Rhodus Skull Diver

Ok, when you saw the title "Rhodus Skull Diver," what did you picture? Maybe a wrist anchor built like a steampunk submarine? A dial emblazoned with the Jolly Roger? Or perhaps a faux-military piece with something like "Death or Glory" emblazoned on the caseback? Come to think of it, I've had one of each of those in my collection, but that is not what the Rhodus is about. Instead, it is a classy, vintage-style diver with a slick, modern dial and everyday versatility. I got to sample a prototype for this review.

Rhodus Skull Diver teal

Rhodus is a new microbrand based in the Netherlands and the Skull Diver is their debut model. It is comfortably mid-sized with a stainless steel case measuring 40mm wide, 48mm long, 14mm thick, and sports a 41mm bezel. These dimensions will look good on a wide range of wrists, and they certainly did the trick on my 6.75" paw. Production watches will be 0.4mm thinner.

Rhodus Skull Diver wrist shot

The Skull Diver is equipped with everything you would want on a diver: 300m water resistance, a screw-down crown and case back, an AR-coated and double-domed sapphire crystal, high-visibility hands and markers, bright SuperLuminova, a 120-click unidirectional bezel - and for all you professional saturation divers, an integrated helium release valve. Inside, beats a bulletproof Seiko NH35 or if you'd rather not have a date, an NH38. Whatever adventure you have in mind, this watch can probably handle it with aplomb. 

Rhodus Skull Diver

Fine, polished bevels start at the far corner of each lug, becoming ever slimmer until they disappear at the polished, coin edged bezel. This offers a pleasant contrast to the flat sides and otherwise brushed finish. That brightwork is also echoed in the crown, and the center links of the beads of rice bracelet. I do love a nice beads of rice! It is one of those features that immediately recalls one of the most pleasing aspects of retro style while also offering what I believe is a comfort level unequaled by other bracelet designs. This one tapers from 20mm to a signed 18mm, push-button clasp with three adjustment holes. Rhodus promises an upgraded clasp and better end link design for production. I had no issue with the clasp but the fused look of the end links lacks definition and the center "beads" are far too long. The final iteration should prove to be a better match to the individual beads on the bracelet.

Rhodus Skull Diver bracelet

You will find the watch's namesake skull on the crown. It looks a bit soft on the prototype but this is because it is molded. Production watches will see it engraved, which should be much sharper. 

Rhodus Skull Diver

Bezel action is ideal, providing decisive snaps into each detent without undue effort or sloppy backplay. That extra 0.5mm of overhang provides just enough additional grip to ease its operation. A glossy ceramic bezel insert enhances the other shiny bits, elevating the dressiness another step. All bezel markers are engraved and filled with BGW9 lume.

Rhodus Skull Diver teal

The dial on the sample watch is a fabulous Blue sunray. Brown, Black, Teal, and full-lume White will also be available. Its layout consists of polished markers and hands that are loaded with C3 lume. Triangles mark the primary hours, but they are pointing outward like those on an old Eberhard Scafograph. The handset has a Scafograph flair as well, featuring a pencil minute hand and an arrow hour hand, departing slightly with the addition of an orange paddle second hand. If you opt for a date, you get it tucked in at 6 o'clock with a polished frame. At night the C3 and BGW9 partner up for a two-tone glow. 

Rhodus Skull Diver lume

The "skull" part of this diver does not leap out at you. Rather, it is a tidy, polished image in the lower half of the dial, topping three lines of fine, tightly compressed text rendered in the same wildly stylized typeface as the Rhodus logo at the top. While you can see the 1960s dive watch elements in the face, the result is undoubtedly contemporary.  

Rhodus Skull Diver

Rhodus did to neglect the back side either. There you will find a detailed skeleton frogman polished and in high relief against a matte background. It is really the only aspect of the watch that carries the Skull Diver theme to its inevitable conclusion, and it both well executed and tucked discreetly against your wrist. 

Rhodus Skull Diver case back

When the Skull Diver goes live on Kickstarter, rewards will include the watch on the bracelet; a quick-release, two-piece nylon strap with a signed buckle; and, a rather dandy leather travel sleeve by Harry's Watch Accessories. That last one is real bonus. Beautifully handmade in the United Kingdom, the sleeve is soft yet substantial suede with two generously sized watch pockets and is secured by three heavy snaps. In fact, go check Harry's for yourself because their stuff is gorgeous. 

Rhodus Skull Diver and Harry's watch sleeve

So what will this smart, stylish, 300m diver run you? Just $279 if you get on board with the Early Bird backers. Seriously, $279 is insanely cheap for this watch. Hell, the travel sleeve alone would run you almost $50. Rhodus is making this an impossible deal to pass up, but don't just take my word for it, head over to RhodusWatches.com and sign up for notifications. This is one Kickstarter you will not want to miss. ⬩

Rhodus Skull Diver


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