Spinnaker Cahill 38mm

Last December, I reviewed the Spinnaker Cahill, a retro-styled diving watch. I really enjoyed its Fifty Fathoms vibe, although I noted that its 43mm case was oversized for a vintage-inspired piece. Spinnaker has now addressed that issue with the release of the 38mm version, offering much of the same Cahill goodness in a smaller package. There are five versions available, including PVD black and gold cases. For this review, they sent me the blue dial, steel case, SP-5042-02.

Spinnaker Cahill 38mm blue
Like its big brother, the 38mm is brushed with a polished bevel and topped with a domed Hardex mineral crystal. It is 14mm thick, which is just about 1.5mm thinner. One would hardly call it slim, but shaving that little bit off goes far to maintain proper proportion. It has a substantial, screw-down crown that is coin-edged and signed with the Spinnaker sail logo. It operates smoothly, helping to ensure a seal good for 100m water resistance.

Spinnaker Cahill 38mm blue

I loved the big Cahill's domed Hardex bezel and the junior model keeps that theme but executes it differently. Aluminum replaces glass and it travels only 90 clicks as opposed to 120; however, the sexy curve remains and the action is greatly improved, delivering firm, positive clicks. The markers are printed in white and gold on a metallic blue background, a combination I found tremendously appealing, although the absence of any form of lume on the bezel limits its utility as a dive timer. 

Spinnaker Cahill 38mm blue

On my 6.5" wrist, the 38mm Cahill was a winner. I have more than my share of big, honking divers in my collection, and while they can be great fun, they only get to play on the weekends. This watch could be far more versatile. Obviously, if you are a big guy with a big wrist, your experience may very well be different, but thanks to its stout case and bold dial, I never felt like the watch was in any way undersized or lacking in presence.

Spinnaker Cahill 38mm blue wrist shot

Dial layout consists of oversized applied markers, cathedral hands, and a lollipop second hand. The hands are an interesting update on the "Mercedes" style in that the circle on the hour hand is not sectioned. Call it "de-badged Mercedes" perhaps, but I like its more modern look. The markers and hands are brushed except for the bright yellow second hand. All are filled with lume. I criticized the larger model for the markers' insufficient depth, and while I feel obligated to repeat that here, I must confess that it bothered me far less on this smaller face. The roughly textured dial is navy blue, providing a solid anchor for the brighter elements like the white and yellow index. The white date window at 3 o'clock balances well against the rectangular markers at 9 and 6 o'clock. Overall, I like the look. It maintains the boldness of the larger model, but the color choice, smaller size, and simplified hands give it its own rather appealing character. Not that the lume is merely adequate, and not very long lived.

Spinnaker Cahill 38mm lume

For this version, they went for a Seiko NH35 automatic movement: 24 jewels, 21.6k bph, 40+ hour power reserve. It hacks, hand winds, and is equipped with Dishock protection. It is not decorated but it does sport a custom wave patterned rotor that you can view through the sailboat-emblazoned display case back. 

Spinnaker Cahill 38mm blue strap

The 38mm Cahill comes with on a 20mm blue suede strap with a signed buckle and just four yellow stitches for accent. I'm tempted to chide them for supplying a diving watch on a strap that is not waterproof, but this watch is more about style than utility. Don't get me wrong, the watch can certainly handle a dip, but with a timing bezel that is more form than function and a strap that would be ruined in water, it would not be my first choice for a plunge into the briny depths. On the other hand, I wouldn't hesitate to show off its nautical charm in a casual or dress-casual situation. 

I applaud Spinnaker for offering my favorite watch in their collection in two sizes. The smaller Cahill does not have all the bells and whistles of the bigger model, but it possesses its own distinctive charm. It is also significantly cheaper - just $230 on spinnaker-watches.com. If that isn't enough to grab you, then use code TTB30 to take off another 30%. At that price, the 38mm Cahill is a steal. ⬩


Spinnaker Cahill 38mm blue case back



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