Whytes Deep Sea

Canadian microbrand, Whytes Watches, jumped into the diving watch market this past weekend with the launch of the Deep Sea on KickstarterThey gave me a green dialed version for this review and after wearing it for a few days, I'm pleased to report that it is a handsome, mid-sized piece with a decidedly dressy bend but also all the right specs for a serious dive tool. 

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog
There are three Deep Sea models from which to choose: the black Oberon, blue Plongeur, and the green Tautog featured here. All share the same 40mm stainless steel case and 20mm solid end link bracelets. It seems as if the microbrand watch world has turned a corner on case size. While you can still find plenty of 42-44mm tool watches, many young brands have introduced smaller models. Just this year, I have featured 7 automatic tool watches that were 40mm or under. I, for one, could not be happier. I know they are not for everyone. After all, folks with big wrists look good wearing big watches. But for me and my 6.5” paw, mid-sized cases tend to be a more sensible fit for daily use. 

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog wrist shot

The case is longitudinally brushed with polished sides, bezel, and center links, complemented by a glossy black ceramic bezel insert. I like having contrasting finishes on a watch of this sort. Done correctly, the effect heightens case details while providing just enough shine to dress it up for the office. Of course, that bit of flash does not in any way detract from its purposeful appearance. Its broad, clipped-end lugs, chiseled crown guards, and stout 14mm thickness remind you that the Deep Sea is a tool watch at heart. On the flip side, the case back wears a simple maple leaf engraving, underscoring its Canadian heritage. Case finish is excellent. Unlike many sub-$1000 microbrands, the Wytes edges are perfectly crisp without being at all unpleasantly sharp.

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog

Whytes did not scrimp on the Deep Sea’s dive watch credentials. The screw-down crown and caseback are sealed for a whopping 1000m water resistance. The bracelet secures with a signed, push-button diver’s clasp. The 120-click unidirectional bezel moves firmly with no wobble or back play. Superluminova lights up the markers, handset, bezel index, and even the Whytes logo on the dial, for easy visibility in low light conditions, it even has a helium release valve for saturation dive and/or bragging rights. A domed sapphire crystal tops it off. I would have no qualms taking the Deep Sea on any aquatic adventure. My only criticism is that the angled shape and soft indentations on the bezel made it difficult to grip, and therefore difficult to turn with my bare fingertips.

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog side

The Whytes sunray dial is particularly attractive in the Tautog’s emerald green. Round applied and polished markers share the shape with squared-off numbers. I’ll admit that this would not have been my first choice for a numeral typeface, but after wearing the watch for a few days, I grew to appreciate their proportion to the other markers and the way they mirror the numbers on the bezel. Polished sword hands and a lollypop second hand give the watch a vintage feel. Personally, I would have preferred the brushed rehaut be left unmarked. As it is, it bears the words “Helium Release Valve” across the top, which strikes me as unnecessary clutter. I know the Rolex Deepsea has similar rehaut text and I don’t like it on that watch either. On the other hand, I kind of dig the “547 Fathoms” printed at the bottom. It is far less noticeable and I feel some seafaring nostalgia when I see things measured in fathoms.

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog macro

Buyers have a choice of two excellent automatic movements. A 24 jewel, 28.8k bph Miyota 9015 comes standard, a 26 jewel, 28.8k bph Sellita SW200 is a $75 CAD ($56 USD) option. Given the minor price difference, I am sure many buyers will go for the Sellita, but in my opinion, the Japanese 9015 is the smarter choice. It is a top quality unit that has proven accurate, reliable, and every bit as smooth as its Swiss rivals. The perceived cachet of “Swissness” just isn’t worth that much to me.

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog

Overall, the Wytes Deep Sea is an appealing watch and a good value. Kickstarter pre-orders start at $469 CAD ($356 USD) for early birds, which is a 50% off anticipated post-campaign pricing. Even if you opt for the more expensive movement you still get excellent bang for your buck. For more information or to place an order of your own, visit the Deep Sea Kickstarter page by July 13, 2018. ⬩

Update: Whytes has pulled the campaign, but I suspect they will revise it and return. Stay tuned.

Whytes Deep Sea Tautog case back, bracelet

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