BACKGROUND My interview with TechnoMarine’s new CEO, Vincent Perriard last year left me full of anticipation and quite excited at the prospect of a new TechnoMarine dive watch. Vincent held his cards quite close to his chest, not revealing too many specifics about actual divers, but heavily intimating a return to ocean-recreation and promising plenty of audacity and excitement.
If his track record with the Audemars Piguet or Concord was anything to go by, TechnoMarine should be well on their way to making a new name for themselves; and with any luck will release something exciting by way of a dive watch in the not too distant future.
CRUISE SPORT Less than 6 months on and we have already seen a very nice new look for the TechnoMarine Cruise Sport line. Launched at Basel World 2010; the new Cruise Sport models with their large black rubberized cases and vividly colored dials are bold and youthful.
However TechnoMarine seem to have made the most progress with dial layouts, which seem to carefully follow whatever rules there are for making a dive watch dial functional. Apart from being very pretty to look at they are also bold, clear and easily legible, baring little resemblance to any past TechnoMarine models.
ROYALMARINE I’m very much looking forward handling one TechnoMarine’s latest creations; but couldn’t help feeling a little curious about their current models, in particular their 200m diver, the Royal Marine. I use the word diver loosely as the Royal Marine is more sport watch than diver, but nonetheless at the time it was as close to a dive watch as anything else in TechnoMarine’s 2009 model line.
I also wanted to see for myself what sort of watch the Royal Marine was and how it would measure up to other divers (pseudo-divers) and how it will compare to future TechnoMarine models. I wanted experience first hand why TechnoMarine were in need of such shake up? What was it about the Royal Marine and other models in their inventory that weren’t quite hitting the mark?
As you will read there is actually a lot that I like about the Royal Marine, it is not without merit. However as a true dive watch or even a serious sport watch it struggles in a number of areas.
CASE The Royal Marine’s large 47mm case has been crafted from a single block of marine grade stainless steel. Solid, robust and angular; it has some 20-plus sides (not including the lugs or its case back). Its clever mix of brushed and polished surfaces help to accentuate every angle and highlight the case edges giving the Royal Marine a refined industrial quality that is perfectly suited to a sport or dive watch.
CROWN Not a screw-down crown, but one that does lock. When extended the crown has two wings / handles that protrude from it (they look cool); when pushed down these handles lock into the crown guard making the crown as secure as any screw-down crown system I know. The crown stem itself is the thickest and surest crown stem system I have encountered; you couldn’t bend it or break it off if you tried.
CASEBACK The Royal Marine’s case back is ever so slightly contoured giving a comfortable ride against your wrist. It has been engraved with a lovely TechnoMarine emblem and wave pattern design. It’s not screw-down, though, but is instead held down by four screws.
BEZEL The Royal Marine’s uni-directional rotational bezel is the 120 click type. It is solid with a deliberate action. It has a black PVD insert with polished markers and a very tiny lume pip at 12. Gripping the bezel is not particularly easy due to the way in which it slopes downwards at an angle, the bezel grip itself not nearly pronounced enough. Personally I think the bezel in terms of size is not worthy of its case, a far more substantial bezel with more height and a little more circumference would have worked better in my opinion.
GLASS The Royal Marine has a flat sapphire crystal, which has been treated to anti-reflective coating on the inside.
DIAL / LUME The version of the Royal Marine that I have has a matt-black dial with polished markers and chapter ring with blue numerals (5 minute increments). If it wasn’t for the polished center ring I would say that it is a fairly attractive dial, however as a dive watch it wouldn’t fair too well. There is no lume anywhere on the dial either. Some has been applied to the minute and hour hands, but it is not particularly bright and there isn’t enough of it.
HANDS The polished, rhodium plated hands look nice, but as a diver - minute and hour hands need to be more easily distinguishable from each other. I’m not a fan of the second hand pointer either, for me it doesn’t really tie in with the overall look and feel of the dial. The second hand also lacks any lume.
STRAP The Royal Marine has an integrated black rubber strap. At its widest point it is probably 28-30mm with a taper down to 24mm where the buckle holes are. It is quite stiff and not particularly comfortable.
BUCKLE The Royal Marine has an enormous, polished two-pronged buckle. It has been beautifully made and designed. The top portion of the buckle is signed with a large TechnoMarine logo. TechnoMarine lettering runs along both lateral sides. The buckle is probably the best feature of the Royal Marine, a wonderful and aesthetically pleasing element that compliments every angle of the watch’s case. TechnoMarine should continue with this type of buckle.
MOVEMENT The Royal Marine uses a Swiss made automatic ETA-2824-2.
COST / VALUE The original MSRP for the Royal Marine was 2,600USD, but the watch can be had for half the price from a number reputable online dealerships.
SUMMARY The Royal Marine admittedly doesn’t make the grade as a true divers watch, but it was beautifully finished and had some very interesting traits, and incorporated some excellent technologies such as its crown locking system, sturdy crown-stem and incredible buckle, if some of these qualities carry through into future models it wouldn't be a bad thing.
TechnoMarine have a lot of potential as a producer of good quality dive watches, even more so now with Vincent Perriard at the helm, but they are yet to rock my world. They still seem to be quite a fashion-orientated brand. They do make a quality product, though; there is no doubt in my mind and to be fair this is only the beginning for TechnoMarine, and it's a new one at that. I'm still excited about their future and greatly look forward to being excited by future models.
GOOD finishing, movement, case, dimensions, crown locking system, crown stem, buckle, strap changing tool,
AVERAGE overall aesthetic, crystal, case back, hour / minute hands, WR, price
BAD bezel, dial layout, second hand pointer, lume, rubber strap, fashion brand image