The Dive Watch That Surprised Me
You’re not new here so what I’m about to say won’t come as a shock to you: people like dive watches. They truly do. This can be explained by the fact that divers are versatile and make for great everyday timepieces given their robust construction, legible dials, and, generally, reasonable dimensions. However not all divers match the above description, but most do. Once we’ve cleaned up the thick layer of homages of the Submariner and Black Bay that weighs heavily on the independent watch market, we find a layer made of more original looking dive watches. Many are inspired by yesteryear designs or philosophies, which impact how they are designed and made. Some others create something new and interesting, very modern looking and with modern tech. Then, lastly, there are brands that do both.
Enter Typsim and the 200M.
I only had to see a few Instagram posts of the Typsim to know I needed to get my hands on it. I liked how it looks—different—and the specs it came with—impressive. It has elements that look vintage—for example the oversized bakelite bezel insert and date magnifier—and others that look modern—like the case shape and bracelet clasp. And watch enthusiasts’ overall positive commentary on this model further convinced me to check it out. People said it’s well-made, looks unique, and fits the wrist as well as a silk glove that fits the hand of a gentlewoman from the 19th century. In other words, perfectly. So I reached out to Typsim and they were kind enough to send me a model to play with. And let me tell you, there’s a lot to like about this model which I’ll discuss in this review.
What’s a diver without the proper specifications? A fashion watch. I don’t know anything about Typsim but they seem to mean business. First by getting the dimensions of the 200M right: a case diameter of 39mm, a lug-to-lug of 47.5mm, a thickness of 12.7mm and a lug width of 20mm. That’s pretty much the Goldie Locks size for many humans who have a dive watch fetish. These dimensions mean the 200M will fit many wrists and neither look too big on small wrists nor too small on large ones. That’s why we call these dimensions the “Goldie Locks” ones. With these measurements, you can logically expect 200 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown and case-back. And you would be right.
Before that we get further into the yawn-inducing list of great specs, I would like to point out a few things about the 200M’s construction that made me write earlier that Typsim “means business.” First, the wide bezel insert that displays a fully-graduated count-up scale and that is covered with a piece of domed hesalite. (It does scratch easily but has superior shock resistance compared to sapphire.) Then, the aggressive-looking teeth protruding from the sides of the bezel insert. They are so sharp that one could easily turn the bezel whilst floating in the air like a tumbleweed caught in a tornado. If I were James Bond and was given this watch by Q, I’d think the bezel is actually an integrated chainsaw. The grip is perfect.
Alright, let’s talk about movement. The Typsim 200M is equipped with a non-COSC chronometer grade Sellita SW300-1 that beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 42 hours of power reserve. That’s a pretty darn good movement to put on a diver as it guarantees precise timekeeping as well as reliability. Sellita’s can be serviced anywhere in the world just like you can get anyone to replace your iPhone screen because you have yet again dropped this silly device on the floor and shattered the non-hesalite glass. Speaking of hesalite, Typsim opted for a domed hesalite crystal instead of sapphire for its superior resistance to shocks and for its good looks.
Moving away from the dial we find a large crown that is shaped like a massive screw head. It comes with knurling that is as sharp as the one found on the bezel, meaning it’s easy to grip and operate. The crown is engraved with the brand’s logo which looks like a modernized Blancpain moisture indicator. The rivet-style bracelet is quite nice too, having a 7-link construction which are held in place by two screws. Yes, it’s not the easiest bracelet to adjust because you have to somehow turn both screws counter-clockwise at the same time. The plus side is this: the bracelet links won’t detach from one another in a million years. What’s more is that the case has drilled lugs making it easy to swap straps.
