Chris Vail has returned to Kickstarter with a new Lew & Huey model, the Orthos. For those of you who have forgotten your Greek mythology, Orthos was the two-headed dog who guarded the castle of the giant Geryon on the red "sunset" island of Erytheia. I have no idea who Geryon was or how to get to Erytheia, but frankly, that is not important. What you need to know about Orthos the watch, is that it is has serious dive watch specs, a Bum-approved price, it looks awesome, and for these reasons it is selling like hot cakes, already fully funded with several weeks to go.
The Orthos has a 42mm 316L stainless steel case and H-link bracelet with solid-end links and double-locking tri-fold clasp. It is rated for 300 meters water resistance, and backs up those diving chops with a unidirectional 120-click rotating diving bezel, slightly domed anti-reflective sapphire glass, engraved solid-steel screw-type case back, and SuperLuminova C3 illumination. A Seiko 4r36 (NH35) runs the works. This is a solid unit, adapted from the venerable 7s36. It is a hacking, hand winding automatic with 24 jewels, a 21.6k bph beat rate, and a 41 hour power reserve.
It is a capable diver, but also a damn sexy watch. It borrows a mix of vintage and modern styling cues, including twisted lugs, three-color dial with both fade and sunburst pattern, applied markers, fully lumed seconds hand, and a combination brushed and polished finishes. There is a little bit of Omega Seamaster Professional in the scalloped bezel, maybe a touch of 1970s Seiko in the colors and markers, but the Orthos does not look like either. It comes in two color ways: red dial and grey bezel, and blue dial with orange bezel. Chris does not shy away from color in his pieces and these two are no exception. The red has a HAL 9000 intensity, and the blue and orange bring a tropical pop.
The photos show a pre-production prototype, so there are a few changes in the works for the final production versions such as a more pronounced fade effect on the blue dial, a less reflective finish on the bezels, a unique Orthos engraving on the case back, and possibly reversing the colors on the date wheel (my vote: leave it black-on-white). Chris anticipates an October delivery. MSRP will be $500, but early backers can grab one for $400 in the pre-order period.
I have had three Lew & Hueys pass through Time Bum Laboratories for evaluation, and each one has been more impressive than the last. Of course, pre-orders are never a sure bet, but the Orthos holds great promise. If you are looking for an everyday diver with a stylish snap, you would do well to check it out.