The Blacklist Divematic is the latest release from Blacklist Watches, the US-based microbrand. Dive watches are undoubtedly the most popular style of watches in the market today. From Rolex to Blancpain and to almost every new microband that turns the corner, it makes sense to have a dive watch or multiple in your lineup. Enter Blacklist, who have now added their version of a diver. Going for a classic yet straightforward dive watch look, the Divematic is available in 9 total variations, including meteorite dial options for those who like a little uniqueness. Starting at $749 with a Miyota 9039 automatic movement, the Divematic is not the microbrand bargain of the year but is right in line with many of its competitors.
When a brand is designing a dive watch, as Justin from Blacklist told me that this watch is all custom made for him, there are a few things to consider. A brand wants to sell watches and as such, you need to know your customers, at least to some extent. In the microbrand world, it sometimes seems that the level of watch enthusiasts that purchases in this segment can be even more discerning than those who buy luxury brands such as Omega and Rolex. The growing theme in this area of watch buying is cheaper and more. Cheaper of course in terms of price, but more in terms of the type of movement, sapphire, ceramic, applied indices, screws everywhere, 1000m of water-resistant, a helium release valve, 6 chapter rings, 4 crowns and a watch case to store it in along with 5 others. Okay, I may have exaggerated there, but I think you get the point. Yes, you want a watch that appeals to consumers, but you always want to make a watch you yourself would wear, and one that makes you a profit as well. After all, it is a business. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have covered countless microbrands that are more affordable than this, but more affordable does not always equal better.
With a case design reminiscent of a C60 Christopher Ward, the Blacklist Divematic is clean and crisp with a beautiful brushed finish with polished chamfered edges. Integrated crown guards keep the screw-down crown protected from the elements and a see-through case back lets you view the Miyota 9039 Automatic Movement. I love the aesthetics of the case, though I do feel the crown is on the small side for my fingers. Fortunately with the Miyota 9039 being a no-date version of the ultra-popular Miyota 9015, if you wear the watch regularly or keep it on a winder, you shouldn’t have to worry about using the crown often.
The bezel insert of the Divematic is matte aluminum and for those lume fanatics who need it, yes, the bezel is lumed. Lumed bezels, beyond the pip, are really useless as far as timing a dive, but it seems to be the trend these days, and I get it, people like it. Justin went with an aluminum insert over ceramic or sapphire for one reason- the look. Yes, many want the more scratch resistant and more expensive materials, but there is something to be said for the look of a matte aluminum bezel. It gives it a more subtle appearance and also a vintage feel. Speaking of feel, bezel action, should you use it to time a dive or frying that Sunday morning egg, is smooth and clicky, a term I think I may coin moving forward. It sounds like a very adult way to describe something, doesn’t it? In all seriousness, the 120 click bezel action is top-notch, with solid clicks and no back play at all, at least on my example.
Dive watches need to be easy to read at a glance, something I feel that many designers overlook when creating their next ocean ready piece. The Blacklist Divematic has minimal text, large hands, and markers and a wave textured dial that is pleasing to look at and gives the dial some much-needed pop, without being gimmicky and going overboard. The Black Widow variation incorporates a black textured dial with red accents, and again, there is just enough red here to give a contrasting color, without making the watch look overdone and garish. Keeping the dial asymmetric, is the lack of a date. Yes, the date is important on a watch for a lot of buyers, and I perfectly understand. My issue is that many will not design a custom dial or date wheel to incorporate the date cutout in a way that is pleasing to the eye. The date in that dreaded 4:30 placement and almost in the middle of the dial is something that still makes me wake up in a cold sweat on some nights, but Blacklist avoided all of that, and just went for an unobstructed dial.
The Blacklist Divematic comes with a stainless steel oyster-link bracelet as its only option. The bracelet has a solid feel and a finish that matches the watch case, something you do not always see, as the bracelet can tend to be an afterthought or catalog part for many brands. While this bracelet does look similar to probably 100’s of others, it was specifically made for this watch. With a lug width of 22mm, the bracelet tapers to 18mm towards the clasp, to allow the watch to not only fit comfortably but to give an overall sleeker appearance. Keep in mind, this watch is only 12mm thick, so this is meant to be a more refined or svelte dive watch than a big clunky beast. On my 71/2 inch wrist, it looks good, fits well, and has plenty of room for someone with a bigger wrist.
Now, if you are someone that wants to make your Blacklist Divematic bracelet smaller, that brings me to an area of some contention. Not by me, but a vocal few who feel that this watch at this price, should in fact have screw-bars to hold the links together, instead of friction pins. Now, I do like screws in a bracelet, simply because they are usually easier to size, unless cheap screws are used and with a lot of Loctite, which can make for a PIA situation. On the other hand, while you might need a few more tools to size a friction bracelet, they are usually worry- ree once you are done. They require no Loctite, no tightening every few weeks or so, and in my experience are usually very secure.
The Blacklist Divematic does lack a dive clasp extension, but so do many other dive watches these days. Most use a dive extension, especially the ratchet-style, for quick sizing, especially on hot or cold days. If you are looking at the Divematic and wondering if you can micro-adjust with the clasp, the answer is yes. Blacklist chose a clasp with a cleaner look, so the holes are still there, they are just not drilled all the way through. Flip over the clasp though, and you will see they are easy to access, though there are only 3.
The Blacklist Divematic does not break the mold when it comes to dive watches, and some might even say they played it safe. I do not think I would go that far but feel they have created a classic looking dive watch in a crowded market, and yet it still feels like it has its place. It might not have every bell and whistle some others do these days and it is not the cheapest microbrand diver you can purchase for sure, but there is a certain charm about the Divematic that I just seem to like. If the black and red colors do not trip your trigger, check out their website for all their options, like the cobalt blue and orange or the polar frost white. You can see the lume below, which some refer to as dual-lume, meaning it has two different colors, and it is fairly bright. Overall, this is a nice first offering from Blacklist, and I especially like they produced a slim diver style watch, one that can easily be worn under a shirt cuff and yet can still handle all the egg timing you want to do.
Be sure to check out theBlacklistwebsite for all variations and even more info.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.