Posted on May 19 2022
Sometimes it's best to whisper.
You can have a quiet opulence that is only apparent to the trained eye. It's the restrained luxury of a Patek Philippe. A watch that will rarely attract attention, but when it does, it's a knowing nod from a fellow connoisseur.
But sometimes it's better to shout.
If you want to send a clear message it's often best to be loud. And that's the approach that Neminus takes. They don't want you to whisper. Instead, they want you to "Be unique, be different, be brave."
Neminus watches are unique, so I wasn't quite sure where to start with the Xtreme Diver 300. Then I came across the criteria that the brand uses - UTOPIA.
Each Neminus release should be Unique, Tough, Opulent, Practical, Innovative and Aesthetically pleasing.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at this distinctive diver.
Neminus Xtreme Diver 300 Deadhead Logger
Neminus Xtreme Diver 300 Watch Review
When this watch was launched on Kickstarter Neminus ran with the slogan "Built for those who dare." As we get into the details you'll see references to 'No Fear' and 'Living Dangerously'. There's also a skull and a trident.
This is an over the top watch that takes everything a little further.
It does so because that's the brand's general ethos. But it's also because this particular watch was inspired by Deadhead Loggers.
Yep, I had to google that one too.
Apparently, Deadhead Logging is diving for sunken logs. Logs that have aged on a riverbed for decades. This wood makes great furniture and can be profitable for divers to salvage. But only if you're brave enough to dive in places like Florida's alligator-infested Choctawhatchee River.
From the moment I had this watch in my hand, it was clear that it was designed to attract attention. And this black variant is the most sedate of the three Xtreme Diver models.
Still, it's built to be eye-catching. and it certainly does command your attention.
Primarily it does that through the unique dial and bold hands. It's a direct contrast to the understated look of Armida's A12 that I'm also currently reviewing.
Elements of the design can, at first glance, look fairly standard. But as you'll see, they each have their own Neminus DNA.
But remember, one of the key tenets of the brand is practicality. So despite the design flair and quirky touches, this is still a tool watch of sorts. It has 300M of water resistance, a helium release valve, a sapphire crystal and a reliable Japanese automatic movement.
As we get into the details, I'll reference these specs. Because at heart, the Xtreme diver is just that. A tough dive watch designed to be used in challenging situations.
The Neminus Xtreme Diver 300 Automatic in Detail
This watch is limited to 100 pieces. But that's not the primary selling point. The main appeal of this watch is the over the top design. Like Deadhead log diving, it's not for the faint-hearted.
But for a watch like this to succeed, it has to be more than just aesthetically pleasing. It also has to be functional. Or practical as the UTOPIA criteria call for.
The case is a great place to start when looking at the Xtreme Diver's functionality. Yes, it has been given the Neminus treatment, but it's a recognisable dive watch shape. As expected, it's also substantial, giving the watch a tough edge.
However, this tough and heavy feel does come in part because of the size. There's not much curve on the lugs so it does wear quite big on my slim wrists. But at 44mm wide - and with 22mm lugs - this is meant to have a wrist presence. It was never meant to be a subtle watch.
The case is a familiar shape and the crown guards are consistent with the style.
On the left of the case is a discreet Helium Release Valve. If you're not familiar with this feature, it allows Helium molecules to leave the watch following a deep dive. It's a feature that certainly ticks the 'practical' box.
The crown is also practical and screws down. Of course, in a watch that pays so much attention to detail, it's signed with the Neminus logo.
That's where I'd normally stop with my case description.
But before I even turn over the watch there are a couple more elements to mention. Embossed between the bottom lug is the wording 'No Fear'. As the brand notes - 'to bring to light the state of mind of extreme divers'.
And the gap between the upper lugs?
That has each watch's unique number, mine being 65/99.
The case back is a treat and the kind of feature that will sell you on this watch. It's a comedic skull, again capturing the mindset of Deadhead loggers. The grinning face is deeply embossed and the background is a series of waves. If you haven't already got the message - 'Living Dangerously' is engraved above the skull.
It's fun, attractive and above all, unique. Another box ticked.
