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Thread: Steel dive - THE ideal tool watch?

  1. #1
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Steel dive - THE ideal tool watch?

    Iím currently waiting for my GO to return from Glashutte (any day now) consequently, Iíve been buying watches I donít need.

    Amongst the recent acquisitions is a Steeldive Emperor Tuna.

    Honestly, itís an absurd watch.
    Enormous, cheap as chips. So naturally, I had to try it out.

    Before I go any further with this, there was method in the madness, I live within spitting distance of many beautiful beaches in Pembrokeshire. I spend a fair bit of my spare time there and itís not a place to wear either my GO or Pam.

    Until recently, I would wear my Garmin, but lately Iíve found myself leaning away from the tech when Iím not running or working, so Iíve been wanting a proper Ďbeach watchí.

    So what about my assertion that the ideal tool watch might be a steeldive??

    Let me explain; Back in the earlier naughties, I was the diving superintendent for the Joint venture that won the contract for the refurbishment of the jetty on the South Hook LNG site, as such, I spent a lot of time with real divers (Iím going to suffer for that remarkÖ.).

    With the exception of 1 Belgian lad who insisted on wearing his Seawolf in the sea, all of the literally dozens of others from the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, South Africa and the 'States wore G-Shocks.

    Iím not even talking solar atomic Gucci versions, just common or garden G-Shocks.

    This was not because these guy couldnít afford them, I know this because once theyíd showered and tarted themselves up back on deck, on went the Subs and the SDís, I even saw a BP FF on the wrist of a very well-travelled sat diver who was slumming it for a couple of months with the Ďinshore boysí.

    So, my point would be this, that even those professionals that could afford to use and abuse (read that 'use as intended') their pride and joy, used a beater, a consumable to work in. When they inevitably lost or broke them (ask anyone who knows about diversÖ) then there would be no tears.

    This brings me around to this here Steeldive (must resist the urge to type SDÖ.); Iíve had mine for nearly 2 weeks.

    The 1st thing I did when it arrived was to set the time by GPS and monitor it every few days against the clock and with an app Ė no, Iím not a mentalist, I was just curious about what this watch would do.

    So far, itís been in the watch winder for some of the time and on my wrist for some of the time but It has gained a solidly consistent 4 seconds per day!!

    Think of that; a bog-standard, mass produced Japanese NH35 operating comfortably within COSC parameters for less than £180 brand new and posted!

    Now, I know that theyíre not all going to be like that, I understand I got lucky, but I havenít even begun to mention the build quality yet, itís really rather acceptable, quite good even (forget about the cost).

    I already mentioned that my example was absurd. Iíve got 7 ĹĒ+ wrists and it looks like a depth gauge on me (no need for a weight belt), I donít think Iíd chance swimming with it on for fear of drowning Ė Seriously, it would look Ďoversizeí on Eddie Hall, so don't laugh at the picture!

    BUT, thatís whatís fun about it Ė Itís bonkers but it cost so little that youíre not going to fret about having Ďmade the right investmentí, wear it until you get bored and then drop it off at a charity shop!

    Itís a proper watch with a mechanical heart (soul), for the cost of a reasonable meal out with the Wife that keeps the time.

    Bargain!!




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    Last edited by Paul J; 1st June 2021 at 19:01.

  2. #2
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    That's certainly a lot of watch for the money, and ideal as a beater - I'm pleasantly surprised by the timekeeping. I always wear my Seiko in the open water - I have visions of my Rolex dropping out of sight.

  3. #3
    Master
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    With other brands you're buying the brand. With Steel Dive you're buying the watch!

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  5. #5
    Master
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    I currently own a Steeldive Willard bought from here. It runs within a couple of seconds a day, and yes absurd value for the money. Think the Heimdallr Willard just pips the Steeldive version purely on the crystal bevel, but that's being picky.
    Last edited by Ruggertech; 1st June 2021 at 20:19.

  6. #6
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    Iíd say get swimming in it, dive in the deep end of the bow of the boat. Youíll have a huge smile on your face.


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  7. #7
    Is that the 1975 Tuna homage (52mm) not sure why they call the smaller one the 1975.

    I had a steeldive homage watch which was nice enough for the money out of curiosity how comfortable is the watch? Always liked the look of the Seiko but worried about the size.

  8. #8
    Master Papa Hotel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiny View Post
    With other brands you're buying the brand. With Steel Dive you're buying the watch!
    And all without the stupid pointless overheads of design and R&D! Everyone's a winner.

