My first encounter with SWC was almost exactly one year ago. I must admit, the first thing I noticed was the name. As I didn’t know their history, I assumed this was a new brand, presenting their very first watch via Kickstarter, choosing the “Swissest” name available. It seemed I was a bit wrong, as the Swiss Watch Company definitely has some experience and skills when it comes to wristwatches. Stephen Roemer, the founder of SWC, started his career in the watch industry at the age of 17, in Biel, Switzerland. After working in quality assurance at the Swatch Group for many years, handling brands like Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot and Hamilton, Roemer, in 1995, moved with his family to the United States and created the Swiss Watch Company. From the start, SWC produced watches for armed forces and first responders, but in 2008 they began facilitating manufacturing for other watch brands. In 2018, the company launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and their first line of diver watches, the SWC Diver, was going from the drawing board to the wrists of enthusiasts all over the world.
To write this review, I’ve got myself the green version of the SWC Diver. It was kind of hard to choose which model to go for but being in a field/military-mood these days, the green one was my choice. The four other options are Diver Black, Diver Blue, Diver Orange and Diver White, options with all the same measurements and specs, apart from the color of the lume.
Apart from the company name, the other first thing that caught my interest was the ceramic bezel. With its very fine grooves and a mixture of matt and polished parts, it surely is one of the highlights of this series. It’s a 120 click, unidirectional bezel, operating just a bit easier than I thought it would do. Usually, watches in this size and range are fitted with bezels a bit sturdier and it took a little while for my mind to accept how smoothly this bezel was turning. It stays very firm within every of its 120 stops around the clock, not wobbling a micrometer. That said, I would be happier if it aligned just a little bit better.
The crystal on the SWC is a slightly domed, single domed sapphire. Five layers of anti-reflecting coating has been added to the underside of the crystal, to enhance the readability in different settings. I’m no expert in coating, but with a single domed sapphire, the reflections are quite intrusive, regardless of how many layers of coating applied. Going for a double domed sapphire, the readability would have been better due to less reflections. But, at the other hand, reading the time will not be a big problem at all and I kind of like the magnifying glass reflection from a single domed sapphire.
The 316L stainless steel case measures 44mm across, just under 50mm from tip to tip, 13,5mm from top to bottom and 22mm between the lugs. Due to the shape of the solid end links, the length from link to link is approximately 56mm, but being very curvy, they follow the wrists shape nicely. The case is mostly brushed, with some polished parts on the sides as well as on the bezel’s edge. At three o’clock you’ll find the screw-down crown with a polished logo on a matt background, well protected by a pair of solid crown guards. The combination of large guards and a surface not grippy enough, I find the crown slightly difficult to screw and unscrew. The screw down caseback has a nice, machined centerpiece with wave patterns, company name, logo and serial number. Inside the watch you’ll find a Sellita SW200 automatic movement, a 26 jewel, 28800bph movement with a power reserve of about 40 hours. The dial of the SWC Diver is quite interesting. Instead of going for a plain dial, a large square, made up from vertical lines, is placed in the middle. It does add something, but I can’t make up my mind if I like this art deco’ish touch. Being a heavy-duty diver, I think I’d prefer a clean dial and let the bezel be the textured star of the watch. The date is placed at three, information about movement and water resistance at six and the applied logo and printed name at twelve. To come up with a proper logo is no walk in the park and I think SWC has succeeded in making a nice and recognizable sign. However, the font used in the name could, in my opinion, be a bit more classic. It’s not easy to squeeze “Swiss Watch Company” into such a small size and still make it readable, but as it is now, I feel it’s a bit immature.
Now, to the parts where this diver shines, literally. The indexes are covered with 20 layers of Super LumiNova, making them shine like few others. Having such an amount of paint, they can easily be mistaken for applied indexes. The large, sword shaped hands have sharp, polished edges and are filled with a rich amount of Super Luminova, just as the thin second hand with the arrow at near the tip. To keep track of the bezel’s position, it’s fitted with a luminous pip at twelve.
Fully charged, the SWC Diver will probably be able to tell you the time, even if you swam ten feet below, in crude oil. I’m not sure of how deep the watch would go in such conditions, but resistant down to 30 atmospheres, you’ll be able to go deeper than you need.
The three link, 316L stainless steel bracelet is very solid and sits comfortably on the wrist. As diver extensions never have been an important feature to me, I’ve no problem with the lack of this feature. However, skipping the micro adjustment part is something that bothers me a bit. The bracelet has a couple of half links, but most of the time they’ll not let you find that perfect fit you’re looking for with a heavy, stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet’s design is very nice as the center links are a bit bigger and higher than the outer ones, creating a nice ridge of brushed rectangles with soft, polished edges.
If you’re a traveler and enjoy bringing some of your favorite watches along, the travel case housing the SWC Diver is very clever. Solid padding, a large zip-lock pocket, room for three watches and some spare straps are all features that are very welcome. Along with the watch, you’ll get a warranty card and a set of curved spring bars. Due to the tight space between the case and holes, you’ll need curved ones if you’re up for a strap change. If I could ask for another accessory, it would be a microfiber cloth. Not a big one, just a little strip of fabric to remove the ever so annoying stains and particles and keep the watch spotless.
So, gathering all the impressions, I feel the SWC Diver is a solid watch with a lot of qualities. It has the specs and materials of a proper diver, a swiss movement and 20 layers of Super LumiNova. Setting the bar very high, wanting to create the perfect diver watch, SWC has succeeded in some areas. The small issues are mostly related to my taste and preferences, but I’d love to see some of them to be solved at upgraded versions or new releases. Such small things mean a lot and for me, adding these small upgrades, the SWC Diver would take a leap towards perfection. Last but not least, this solid, swiss diver will only set you back $450, which is a lot of quality per cent. Add a three year manufacturer’s warranty and you’ll know the SWC Diver is ready for most challenges.