Honestly, it is the design of the Typsim 200M that caught my attention before my eyes started drooling over the spec sheet. As mentioned above, the bezel insert is massive and reminds me of one of the many versions of a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Being made of hesalite, it shines and commands a strong visual presence, one that challenges the wearer: “Come on, try to break me! I won’t shatter.” The bezel, actually, overhangs the case by 2mm which also explains why it’s so easy to operate. The vintage vibe I referred to in the introduction can be seen in the massive date magnifier at the 3, as well as the unevenly-shaped hour markers. Those at the 12, 6, and 9 positions are larger to aid with legibility. (Note the 12 o’clock marker that comes with a half portion in blue.)
The dial is also mesmerizing to me. It comes with a lacquered finish and, quoting the brand’s website, “a negative-relief, galvanically-coated, gilt dial.” Negative-relief generally means that something is recessed from a surface and not sticking out from it, which I don’t seem to understand what it means here. My naked French eyes see what looks like painted hour markers. Perhaps Typsim is referring to the framed date aperture at the 3 that is indeed recessed from the dial. I do know, however, that galvanization is a process that protects metals from oxidation and tarnishing, which is a plus for a diver meant for adventures. Here I would suppose that the hands were galvanized as well, but please don’t take my word for it.
It is clear that Typsim really went full-force to make the ideal everyday diver that can be mishandled by unconsciously, reckless adrenaline-seeking individuals. All the while looking good for your weekend barbecue and at the office. This versatility stems from its impeccable specifications and its vintage-inspired design, the latter extending to the Sword handset, date magnifier, and riveted bracelet, amongst many other things. Typsim also seems to be a playful brand: the top half of the hour marker at the 12 is painted blue and the font on the date wheel is also painted in blue, which again echoes the blue “200m” printed text below the pinion.
The Heart of the Matter
At the heart of the matter is the fact that Typsim appeared just like that out of nowhere, unannounced, and told the watch world that it has created the ultimate diver. I would be curious to know more about the people behind the brand and what pushed them to create Typsim and how they went about designing the 200. Regardless of which angle I look at the watch, I can see that it was designed by people who either have a lot of experience designing watches or who spent a tremendous amount of time working on it. Or both. I’m making this assumption based on the numerous little design and technical details that would easily mesmerize anyone looking at this timepiece. It has enough vintage vibe to make it look cool and enough modern characteristics to guarantee it's a reliable tool watch.
The dial, to put it simply, is legible. The sword handset works well with the circular hour markers, the latter having silver surrounds. Both the hands and markers contrast perfectly with the ink-black lacquered dial. The date aperture is large, so is the font used to display the date, and it is easy to read at a glance thanks to the piece of magnifying glass. The fully-graduated bezel is easy to read and operate, and I would say practical. There is a lot of lume—although I didn’t mention it earlier—to guarantee maximum usability in all environments. And the riveted bracelet is comfortable and securely attached to the wrist. The double-pusher deployant clasp, which I also didn’t talk about earlier, is short and easy to use. Overall, the Typsim 200 has all that we need everyday.
Lastly, I would say this: Typsim went above and beyond to find the appropriate materials and parts to mark the 200M. From the chronometer-grade Sellita caliber to the domed hesalite crystal, the frustrating yet solid link construction, a bespoke lume compound made by SuperLuminova that will patina over time, as well as the galvanized dial and hands and the military-grade knurling on the bezel and crown. That’s a lot to put in one watch, at least in my opinion. Wha’s more surprising is the price: $1,199 for the non-COSC silver gilt version and $1,799 for the COSC gold gilt version. There isn’t a lot of competition at this price range.
It must be hard to start a watch brand with a diver. There are hundreds of dive watches out there already, from major Swiss and Japanese brands as well as from the myriad of micro and independent brands. This means the competition is brutal and one has to really make something special in order to stand out. In general—and based on my humble experience—brands would either offer a very unique-looking design or the most robust, specs-crazy watch. Typsim found the right balance here by drawing inspiration from vintage divers whilst drizzling unique little details all over the case and dial to make it unique. And yes, I will again mention the retail price of the non-COSC version: $1,199. That’s cheap, my friends.
You can learn more about Typsim and the 200M by visiting the brand’s website here.
Thanks for reading.