Remember the Spinnaker Hass? I reviewed the watch a few months back, and, at the time, it was one of the largest, toughest automatics I’d seen. But as it turns out, the company has an even larger timepiece in its lineup.
“A marvel of vintage styling,” the description reads, “fused with the rigor of modern-day watchmaking, the Piccard is re-establishing a new aesthetic in dive watch design … it still holds to the wrist comfortably and offers readability and function while truly being a standout watch in any collection.”
I’m not sure how one re-establishes something new, but “standout” is the keyword. As in, it stands out from your wrist like a piece of Renaissance architecture. Spinnaker was kind enough to send a review loaner my way, and let me tell you — while the term “dive watch” carries a lot of weight, it feels inadequate when discussing the Piccard.
In short: With its thick case, sturdy bracelet, and massive ultra-domed crystal, the Spinnaker Piccard is a diving bell for your wrist. Yet, like a pro wrestler with a philosophy degree, it manages to have a personality outside its brawn. It’s a deep one, from its 1,800 foot/550m water resistance to the raised indices and hands. Add in a reliable automatic movement and several thick gobs of lume, and it’s hard to argue with the $550 price.
Spinnaker Piccard Watch
- Case Diameter 45 mm
- Case Thickness 21 mm
- Lug to Lug 52 mm
- Crystal Ultra Domed Scratch Resistant Shaped Sapphire Lens with Anti-Reflecting Coating
- Movement Japanese (Seiko) NH35 TMI Automatic
- Bezel Unidirectional Bezel w/ Black Ceramic Plate
- Band 22 mm Stainless Steel Bracelet with Fold Over Buckle, Safety Lock and Push Button
- Water Resistance 550 m (1,800')
- Weight 8.36 oz (237 g) w/ three links removed
- Massive domed crystal
- Excellent automatic movement
- Surprisingly great value
- One-of-a-kind styling
- Massive domed crystal (also a drawback)
- Half-pound wrist weight
- Lack of a half-link on the bracelet
Spinnaker Piccard Dive Watch Review
In my first go-around with the brand, I called the Spinnaker Hass “not just a can of tuna, [but] practically the whole damn fish.” See the reference photo above for a comparison with the Piccard.
In fact, I’m not even going to go into the exact details of the measurements. The pictures, along with the specs above, more than speak for themselves.
What I will discuss is the way its materials are employed. Spinnaker made a good choice by applying a brushed finish to the entire case. Because with that massive dome, you don’t need anything else catching the light. The flat bezel coloration of my Volcano Black tester was also nicely done, complete with a lume triangle at the apex.
And speaking of apexes, what’s the deal with that massive crystal? Physics, as it turns out. See, the thicker the dome, the more water resistance a watch can generally net.
Combined with the screw-down crown, the Piccard is good for a depth of 1,000 feet. That’s insane, folks. Record freedivers only reach a still-astonishing 700 feet.
Now, the closest my tester came to deep-dive duty was a light plumbing project. I scraped the crystal against a metal hose in the process, but it garnered nary a scratch.
Beneath the glass, the Piccard’s face is clean and legible. The hands and indices are very well-lumed, and the touch of color on the lollipop seconds hand is neat.
Spinnaker’s logo and depth/automatic lettering are tasteful, and the “HELIUM RELEASE VALVE” and “300 FATHOMS” markings are nicely out of the way.
At the Heart of the Beast
Beneath all this steel and sapphire glass, the Piccard operates on Japanese NH35 Automatic movement. It’s a popular mechanism in the watch world, and with good reason. Not only are they generally reliable, but repair parts are readily available if something goes wrong.
And unlike the Hass’ NH16, the NH35 will hack. Unscrew the massive crown, pop it into the setting position, and the second hand will halt in its course. But here was my biggest surprise: After its initial sync with my radio-controlled G-SHOCK, the Piccard kept more or less perfect time over nearly a week on my wrist.
At the end of its session, my tester was running just a second off of atomic time.
A Boatload of ‘Buts‘
Get ready for the caveats because there are a few.
First, and most obviously, this watch is huge. It’s not so much the case diameter (45 mm) or even the lug-to-lug (52 mm) but that incredible 21 mm peak of the crystal. And with a weight of over half a pound(!), the Piccard is an absolute tank.
I’m not exactly a small person, and, quite frankly, wearing this watch is a bit of a workout.
Next, there’s the visibility. When viewed straight on, the ultra-domed sapphire provides a lot of interest. The hands, indices, and date window really pop, and the lensing aspect is neat.
But the second you go off-angle, you’re going to have difficulty reading the time.
Lastly, there’s the bracelet. Spinnaker opted not to include a half-link, and there are only three holes of micro-adjustment. Your best bet will be to wear it just a bit looser than you’d like, and because of the pinned links, you’re probably going to need to visit a jeweler.
Conclusion: Spinnaker Piccard Dive Watch
Still interested after the negatives? Good, because they don’t matter.
The Spinnaker Piccard is crazy, in the best possible sense. From its outlandish water resistance to the ridiculous height of its crystal, this watch is sheer and delightful madness.
You might notice that I didn’t dwell on the price. Here’s why — the Piccard actually feels like it’s worth the cash, given its footprint, performance, and style. From a purely physical standpoint, you’re not going to find more quality and quantity at $550.
If you’re looking for a truly outlandish watch that can handle just about anything the water can throw at it, look no further than this massive, beautiful beast.