The watch world is awash in a sea of vintage-inspired reissues, so it can be difficult to stand out for a budding microbrand. That makes the success of Albany Watch Co.’s AMA diver even more impressive — the watch leveraged a vintage 1960s skin diver aesthetic along with tastefully quirky details to smash it’s Kickstarter goal only a couple of months ago.
More than an homage to 60s dive watches, the AMA Diver is a tribute to Japanese pearl freedivers ifrom the 50s and 60s. The caseback features a tasteful representation of a topless diver looking back over her shoulder – an image based on a photograph of one of the actual divers.
We’re taking a look at the signature AMA Black Pearl, which sports a mother of pearl dial. Let’s dive in:
Dial, Hands, and Details:
The shimmering surface of the mother of pearl dial provides the backdrop for some very interesting design elements. The dark surface springs to life in different lighting, showing off muted rainbow hues at different angles. Undersized markers printed in BGW9 Superluminova are surrounded by a light blue border that really pops off the dark background. The minutes/second track use the same blue to provide a readable contrast.
The hands provide another layer of charm. The knife hour hand combined with a blue edged spear minutes complement the rest of the details nicely. The last clever quirk to jump out is the white harpoon seconds hand gliding its way around the dial to really punctuate the AMA’s bold statement.
The AMA diver’s case represents an up-sized barrel shaped skin diver. At 40 mm, it’s by no means an oversized watch, but certainly dwarfs the source inspiration of 60s skin divers. The majority of those 60s skin divers were a sort of a generic affair and became a ubiquitous staple. Don’t believe me? Just do a search for vintage dive watches on eBay and you’ll be flooded with a multitude of examples from various manufacturers. The AMA borrows some of the best of the skin diver design attributes without being an homage to s single piece.
The case has some very nice finishing touches. The brushed case meets up with a chunky bezel that is easily gripped and provides 120 solid clicks with no back play. The lumed sapphire bezel insert is thin enough to give the dial enough real estate to be the true star of the show.
The solid caseback is an excellent choice and I really love the unique engraving of the AMA diver image. It is beautiful and is a great conversation detail.
Case size: 40mm excluding the crown
Movement: Miyota 9039 beating at 28,000 bph w/ 42 hour power reserve
Case: 316L Stainless Steel
Bezel: sapphire, 120 click, unidirectional
Water Resistance: 300m (30 ATM)
I really enjoyed my time with the AMA diver. Founder Brett Williams has brought together some very nice details and made a solid watch that would be a nice addition to any collection. This is a tribute to skin divers not afraid to show a little skin.
The AMA diver is currently available in three iterations on Indiegogo. You can find the preorder here.