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DAVOSA Apnea Diver Automatic REVIEW

BACKGROUND It was in 2014 when Davosa first partnered with the famous free-diver and multiple record holder Nikolay ‘Nik’ Linder who at the time started wearing the brand's flagship divers watch, the Argonautic Lumis.

But therein lay the problem the Argonautic while a very capable diver's watch was designed with Scuba diving in mind and Davosa’s dive watch ambassador, Nik Linder was a free-diver.

Considering that free-diving is actually the most accessible form of diving, very few watch brands have catered for free-divers. Plenty of the top Swiss brands like Blancpain, Breitling, Oris, JLC among others have partnered with those practicing what is ultimately the purest expression of diving.

Few, though had gone to the lengths of actually making a watch that could assist them in their ongoing training. The Davosa Apnea Diver Auto is the fruit of a close collaboration between Nik Linder and Davosa.

Their goal, to produce a unique divers watch that would have a multifunctional role serving not just as training tool, but as an instrument for both free and scuba divers which could also be worn just as easily against neoprene as it could alongside linen or cotton.

DIAL In the case of the Apnea Diver Auto its necessity to clearly mark out the three main phases in a free-diver’s breathing exercises has had the fortunate side effect of creating one the prettiest faces I have encountered on dive watch in some time.

HOW it WORKS This multi-colored ring around the dial with blue, white and red colors replicate an internationally recognized breathing exercise in freediving:

A breath is taken during the five-second blue phase, during the white phase it is held for 15 seconds and then during the red phase the air is slowly expelled over a period of 10 seconds.

With the help of this color code, the freediver can concentrate fully on this vital breathing exercise without needing to count or use a stopwatch.

DIAL pt. 2 The main portion of the dial is in a deep black with a combination of Arabic numerals and batons.

HANDS These take the form of wide bodied arrow-head hour hand, a long sword minute hand and a sweeping seconds indicator with a lumed red tip: in contrast to scuba diving where the minute hand is vital for safe an accurate time-reading, in freediving it’s all about the seconds.

This is why the second hand of the Apnea Automatic with its large red tip is now the most prominent hand ensuring exact reading of the seconds at all times.

The sword and arrow-head is classic combination that works beautifully with the rest of the watch dial. From a purely functional standpoint the hands are easily distinguishable from each other should you want to take The Apnea Diver scuba diving.

LUME The Davosa Apnea Diver Automatic has its hands (including seconds pointer), dial markers and 12hr bezel marker applied with Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova which has a green glow, The lume is nice and bright and long lasting – no complaints. Would BGW9 which glows blue have been a more current choice?

MOVEMENT The DAVOSA Apnea Diver Automatic is powered by a reliable Swiss SW 200 automatic movement. The SW 200 is a comparable movement to the better known ETA 2824 and as such is a good choice for the Apnea Diver Auto.

WR The Davosa Apnea Diver Auto has a water-resistance to 200 meters.

CASE In order to fully take advantage of the specially color-coded ring mentioned above, the Apnea Diver Auto must be held in an upright position for these breathing exercises.

The Apnea Diver Automatic offers the perfect solution while remaining a watertight professional freediving instrument.

HOW it WORKS Simply unscrew the crown at 3 o’clock, in the middle section of its slightly curved, 42mm Stainless steel case to separate the inner and outer portions.

A specially engineered hinged ring that is attached to the middle section, can now allow the watch to be safely stood up on its end just like a small bedside clock while the freediver performs their breathing exercises.

CASE pt. 2 Aesthetically this is a classic example where function has lead the way for a truly beautiful form.

No matter what angle you view the case of the Apnea Diver Auto from, it creates emotion. Its soft flowing lines, brushed surfaces contrast perfectly against the glossy black ceramic and polished coin-edged bezel.

BEZEL The bezel itself is 120-click type rotational divers bezel with a ceramic inlay and, an incremental dive-time scale and luminous 12hr marker.

The bezel has a firm action with zero play. Personally I favor a little more bezel height but this would likely have detracted from the watch’s elegance.

CRYSTAL The Davosa Apnea Diver Automatic is equipped with an anti-reflective treated flat Sapphire crystal. Admittedly domed crystals are more interesting however flat crystals give a cleaner look plus they're a lot easier to photograph. ;)

CASE-BACK The Davosa Apnea Diver Auto has typical screw-down case-back. It has an engraving of Nik Linder’s signature in the middle.

CROWNs There are two crowns on the Apnea Diver Automatic, one at 12 o'clock which is used for time-setting while the second crown at 3 o’clock helps to keep the inner-case safely locked into its outer housing. Both crowns are signed with the Davosa logo.

STRAP The Apnea Diver Auto comes equipped with two straps one black and one in blue. The straps are made from a high-quality rubber which is soft and supple.

The underside of the strap has a texturized rectangular pattern which allows the water to drain away when wet and allows air to flow under it so that your skin can breathe.

One downside is that the straps are integrated with the lugs which means using a third party leather band or mesh bracelet would be almost impossible. This watch would be superb on a mesh bracelet.

BUCKLE The straps are fitted with off the shelf Stainless steel buckles with Davosa branding on them. They do the job but of Davosa could have just gone the extra mile and used a slightly better buckle with a wider prong it would have been the icing on the cake.

WORN I usually shy away from this part of a review because wrists come in all shapes and sizes what might be acceptable to me mightn’t be to you.

However no matter how big or small your wrist is, the Davosa Apnea Diver Auto is going to be very comfortable. That it is because despite it dual part case construction which includes a small stand - it is pretty light watch. The 42mm diameter is reasonable and the rubber strap mentioned above is buttery soft.

PRICE The watch comes in three different versions: with a satin-finished and scratch-resistant Stainless steel case and black dial (998€) or alternatively with a completely PVD black coated case (1048€).

In addition to these there is a third version with a Stainless steel case in combination with a black PVD coated bezel and crowns (1098€).

This is a lot of watch for the money. Davosa are well established Swiss brand and this is a beautiful watch. It's a fair price, period.

FINAL IMPRESSION Davosa are well-known Swiss brand who have a lot of watchmaking experience. I've reviewed one of their models before and was pleasantly surprised. The only negative feeling I've ever had for the Davosa divers collection is that their watches are quite safe in their styling perhaps a little generic and in some cases too derivative.

This could not be any further from the truth in the case of the Apnea Diver Automatic - not only do we have a stunningly beautiful watch design but one that is totally original and with a classic style that will stand the test of time.


The Davosa Apnea Diver has answered the call from the free-diving community; finally we have a dedicated timing instrument that can be used during training and then taken into the ocean on our freediving adventures.

If you are only latent freediver or aren't one at all the Davosa Apnea Diver Auto still has a lot to offer as a dive watch. When I first saw it I fell in love but unfortunately the first 200 pieces had already been allocated - I had to wait a whole year to get mine - but it was well worth the wait!

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