But the make or break feature of this watch is the dial. Or as the brand has referred to it, the 'soul' of the watch.
It has a splendid cracked and burnt-looking finish, clearly a reference to the logs that the divers hunt. It's not a common look and was neither straightforward nor cheap to achieve.
Importantly, each dial - on a watch that is already a limited edition - is unique. This style of dial has a memorable three-dimensional aspect. Apparently, each dial takes three times longer to produce than a standard monochromatic dial.
Let's tick that off as 'innovative'.
Working from that starting point Neminus has added a number of distinctive elements to the watch face.
The indices are bold and well-lumed, as are the hands. Both have BGW9 Swiss Super-luminova. The second hand - also lumed - has a red pointer and a large trident.
It's a bold look that won't be for everyone. But there is a coherence that keeps the various elements in check. What could easily overwhelm you actually works well.
The red colouring is a good example. It's used on the second-hand, the outer ring between the dial and case, and on the date wheel. But it isn't distracting.
The roulette-style date wheel is a quirky feature that I wasn't familiar with. The date is at 6 o'clock and the days alternate between red and black. The 31st is green like the zero on a roulette table.
Again, it's a quirky design point that ties in nicely with the other red touches.
Finishing off the front of the watch are a 4mm thick domed sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel. The 120 click bezel also has great lume, something that becomes more noticeable as you wear the watch in different environments.
Internally, the watch is powered by the ever-popular Seiko NH35A movement - the same that I use in Northwind Watches. It does the job and will have helped keep the watch - with all its non-standard designs - affordable.
There are two straps supplied. A three-layer canvas strap and a black rubber one. Of the two, I prefer the canvas. It's comfortable, has white contrast stitching and, like the rubber, has a quick-release feature. Both have a unique buckle, with an original shape and brand logo.
If the straps weren't quick release, the case does have drilled lugs. So strap changing should still be a simple process.
And the packaging?
The watch and the additional rubber strap are held in a very impressive suede watch roll. This in turn is held in a red bag. And both sit in a robust card box. Like the watch, it ticks the 'aesthetically pleasing' box.
Who are Neminus Labs?
Neminus - or Neminus Labs - is a young microbrand from Singapore. Founder Perry Khor launched his first Kickstarter campaign in 2018.
That debut watch - the Spaceman - was a Swiss-made model limited to 300 pieces. Now sold out, it's a quirky watch that set a precedent for later models. It matches great specs with a unique design.
Importantly, it let the world know what Perry aimed to achieve with the brand.
The Spaceman came in three variations - each a tribute to an era of space travel. That history begins with the Earth Dweller model. Then the Moon Explorer. The final watch, the Mars Traveller, represents our future.
Following that release, the brand's next watch was an imaginatively designed dive watch - the Master Diver 1000. It's another automatic watch, this time designed for deep-sea diving. It has a massive 1000M of water resistance and an angular bronze case.
The Xtreme Diver 300 is marketed as a relation to the Master Diver and was also a successful Kickstarter project.
Although the company is new, Neminus has already established a house style. Neminus watches are easily recognisable. And they certainly hit Perry's goal of creating watches for those who like to show off their love of timepieces.
The Neminus Xtreme Diver 300 is a beast of a watch. Nothing is standard and little is the default choice. It's big, colourful and features a very distinctive textured dial.
And it's perfectly in keeping with the brand's ethos.
Neminus founder Perry Khor wants you to wear watches that tell the world that you're a fan of interesting timepieces. He builds watches that attract attention.
That won't be for everyone. But if do like your watch to be a conversation starter, then the Xtreme Diver is definitely worth a closer look.
As I noted earlier, this watch doesn't just look the part. It is a legitimate dive watch with good water resistance and a helium release valve. And it's powered by a Japanese automatic movement.
All of these imaginative design points come with a price, and the Xtreme Diver isn't the most affordable automatic dive watch. But for the most part, cheaper models don't have the same level of individuality.
If you like your watches to whisper, then the Xtreme Diver 300 probably isn't the watch for you.
But if you like your watches to shout, this ticks the boxes.