Hands-On: Spinnaker Dumas

Share this story:

Spinnaker is not new to the watch scene, but it hasn’t always been a brand people paid close attention to. Exclusively dive-watch themed, Spinnaker focused on value, but didn’t always have a unique voice. In the last couple of years, however, they’ve paid closer attention to what’s popular amongst micro-brands and, while playing off trends, have managed to make strides with their designs. Now regularly seen on the wrists of popular Instagrammers, Spinnaker’s fun, affordable, and unpretentious dive watches are starting to enjoy a wave of popularity. 

Of their recent releases, one vintage throwback stands out from the rest. Featuring an uncommon octagonal case, the Dumas is a quirky piece named after famed diver and colleague of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Frédéric Dumas. Vintage dive watch enthusiasts may have already noted that the case bears a striking similarity to the semi-obscure Omega Seamaster 200 SHOM, which we wrote about here. While that treads on “homage” territory, the rest of the design isn’t trying to emulate the Omega. It’s fair to say that Spinnaker draws directly from the design, a common practice, but then takes it in its own direction. To be honest, it’s a risky case to use because it’s odd and very ‘70s-looking, but I’m glad they did because most dive watches today stick to a pretty similar format. The fact that the watch is $350 and features a sapphire crystal, a Seiko NH35 movement, and 300 meters of water resistance makes getting past any trepidation about the shape pretty easy. 

Advertisement
$350

Hands-On: Spinnaker Dumas

Case
Stainless steel
Movement
Seiko NH35
Dial
Black
Lume
Yes
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Silicon
Water Resistance
300 meters
Dimensions
43 x 48mm
Thickness
15.3mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
Screw-down
Warranty
yes
Price
$350

Measuring the Dumas is a bit tricky given its shape, but I think it’s safe to call it 43 x 48 x 15.3 millimeters with a 42-millimeter bezel. Spinnaker says the case has a 44-millimeter diameter, but I’m just not finding that dimension. Regardless, given the flat, faceted octagonal shape, it wears unlike a traditional watch and more like a barrel case. It’s a rugged design with bold, harsh lines and wide planar surfaces. The play between the brushed facets and polished bevels is striking when the light hits them. That said, the lines of the watch under scrutiny are not the most precise, especially around the crown. At this price, that’s not unexpected, but it’s worth noting.

On top of the slab, upper surface is a classic, round bezel with a 120-click unidirectional mechanism. It’s a decent mechanism with a solid click and only a touch of back play. The insert is black with non-numerical markings, the latter rendered in a light mossy green that glows bright green in the dark. The top surface of the bezel is mineral crystal, which is an interesting choice. You get that sort of appealing depth that one might see from an acrylic or sapphire bezel, but with more scratch resistance than the former, but less than the latter, and for likely a lower price as well. Once again, on a $350 watch, balancing the looks with cost is a concern and this was probably the best choice.

At three is a screw-down crown protected by guards on either side. The crown itself has wide grooves for easy turning. It’s all polished, which I’m not in love with as it gives it a plasticky look, but it has a cool detail on the side. Rather than a typical relief on the flat outer side of the crown of the logo, they went with a sort of graphic bubble in white featuring the Spinnaker sail logo embedded within. It’s a nice touch.

Advertisement

The dial of the Dumas has the expected trappings of a dive watch, but it’s all done in a crisp, modern execution. The dial features multiple layers with a main surface and a raised ring that features various indexes. The hour index consists of applied markers with polished surrounds and cream lume fill, adding yet another layer to the dial. The raised ring drops off next to each marker, giving them a sort of double height and emphasizing them greatly. Printed on the ring is a minute index of white lines with orange blocks at intervals of five. It’s a nice looking and well-executed set of details that has a crispness that contrasts the obviously vintage-inspired case.

The base surface then features a wide Spinnaker logo in a stylized text and a 13 to 24-hour track of numerals. A bit of an odd choice, though it does give the Dumas a touch of military influence. While it doesn’t seem necessary, it doesn’t look bad, either. Above 6 you’ll find “Automatic” in orange with “1000ft / 300m” in white underneath. Pretty standard markings for a diver. The use of layers goes a long way in making the Dumas dial look higher-end.

At 3 is a date window with a brushed rim. Spinnaker smartly used the raised outer disk to connect the date window into the dial, balancing the marker at 9. While the location of the date is a touch off towards the center, overall it works well with the design.

For hands, Spinnaker went with the classic, bold “plongeur” style, featuring a short, straight sword for the hour and an oversized, bright orange Roman sword for the minute. The seconds hand is then a lollipop with a brushed finish. It’s another wink to Omega. I feel like plongeur hands were more popular a few years ago, and it’s actually nice to see them again. This style works with the funkiness of the overall aesthetic of the Dumas.

Advertisement

The Dumas comes standard with a thick, 22-millimeter silicon rubber strap that tapers down to 20. The top surface is decorated with a textured channel and features a signed buckle. It’s not the most exciting strap but it gets the job done and is fairly comfortable.

On the wrist, the Dumas wears pretty well, though it’s certainly a big, chunky watch. It’s not long lug-to-lug, so it doesn’t overhang, but the shape and thickness make it a hefty, aggressive watch. That said, it’s a big watch that fits. Visually, this thing has a ton of presence. It’s unique, a bit strange, but overall appealing, and it hits the right notes to satisfy a dive watch itch while not feeling like any other dive watch you may have tried.

One thing I don’t love about how it wears is that the case rides kind of high off the wrist because the case-back comes out quite a bit. This makes the mid-case look as though it is sort of floating over the wrist. It also makes the watch snag on your jacket sleeves more easily, which is a bit annoying. That said, this watch isn’t trying to be svelte or a small, everyday timepiece.

There’s a lot to like about the Dumas. While it does directly draw on some admittedly obscure vintage references, ultimately the Dumas is unapologetically its own thing. It balances vintage DNA with a more modern, graphic dial for a unique combination. It’s fun, funky and solid as a rock. It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure, but those drawn to the ‘70s-style faceted case and layered dial will get a lot of enjoyment from it. And at $350, it’s a great value for a 300-meter diver with a sapphire crystal and Seiko’s NH35A automatic movement. Sure, the finishing suffers a bit, but the overall package is worth the price. Spinnaker

Advertisement
Images from this post:
Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw
Tags: