Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII
Over 3 years ago, I reviewed the original Gruppo Gamma Divemaster. At the time, I considered it to be their best watch to date. Recently I was able to get my hands on the updated or second version, now called the Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII. At first, I thought the changes were minor, and while they are subtle, the changes are not only welcomed but make it a much better watch all around. The bezel insert is new, along with new dials, a thinner case and now an ETA 2824 automatic movement. Sometimes brands can evolve their watches to the point that they no longer resemble the original. That is not the case here; the overall design and aesthetics are still here, but everything has been improved, the way it should be. These new models are currently available for preorder. Check the specifications section below on how to save $100.
Gruppo Gamma Divemaster II Specifications:
- 44mm Case
- 24mm Lug Width
- 52mm Lug to Lug
- 13.5mm Thick
- 140 Grams
- Double Domed Sapphire Crystal
- Ceramic Bezel Insert
- Eta 2824 Automatic movement
- Leather and Canvas Straps
- 500 Meters Water Resistant
Price- Current Price is $750 for the Preorder. That is $200 off retail of $950. Save $100 more using code WATCHREPORTDM2020. This discount is only good from Gruppo Gamma Official Website, not their dealers and not for any other model.
The biggest change of the Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII is the much slimmer case. Now, the original was around 15mm and with the crystal 16mm and the new version tops out at 14.5mm with the double domed sapphire crystal. While that overall thickness is important to some, the 13.5mm is the important number. You don’t “wear” the crystal on your wrist- how thick a watch case it is, the overall profile and curvature are what determines how it will sit on your wrist. This version just wears much better to me, as it is not as top-heavy. It is still a robust watch, just not as chunky as the previous one.
Other notable changes are the use of different dials. Depending on the model of the Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII, you will get either a sunburst dial or a fume style dial. This one I am reviewing is the DG04. There are 6 different models altogether, but really only 2 different colors, black or blue. 2 versions have old radium lume, and the rest have C3 Superluminova. Another change is the switch to no date. This is a standard ETA 2824 Movement though, so expect the phantom date wheel. I love no date watches but do wish more brands would just use a no-date movement or modify it to remove the date. It is being nitpicky but is something that aggravates me a little bit.
Getting up close, you will see the Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII is a sandwich dial-nothing out of the norm for Gruppo Gamma and the original version was the same. The bezel insert material has changed though, this time a ceramic bezel insert, and it is domed instead of being flat. This is a popular design and I personally prefer ceramic over sapphire, not for scratch resistance or durability, but just for the look. Ceramic is more appealing to me than the shiny and almost translucent sapphire.
There are still a few other changes, such as the hands are completely different, now syringe style hour and minute hands with a much more subtle red arrow second hand. The crown is not as thick and it does not screw down into the case like the previous one did either. This is one area where I think I prefer the old to the new, but of course, that is subjective. The case back is very similar but now the center area has an etched honeycomb design to it, making it ever so slightly more attractive than before. The back is also secured using actual screws and another big upgrade is this watch is now rated to 500m vs the previous 300m.
The lume has definitely been upgraded as well, especially when it concerns the bezel insert. The previous model was very good, but this Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII can compete with some of the best out there. Heavy amounts of SuperLumiNova C3 have been used and it is not only bright and long-lasting but evenly applied, something that is not always the case with microbrands.
My version did not come with the newest packaging nor did it come with the extra canvas strap, but it did arrive on a high-quality tan horween strap. The strap and buckle are both very comfortable and the strap damn good looking, though be prepared for that bezel to leave some marks and scratches on your strap any time you go to flip the strap backward. You can prevent this of course by just being very careful when flipping the watch over, storing it or changing the strap, but if you are not, it is immediately noticeable. Currently, it seems you can only get the straps in one size, 125/75mm, which does fit me but is a little shorter than I would normally wear. If you have a wrist bigger than 7 1/2 inches, you will be looking elsewhere for straps to wear this piece. Fortunately, the Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII lug width is pretty standard at 24mm.
When any brand comes out with a popular product, newer versions will always be compared to the previous ones. Sometimes, the brand will stray too far away from what many liked in the first place, but Gruppo Gamma was smart and did not go crazy. As I said, at first glance, I didn’t think there were that many changes, but looking back at my original review, the changes are aplenty and worthy of another review. The original divemaster was and still is a great watch. The MKII is a notch above though, possibly even a few notches above, especially considering the switch from the Seiko NH35 to the ETA. Yes, the price has increased, but you are getting more watches. With the preorder price at $750 and being able to save another $100 on top of that, it brings the price down to just $150 more than the original. That’s not bad at all. Of course, the full price is $950, which does get into another bracket for most people, so preorder would be the way to go for this piece in my opinion. The Gruppo Gamma Divemaster MKII is a refined version of the original without sacrificing what made me love it to begin with. I can’t ask for more than that.
*As always, discounts are offered as a courtesy and whether you purchase a watch we review makes no difference to us here at Watchreport.