  9. #9
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Hotel View Post
    And all without the stupid pointless overheads of design and R&D! Everyone's a winner.
    Indeed.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  10. #10
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    Is that the 1975 Tuna homage (52mm) not sure why they call the smaller one the 1975.

    I had a steeldive homage watch which was nice enough for the money out of curiosity how comfortable is the watch? Always liked the look of the Seiko but worried about the size.
    I think it's called the 1978 Emporer Tuna, and it's remarkably comfortable that weighs as much as a bag of flour!

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  11. #11
    Grand Master
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    You're such a bore ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Hotel View Post
    And all without the stupid pointless overheads of design and R&D! Everyone's a winner.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Hotel View Post
    And all without the stupid pointless overheads of design and R&D! Everyone's a winner.
    I would feel sorry for the likes of Seiko - except they have hiked their prices for no apparent reason whilst simultaneously sacking the Ďline up the chapter ring and the bezel insertí department. Then made the screw down crown team redundant and decided to price their cheap Seiko 5 line at the same level they used to sell proper dive watches. About time someone else came along and kicked them in the pants imho!


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  13. #13
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Given the number of 'reissues', they obviously sacked the R&D team as well...

    M

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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    I would feel sorry for the likes of Seiko - except they have hiked their prices for no apparent reason whilst simultaneously sacking the Ďline up the chapter ring and the bezel insertí department. Then made the screw down crown team redundant and decided to price their cheap Seiko 5 line at the same level they used to sell proper dive watches. About time someone else came along and kicked them in the pants imho!


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    this

  15. #15
    Absolutely awesome Paul.
    Pleased your enjoying that bad boy.
    I knew you would like it .
    Exceptional quality for the money


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  16. #16
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Hotel View Post
    And all without the stupid pointless overheads of design and R&D! Everyone's a winner.
    Good point, but, the R&D and design on a lot of these models was done decades ago and can no longer justify the huge prices and restricted supply. Many of them have become classic generic designs whose patents expired long ago. As such they are perfectly legal to be manufactured and improved upon in terms of materials and price, hence allowing new generations of enthusiasts to enjoy them. I say good luck to the likes of Steeldive.

  17. #17
    Master
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    I have had a number of Seiko divers over the years (used, new, vintage) and every last one was a poor timekeeper. The absolute worst was a brand new Samurai. I have recently picked up a Steeldive ĎSKXí from the forum and it is running well within COSC standards. It actually tells the time accurately, has a ceramic bezel (which lines up), a sapphire crystal and as far as I can see, has at least as good fit & finish, for a fraction of the cost.

  18. #18
    Can you swim or dive with them? I emailed Steeldive UK a while ago regarding the Ploprof hommage and asked if the stated depth rating was accurate. The response I got was ďI doubt itĒ.
    I really fancy one but this puts me off.

  19. #19
    Grand Master
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    I've used a few of them for swimming and they're fine. I wouldn't expect 500m for the price though.

    Quote Originally Posted by ODP View Post
    Can you swim or dive with them? I emailed Steeldive UK a while ago regarding the Ploprof hommage and asked if the stated depth rating was accurate. The response I got was ďI doubt itĒ.
    I really fancy one but this puts me off.

  20. #20
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    So the seller says a watch he lists as a 1200m diver is not likely capable of the claims he makes?
    That puts him an interesting position with regard the law and miss representation of his goods.
    I know they are a cheap bit of fun but that does not seem the sort of person I would want to deal with regardless of price.
    Yes I know nobody will use it to that depth, yes I know itís unreasonable to expect such a watch at this price point to be able to be used as a professional diving tool. Yes I know I am being pedantic but if trading standards were to find out he could be in a bit of bother.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    So the seller says a watch he lists as a 1200m diver is not likely capable of the claims he makes?
    That puts him an interesting position with regard the law and miss representation of his goods.
    I know they are a cheap bit of fun but that does not seem the sort of person I would want to deal with regardless of price.
    Yes I know nobody will use it to that depth, yes I know itís unreasonable to expect such a watch at this price point to be able to be used as a professional diving tool. Yes I know I am being pedantic but if trading standards were to find out he could be in a bit of bother.
    Isnít it the same with all watches? 30m Rating no good for swimming etc.

  22. #22
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Isn’t it the same with all watches? 30m Rating no good for swimming etc.
    Yeah it is but when buying a new watch that is sold as being 30m water resistant you know what you are buying.
    Here the website says 200, 300, 1200m. This is also repeated on the dial. Only when asked was the fact the watches were not as waterproof as stated offered up.
    I think snowman has taken a few of these diving, so they are waterproof it’s just the ‘false advertisement’ that does not sit right with me
    I am likely over thinking things like I always do!

