About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic Review and Giveaway

Review and photos by Mike Razak

You may not be familiar with Copenhagen-based About Vintage. The brand name is as much a descriptor as anything else. (And it's perhaps a bit too on the nose, but let's just accept it and move on). All the watches are purportedly designed by Skov Anderson, and his name appears somewhere on most of their watches. The aesthetic is decidedly Scandinavian: ultra-clean, uncluttered, simple. 

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic
While there are several quite attractive models in the brand's lineup—including a limited edition moon phase collaboration with Frederique Constant—many of the designs are over-familiar in this very saturated watch market we have. But the 1926 At' Sea Automatic sees the brand getting a bit more serious about making "real watches." Read on for a deep dive on the brand's newest piece, and a chance to win one for yourself.

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

The 1926 At' Sea Automatic is clearly influenced by vintage timepieces. Thin 20mm lugs create an even curve along the 47mm tip to tip, while the extra-wide bezel hearkens back to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Aqualung (or the Blancpain-produced Tornek-Rayvilles). At just 39mm wide, the fully brushed case is suggestive of more modest times when your watch didn't have to be large enough to make a statement. I was at first a bit uncertain about the use of a screw-down onion crown. It's very vintage, but not typically associated with divers, or even tool watched. That said, after using it while I had the watch on, I'm sold: it's easy to operate, and the tapering as it approaches the case allows for a gripping point not afforded by standard crowns.

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

The proportions of the stainless steel case (also available in rose gold-tone) allow the watch to sit nicely on the wrist, with the lugs flowing organically from the 13mm thick case without any abrupt angles. All the edges are crisp as well. The only polishing you'll find throughout is on the top edge of the ridged bezel and the crown. In fact, the bezel is one of the only trouble spots for this watch. While it's easy to grip, it's too stiff, requiring more effort than it should to rotate. I also would've preferred some lume on the bezel for the nighttime dives I never go on (which would also be hindered by the 100m water resistance).

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

The 1926 At' Sea Automatic features a "super domed" sapphire crystal. I've recently had a debate about the merits of sapphire versus plexiglass. For a person who is prone to scuffs and dings, sapphire is the clear choice for its superior durability. I know you can buff out the scratches on plexi, but I'd rather not have them in the first place, and it takes a lot more to shatter sapphire than it does to scratch plexi. Add to that the fact that you can now achieve with sapphire the doming once restricted to plexi, and brands have no real excuse aside from some questionable attempt at historicity. The At' Sea makes the right choice and keeps the vintage vibe alive while still keeping the build modern. 

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

Under the crystal is a sandwich dial that's quite well proportioned. The dial on mine is a deep blue, but it's also available in black. I'd say get the blue, because there are times when it looks black, anyway. Large circles of lume sit underneath, while at 12 o'clock, you'll find a triangle that could honestly stand to be a bit larger. The About Vintage logo sits just below the triangle, while small text features the brand and model, as well as 'Automatic.' I'm very meh about the name, but I do like the logo, so I'm glad it's all presented this way.

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

The leaf hands are perhaps my favorite part of the dial. While the seconds hand is truly unremarkable (and as it has no lume, prevents this from being a true dive watch), the hour and minute hands are graceful and elegant and filled edge to edge with lume. The lume on the dial is just adequate. It charges quickly, but its brightness is middle of the road, and it doesn't last very long. The lume appears to be different colors on the hands and dial--but you can be the judge of whether this is true or just my failing eyes. 

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

Rolling the watch over, the caseback features some of the prettier art I've seen on a watch. It's clean and simple, as you'd expect, but features contrasting shades to bring the ocean scene to life. It's easy to go overboard or truly underwhelm with caseback designs, but the 1926 At' Sea Automatic does a great job. The case is screw-down with obligatory SpecText™.

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

Underneath the caseback is a Miyota 8215 automatic movement. It lacks hacking and has a date, both of which are drawbacks for the watch (which does not have a date). While I don't need to set my watch to the second, I'm accustomed to being able to do so, and that's enough for me to complain. The 8215 is widely used but certainly the lower end of Miyota's automatic offerings. I would've preferred a 9015, which is superior in every way. As it is, you still have a reliable movement, but one that may not fully justify the price of the watch.

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

Perhaps making up for the movement (just a little) is the strap package. The At' Sea comes with not one, not two, but three different straps. Each model comes with a rubber strap that magically attracts no dust, a mediocre NATO, and a lovely mesh with a branded clasp. The watch is equipped with quick-release spring bars, as are the non-NATO straps, so swaps are easy. If none of those are to your liking, I hope the pictures also show some of the versatility of this watch, including when I hit StrapNirvana™ with my heavy-stitch brown leather.

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

If you're wondering about the name, specifically the 1926 appellation, I'm here to help. It refers to the year when Rolex introduced the first waterproof watch, paving the way for the true dive watches we see today. The 1926 At' Sea is part of that tradition and takes its cues from other classics to present an affordable option for those looking for the vintage vibe without the vintage pricing. 

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic

While I'd prefer a more freely rotating bezel, better lume, and an upgraded movement, I love the overall design with the wide bezel, onion crown, great handset, and impressive caseback art. The first batch sold out quickly, but the second batch is now available on the About Vintage website, starting at $599 (the rose gold edition is an extra $20). 

OR! You can enter our giveaway to win one! Just click: The Time Bum x About Vintage Giveaway ⬩

About Vintage 1926 At'Sea Automatic




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