Watch persons are second solely to cyclists, and possibly mountain climbers with regards to nitpicking about tiny items of measurement. The place cyclists may throw a match if the brand new model of their favorite derailleur provides two grams to their whole weight, watch nerds will lose their minds and declare a brand new piece unwearable, even blasphemous, for including a single millimetre. Or subtly altering the form of an hour index mark. And don’t even get me began on what occurs when the bezel’s molecular recipe is altered barely…It’s that kind of manic consideration to element, particulars typically invisible to the bare, untrained eye, that units us other than the uninitiated plenty. For higher or worse. However how a lot do these tiny particulars truly have an effect on the sporting expertise, on a sensible degree? Let’s focus on that through the use of the recently-released 2022 Aquastar Deepstar 39mm chronograph.
The earlier iteration has been coated at size and I even took the inexperienced model diving over right here, so we don’t must dig an excessive amount of into the historical past of the revamped Aquastar as a model. To not point out that I took the non-chronograph mannequin underwater too. The cliff notes are: Aquastar is a heritage dive watch model from the Sixties that survived the quartz disaster, simply barely, by transitioning to the area of interest market of quartz-powered regatta timers. They had been revamped in 2019 by Rick Marei, the mastermind who additionally rejuvenated Doxa, Aquadive and the Tropic strap model. Their freshman launch was the Deepstar 2020 chronograph, a stunning vintage-leaning chronograph whose solely level of rivalry from customers appeared to be that it had deserted the classic sizing for a extra trendy 40.5mm and a semi-chunky 14.8mm thickness. Their sophomore launch in 2021 noticed Aquastar shock everybody by bringing out a a lot smaller, 36mm, three-hand model known as the Deepstar II, imagined as a continuation of the spirit of the unique Deepstar from 1965. That will get us as much as the present day.
The third launch from the brand new Aquastar is the 2022 Deepstar 39mm, which is almost precisely the identical because the 2020 Deepstar Diving Chronograph however has shaved 1.5mm off the diameter. That’s it. The thickness is similar. Motion is similar. Bracelet is similar. How a lot distinction can that presumably make? As an proprietor of the 2020 Deepstar since its launch, I used to be in a novel place to search out out definitively when Aquastar kindly provided a loaner of the brand new, up to date model. Sadly, I would not have the beads-of-rice bracelet for the unique so the comparability received’t be apples to apples, however we’ll get shut sufficient. Let’s dig into it.
Here’s a cursory rundown of the specs. The 2022 Aquastar Deepstar is a 39mm automated chronograph, usual from 316L stainless-steel and provided on a stainless-steel beads-of-rice bracelet or a Tropic rubber strap. Powering issues is a high-end column-wheel chronograph motion, constructed for Aquastar by La Joux-Perret. The dial is a sunburst sample, obtainable in blue, gray or black, that gives some radial mild play, relying on the angle of illumination. The hallmarks of the classic Deepstar design are all right here, together with the outsized, white 30-minute chronograph counter, and the unusual alien markings on the bezel, designed that can assist you calculate decompression instances for a number of dives utilizing Sixties-era compression science, if that’s your factor. The watch has all the identical Artwork Deco design touches and appeal that you’ve got come to know and love, in a microscopically smaller bundle. So does a mere 1.5mm actually change something? Can it actually make any distinction, you is likely to be asking? Right here’s the factor: it actually does.
Small variations that change every thing
Defying all explanations, and undoubtedly defying my expectations, the marginally smaller chronograph by some means appears like a very totally different watch. Okay, possibly not TOTALLY totally different, however totally different sufficient that you simply actually discover. On my smallish, 16cm wrist, the unique, Deepstar 2020 appears like a chunky trendy dive watch. It actually has the aesthetic vibes of a classic watch, however that’s the place the classic ends. It’s massive and sits excessive and bangs into door frames such as you’d count on a contemporary diver to do. It doesn’t really feel TOO large, but it surely actually will get near that line.
One way or the other shedding 1.5mm each on the diameter and likewise the lug-to-lug measurement has modified all of that on the brand new model. It feels noticeably smaller in diameter but additionally, and most significantly, the sizing makes the thickness really feel like a non-issue. The one factor that has at all times irked me (and seemingly everybody else) with the unique 2020 model has at all times been feeling prefer it’s just a bit too thick. So after I initially learn the specs on this one and noticed that the thickness had stayed the identical I believed, “You actually missed the mark, Aquastar.” I’m comfortable to report that my knee-jerk response was incorrect. One way or the other slimming the diameter just a bit makes the entire bundle really feel prefer it nestles down into your wrist and it doesn’t really feel chunky in any respect. There have to be some form of sorcery happening contained in the workshop over at Aquastar HQ.
The place the unique model has all of the girth and wrist presence of a contemporary dive instrument, this barely svelter model leans a bit of extra into its classic provenance. It might really feel proper at dwelling on a picket runabout, sipping a sidecar on the French Riviera, or another maritime Sixties-era stereotypes you’ll be able to provide you with. The blue sunburst dial of the assessment mannequin fluctuates between a vibrant royal blue and a deep, virtually Navy blue, relying on the sunshine. The chronograph pushers are good and crisp and responsive, simply as they need to be, and the beads of rice bracelet rounds out the classic stylings.
The lug width has been decreased to 19mm, which is a bit unlucky because it limits the obtainable straps you’ll be able to mess around with, however Aquastar sells Tropic and NATO straps that match, so all of your bases are coated there. I didn’t take this one scuba diving, however having spent underwater time with two totally different variations of the 2020 Deepstar Chronograph, and the Deepstar II, I can confidently say that it could carry out simply high quality as a dive watch. It has the usual 60-minute bezel markings you’ll count on on a diver (though this can be a bidirectional bezel so take excellent care to not by accident flip it the incorrect means), and the massive 30-minute chronograph counter is nice for timing deco stops or another quick actions underwater. Bonus factors to Aquastar for confidently saying that the chronograph’s pushers can be utilized safely underwater, a declare I can affirm. The BOR bracelet additionally features a dive extension, to assist the watch match properly over a wetsuit.
All issues thought-about, I feel Aquastar made the suitable transfer with this evolution of their flagship watch. They listened to their prospects and made changes accordingly, with out compromising their imaginative and prescient for the model. And in addition made the changes slight sufficient that we early adopters don’t really feel like we purchased the incorrect one. So do tiny dimension changes matter? The reply here’s a resounding: kinda! We’ll examine again in once we see what Aquastar does with the Deepstar 2023.
Accessible now for USD 3,590 on a Tropic rubber strap, or USD 3,790 on the BOR bracelet from aquastar.ch. Word that the watch is restricted to 300 items a 12 months.
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