  23. #23
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomGW View Post
    I have had a number of Seiko divers over the years (used, new, vintage) and every last one was a poor timekeeper. The absolute worst was a brand new Samurai. I have recently picked up a Steeldive ĎSKXí from the forum and it is running well within COSC standards. It actually tells the time accurately, has a ceramic bezel (which lines up), a sapphire crystal and as far as I can see, has at least as good fit & finish, for a fraction of the cost.
    My Samurai Save the Ocean from 2018 is by far the worst time keeper Iíve got. It is easily more in value than others, but consistently is 25/30 a day adrift. But within Seikoís tolerances.
    Steeldive whilst still using Seiko movements are obviously tweaking them. Shame Seiko canít tweak their chapter rings, bezels, dials and movements.
    Shame on them and their price expectations.


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  24. #24
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watch freek View Post
    Absolutely awesome Paul.
    Pleased your enjoying that bad boy.
    I knew you would like it .
    Exceptional quality for the money


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    Glad you like it!

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  25. #25
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    So the seller says a watch he lists as a 1200m diver is not likely capable of the claims he makes?
    That puts him an interesting position with regard the law and miss representation of his goods.
    I know they are a cheap bit of fun but that does not seem the sort of person I would want to deal with regardless of price.
    Yes I know nobody will use it to that depth, yes I know itís unreasonable to expect such a watch at this price point to be able to be used as a professional diving tool. Yes I know I am being pedantic but if trading standards were to find out he could be in a bit of bother.
    I agree. I've been swimming in mine and jumping off Stackpole quay. No issues. Personally, I'd dive with it without a thought - what's the worst that can happen?

    This thing of mine is depth rated to 1000m, I'd say it's likely structurally capable of just that.

    I think what needs to happen is Steeldive need to give Steeldive UK a kick in the trousers for being such poor ambassadors of their product.

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
    I agree. I've been swimming in mine and jumping off Stackpole quay. No issues. Personally, I'd dive with it without a thought - what's the worst that can happen?

    This thing of mine is depth rated to 1000m, I'd say it's likely structurally capable of just that.

    I think what needs to happen is Steeldive need to give Steeldive UK a kick in the trousers for being such poor ambassadors of their product.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
    Love Stackpole. Many a nice meal over the years in the Stackpole Inn.

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  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    My Samurai Save the Ocean from 2018 is by far the worst time keeper Iíve got. It is easily more in value than others, but consistently is 25/30 a day adrift. But within Seikoís tolerances.
    Steeldive whilst still using Seiko movements are obviously tweaking them. Shame Seiko canít tweak their chapter rings, bezels, dials and movements.
    Shame on them and their price expectations.


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    It may well be itís because itís sat on a shelf for years before it sold. I have a Seiko that suffered from the same problem, sent it (to an independent NOT Seiko) and had it stripped and cleaned. Itís now one of my most accurate watches.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
    I agree. I've been swimming in mine and jumping off Stackpole quay. No issues. Personally, I'd dive with it without a thought - what's the worst that can happen?

    This thing of mine is depth rated to 1000m, I'd say it's likely structurally capable of just that.

    I think what needs to happen is Steeldive need to give Steeldive UK a kick in the trousers for being such poor ambassadors of their product.

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    Seriously? These are mass produced in China and I genuinely doubt theyíve ever been near a depth test. Why would they?


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  29. #29
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    Seriously? These are mass produced in China and I genuinely doubt theyíve ever been near a depth test. Why would they?


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    Some years ago I had a lengthy email correspondence with the MD of a then well known microbrand that built divers proofed to 2500m.

    He told me that in general the vast majority of watches aren't depth tested to greater than 100m, this is simply to test that the watch resists water.

    After that, it's the structural integrity of the watch that counts as the case is under enough pressure to effectively squeeze all the seals tighter shut.

    The process is; the watch is designed, prototyped and it's the prototypes that get tested to full depth - this is to prove the design, then the production watches simply have the aforementioned WP test because there's no need to unnecessarily stress the casework on an already proven design.

    So, to answer your question; yes, seriously.

    It's a proven design, long since, and I really don't think the fact that it's made in China need be the least bit prejudicial. As long as it's got all the bits in all the right places, it'll do the job nicely - mine already has and I'd happily try it down to 4atm which is as deep as I and the majority of divers ever need to go.



