application of a special long lasting luminescent material. Check out their Instagram account for a sense of what they’re up to – Thompson favors intricate designs with a psychedelic quality, and he has lent his talents to a variety of brands in recent years, MB&F, Sarpaneva, and Zenith (via Bamford) among them. His latest Badgerite lume compound was developed in partnership with the folks behind Super-Luminova, and is the centerpiece of the Oktopus Blue Sea.
Badgerite has been developed specifically to achieve a more flexible aesthetic in situations where it is not illuminated. The Oktopus Blue Sea, at a glance, looks like a fairly typical Oktopus (if there is such a thing) with a dial that registers largely as white. Once it’s lit up, however, you get a sense of the craft involved in the lume application, with multiple colors arranged in a very deliberate manner to achieve a specific artistic effect. On the Oktopus, it’s no surprise that the lume is meant to evoke peering into the ocean from above, with lighter shades of blue at the perimeter of the dial, shifting to darker blue as you move toward the center. All three shades of blue used on the dial have been engineered to have a common non-glowing color, which Linde Werdelin and Black Badger claim as a first in the industry.
An avant garde lume application deserves an avant garde watch, and the Oktopus delivers on that front. This is a bold and aggressive modern sports watch with a burly and angular case measuring 44mm in diameter and 15mm thick. There’s real watchmaking present here, though – this isn’t just a design statement. The Oktopus is water resistant to a full 300 meters, and features an uncommon Dubois-Depraz movement with a double date complication at 12:00 (essentially a “big date” with the numerals represented in dual date windows, positioned opposite one another). The case is made from “Alloy Linde Werdelin,” or ALW, a material that was originally created for the aerospace industry and Formula 1, but has been adopted by Linde Werdelin as an alternative to traditional watchmaking metals. According to Linde Werdelin, the material is twice as hard as steel, but half the weight of titanium, making it ideal for the brand’s oversized, design-forward sports watches.
Clearly there’s a lot of tech here, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Oktopus Blue Sea is not an inexpensive watch. It retails for $16,280, and only 88 will be made. That might seem like a lot of money (it is a lot of money) but it’s also a fairly unique watch with a complicated movement, and a whole lot of proprietary materials. For the well heeled lume enthusiast, it’s a compelling option, if not exactly a bargain. More information at Linde Werdelin right here.