At Baselworld earlier this year Victorinox Swiss Army introduced redesigned versions of their popular dive collection: the Dive Master 500M (mechanical) and the Dive Master 500 Mid-Size (quartz).
The Dive Master 500M collection (shown in red) comes in a 43 mm Black Ice PVD stainless steel case and is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement (ETA 2892.A2). The dial is protected by a flat sapphire crystal with scratch triple interior coated anti-reflective treatment. Unidirectional rotating dive bezel with the 20-minute indicator. Luminescent hands, hour and bezel markers. Functions include hours, minutes, seconds, date. Screw-in crown and caseback. Water-resistance to 500 meters. Available in red (shown), blue, brown, black or dial. Genuine rubber strap matching the dial color, pin buckle.
The Dive Master 500 Mid-Size collection (shown in green) comes in a 38 mm stainless steel case coated with either a Black Ice PVD coating or Gold PVD — powered by Swiss made Ronda 715 quartz movement. The dial is protected by a flat sapphire crystal with scratch triple interior coated anti-reflective treatment. Unidirectional rotating dive bezel with the 20-minute indicator. Luminescent hands, hour and bezel markers. Functions include hours, minutes, seconds and date. Screw-in crown and caseback. Water-resistance to 500 meters. Available in a variety of dial colors, with matching genuine rubber strap and pin buckle or Black Ice PVD coated bracelet.
Victorinox designers did not make a lot of changes to the Dive Master collection — there was no need to. In fact, both collections are the same apart from the addition of the new 38 mm case size (mechanical comes in 43 mm, quartz comes in 43mm and 38 mm), and redesigned dials and hands. The refreshed dials, with new hands and markers, are now cleaner and easier to read. Please note that most of the 38 mm models come with an orange trimmed minute hand (not shown). I had a chance to wear both the mechanical and quartz divers for an extended period of time, and while the 38 mm version is naturally a bit more comfortable than the larger 43 mm case, both are very comfortable. Typically a bigger diameter means less comfort, but the designers clearly paid special attention to comfort here.
Aesthetically, the 38 mm diameter case has a more conservative appearance, due to its smaller size. The 43 mm, due to its bulk, looks more masculine and rugged. The gold PVD model is luxurious, and could easily be mistaken for a very expensive solid 18K gold watch. Both case sizes are very comfortable.
One the one hand, if you need an actual dive watch for diving, the Dive Master is great as it meets the ISO 6425 standard. (Divers’ watches must be water resistant to 330 ft minimum (100 meters). They must also feature a time controller and comply with standards provided by NIHS 92-11 (ISO 6425) : luminosity, shock resistance, anti-magnetism, band solidity.)
On the other hand, if you are like me, and you want a sporty diver with good water-resistance and the ability to time 60-minute intervals (via the rotating bezel – just align the arrow on the rotating bezel with the minutes hand) then this meets those needs as well.
The only real issue I found with the Dive Master is that the genuine rubber strap (which is much better than polyurethane) sticks to the loops sometimes when taking it on and off. I am overly critical of every little detail — of any product — which makes me think that most people will probably not even notice the stickiness of the strap, after all, one advantage of genuine rubber over polyurethane, is that it is softer.
Additionally, I would have liked to see the orange trimmed minute hand on more of the models (it is on all but a few of the quartz models, but none of the mechanical models). Apart from these two minor points, I think you will realize if you want a good looking Swiss dive watch — for about a grand — this is an excellent choice. The retail price is $795 in quartz and the mechanical model is $1,250.