Hands-on: Spinnaker Boettger

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As someone with first-hand experience of the Sinn 809, I know all too well that there are plenty of fans of the original who have been calling for a reissue or homage of this distinctive watch. Of course, ‘plenty of fans’ in the niche world of watch enthusiasts doesn’t always mean enough potential buyers to make a successful production run but finally, these calls have been answered in the form of the Limited Edition Spinnaker Boettger. The inspiration for many visual aspects of the Boettger is unmistakable, but I’m going to leave any direct comparisons aside and take an objective look at this interestingly constructed dive watch.

$650

Hands-on: Spinnaker Boettger

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Mioyta 9015
Dial
Dark Gray
Lume
Yes
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Integrated Bracelet
Water Resistance
300m
Dimensions
42 x 47mm
Thickness
13mm
Lug Width
mm
Crown
Screw-down
Warranty
2 Years
Price
$650

Let’s kick things off with the dial and those ‘floating’ indices. Three versions of the Boettger are available, all with suspended indices and differentiated predominantly by dial color, but also by small changes in the handset and dial markings. A Vintage Black model is accompanied by gilt-framed hands and indices. The Arctic Blue colorway features a contrasting orange second hand. The Deep Black version seen here is short of any additional color save for a small depth rating on the dial in red.

Deep Black seems like a slight misnomer as the dial is undeniably gray, though that absence of darkness lets you appreciate the depth of the dial more than the other colorways might. Rather than being applied to the dial, or even painted on the underside of the crystal, the indices are part of a frame that sits around the perimeter of the dial, hidden by the raised chapter ring and sloped rehaut except for where it pierces through and arches over the dial. The approach is pretty cunning, the execution well-disguised, and the effect is enjoyable.

As well-executed as the indices are, the choice of handset beneath isn’t to my taste. The hour hand is deliberately distinguishable from the minute hand as either one passes under one of the suspended markers, but both hands feel slightly too large and cumbersome compared to the rest of the watch. Another slight miss is the half-index at the three o’clock position which helps the watch look visually balanced straight on, but can obscure the date window from the wrong angle.

Working outwards, the chapter ring minute markers meet similar markings for the first 20 minutes on the 120-click bezel. The brushed stainless steel bezel sits slightly beneath the crystal and slopes downwards towards the edges. Although there isn’t much surface area to grab hold of, the pattern of knurled areas and small recesses give pretty good purchase.

Excluding the crown guards, the case measures 42mm in diameter. This is probably as large as I’d want a retro-styled dive watch to be, and the four o’clock crown position helps with how it wears on the wrist too. The lug-less case design fits the overall aesthetic well but the fixed first links extend the effective lug to lug length to 47mm. The length isn’t bad, but having those links fixed in position might cause an awkward fit for some wrists. Of course, there’s no option to switch the bracelet out hoping for a better fit on a different strap.

Like the main body of the watch, the three-link bracelet is solid and fairly well finished. As the bracelet is as wide as the case where they meet, there is quite a taper down from 26mm at the case to 20mm at the clasp. The dimensions of the clasp, which includes a divers extension, makes it feel a little bulky. An even more aggressive taper might have allayed that feeling. At 13mm, the watch is neither slim nor unforgivably thick—especially for a dive watch with 300m of water resistance—and as with the bracelet, the whole package feels a little chunky. Visually though, much of that depth looks as if it is above the dial rather than with the movement and case structure behind. For that reason, it becomes more forgivable.

Inside the Boettger is the automatic Miyota 9015 caliber. The movement is well known to many, offering 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound and the 28,800 beats per hour give a fairly smooth sweep of the second hand as you watch it pass beneath those indices time and time again. Like many Miyota 9015 equipped watches, the rotor noise and motion are quite noticeable at times on the wrist.

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I’m very happy to see a reimagining of the Sinn 809 as undertaken by Spinnaker here. Perhaps too many of the design elements draw a little too directly from the watch that the Boettger pays homage to. The indices, bezel, case shape, and even crown guard all closely follow the form of the Sinn 809 but fall down a little when it comes to some of the dimensions and the overall feel of the watch on the wrist. The one obvious departure in design comes in the form of the hands, and I’m personally not a fan of the upsizing nor the hour hand shape.

I’m not about to lock my Sinn 809 in the safe and strap this Spinnaker on as a substitute, and I would have preferred to see slightly more originality to go alongside the clever framing of the indices. That all said, there are few watches available in this kind of style and even fewer with such a neat trick up its sleeve. The Spinnaker Boettger is available on 31 July for $650. Spinnaker Watches

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Brad stumbled into the watch world in 2011 and has been falling down the rabbit hole ever since. Based in London, Brad's interests lie in anything that ticks, sweeps or hums and is slightly off the beaten track.
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