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The 5 Best Affordable Nethuns Dive Watches (Buyers Guide)

Posted on May 20 2021

Nethuns Affordable Dive Watches

Watch fans can't get enough vintage-inspired dive watches.

Well, that seems to be the case. Because every luxury watch brand has re-released its iconic models. And there are several cool homage brands that make affordable versions of your favourites.

Is there any room left for a brand that builds nautical-inspired watches?

Of course there is!

We can't enough of these classically styled dive watches. Particularly when they're well-made and affordable.

Nethuns is a microbrand that does just that. They make nothing but dive watches. All affordable and all with a vintage aesthetic.

Let's take a closer look.

An Introduction to Nethuns Watches


Nethuns is a young watch brand that is based in Hong Kong. They're less than ten years old and were previously known as Montres-Militaire.

In the watch trade that's a young company.

The impression that they make is similar to Steeldive and Pagani Design. Good quality watches that are influenced by Swiss luxury brands. For the most part, they're not outright homages. Not in the way that Corgeut and Parnis are.

Instead, Nethuns watches are reminiscent of iconic dive watches.

But that familiarity works for me. They're filling a gap in the market. Vintage-inspired dive watches - and these are legitimate divers - with reliable Japanese movements.

Pitched at the affordable end of the market too.

I'm a big fan of this business model, so I've followed Nethuns for a while now. I'd like to highlight the five best models that are currently available.
Nethuns Scuba 500 Skin Diver Watch

The Scuba 500 is Nethuns take on the classic Skin Divers watch. In keeping with the 62MAS style, the watch has an angular case with prominent lugs and a simple black bezel.

There are several variations available, but I was drawn to this model that hints at Blancpain's Fifty Fathoms.

At 41mm wide the Scuba 500 is a little larger than a vintage Skin Diver. That wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me. But the ethos of those early dive watches was to be slim and unintrusive.

I can live with 41mm, but bear in mind that this is a modernised design.

Elsewhere the watch is more faithful to the era. Both the dial and bezel are straightforward and have an aged lume to contrast with the black.

There is also a waffle-style rubber strap. This is very practical if you will be taking the watch in water. It also has a Seiko automatic movement and a vintage-looking domed sapphire crystal.

If you're a fan of Skin Divers, this is a great affordable option.

Nethuns Scuba 500 SS531B

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 15.7mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 500M Water Resistance


Nethuns Lava II Watch

Nethuns Lava II is a cushion case watch that reminds me a little of a Grand Seiko diver. It's a chunky piece that takes inspiration from the colourful watches of the 1970s.

The case is large and benefits from the crown having been repositioned to 4 o'clock. This minimizes the discomfort of the crown digging into the back of your hand.

Everything about this watch is rugged looking.

The heavy-duty case, substantial bracelet and thick bezel. The impression is of a watch designed to be used as a tool.

That means that it's not going to be the most versatile watch. But it also means that it's suited to the job it was built for.

There is more than enough water resistance - 600M. There is a sapphire crystal and it's powered by Seiko's NH35 automatic movement. It's a favourite among microbrands.

This isn't a desk diver. This watch is for the sportsman.

Nethuns Lava II LS255

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 15.7mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 600M Water Resistance


Nethuns Seiko Turtle Homage Watch

The Aqua is more obviously a homage.

Stylistically, this watch is almost identical to Seiko's Turtle. This is the watch Captain Willard wore in Apocalypse now - model 6105.

It's an iconic piece from Seiko's history and has been recreated by the brand. The new version costs over £1000.

So this Nethuns homage is welcome.

It's another chunky one. This time with a 44mm cushion case. And again, the crown is at 4 o'clock. There are some colourful variations, but for me, this watch works best when it's styled like the original.

The simple black dial and bezel, with gold accents, works well. There is a little flair, but without losing the military vibe that worked so well in the film.

If £1000 sound like too much, take a closer look at the Aqua. Remember, it houses a Seiko automatic movement.

Nethuns Aqua AS304

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 15.7mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Nethuns Sub-Abyss Automatic Watch

The Sub-Abyss is a beautiful bronze watch that features a unique textured dial. It's a distinctive watch that shows the brand at its best.

First, let's look at that case. It's 45mm wide and made of CuSn8 bronze. You're no doubt aware that bronze naturally patina's, so this watch will mature.

That means your watch will develop its own character.

There are a couple of nice dial options for the Sub-Abyss, with the California dial being among my favourites. But this model, with the embossed Submarine, would be my first choice.

The green dial should complement the bronze as it ages.

It's another bold piece that will divide buyers. But if you like bronze divers, this is a real contender.

Nethuns Sub-Abyss SAB101

  • 45mm Diameter
  • 15.6mm Thick
  • 24mm Lug Width
  • Bronze
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 500M Water Resistance


Nethuns Aqua II Automatic Dive Watch

The final Nethuns watch that I'd like to show you is a stunner. It's another cushion case model, this time with a simple colour palette.

It has the features you'd expect from the brand. A 44mm stainless steel cushion case, a domed sapphire crystal and a Japanese automatic movement.

I like the sizing of this model. The bracelet is substantial and the bezel is heavily knurled. It makes for a tough-looking watch.

The vintage styling is hinted at, rather than fully embraced. And it has Plongeur hands - you'll recognise these from Omega's Ploprof dive watch.

The plain stainless steel case and black dial and bezel work well. The touch of colour - on the hands and dial text - is just enough. It adds a little interest without taking anything from the functional aesthetic.

It's another great watch from a brand that has embraced the vintage dive watch look.

Nethuns Aqua II A2S321

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 15.2mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Domed Sapphire Crystal
  • 300M Water Resistance


Conclusion


At this point, it seems that watch buyers will never tire of interesting vintage-inspired dive watches.

Nethuns know this and their watches tick the boxes that we like:

  • Vintage looking
  • Affordable
  • Mechanical
  • Wide choice of materials and colours

This strategy works for them. They have chosen a niche and remained faithful to it. Watch fans appreciate that specialism and Nethuns watches have been well received.

It's a stretch to say that what they do is unique - but they are in a select group. And what they've chosen to do, they do well.

Follow some of the links in this article. Take a closer look at the watches and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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