Hands-On: Fleux Skin Divers Balance Throwback Inspiration with Modern Vibes

We love seeing watches that break free of the well established genre specific design codes, offering an original perspective that doesn’t necessarily take the beaten path. When it comes to dive watch in particular, this can be a challenge, though it can indeed be done. The dive watch template is simple and straightforward, making it especially challenging to carve a unique path, which often happens in subtle ways. This is a genre with a deep and easily recognizable heritage, and many new watches and watch brands tend to lean on these a bit too heavily, creating a somewhat homogeneous landscape of divers. The watches we’re looking at today from Fleux, are no exception, however they do bring something unique to the table at the same time. 

The watches are the FLX001 and FLX002, a pair of skin divers that offer a perfectly comfortable design at a glance, sitting well within that dive watch archetype mold. There is clear old-school inspiration at work, but there’s a modern sheen applied that manages to find a pleasant balance between the inspiration, and the forward looking intent. These watches manage this in a manner that can be tricky to put a finger on, meaning it feels relatively organic in the process, and somewhat retro-futuristic as a side effect. A fact first tipped off by the brand’s motto: “vintage inspired; continually new”.


Hands-On: Fleux Skin Divers Balance Throwback Inspiration with Modern Vibes

Stainless Steel
SII SH38A Automatic
Matte Black
Super-Luminova C3 “Old Radium”
Double Domed Hesalite
SEAQUAL recycled ocean plastic strap w/ quick release spring bars
Water Resistance
Lug Width
Screw Down

At their core, the FLX001 and FLX002 are approachable skin divers in terms of their literal price, as well as their stature. Both can be had for under $500, and the design is presented in a steel 38mm case (39mm measured from the bezel) that measures 47mm from lug to lug, and 14mm in thickness (12mm if you don’t count the hesalite double-domed crystal). As appealing as the numbers are here, there are plenty of other divers out there that fall into the same realm, so there must be something else that sets these watches apart. And there is, but is it enough to stand out in such a crowded field? Maybe.

The design is the clear differentiating factor with Fleux. Both of these watches easily fall into a comfort zone with dive watch design, but there’s something else going on that pushes the FLX001 and 002 into their own identity. The details are handled with great care, and the result is a bit retro-futuristic meets Paul Rand in identity, with sleek shapes and typefaces, and even the dive flag graphic motif at the bottom of the dial. The design of both watches feels refined and elevated, generally not traits we associate with function-first tool watches. 

The clean design is paired with a color scheme we usually see on watches going hard for that vintage lume look with off-white, eggshell, and yellow tones set atop a matte black dial. It feels intentional here beyond the ‘new watch that looks like an old watch’ schtick that, to be frank, is a bit long in the tooth. These Fleux watches have that, but they manage to subvert the expectation a bit thanks to the design scheme in which they are placed. The thin, san-serif typefaces with wide kerning, and the asymmetry at work between the top and bottom half of each dial go a long way in establishing this feeling.

This is the tension, or balance, that makes these watches feel a bit different from their contemporaries. It’s a well considered design that doesn’t feel like a watch from the ‘50s, making the faux vintage vibes feel more deliberate to the design goals, rather than an afterthought. The sterile bezel of the FLX002 is the most overt example of this theme at work. It feels conceptual in nature. And conceptual in nature doesn’t generally jive very well with the “can’t wait to put this thing to use” quality that I love about other dive watches. It feels a bit like Unimatic in that sense – visually very interesting, but ultimately not quite as practical as a tool watch as something like a Seiko Prospex diver. 

Looking at each reference reveals some of the delicate details that make these watches special. The FLX001 uses a more traditional layout, with an oversized minute hand outlined in orange tracking against circular hour plots. It’s a familiar template, but a closer look reveals that the top half and the bottom half of the dial are treated differently. The hour plots from 9 to 3 o’clock are given the ‘maxi’ treatment, while the plots from 3 to 9 o’clock are about half the size. This reference also receives an aluminum bezel insert that’s indexed to each 10 minute segment. 

The FLX002 continues to mix things up by making use of a “California” dial, using Roman numerals at the top, and Arabic numerals at the bottom. This one uses horizontal bars at the cardinal hours, save for the large triangle at 12 o’clock. The bezel insert here uses a single pearl style marker that’s good for, well, measuring 1 hour intervals. The design choices again feel very deliberate here, and the experience of the watch is very chic as a result.

Inside, both of these watches are using the Seiko NH38A automatic movement, which provides 41 hours of reserve, and around ~ -20/+40s per day of accuracy. This keeps the price under control and provides an easily serviceable option, if less than optimal in other ways, such as accuracy. 

Fleux presents an ambitious design language within an increasingly crowded landscape of accessible dive watches, and the little details help set these watches apart. They immediately feel a bit different, and that’s a very good thing. I’m curious to see this DNA evolve, and where they might take it from here, and my hope is that they maintain the delicate balance they’ve shown with these first two watches, while bringing the overall vibe a bit closer to practical usability over conceptual charm. On the other hand, maybe this is a genre that could use a bit more of that.

The Fleux FLX001 and FLX002 are both in their pre-order phase at the moment, and each are priced at $449. Once out of the pre-order, the regular price will be $499. Shipping is expected to begin this month, so that window won’t be open much longer. Learn more about these watches and the young brand at Fleux Watches.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.