Deep Blue Diver 1000 40mm

Back in November, I published a running list of all the watch-related Black Friday - Cyber Monday sales I could find. There were some pretty impressive bargains on there, and I was only able to resist its call for about five days before I cracked. I snapped up some sweet deals from a few strap vendors, and one watch: the Deep Blue Diver 1000 in the new 40mm case and crazy abalone shell dial. It lists for $299, and I got mine for $159.39.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone

Deep Blue is a rather prolific brand. At any given time, their catalog contains a wide variety of diving watches, and thanks to their frequent sales and discount codes, they are available at exceptionally appealing prices. I bought a Sea Ram quartz for the insanely low price of $99 on sale a couple of years ago and have been nothing but pleased with it since. The only thing holding me back from buying more of their watches was their size. It seems the folks at Deep Blue are clearly much larger than myself. With the exception of the 34mm Sea Princess, most of their collection hovers around the 44-45mm range, and while a big watch can be fun every now and then, my tastes are running more to mid-sized pieces.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone

The Diver 1000’s brushed stainless steel case measures 40mm wide, 49mm long, and a whopping 15mm thick. As a result, it sits squarely on the meager real estate of my 6.75” wrist, while giving up exactly zero in hulking dive watch presence. Normally, I praise slimness over bulk, but the Diver 1000 is not trying to be an all-in-one watch that you can dress up. It is a “look at me” tool watch. It's nice to have a fun, swaggering timepiece that does not try to overlap my arm.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone

Two sizable crowns sprout from this case. You’ve got the usual time setter at 3 o’clock, deeply scored, signed, and flanked by guards. Its easy to grip, screws down smoothly, and along with the seals at the caseback and crystal, protects the innards for a rated 300m (1000 feet, hence the name) water resistance. The other, smaller crown is at 10 o’clock and is in fact, a manually operated helium release valve (HRV). HRVs are quite handy if you are a commercial saturation diver working in a mixed gas environment for prolonged periods. Providing an escape for helium that may have been trapped inside the watch prevents it from expanding upon ascent and popping the crystal out. It makes some sense on a watch rated for such depths, although from a practical standpoint, a flush mounted automatic HRV would be preferable to one you might forget to open or close. Not that it matters, as 99.9% of the dive watch community - myself included - will never, ever need an HRV.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone

The case is a scaled-down version of the Master 1000. It is stouter than that much larger watch and pleasingly soft, curving outward at the barrel in marked contrast to the flat sides of the lugs, which then terminate in rounded ends. The crown guards are roughly cylindrical, forming half-moons when viewed in profile. Even the upper edge of the toothy bezel (120 easy clicks) is rounded off, keeping the theme without compromising grip. I’ve seen plenty of smaller tool watches that stuck with flat sides and angular elements for more of a tuna can look, and I’m glad that Deep Blue went in a different direction. It adds character and feels more complete.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone case back

The screw-down case back is decorated with the name, serial number, and small image of a descending diver, all embossed on a recessed, matte blasted surface. It is simple but neatly executed. Up front, is an anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal.

For the movement, Deep Blue went with the stalwart 21.6k bph Seiko NH35, a hacking and hand winding, Diashock protected automatic with 24 jewels and a 41-hour power reserve. It’s hard to go wrong with this one.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone

Deep Blue offers dozens of colorways, but being a bit of a dandy, the abalone shell dials really jumped out at me. (They also offer a tempting mother of pearl. Maybe next time.) “Large” and “small” in this context refers to the size of the pattern. Judging from the pictures online, I worried that the busier, small pattern might hinder readability, so I went for the large one, which promised more swaths and fewer spots. Obviously, no two shells are alike so you have no idea what it will look like until it arrives, but mine is a spectacular swirl of iridescent blues and greens, dark enough that they don’t interfere with the applied, polished markers or faceted baton hands. Of course, a coating of white SuperLuminova doesn’t hurt either. The bezel insert is medium blue aluminum with silver markers and a raised lume pip. It works well to anchor the wild surface inside.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone lume

Wild materials aside, the dial is rather conservative, sporting the expected dots-and-bars layout and a 3 o’clock date window. A bright orange lollipop second hand caps is a nice touch. As I mentioned in my previous Deep Blue review, I am no fan of their branding. I like the logo just fine but the Deep Blue name below really works better on larger dials, and you need far stronger eyes than mine to read the microscopic “Precision Diver” below it. The three lines of text at the bottom of the dial are less obtrusive but equally unnecessary. None of this is a deal killer by any stretch, but I do wish they would pare it down on future models.

Deep Blue offers the watch on a 22mm black rubber strap or for an extra $83, a stainless steel bracelet. I always tell my readers to buy the bracelet and once again I ignored my own advice, cheaping out at the last minute and ordering the less expensive silicone strap. The bracelet would be a fine addition and there is something to be said for keeping it sober when the watch already had such a complex face, but it has pin-and-collar links, and that is by far my least favorite mechanism.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 strap

The factory supplied silicone is not bad at all. It is fitted to the case and notched below for easy spring bar access. It rather cleverly has a channel to retain one of the keepers and a fat tip on the tail that prevents it from escaping the second keeper. It is soft, comfortable, and secured by a sturdy, signed buckle. My only gripe is that like most silicone straps, it attracts lint like a magnet. I wore it for a few weeks before switching to a blue rubber IsoFrane style. I already had it my strap drawer, but Deep Blue has one just like it in their Straps section - the Hydro 55 Natural Rubber Dark Blue for $34.99, now on sale for $24.99.

Deep Blue Diver 1000 abalone

Not everyone will want a psychedelic dive watch. Mrs. Time Bum gave it an incredulous look and shook her head. “I see where they were going with this,” she said, “and I like that they did something different from the usual black or blue dials, but it’s not working for me.” If you feel the same, then you can choose one of the 22 other variants. Me, I love it. I strap on this groovy beauty and let my freak flag fly! You know. Metaphorically, of course.

If you would like one for yourself, head over to DeepBlueWatches.com. They are now on sale for $249.99, and you can get another 40% off with code DEEP for an irresistible $149.39. Have fun and try something different. At that price, why the hell not? ⬩

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