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  30. #30
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    All the Steeldive/Heimdallr watches I had were taken scuba diving, but I didn't go to 200, 300 or 1200 metres...

    M

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  31. #31
    Maybe my answer was a bit too flippant. I guess Iím cynical as to whether homages of watches with very high water resistance that have those same depths on the dial should be expected to reach that depth. I have a Casio 200m dive watch which you can currently buy for £29.99 so itís clearly possible. If Casio made a 1000m watch for the same price Iíd also trust it - Casio has a huge reputation and has spent a lot of money etc over the years on marketing etc and advertising and has a reputation for reliable, tough watches. It also will have the facilities to build and test to that depth. But will a company who makes the steel dive watches? After all who will test their watch to that depth and Iím sure it requires expensive specialist equipment to do so. I wasnít being xenophobic it just seems unlikely, thatís all. Happy to be proven wrong. Like I say I can buy a 200m casio for under £30, but if you read the Rolex and Omega etc marketing guff you need an oyster case made of special steel and sealed like a submarine apparently. Itís not quite as romantic to admit a plastic cased watch with 4 buttons, a single o ring on the caseback held in place by 4 screws and costing less than a good meal can do the same thing!


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  32. #32
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    No one goes to 200 or 300 metres to test a watch's WR.

    All they do is put one in a pressure chamber and crank up the pressure.

    That sort of equipment is beyond the budget of most enthusiasts or even small watch repairers, but certainly not a manufacturer churning out the volume of watches the Steeldive (et al) factory do.

    I'm not even sure you have to test every watch to claim ISO compliance for a model.

    M

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    Last edited by snowman; 7th June 2021 at 07:59.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    No one goes to 200 or 300 metres to test a watch's WR.

    All they do is put one in a pressure chamber and crank up the pressure.

    That sort of equipment is beyond the budget of most enthusiasts or even small watch repairers, but certainly not a manufacturer churning out the volume of watches the Steeldive (et al) factory do.

    I'm not even sure you have to test every watch to claim ISO compliance for a model.

    M

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    If it is for the higher ISO 6425 accreditation then every single watch has to be tested to its stated value plus 25%, so 250m for an skx007 for example. For the lower standard ISO 2281 batch testing is sufficient. In the case of Seiko their watches actually marked "divers" on the dial or caseback, from the 007 upwards all get the full monty individual test. Watches that are not marked "divers" such as the 100m 5 series do not. I don't know if the 100m watches are ISO 2281 accredited or not.
    I'd have thought that Steeldive have their own equipment as you have suggested, and assiduously tested their products pre production to reasonable depths and that's about it. I'd also assume they do some batch testing themselves, especially if they change suppliers for any component. But I'd be very mightily surprised indeed if ISO 6425 testing takes place, in fact I'd bet almost anything that it doesn't.
    Saying that, I love my Steeldive Willard and at the price I'm more than happy with it, pressure tested or not.
    Last edited by Ruggertech; 7th June 2021 at 08:47.

  34. #34
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    I don't dive but if i did i wouldn't trust my life to a mechanical dive watch whether steeldive, rolex or blancpain. I'd have a proper dive computer and some easy to read digital watch as backup.
    I'd happily wear one for simple snorkelling or pool swimming though.

  35. #35
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    I don't think that I would see a Steeldive as a viable alternative to an Omega Ploprof 1200, which is a £9k watch.
    However, I do see them as more satisfying than the lower end Seikos, for the reasons I've already outlined. The only one that I do have, which is the SKX style, has an accurately adjusted (performing to COSC standards), handwind-able, hacking (Seiko) movement, sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel and the bezel, chapter ring and dial are all perfectly aligned. This is all for roughly half the price of the equivalent Seiko.
    For me the glaring point is that, there would have been no opportunity for Steeldive to get going at all, if Seiko had been doing the job properly in the first instance. In contrast, the Steeldive versions offer an upgraded alternative and Seiko's response has been to seriously hike their prices, thus creating the headroom for the new brand to thrive in the slot that Seiko once dominated.

  36. #36
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by julian2002 View Post
    I don't dive but if i did i wouldn't trust my life to a mechanical dive watch whether steeldive, rolex or blancpain. I'd have a proper dive computer and some easy to read digital watch as backup.
    I'd happily wear one for simple snorkelling or pool swimming though.
    The divers mentioned at the outset were commercial divers, connected to the surface by umbilical carrying air and Comms. At no time do such men rely on their watch because that's what the diving supervisor is for, he tells them what to do, elapsed time, job updates and when to start surface. The watch is there merely for countdown to lunchtime / knock off.

