OceanicTime Archives

2020-06-23

HELM Watches KOMODO Diver's Automatic 300M HANDS ON

Taking its name from the from Indonesian island of Komodo, a former penal colony and home to the infamous Komodo dragons, an endemic species of giant monitor lizard that might whip you with its tail, gore you with its claws or give you a nasty bite that will quickly poison you with deadly bacteria-riddled saliva, wait for you come to succumb in a feverous heap on the ground, track you down and gobble you up!

But that’s enough natural history for today, folks - this is the HELM Komodo 300m Automatic dive watch, a completely different kind of beast!



With a diameter of just 40mm, it is the smallest diver in HELM’s lineup of 3; however don’t be fooled by its modest stature, as this stout little fellow has a 14.5mm thick case making it quite the compact diver.



Now that we’ve sized the Komodo up, it’s time test its mettle (so to speak), the watch’s case is made from 316L Stainless steel, this is fitted with a double-domed (AR-treated) Sapphire crystal and a 120-click unidirectional rotational diver’s bezel. The case has a water-resistance of 300 meters.



Like the main case, diver’s bezel is in 316L Stainless steel. It has a black PVD inlay which has been engraved and filled with BGW9 SLN that glows blue in the dark.

The bezel actually has quite a good amount of height to it plus some nicely pronounced coin-edging so offers good ergonomics in that respect. The movement is surefooted with a good amount of resistance. It sounds a little scratchy – which is to be expected given its price point.



The crown which has a 7mm diameter is securely nestled between two integrated crown-guards. It is easily manipulated even with my giant hands. The winding stem is nice a solid, too.

Further diver’s features: include a screw-down crown and case-back with gaskets. The Komodo has also been tested in accordance with the latest ISO 6425 norms for a diver’s watch.



While the overall aesthetic of Komodo is sober, the watch could be characterized by its sporty diver-centric, dial which is highly legible thanks to generously proportioned circular hour markers, also with BGW9 SLN.

The dial which is offered in either matte black, orange or white is dominated by an oversized orange diver’s minute hand. This has been partnered with a covert black hour hand – allowing for effortless time-reading, at a glance.



Further dial features include: a minute track / chapter-ring, a red sweep seconds hand with lumed pointer and date window at 3 o’clock.

While the date is clearly legible even with my poor eyesight, you barely notice it, as it seamless merges with the rest of the dial thanks to a black date wheel, harmoniously framed with a white ring.



Earlier I discussed the bezel quality, but I wanted to quickly mention a bit about the case itself. It’s hard to go wrong with a 316L Stainless steel case however one area where affordable watches usually fall short is in their finishing.

I was pleasantly surprised just how smooth the case finishing was on the Komodo. No rough edges or sharp corners. The finish is a fine brushed / satin.



So what’s powering this little bruiser? The Komodo is equipped by a Seiko Instruments NH35 automatic mechanical movement. This has hacking seconds, so the second stops during time-setting allowing for up to the second accuracy.

Actual accuracy is 20 ~ +40 seconds per day. The NH35 is a 24 jewel movement with a beat-rate of 21,600 bph. It has an autonomy of approx. 40 hours.



While the Komodo comes with a Stainless Steel bracelet with a diver’s clasp, I have only worn it on its supplied NS1 Nylon Strap which comes with a Stainless steel buckle and keeper rings. On the bracelet the Komodo is a bit of porker weighing 215g. However on the NATO it is a mere, 110g.



Because I live in a hot and humid climate most of the year round, my personal preference is nylon. I have found the Komodo to be as comfortable as anything I’ve worn. While it is what we could call pint-sized in England – make that a pint of Guinness or Stout rather than a light ale as the Komodo has some substance to it.



If you favor a smaller watch, its 40mm diameter will suit, if you like a bit of heft it will have that on the bracelet but if you want something dainty – this ain’t it.

With its purposeful design, the Komodo isn’t overly derivative (someone did point out its similarity to a Citizen Promaster which I can see) it hasn’t jumped on the retro band wagon either, nor is it overly contemporary, rather it is more focused on being a solid, no-nonsense diver’s watch.


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And with its current price-tag of just 285USD, it makes an attractive value proposition for anyone looking for an unassuming tool-diver.

IMPORTANT while the Komodo is currently showing as sold out, more will be AVAILABLE again from August, 2020.

This Komodo was supplied by HELM for the purpose of this hands-on review – if I can bring myself to part with it, we will be giving the watch away at some point in the near future. Many thanks for reading!

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