Hands-On: Professional Desk Diving with the echo/neutra Cristallo Professional Diver

At 200 meters below the ocean’s surface, the sun’s rays from above begin to fade and below, a dark abyss leads to an unknown world. At this depth it’s not uncommon to run into a school of haddock, a cockatoo squid or Jaws. The deeper we go, light diminishes even more and water temperatures become uncomfortably cold, reaching as low as 40°F. The consuming darkness reveals bioluminescent life forms such as the salp, a jellyfish-like creature and at much deeper depths, the bizarre, alien-looking angler fish. As we approach 300 meters, we’re close to the deepest known depth ever recorded by a scuba diver. It was 332 meters to be exact, and achieved by Egyptian scuba diver, Ahmed Gabr back in 2014. At this point, pressure has constantly been building at a rate of 1 atmosphere every 33 meters of depth. At 427 meters, we’re looking at 639.8 PSI, and then increases to 729.1 PSI at 488 meters, which is more than enough pressure to crush a household brick and is the force equivalent to that of a lion’s bite. Finally, 500 meters, our desired depth. That’s 1,640 feet below the ocean’s surface. Close to the height of the Freedom Tower underwater and smack dab in the middle of the ocean’s water column. Welcome to the Mesopelagic zone.

Surprisingly, the Mesopelagic zone is teeming with life, considering the absence of sufficient light doesn’t allow for photosynthesis. Humans however, are a rare sighting in this area of the ocean column and at 500 meters, if the cold water temperatures or the occasional creepy creature doesn’t get you, then the intense surrounding pressure from the massive body of water that is the ocean will. It’s a depth that those brave enough to explore, is only experienced through a window of a submersible. It’s an underwater world solely for a professional, and of course a “professional” watch to explore.


Enter the echo/neutra Cristallo Professional Diver. The first of its kind for the Italian watch manufacturer, the Cristallo Professional Diver is nothing like what’s in their current catalog of watches. It’s the most robust watch in terms of its construction and functionality. The company prides itself on creating watches that are to be worn day in and day out, without taking their “beauty” for granted. Much of their watches tastefully balance the line between that “beauty” and utility, but the Cristallo Professional Diver aggressively leans more into the “form following function” ethos. It’s a watch designed for a specific purpose. For professionals and those who might want to feel like one.

I myself, am a (self-proclaimed) professional. Not a professional diver, or deep sea explorer, but a professional desk diver. For this Hands-On review, I didn’t bring the echo/neutra Cristallo to 500 meters beneath the ocean’s surface, but to a depth somewhat equivalent in words, characters, and punctuations. Forgive the pun, but I can’t help myself, let’s dive in.

Coming in at a touch over 105 grams, the case head in itself feels like a diving apparatus in hand. Form wise, the Cristallo silhouette is as straightforward as it gets. It’s a round case that extends into a pair of crown guards that hugs the screw down crown at three o’clock. The case for the most part is hit with a brush finish except for a sliver of polish that lines the edge of the broad lug set. Case proportions are relatively large for what we would call a modern dive watch but this is after all, a professional dive watch, and with every millimeter that goes beyond what we would deem to be “wearable”, comes the “professional” features that separate the Cristallo from any other ordinary diver. The case measures 42mm in diameter, 49mm lug to lug, and surprisingly (in a good way), 13.9mm in thickness. Although the sapphire crystal itself measures 3mm in thickness, it doesn’t add to the overall case thickness, as it sits flush against the bezel. The sum of all its parts result in a utility diver capable of wading at a depth up to 500 meters.

The bezel most certainly captured my curiosity at first glance. The unidirectional bezel completes a full revolution in 120 clicks and is furnished out of ceramic. There is a mirror-like quality here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d see your reflection. It’s ghosty at certain angles, and light-catching at others. The markers display a no decompression scale demarcated in white numerals and uses meters as the metric.

As I attempted to read the bezel, I was initially confused, as I’m used to reading a Doxa Sub 300 no-deco bezel (yes I know, I’m slowly building a reputation for comparing any watch to a Doxa) and it contains an elapsed time scale as well as the metrics in feet. Initially, the process to track depth time is the same on the echo/neutra Cristallo. First, you rotate the triangular zero marker to the current position of the minute hand. From there, you would read the scale and determine how long your bottom time would be based on the predetermined depth. Using the photo below as an example (1:15 PM), with the zero marker aligned with the minute hand, a dive to a depth of 21 meters would amount to a 48 minute bottom time (2:03 PM) or at a more ambitious depth at 45 meters, would amount to an 8 minute bottom time (1:23 PM). As I mentioned above, I am not a diver (yet), so if my explanation needs further clarification, I’ll let the actual divers do so in the comments. What this bezel has going for it is legibility. The white numerals don’t get lost at all against the ceramic bezel and the oversized numerals ensure that you’re reading the scale accurately. I personally would have wanted some form of an elapsed time scale here as well, since that would be something I’d use on a regular basis.

