Many watch enthusiasts regularly look for used vintage dive watches — arguably one of the most sought-after styles on the market. Unfortunately, the cost of those watches is often well over $1000 for a quality functional timepiece that has the worn characteristics that are desired. Walter Mitt not only offers a watch that checks all the right boxes in terms of vintage style and quality, but their Royal Marine aged experiment offers buyers a truly unique experience where they can customize the smallest details to create their dream vintage dive watch.
Before getting to the actual watch, I’d like to point out that Walter Mitt’s customizable experience was both easy and fun using their online watch builder by allowing you to pick your desired color and style of bezel, dial, hands, crown, case, and strap. As you select a feature, an animated rendering of the watch is displayed to reflect your choices so you can be sure it is what you want. Prices for a customizable Royal Marine start at $360 and go up to $515 depending on how many “aged” components you select. Walter Mitt offers aged effects on their case, dial, hand, and bezel selections. Shipping to the US is an additional $35.50.
The Royal Marine case is offered in standard 316L stainless steel, rose gold, gold, or PVD finish. Case dimensions are 39.5mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, and is 14.8mm thick. It has a balanced, clean look with a mix of brushed and polished areas. It wears nicely on the wrist and is very light. Lugs are 20mm wide with a quality Italian leather strap that utilizes quick release spring bars for easy changing of straps. The Royal Marine also ships with a green Nylon NATO strap and extra spring bars. Walter Mitt conveniently includes a spring bar tool to help with adjusting straps. Available strap styles include Alligator Pattern, 50’s, Vintage Oily, and Ferrara, among others.
My favorite feature on the watch aside from the aged effects is the double-domed, curved mineral crystal glass. While I wish it were Sapphire crystal, Walter Mitt manages to keep the overall cost down by going with mineral instead. It gives the watch the vintage look that I absolutely love in a dive watch. After weeks of wear, I didn’t experience any scratches or wear. It seems to hold up very well.
The case back features an exhibition mineral glass display for the Miyota 8215 automatic movement. It is not a complicated movement, but it is reliable and looks good through the case back. The watch is water resistance to 100 meters (330 ft.) and is durable enough for swimming and snorkeling. The screw down crown is comfortable and easy to grip — an important feature on watch this size. The bezel is also very nicely done. It has a good action with sharp clicks.
Watch face options vary in color and style with over seven choices in both. Styles include vintage, Sunray, WMT Ocean, 60’s Diver, and more. The aged look can be added to any color and style combination. With this many options, there is no doubt you’ll find one you like. The previously mentioned bezel has several styles and color options to match the dial. Choices are extended to the minute, hour, and second hands. All second, minute and hour hand selections have quality lume on them — images below show the bright lume that is achieved.
For what is essentially a sub-$500 watch, the quality and customization options are very hard to beat. While small, the watch feels well-made and I have had no issues after weeks of wear. If you’re looking for this style of vintage dive watch, be sure to visit the Walter Mitt customization site before you bid on an auction for a beat-up old dive watch elsewhere. And if you’re interested, Walter Mitt also offers several pre-built Royal Marine watches on their site in a variety of colors and styles.
*All photos courtesy of the author unless noted otherwise