BACKGROUND LIMES is a brand of the well known German case maker, Ickler, founded by Karl Ickler in 1924. Today the company is managed by the third-generation, Thomas Ickler. Ickler started making private label watches in the 90s. They began the LIMES brand a few years later with the goal to build mechanical wristwatches, crafted mainly by hand and using high-quality mechanical movements, combined with high-quality cases made by Ickler. LIMES is known today for its divers collection, called ‘Endurance’. The Leviathan is the latest addition to this collection.
AESTHETIC The Leviathan combines elegance with ruggedness. It has a very German, neat and orderly dial contrasted against a chiseled looking steel case. The watch would wear well with either business or casual attire. It’s unpretentious, classic looks will appeal to those that have an appreciation for more simplistic and minimalistic watches. LIMES are not ones for short-term trends or fashions; the Leviathan’s design illustrates this point well.
DIAL The Leviathan has a neat and well balanced looking dial in gloss black with contrasting white trapezoid block shaped dial markers. There’s an unobtrusive looking chapter ring with white minutes / seconds running around its perimeter. The pristine text on the dial has been kept to a minimum – only the ‘LIMES’ name plus ‘Endurance’ and ‘Automatic’. The dial offers excellent legibility owing to its wide aperture. Its black date window has been carefully positioned at 6 o’clock so as not to upset the balance of the dial.
HANDS The Leviatan has set of white block hands with a white needle second hand. The handset compliments the dial markers very nicely.
LUME The luminous indices and hands are in white BGW9 SuperLuminova, which emits a blue light. The white suits the watch well as it creates contrast as well as excellent legibility against the black dial. The blue lume is a nice contemporary feature. I would rate the lume at ‘good’.
CASE The Leviathan’s case has been crafted in-house from a solid block of high-grade Stainless steel using the latest in high-tech CNC machinery and then hand satin finished. It uses (possibly) the largest sized dive watch platform ever produced by Ickler. This is new territory for the casemakers, who produce (by comparison) modestly sized cases that typically measure 41.5mm in diameter.
Whilst Leviathan’s case is larger, it isn’t as imposing as its name might suggest. It has a diameter 44.5mm with a thickness of just 13.5mm. The design of the main case is round with angular sloping lugs that have straight lines on the top and sides, and rounded undersides, so that the watch fits comfortably on the wrist. All edges and corners have been given a smooth and rounded finish.
BEZEL The Leviathan is fitted with a 60-click type uni-directional rotational divers bezel with a black PVD plated insert with an elapsed dive-time scale crisply marked out in silver. There’s a triangular marker at 12 o’clock with a luminous pip in the center. The bezel action is light and springy with precisely measured one minute intervals. My personal preference has always been for 60-click type bezels, I'm not sure why really? Perhaps they feel and sound a little more gratifying. The PVD insert should hold up better than a traditional aluminum insert. However a ceramic insert would have been a little more ‘de rigueur’!
CROWN The Leviathan it fitted with a beautifully designed fluted crown that has been signed with an 'i' for Ickler. The fluting offers excellent grip whilst its generous size makes handling a joy. The crown is of course a screwdown type with double seals. The stem is wide and sturdy – sometimes I wonder if people might think I have a bit of crown fetish, the way I keep banging on about them, I don’t! It’s just that they are inherently weak and vulnerable, so the sturdier the better. I award top marks for the Leviathan’s crown system!
CASEBACK The caseback is a solid steel screw-down type sealed with double O-ring gaskets. It has an acid engraving with the ‘LIMES Leviathan’ name along with some of the watch’s specification. Otherwise it’s pretty unremarkable looking.
CRYSTAL The Leviathan is fitted with a flat Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on its inside. I’m not sure of its actual dimensions, sorry. Imho anything other than a flat crystal would be wrong on this watch.
WATER-resistance The Leviathan has a water-resistance of 30 bar, 300m ≃ 1000feet. I’m not sure it would really qualify as a ‘Leviathan’ of the deep, but 300m is well within industry norms for a ‘true’ divers watch.
MOVEMENT The Leviathan is powered by Swiss made automatic mechanical movement, the Sellita SW 200. The SW 200 is comparable to the ETA 2824. I’m not sure if it has been regulated by Ickler or not, but it has been keeping perfect time. I didn’t read any mention of a custom rotor, either, but a LIMES or Ickler signed rotor would certainly add value and appeal.
BRACELET The Leviathan is supplied with either a black rubber divers strap or a solid three link Stainless steel bracelet with a generic style diver’s clasp with trip-lock closure and a diver’s extension. The bracelet is attached to the case by screws. The end links aren’t quite flush up against the case, but it’s not at all obvious looking. The bracelet has a light satin finish that allows you to see the grain of metal.
BUILD Ickler have a policy of stringent quality control. Each watch is checked at every stage of its manufacturing process: from the turning and milling of each of its components, to finishing and assembly. The mounting of the movements, dials and hands is done by hand. Every watch is thoroughly tested before it leaves the factory, and is accompanied by a two year international warranty.
on the WRIST It’s quite a heavy watch, but it wears a lot smaller than it is thanks to downwardly angled lugs and rounded undersides. Also the caseback is smooth with no indentations from engraving. I wear all my watches loose and positioned right up against my hand. The Leviathan sits comfortably in this position. But at the end of the day – how long is a piece of string? What might be light and comfortable to me might cripple the next man. For reference my wrist size is 7 3/4’’.
VALUE On the steel bracelet the Leviathan has a price tag of 1195euro / approx. 1600USD. This is great value for an all German – designed, built and engineered watch, made by a case manufacturing company that has been in the watch industry since 1924.
It isn't too difficult to find a Chino-Swiss or Chino-German made diver selling for more. There is real value in knowing that your watch was actually built in Germany from start to finish and that it didn’t take a detour via Guangzhou on its way, right? I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that – there isn’t! It’s just that, if that is the case, then it should be reflected in the watch’s price.
COMPARE It’s been a real struggle to compare anything to the Leviathan because it is unique in that it was manufactured by its parent company, Ickler. This means the middle man was taken out of the equation so to speak. Making it hard to find mulch else similar, that is 100% German made and at its price point. I would suggest looking at ARCHIMEDE, also by Ickler, and if your budget is bigger you should take a look at Sinn or UTS.
OVERALL r a t i n g / 5
‘’Ich bin ein Deutscher!’’ The LIMES Leviathan mightn’t be one of the most exciting looking divers on the planet. It’s sporty, military-esque design is a tad staid and sober, but that’s OK. it’s supposed be. The good thing about this is that you’re less likely tire or grow bored of it. What it lacks in panache or flair – it makes up for in bucket loads of ‘good old fashioned’ no nonsense German engineering. If it was a car it would be Volkswagen, not quite as refined as a Mercedes or a BMW, but as solid and dependable a piece of German engineering as there is, and one that will surely stand the test of time!