Aegir CD-1 Specifications:
- Case: German made 316L Stainless Steel. Brushed finish
- 7mm screw down, signed crown.
- Movement: Soprod A10, Swiss made automatic, 25 Jewels.
- Dial: Applique hour makers, filled with Superluminova BGW-9C1
42mm diameter, (Not including the Crown)
51.1mm lug to lug length,
13mm in height.
- Crystal: Sapphire, domed, anti scratch with anti reflective coating inside.
- Bezel: Stainless Steel, fixed , Kolsterised to 1000 to 1200 HV0.05
- Water Resistance: Rated for 701 meters
Price $1400 USD
I’ve been waiting to do a hands on review of the Aegir CD-1 since it debuted in late 2014/2015. Some of you reading might be wondering why I am making such a big deal out of this, and hopefully once you have read all of my review and watch the video, you will understand. It is hard for me to not be enamored with this “dress diver” (more on that later), but I will still be reviewing it objectively as always. The fact is, it’s a watch I knew I loved before it even landed.
First things first, let me talk about Todd Caldwell, owner of Aegir Watches and what sets him apart, and his inspiration for the CD-1. (Concept Diver 1). Unlike many brand owners who design and sell dive watches, Todd is a commercial diver working in the offshore oil and gas industry. The Aegir CD-1 was his first design, which he started to envision in 2007. It was never meant to be a company, but just a project for him and his friends.
Things changed and a few years later, the CD-2 was released, a more traditional dive watch with an elapsed timing bezel. It wasn’t until 2014 that the CD-1 was finally realized. It’s been quite a struggle at times and not an easy road for Todd. Between factory issues, movement company hold ups and currency rates, and the fact Todd is more or less a perfectionist when it comes to many things, there were setbacks to say the least. Todd never quit and his watches quality show that. Many independent or microbrand companies these days have their watches produced in Asia either wholly or at least partially, and assembled elsewhere. Aegir watches are produced in Germany and Switzerland, and these days assembled by him in Australia, where he resides.
In recent weeks of posting the Aegir CD-1 on social media, I’ve seen some comments such as, “how is it a dive watch without a timing bezel?” The simple answer is it is a different kind of dive watch. It was designed as a commercial divers watch, for a diver who does not need to know his bottom time, as bell runs are typically in the 4-8 hour range. Fortunately it also translates into one good looking watch that can easily be an all occasion watch, especially with a strap change.
The CD-1 is available in 3 dial colors, white, black and a brushed grey and 2 case finishes, brushed stainless steel and a black DLC. Cases are machined in Germany by Fricker, and an improvement in my opinion over the his sold out and discontinued CD-2 is drilled lug holes, with hex screws and yes, screwdrivers are included. Another thing that is included is a timing report. Todd times every watch after assembly and includes a printed copy. Accuracy on this example averaged out to about 3.3 seconds per day, and I have determined that is was gaining that time. The movement used in the Aegir CD-1 is the Soprod A1o, a relatively newer movement that has been used by quite a few companies, including the OWC Dive Watch I reviewed last year, among a good many others. Soprod was once the processing company for ETA, and the A10 is designed to be a replacement for the ETA 2892. I have had this movement in a few watches and it is as smooth and reliable as any ETA.
So lets discuss the “dress diver” aspect I mentioned earlier. Obviously with a rating of 701 meters, the CD-1 is more than capable to go into the water, I mean it is designed by a commercial diver! With the lack of a timing bezel, it gives the watch more subdued or understated look about it, and if you change out the included Isofrane strap, you can make it look more like a casual watch like you see in this pic below, as it is on a distressed canvas strap. (In the video I will show it on a Drunk Art Straps weathered black canvas, @drunkartstraps on Instagram). If you were to put it on a nice leather or alligator strap, you are ready for a night on the town. Many times, myself included, we label things an all occasion watch. And while some definitely are, the Aegir CD-1 really hits the mark in that category. I think the brushed grey dial is even more suited for an all occasion watch, more so than the black or white dial, though your opinion may differ.
As I have alluded to, the brushed grey dial is one of the standouts of this watch. Yes, other dial colors are available, and they are beautiful, but how often do you see a vertical brushed dial such as this? I have tried to capture the Aegir CD-1 in as much different lighting as possible, to show you how this dial looks both inside and outside. When the light hits it right, it is something you will find yourself staring at for quite awhile. It really is gorgeous.
If any of you reading have had a watch with a stainless bezel such as the one found on the CD-1, you know it is almost the first thing that will get scratched. And once it starts accumulating a few scratches, it just does not look as good as it once did. Todd solved this issue by having the bezels kolsterised. Basically, the entire bezel has been hardened, in a similar way to Sinn’s tegimented process. While it does not make it scratch proof, as nothing is, between the hardened steel bezel and the domed sapphire crystal, you can go about your day and activities without having to worry or baby your CD-1.
If you like icy blue lume, then you are going to love the Aegir CD-1. Applied hour markers and hands are generously filled with BGW-9C1 superluminova. The photo below is in complete darkness to show how bright the lume really is. Other photos which show the lume in more of a semi-dark lighting can be seen in the photo gallery.
On my 7 1/2 inch wrist, the Aegir CD- is nothing short of fantastic. Now, let me clarify. I am not someone who loves to wear a 45mm + watch these days, at least not on a regular basis. So for me, the 42mm size is perfect. And while 42mm might sound small to some, the use of 24mm lugs, something rarely seen on a watch of this size, will make it feel bigger. The one point of contention, if I can call it that, would be the use of double sided screws for the lugs. While tools are included to remove them and it is easy, I am always afraid of over tightening with the screw drivers and causing it to strip. I have changed out the included Isofrane strap, (one of the best rubber straps on the market that sells for $120 by itself), a good couple of times already and no issue. One sided screw bars would be great on his next model.
Now, lets get to that price, and sum up this review. You may be thinking, “$1400 for a watch I have never heard of ?” Yes, its true, Aegir Watches have not been the best at marketing their product, and at this point have more of a cult following; a core group that loves and buys his watches. And part of the reason for that, is Aegir is really just one guy, Todd. I of course am hoping to spread the word a little more, with this hands on review. So, back to $1400. Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, the CD-1 case is machined in Germany, and the rest of the components are made in Switzerland, with assembly by Todd himself in Australia. If you know watches and prices, you know that a watch built in those countries with these specifications will not be had for less than $1000. It just cant be done, unless as a company you don’t want to make any money. These days there are other brands, completely assembled in Asia, with Miyota movements, that are selling for $800 and up. When you think about that, I think this makes the price of the CD-1 almost a bargain. But, as you know, that is one mans opinion, even though owners of this watch will easily agree with me. I am never here to sell you a watch, but if you are on the fence, just do it and order one. I guarantee you will not be disappointed with the quality, look or feel of the Aegir CD-1.
I hope you have enjoyed this review. Please take a look at the photo gallery, and leave your questions in the field below.