As I mentioned in Part 1, my meeting with Phil Rodenbeck of the Visitor Watch Company was a veritable feast of new watches (and sushi, but mostly watches). The first was the Calligraph Linden. The second was the Duneshore Shallows, a sport watch variant of the original Calligraph Duneshore.
I remember when Phil launched his first watch, one of the Watchuseek forum members piped up and said he should make a dive watch version, and I rolled my eyes. "Oh sure," I said aloud to my computer screen, my voice dripping with sarcasm, "because everything has to be a dive watch." I felt pretty sure of my decidedly pompous opinion until Phil pulled out the Shallows. "Aw crap," I thought, "the forum guy was right." So, random forum guy, whoever you are, I apologize. You were right and I was wrong. A Duneshore diver was a pretty damn good idea.
In a world of watches named Deepsea, Superocean, and Fathoms, you may wonder why Phil chose "Shallows" of all things. It's a bit tongue-in-cheek. He recognizes that his creation is not a professional diving tool, and that even if it were, it (like most of the divers in The Time Bum's stable) would likely never see depths greater than that of a casual swim. Nonetheless, he built it for 200 meters water resistance – no small feat for a watch with a concave case. He accomplished this with a solid back, a 1 mm increase to the wall thickness of the central case, an additional seal in the screw-down crown, and a 3 mm thick sapphire crystal. The dimensions are nearly identical to the original Duneshore. The new watch is still 44 mm wide and 51 mm lug to lug but the thickness has increased to 15.5mm. The two watches are close, but every aspect of the Shallows is new.
Of course, a dive watch needs a timer and the Shallows delivers. It is a unidirectional 120-click bezel that is coin-edged, domed and features an engraved, lume-filled index. Overkill? Nope. It is just the kind of detail necessary to create a bezel cool enough to cap the Duneshore's unique faceted cushion case. The transition from dress to dive required some other cosmetic changes as well. The mirror polish of the original is replaced by a more tool-appropriate brushing and the case back now bears the image of a sea lion instead of the feline variety - but he still is still chomping a door-knocker. Inside, you will find the same Miyota 9015 automatic movement.
Less obvious are the changes to the dial. It still has the Calligraph layout, but the dial is smaller to accommodate the new bezel and other changes, necessitating a new handset. It is similar to the original but shorter, while the pen nib tip of minute hand has grown. This allows better differentiation between minutes and hours, addressing one of my few gripes about the Calligraph series. Other changes include the elimination of the date and a switch from BGW9 to C3 SuperLuminova. Planned colors include white, teal, orange, and bright blue.
The Shallows will come with a rubber strap and the new Duneshore bracelet. At our meeting, Phil had the watch on a generic rubber strap (not the final) and mentioned how difficult it was to manufacture a custom bracelet to his satisfaction. Now I see why. The bracelet is a beads-of-rice style and each bead is a teardrop like the hour markers on the dial, and the double-deployant clasp echoes the complex shape of the case, embossed with the Visitor door-knocker logo. The whole arrangement looks fantastic, although I do wonder about the size. The clasp is not particularly wide, but it does appear large in the wrist shot. [Update: I tried the bracelet myself tonight and it is not too large. It is about the diameter of a quarter, much thinner than it appears in photos, and quite comfortable to wear.]
I thought the Duneshore was too pretty for a sport watch, but with some thoughtful tweaks, it made a seamless transition. It not your typical diver, and this is good thing. Like the other Visitor offerings, it is unique, a bit whimsical, and immensely satisfying. Pricing is not yet final, but Phil expects the Shallows to sell for about $750 and the bracelet to be a $100 option. For more information, see www.visitorwatchco.com.