For a new brand aiming to produce watches at, or under, the $500 mark the safest route is often to make a dive watch. To narrow it down one step further, a retro-styled dive watch is a pretty popular choice. So what’s different about the Torpedo from Iridium watches? On first glance, perhaps not much, but let’s take a closer to look to see whether the debut watch from the brand has enough to set it apart from the crowd.
Hands-On With The Iridium Torpedo
With the Iridium Torpedo watch in hand, the first thing I notice aside from the dial aesthetics is its chunkiness. Whereas many retro-styled dive watches will be pitched around the 39-40mm mark, the Torpedo comes in at 42mm in diameter and 50mm from lug tip to lug tip. Initially, that feels at odds with the overall tone set by the box crystal, brushed bezel and absence of crown guards. The total thickness is just in excess of 13mm and the case sides do nothing to hide that. A 300m water resistant dive watch with those dimensions is nothing unusual or unacceptable though.
The finishing on the case is a balanced combination of vertical brushing and polished chamfered edges which run nice and wide toward the lug tips. I particularly like the flushness of the coin edge bezel above the case sides. There is no overhang here, but the 120-click bezel is easy to grab and to operate. There is a little back-play in the bezel between clicks, but on release it springs forward into position each time. The more pronounced brushing of the bezel gives it a dark charcoal appearance much of the time, though in bright light is closer to matching the lighter brushed steel of the case. The combination of brushed and polished finishes continues through to the jubilee style 5-link bracelet, and on the final production version will be met with a ratcheting divers clasp.
I have the good fortune to be both fairly careful with my watches, and also not overly concerned by the light scratches which do eventually magically appear, but it’s interesting to note that Iridium have given the whole of the case, bracelet and bezel a scratch resistant coating. Time will tell how this might hold up long-term, but I suspect it could be seen as a benefit to many.
The vintage vibes of the Torpedo owe a lot to the indices, crystal and colour palette working in harmony. Diamond hour markers appear at the cardinal points (aside from the date window present at the three o’clock position) , accompanied by more regular circle shapes for the other markers. All are filled with crisp BGW9 SuperLuminova and framed in polished stainless steel. The distortion of the box crystal stretches those hour markers into teardrops and ovals from certain angles, though the level of distortion will be reined in a little in the final production model. The stretching of the indices is quite gratifying, but for the purpose of viewing the date window a shallower gradient would be well received.
The funky look is topped off with a punch of orange provided by the second hand against the contrasting blue dial. The heavy sunburst pattern turns the dial from a brilliant blue dial into indigo, and even to near-black in some lights.
Powering the Iridium Torpedo is the Miyota 9015 caliber. This automatic movement is well-known and well-liked by many, especially in watches in the price range the Torpedo will be competing. The Miyota hacks and hand-winds, with 42 hours of power reserve and beating at 28,800bph.
With the Torpedo’s bracelet fitted there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s a beefy watch. Solid end links and sturdy construction throughout give the watch and bracelet great balance, and short bracelet links like these generally give good comfort. However, the watch feels like a different proposition on a nato or other single pass strap. This is partly owing to my own anything-but-a-Jubilee preference and partly down to looking right at home on a more casual strap. The thickness and even length of the watch are no longer in the forefront of my mind, thanks to the steeply downturned lugs.
Several aspects of the Iridium Torpedo initially prompted me to think that a couple of millimetres shaved off in all directions would make more sense. A 40mm dive watch with a slim mid-case and no crown guards is what I had in my mind when I first saw the design cues shown in the dial and bezel. Casting those pre-conceptions of what a watch with this styling should be aside, I’m liking it a lore more – especially on a nato strap. The Torpedo takes the fun aspects of the watch I was expecting and puts them in a robust and slightly up-sized case with 300m of water resistance and buckets of lume. If you find yourself hankering for some 1970s skin diver stylings in a slightly bigger watch, then this could be worth a look. The Iridium Torpedo is launching on Kickstarter in March with prices starting at $399. Iridium Watches.