    This thread seems to have digressed somewhat. I'm not sure if anyone drew any serious comparisons between a Steeldive and anything else, certainly not the likes of a ploprof. People who buy such things generally buy them as an investment, for the look, vanity, whatever. I doubt 99% of them even go in the shower.

    The point is simply this: Steeldives are great value for money. They probably shouldn't be compared with anything else because their purpose, so far as I can see is to appeal to the lower end of the market which in our case means a bit of fun on a budget.

    Any comparisons with other manufacturers are simply moot, probably even pointless.

    I bought one simply because I wanted to see it in the flesh and I was very pleasantly surprised.

    My daily wearer is a Garmin 6x pro - I'd wear that in the sea if I wanted to.

    My other watch is a GlashŁtte Original sport evo, I wouldn't wear that in the sea even though it's rated to 200m simply because I don't want it gummed up with salt and sand.

    That's where the Steeldive comes in; one way I lose £4k the other £100andsomething - I wouldnt have thought any further case needs to be made.

    Comparing a Steeldive ploprofalike with the Omega original is simply ridiculous and I don't think anyone was trying to do that.

    Do I have any difficulty in believing that my Steeldive can go to far greater depths than I can? No, I certainly don't.

    Do I believe it can go to the 1000m rating on the dial? I simply don't care.

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  37. #37
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
    I agree. I've been swimming in mine and jumping off Stackpole quay. No issues. Personally, I'd dive with it without a thought - what's the worst that can happen?

    This thing of mine is depth rated to 1000m, I'd say it's likely structurally capable of just that.

    I think what needs to happen is Steeldive need to give Steeldive UK a kick in the trousers for being such poor ambassadors of their product.


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    There is no Steeldive firm, that is just a name put on watches ordered and sold here.

    Many identical watches with just cosmetic differences flow out of a Chinese factory under a variety of names.

    If you order enough you can have your name on the dial/case etc.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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  38. #38
    Craftsman Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    There is no Steeldive firm, that is just a name put on watches ordered and sold here.

    Many identical watches with just cosmetic differences flow out of a Chinese factory under a variety of names.

    If you order enough you can have your name on the dial/case etc.
    Ah! Ok. Thanks for clearing that up.

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    There is no Steeldive firm, that is just a name put on watches ordered and sold here.

    Many identical watches with just cosmetic differences flow out of a Chinese factory under a variety of names.

    If you order enough you can have your name on the dial/case etc.
    That's very likely the case.
    However, those sold under this brand appear to enjoy a very good reputation for fit & finish, accuracy etc. If that's the standard of the regular production churned out of some nameless Chinese factory, it's a serious indictment on Seiko's performance at this end of the market.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by TomGW View Post
    That's very likely the case.
    However, those sold under this brand appear to enjoy a very good reputation for fit & finish, accuracy etc. If that's the standard of the regular production churned out of some nameless Chinese factory, it's a serious indictment on Seiko's performance at this end of the market.
    Do Seiko not have factories in China, Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia?

  41. #41
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by julian2002 View Post
    I don't dive but if i did i wouldn't trust my life to a mechanical dive watch whether steeldive, rolex or blancpain. I'd have a proper dive computer and some easy to read digital watch as backup.
    I'd happily wear one for simple snorkelling or pool swimming though.
    A watch isn't a matter of life and death, but it is a matter of recording time.

    A mechanical watch is just fine for that - If your computer craps out, you can fall back on the rule of 50 (20m - 30mins, 30m - 20mins) for most recreational dives - a dive watch with the bezel set appropriately is fine for that.

    If you're doing deco stops, you probably have a number of scenarios on a slate and can time those with a mechanical watch.

    That digital watch isn't so great when your mind is befuddled with narcosis, especially once you have to try and remember if you started timing this stop at 7 minutes past or 3? Yes, you could use a stopwatch, but can you remember all the buttons to press to make sure you do it right? A bezel is almost foolproof.

    A lot of technical divers use only timers and not computers - They plan their dives meticulously and follow the plans exactly, with worse case scenarios planned and recorded as well.

    That 'proper computer' is fine for most diving, but only as good as its algorithm, WR and battery and they do fail sometimes.

    A mechanical watch will do the job of recording dive time just fine.

    I wouldn't trust my life to a computer, a watch or a sundial, but a watch CAN still be a useful tool on any dive.

    M
    Last edited by snowman; 7th June 2021 at 21:36.
    Breitling Cosmonaute 809 - What's not to like?

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