In 1878, Henry Fleuss invented the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA), opening a new era of exploration under the sea.  Spinnaker created their Fleuss series of vintage timepieces to honor this man.  They offer two variations.  Both are automatic.  The SP-5056 series features triangulated hands and trapezoid indexes, and the SP-5055 series with a more traditional face.

There is no shortage of dive watches on the market, but what drew me to this one was the price compared to the positive reviews I had read.  All watches retail for $285 with free worldwide shipping.  I acquired the SP-5055-05 for review, and I was shocked at how quickly it arrived at my doorstep.  I had read reviews about how fast their shipping was and they all turned out to be true.

My first impression was that I couldn’t believe they were only charging $285 for an automatic watch with this level of quality.  It simply looks and feels great.  The watch uses a Seiko TMI NH35 (Japanese) movement with minute, hour, and second hands.  Each watch in the Fleuss series features a different color combination for face, bezel, and strap.  The SP-5505-05 has a navy blue bezel and face, off-white hands and dial markers, and a brown leather strap with a yellow tint to it.

The case is made of 316 L stainless steel and is 43mm in diameter, 13.25mm thick, and is water-resistant to 150 meters.  It is incredibly well-machined and free of flaws.  It is on par with watches well above this price range in terms of quality.  My only criticism would be that for a watch paying homage to the inventor of Scuba, the water resistance rating is not as hardcore as the Fleuss name.  For the average person who occasionally spends time around water, this watch is great. If however, you’re looking for a professional dive watch, this one isn’t the one.  Still, for the price I can easily look past this limitation.

The C3 semi-curved Acrylic bezel has markers in 5-minute increments and looks great.  The coin edge doesn’t have the best grip, but the unidirectional movement is very crisp and feels like good quality.  On my watch, it does seem as if the 12 o’clock marker on the dial and the 0-marker on the bezel are off by about a millimeter.  They just don’t line up perfectly, but again, for the price I can easily look past this.

The face is covered by an advertised domed Sapphire lens, although it seems to be quite flat to me. Again, for the price I can overlook this.  It looks great like it is.  All markers and printing on the face are very cleanly done, and the blue face has a nice textured finish that gives it a very vintage feel.  A date window is placed at the 3 o’clock position and it goes well with the overall look.

One unique observation I made is that nowhere on the watch is the name “Fleuss” printed.  The case back features a great look at the watch movement thanks to a see-through crystal.  This is another area I feel Spinnaker added value through style points.  The screw-in crown features the Spinnaker “sail” logo and it includes a hacking function.  I do wish the crown was either a bit bigger or that it had more “bite” to the grooves.  It can be a little hard to loosen, but it is still functional enough.

The strap is very comfortable and looks great with the Spinnaker name stamped on the buckle and back of the leather.  If you’re not a fan of the yellow tint to the leather, the company does offer other straps that can easily be swapped out.  I actually switched it out with another 22mm strap just to see how it looked, and I definitely like it with the darker color as well.

The Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-05 is a beautiful watch for a great value.  If you’re looking for an affordable automatic dive watch, this one is very hard to beat.  Be sure to check out the other variations in the Fleuss line to see which one you like best.  Spinnaker is offering SOFREP readers a 20% discount at checkout by using the code “SOF20”.

*All images courtesy of the author