In the summer of 2018 a new titanium diver’s tool was released, forged in the depth of the Black Forest in the southwest parts of Germany.
Sharp angles, tank-like shapes, both sandblasted and grounded by hand and ready to handle most of what’s thrown its way.
In this review I’m going to dig deep into the Prodiver White, the latest release in the Seatime Prodiver series, the toughest watches in Stowa’s 92 year-long history.
What many thinks of when speaking about Stowa are fliegers and Bauhaus, simplicity, elegance, functionality, traditions and high-quality timepieces. The Seatime Prodiver might get you into the mood of calling it the least Stowa’ish watch in their catalogue. The truth is that this modern, bulky, almost hardcore watch-design dates back to the sixties, the heydays of diving. There have been some variations in the lines of the case, but I find it a bit challenging to understand that the core of its design is well over 50 years old and not something that was born on this side of the millennium. Since 1963, when the first watch in the Seatime-series was born, Stowa produced a wide range of colourful, high-quality sports and diving watches. Through the creative and highly active seventies and into the eighties, Stowa launched several models, all true to the origins and with the rugged case as the foundation.
In 2004 the Seatime Limited was launched. A new dial with lumed up indexes and hands. A year later the Seatime Series was released, this time with luminescent numerals on the dial, a design that has been almost unchanged until today. In 2006 the first Prodiver was presented, a juiced-up version of the original Seatime. With the water resistance set to 1000 meters and fitted with a helium release valve, the Prodiver was to enter the market as a popular sports watch both for divers and collectors. Since the launch in 2006, the Prodiver has come in a large variety of colors, keeping the origins very alive. From Black Lime and Rhodium Orange to the Limited-Edition Blue dial and the silver or bronze bezel Prodiver Olymp, these watches have won their share of design awards, both nationally and internationally.
With the latest version, the Prodiver White, Stowa has abandoned the colorful display and focused on a clean, white dial with black details. The only color to be seen is the sweet, green lume that shines from the hands, indexes and the dot at twelve on the rotating bezel. There’s no doubt that this is a nice watch, but I get a feeling that something is missing. I miss the bright colors, the limes and the oranges. I miss the playfulness that points directly back to the roots. Without its colors I feel this Prodiver has lost some of its charm and warmth. The sharp angles and lines suddenly feel almost too serious and as brushed titanium, in my opinion, doesn’t offer a lot to a design rather than absorbing light and colors, the Prodiver White fails at some points where its predecessors shone… The question I ask myself is why this model wasn’t released at the same time as the Prodiver Black Black as a duo for the “purists”? I have always been a big fan of Stowa’s Prodiver, even though this version doesn’t appeal to me like most of the earlier models.
Apart from the design, one of the most important reasons behind my fascination are the Prodiver’s measurements. With this watch, Stowa includes and allows me to wear a serious and beautiful tool-diver. Having straw-like wrists I am often excluded from enjoying the majority of these watches, due to their size and appearance.
Being “only” 42mm wide and 50,3mm long, this watch fits me just as I want a tool-watch to fit. Having a height of 15,6mm it certainly will not fit nicely under a shirt, but then again, that’s not the environment it’s meant for. Along with the suiting millimetres, the lightweight titanium case and the rubber strap makes the Prodiver even more comfortable to wear.
The width between the lugs are 22mm, a size that fits the watch very well. Screwed pins are used to fasten the strap or bracelet. If I could choose, I would have gone for some tough springbars, only because I have bad experiences with screwed pins. I have to say that the pins on the Prodiver have not caused any problems, yet, but I am always afraid of breaking the small screws, ruining any chance of fasten the strap without buying new, original pins.
Focusing on the dial, it certainly is easy to read. Bright white and black can’t go wrong when it comes to practicality. The large sword-hands really pop out, having bold, black outer lines that keeps the lume neatly in place. The second-hand stretches all the way out to the edge of the dial. Another great detail is the lume-dot on the second-hand that moves on top of the black circle on the dial. It’s quite soothing to follow its way around, especially when it hoovers over the circular date-window at six o’clock. While talking about the date-window, since it’s placed at six and matches the dot on the second-hand, it fits very well into the symmetrical dial compared to a window placed at three o’clock. Even though symmetry is appreciated, I find the window too small. I have to look closely to see the number on the white date wheel. For me, this is a small issue that has followed the whole series of Prodivers and maybe a no-date would have looked better? But again, who am I to tell how things should look? While Stowa wins prices for excellent design over and over, the last price I won was a 20$ gift card at the local butcher. Being a vegetarian I didn’t find anything tempting in their shelves of agony.
Back to the watch and the features that I love. Above the white dial you will find a slightly domed sapphire crystal, encircled by a unidirectional, 60-clicks bezel that completes the rugged, high-quality appearance of the watch. The bezel tilts inwards towards the domed sapphire, making it the highest point of the watch. This is not only a design I find very attractive, it also gives the crystal some protection. If you have a watch with a flat bezel and a domed crystal, the crystal will most likely take the hit if you knock it against other objects. With the Prodiver you have a bigger chance keeping the crystal safe.
On the inside of this titanium tank you will find an ETA 2824-2 movement, the swiss workhorse. The power reserve is approximately 40 hours, it has hacking seconds and can be wound manually.
So, will the white version ruin what I love about Stowa and the Prodiver series? I have to admit that it isn’t my first choice, but that is no problem at all. I could choose from Black, Rodium, Lime, Orange and other combinations. If I’m lucky I could have myself a lovely blue version, if someone would sell me one from the sold-out, 200-piece limited edition? And if that isn’t enough, I could go for the Prodiver Olymp with the bronze bezel. Or Silver. Or gold.
I am not worried at all because of my lack of enthusiasm for the white version, when Stowa offers a wide selection of colors and possibilities to customize the watch on request.
It's time to wrap things up, put on the titanium tool, my earphones and take a walk in the moist environments in my neighbourhood. The only tune that is suitable for this walk is “Das Boot”. U96’ version, just to remind me of how young I am and how tough the Prodiver is.