Hands-On: Zelos Swordfish V2 Diver

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Zelos knows its way around a dive watch, boasting a catalog that is almost entirely focused on making intriguing divers that are both robustly spec’d and aggressively priced.  Their latest is an updated version of their Swordfish line, a collection of watches named after one of the fastest fish in the sea. When looking at all that this aggressive 300m diver has to offer, from the distinct design to the overall excellent feature-set, it’s hard not to appreciate the Swordfish V2 and its value. Others seem to agree, as the watch is quickly selling out in many variants.

Speaking of variants, there’s one small thing to note about the watches we’ll be looking at today. The two examples here come with a NH35 movement, a proven workhorse caliber produced by Seiko. Also available (for a surcharge) are versions of this watch with an ETA 2892, with the only significant difference between the two being the addition of a date complication at 6:00 on the ETA variant.

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$349

Hands-On: Zelos Swordfish V2 Diver

Case
Stainless Steel (also available is CuSn8 bronze)
Movement
Seiko NH35 / ETA 2892
Dial
Multiple colors
Lume
Super-LumiNova (C3 and BGW9)
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Stainless steel with slim clasp that features micoradjust
Water Resistance
300m
Dimensions
42mm x 48mm
Thickness
13mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
Screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$349

When looking at the Swordfish, you’ll notice a blend of modern and vintage design cues. It looks almost like something out of a Bioshock game — futuristic design with a healthy dose of vintage charm. From the top down, the Swordfish looks like a pretty straightforward dive watch. The hallmark features are there — unidirectional 60-minute bezel, generous crown guards, and a legible dial with a set of large hands pointing to the hours and minutes. The base specs are within what a pro-level diver would have as well. You get a 42mm, 316L stainless steel case with 300m of water resistance, a screw-down crown, and a generously lumed dial. At first glance, it may seem like a typical dive watch, but things start getting interesting when you dig a little deeper.

The bezel features a chunky grip pattern that looks like a gear. Hard angles are seen throughout the case, especially on the side with the crown. Each side of the case angles straight down and has some grainy vertical brushing. Lugs extend out of the case, then slope down at nearly a 45º angle before terminating at the point where the spring bars mount. There’s a chunky signed crown that’s protected by two trapezoidal crown guards that look like a flattened pyramid. When observing the lugs from above, there’s a short angled surface closest to the case, then an angle inward towards the bracelet, and away towards the outside of the watch on the opposite side. A picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure to blow them up and check out the little details that the Zelos Swordfish has going on — there’s a lot to take in.

My favorite part of the watch has to be the dial. I had the pleasure of checking out the textured black dial with gold accents and the frost blue sunburst with silver accents. The dial on the Zelos Swordfish is a two-layer sandwich with lume fill in the cutout hour markers. On the black version, there’s a sandy black dial with a gold “Z” logo at 12:00 and two lines of text at 6:00 denoting the water resistance and automatic winding.

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The frost blue sunburst dial is no slouch either. A sunburst pattern is deeply etched into the surface and rendered in a pleasing tone of icy blue. As you rotate your wrist,  the dial dances with each subtle change in lighting. It looks great with the silver hands, especially since the silver outline is so thick. The blue version forgoes the black ceramic bezel insert for a brushed steel version with white text. In bright light, it can be little difficult to read due to the lack of contrast, but that’s a minor issue.

Pointing to the time is a wide set of hands that have a cathedral-like pattern on the minutes hand. The seconds hand has a large trapezoidal lume plot that terminates at a red tip. Again, Zelos did an excellent job of keeping the theme of the watch intact. The hands are clearly vintage-inspired, but still have that futuristic twist that fits so well with the rest of the timepiece.

Running around the outside of the dial, you’ll find a white chapter ring with black hash marks that’s rendered in a blue-ish shade of lume. It’s a nice contrast to the rest of the lumed portions of the dial which glow green. In the dark, it gives the watch an interesting two-tone effect. Around the outside of the crystal is an angled steel gasket that gives the watch an industrial, heavy-duty look. Since the gasket occupies a good amount of space around the crystal, it allows the rotating bezel to maintain a slim look. The bezel itself looks extra sharp thanks to the brushed ceramic insert on the black version.

On the wrist, the Swordfish wears quite well. While the 42mm x 48mm case and chunky design suggest the watch will wear large, it’s quite reasonable on my 6.75” wrist. At 13mm tall, it does stand up on my wrist a fair amount, but it’s in line with what I would expect from a 300m diver. The Swordfish doesn’t promise to be a small watch, and if you’re in the market for a solid diver with some serious wrist presence (without being over the top), this makes an excellent option.

Keeping the entire package on your wrist is an articulated steel bracelet that has a slight 2mm taper from lug to clasp. The edges of the bracelet are chamfered for a premium look and feel. On the wrist, the bracelet is a pleasure to wear and matches the aesthetic of the case quite well. I do wish the end links were a little bit more elegant, as they’re quite large. If the finishing on the end links were a little better (maybe some deeper engraving or better machining), it would mitigate the cheaper look of the end links when compared to the rest of the watch.

Zelo’s Swordfish V2 is available in a few different configurations and dial colors. Overall, I was impressed with the solid feel, ease of wear, and excellent details on the dial. At $349, it’s hard to argue with the quality and presentation of the Swordfish, and it’s something different in a sea of dive watches. Zelos

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.
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