Kingsbury Dark Water 300

Back in February, Kingsbury Watch Co. launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Dark Water 300. Since then, they blew right past their funding goal and put the watch into production. They sent me a black dial sample for this hands-on review. This very watch will then be given away to a lucky attendee at District Time, Sponsored by NTH Watches (they have also contributed a Monarch II for our ever-expanding prize pool).  

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black


The Dark Water has all the qualities you would expect from a proper diver: high contrast dial, generous lume, sapphire crystal, signed screw-down crown, 120-click unidirectional bezel, and 300m water resistance. It also happens to be quite attractive, which came as a surprise to my dive-watch-weary wife and son. Usually, my eager unboxings are met with indifferent shrugs, but when they caught a glimpse of the Dark Water, they both wanted a closer look. Kingsbury has dressed this one up with just the right amount of brightwork to garner the right sort of attention.

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black

With its angular crown guards and sheer sides, you might see some TAG Heuer Aquaracer in the case, while the dodecagonal bezel recalls the Andersmann Oceanmaster I and the wave textured dial borrows a bit from the Omega Seamaster Diver. This is not to say that the Dark Water is derivative (although let's face it, as a genre, dive watches are a pretty inbred bunch) but rather, it has drawn together several appealing elements and added its own spin. For me, the bezel is perhaps its most appealing aspect. Polished chamfers on each of the 12 sides add a pleasant glint, which complements that of the glossy ceramic bezel and applied markers. Pretty as it may be, you won't want to set that bezel if you don't have to as it gives you absolutely nothing to grip. To put it mildly, this limits the Dark Water's utility as a dive instrument.

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black

At 43.5mm wide the watch is a bit large for a dress-diver, although that girth does help spread its 13mm thickness, making it appear somewhat thinner than it really is. On my 6.75" wrist this watch is strictly for weekend wear, but I can easily see a bigger guy carrying it off with a suit.

The handset is broad, long, and filled with lume. Their tips graze the markers, indeed the minute hand reaches right to the chapter index, just the way it should. I particularly like the polished second hand that is lumed at its tip and through the length of its oblong tail.

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black lume

Kingsbury confined the wave texture to the center of the dial, leaving the markers on a smooth black ring. This was not a bad move as it differentiates the Dark Water from other wave-textured watches, and also improves its readability. In keeping with the dashes of flash elsewhere on the watch, polished frames surround the 3 o'clock day and date window. I often call for black dates on dark dials, but in this case, the white disk matches the white bar markers, maintaining symmetry in a way a black one could not.

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black

On the flip side, the polished case back bears an engraving of a tentacle rising from the sea, holding a trident - just the way I'd imagine our octopus overlords might greet us. Behind it is a tried and true Seiko NH36, a 24-jewel, 21.6k BPH automatic that hacks and hand winds. It has a 40-hour power reserve, Diashock protection, and should provide years of trouble-free service.

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black case back

Kingsbury offers a range of straps and bracelets to fit the Dark Water, but the standard 22mm silicone strap will suit most people just fine. Soft, smooth, and comfortable it has sipes on the underside and a 20mm signed buckle. I wore it in the next-to-last of 9 adjustment holes, so I'd say it would fit just about anybody.

Kingsbury Dark Water 300 black

I really like what Kingsbury has done with Dark Water. It is a handsome, capable tool watch and best of all, it's eminently affordable - just $229.99 at KingsburyWatch.com. For that price, I could forgive the all-show-and-no-go-bezel and simply enjoy that dapper watch that looks far more expensive than it really is. ⬩

Share:
© The Time Bum | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig