Dive Watch Releases / Articles

2009-07-19

BaliHa'i PROJECT Review



FIRST IMPRESSION Big, chunky glossy and cartoonish! The blue and orange of the hands popped out cheekily from the dial. For those that also own a PVD version I’m sure you’ll agree that the gloss and sheen of the coating on the BaliHa’i holds as much allure as the cute Tiki chic etched on the caseback.



PRESENTATION
The Bali Ha'i came packaged in a very cool, robust orange 1120 pelican case. Chris had in no way stinted on what was supplied with the watch either: no less than three extra straps were include, one black Italian rubber and one articulated orange professional divers strap. A beautiful leather strap with contrasting orange stitching to match the minute hand and a Panerai style PVD buckle was also included.

And if that wasn't enough Chris had also added, an extra professional divers clasp with trip-lock and wetsuit extension along with the original butterfly clasp that came on the bracelet, a tool kit and a BaliHa'i t-shirt. I have never received a watch with so many goodies, what an outstanding presentation!



AESTHETIC
A slick, glossy black coating of PVD, a big bulky case, cartoonish hands and a bezel that to me either resembled a Tiki wood carving or volcanic Hawaiian island (never did find out from Chris what his inspiration for the design was, my bad) added up to one very cool and fun looking piece.



MOVEMENT
A Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanical movement is what beats inside the BaliHa'i. The 2824-2 is the movement of choice by scores of Swiss watchmakers and with good reason; it's accurate, robust, durable and relatively inexpensive. There isn't really anything that can wrong with one either.



CASE
44mm PVD coated 316L Marine-Grade Stainless Steel, 52 mm Lug-to-Lug, 24 mm Strap / Lug Width / Helium Escape Valve (HEV)

Its 120-Click rotating diver’s bezel is firm, smooth and lines up as it should do precisely with the 12 o'clock hour marker. The funky bezel design made gripping the bezel when wet child’s play.

The crown is very big and chunky and was a pleasure to use. I would rate it for ease of use right up there with the Avenger Seawolf. It was signed with a cartoon scripted ‘T’, as in Tiki, a very charming touch.



A second crown at the 10 o’clock position serves as a manual HEV. It ‘s signed with ‘He2’ the symbol for pressurized helium (meaning 2 helium atoms) which is in fact the very element that would infiltrate the watch’s case when used in saturation diving chamber.

The screw down caseback is engraved with a cartoon illustration of sexy bikini clad girl, perched up on a grinning Tiki pole, perfect for transporting you from the 1000 meter abyss that is the Bali Ha’i’s intended environment to a tropical island or your local Tiki bar where you will be able to discuss the exploits of your latest dive over a cold beer or two. A really lovely touch and a huge part of the BaliHai’s charm.



The 5.2mm Sapphire Crystal is flat rather than domed, of course domed would have added a little something extra to the BaliHa'i, but being AR coated on its underside gives the glass a very attractive bluish tint in certain lighting conditions that makes up for the lack of dome.



WATER-RESISTANCE
At 1000 meters the BaliHa’i more than qualifies as a professional diver, some would say an extreme diver. I would say it’s in keeping with what dive watch enthusiasts expect from so called ‘tool divers’. The high depth rating also reassures any wearer of the watch’s robustness.



BRACELET
The BaliHa’i’s bracelet is a brick-link type. It’s hefty but very comfortable. Its clasp is the butterfly type and as with the crown is signed with a ‘T’. A second clasp with trip lock and divers extension was also supplied with the watch.



FUNCTIONALITY
For me the most important function on any watch let alone dive watch is to be able to read the time at a glace. The BaliHa’i makes this very easy with its professional clean dial and contrasting blue and orange hands.

The AR coated sapphire crystal and C3 Superluminova make the dial easily legible when underwater or in low-lighting conditions. Its 120 click rotating bezel also serves as a back up to your dive computer when used for its intended purpose (scuba diving).



DURABILITY
The BaliHa’i is every bit the ‘tool watch’ its designer intended it to be. Crafted from marine grade stainless steel, your BaliHa’i will last a life time and more.



LUME
The BaliHa’i uses a good application of C3 Superluminova on its hands and markers. I would rate it at good – very good.



VALUE
The PVD version is 895USD + Shipping, a more than fair price for what you get. The BaliHa’i is a limited run of only 100 watches of which only 30 were PVD. The quality of the watch is right on par with many divers that I own that sell for 2 or 3 times its price. An excellent reason for us to take more of an interest in Boutique dive watch brands that offer as much, if not more than those of their highly priced big-named counterparts.



OVERALL IMPRESSION Actual wrist-time speaks volumes. Since I got my BaliHa’I back in June it has barley left my wrist, testament enough to what a great watch this is. The BaliHai’ is the consummate professional’s tool watch, built to withstand pressures of 1000meters, equipped with an HEV and designed to serve as a functional dive watch, easily at home in the ocean as it will be round the pool bar. It’s a truly unique and charming dive watch that I will continue to enjoy for many years to come.



OVERALL RATING



© OceanicTime

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