Another professional feature is the helium escape valve nestled into the case at nine o’clock. Again, another feature that wasn’t remotely close to being used during my time with the watch. But in the event the watch was ascending from a deep depth, the HEV allows for internally  trapped helium molecules to safely and slowly exit the watch case, preventing the watch from imploding.

The dial displays a gradient that has a vibrant blue at the top of the dial transitioning to black at the bottom of the dial. The dial on the echo/neutra Cristallo does resemble that of the Rolex Deep Sea Sea Dweller, but it also does paint an accurate representation of how the twilight fades to black in the Mesopelagic zone. What the Deep Sea Sea Dweller lacks that’s present in the Cristallo is a 3-6-12 numeral configuration, a small seconds display and a power reserve indicator. The use of large numbers throughout the dial is very much within the echo/neutra design language, as are the arrow hour hand and sword minute hand. The small seconds display is positioned at nine o’clock and shaped by the seconds track. An elongated hand rotates within the subsidiary dial with the white tipped portion of the hand reading time to the second.

The power reserve indicator is displayed as a semi circle that hugs the top of the six o’clock numeral. Power available is indicated by a stout arrow between an “empty” red bar and a “full” white bar display. This was in fact my first time playing around with a power reserve indicator and I must say, it was quite amusing to watch the Cristallo recharge to its full 41 hour capacity via the moving power reserve arrow throughout the day.

From aesthetics to build quality, the steel bracelet pulls its own weight, and then some. With it attached, the Cristallo weighs just north of 189 grams. The distinguishing quality here are the center broad center links that slightly extend past the endlinks and lugs. It gives the echo/neutra Cristallo this muscular look to an already beefy case. Each articulating link is solid and interconnected in an H-link style until each side is met by an expansive clasp that bears the Cristallo Professional Diver namesake, echo/neutra wordmark and the referenced 500 meter water resistance. The clasp sports two sets of dual button set ups; the rectangular push buttons release the folding clasp and the triangular buttons deploy the dive extension. The dive extension extends smoothly revealing a professional-like solid sheath of steal, allowing the dive bracelet to be adjusted across six different lengths


Although this watch would definitely look at home with a t-shirt and shorts during the summer time, the Cristallo looks just as good at the cuff of a puffy coat and multiple layers. Thanks to its larger size, it doesn’t get lost in all the extra clothing that we’re throwing on this time of year, and seeing the gradient dial peeking out between the end of a coat sleeve and base of a glove is just as satisfying as watching the power reserve arrow moving across the indicator.

The echo/neutra does the opposite of “disappearing on the wrist” (sorry Zach Kazan). I felt every gram of the watch during my desk diving endeavors and errands about town. That said, the Cristallo wears just thin enough so that it does even out the perceived weight and makes for a decent wearing experience. I’ve spent some time with chronographs that exceed the thickness of the Cristallo, so it’s quite impressive that echo/neutra is able to pack in all these features into its current case size.

Which brings me to my next point. Do we need a watch with a 500 meter water resistance? Not really. It’s superfluous in the grand scheme of things. But is it cool? Absolutely. Whether it’s echo/neutra or any other watch brand producing watches with jaw-dropping specifications, it’s a way for them to put their capabilities as a brand on display. As a hypothetical owner, I would look down and be amused at the fact that this watch can hang out in the Mesopelagic zone and not skip a beat. I’m sure the same goes for someone who owns a 10 day power reserve watch. I’m sure that same person would get along just fine with a watch equipped with a 40 hour power reserve, but I’m almost positive that person gets a hit of dopamine everytime they think about setting the watch down and knowing that a week and some change later, that watch is still keeping time. Here’s a suggestion if any other watch brand (or anyone) is still reading this, give us more overly-spec’d out watches!

As for my desk diving forays with the echo/neutra Cristallo Diver, 1804 words later, it’s doing just fine. I mean c’mon it’s a “professional” watch after all. echo/neutra


Hands-On: Professional Desk Diving with the echo/neutra Cristallo Professional Diver

316L Stainless Steel
Sellita SW279 Automatic Elaboré
Blue Black Gradient
BGW9 Swiss Superluminova
Sapphire Crystal
Stainless Steel Bracelet
Water Resistance
500 Meters
Lug Width
Images from this post:
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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.