Taking a very specific design and running with it is certainly risky, but that is exactly what D1Milano has done. This is the new D1Milano Subacqueo. I know, that’s right on the nose Italian, and for those curious how to pronounce it, you can check out the video review above, but you should also know that translated to English, it means underwater, which is pretty appropriate for a dive watch, or should I say divers style watch. I say that because while this does have some of the basic aesthetics of a dive watch, I do not really see this as an actual divers tool, as it lacks a few things required for that, but this is another detailed and funky piece from the young brand and hits right at $565, so definitely more on the budget side of things.
50mm Lug to Lug
300m Water Resistant
Now before I get too far here, let me clarify that many watches would be classified as divers style watches and not true dive watches, and on top of that, and I do not have official numbers, but I would be more than 60% of us that buy dive watches don’t dive, have never dived, and never will. With that out of the way, the Subacqueo does lack ISO standards, the inner rotating bezel uses red, which is not the best color if you actually do plan to dive as it is the first color to disappear underwater, and the inner bezel isn’t exactly what I would call easy to use. So, early in the review here, you are probably asking, “why would one buy this watch then?”
Well, that’s an easy answer. Style. Let’s face it, technical attributes (or lack thereof aside), we buy watches because they look good, or they fit our personal style and collection. If you need a dive watch, get a proper dive computer. If you want a good-looking watch, and one that stands out, you probably look past the norm available and look for something like this D1Milano Subacqueo. The hard to pronounce name aside, this is a Genta-inspired piece, as is all of the lineup from the Hong Kong produced, Italian designed watch brand. Yeah, that last sentence is confusing, but it is what it is, so let’s just move on.
What you have here is that same case style D1Milano has become known for, though this is more Patek Phillipe meets Bell & Ross in this instance and comes in this Lido colorway, as well as a black dial, deep blue dial, and an emerald green shade. The dial as you can see below is pretty clean, though there is that underwater wave squiggle line on the dial, which I am just not feeling. It cheapens the watch a little in my opinion, but I am sure some will like it. I think overall, the symmetry of the dial is on point, even the date wheel is integrated nicely, but I feel the brand could be larger, and maybe a little lower on the dial, as it just feels everything is a little too far apart. Also, I like how brands are getting inventive with their indices, as if you notice the 12,3,6 and 9, they are printed indices with applied indices on top of them. Gives a cool look for sure.
The case design is on point though and the finishing is right there with it with vertical brushing on top, and angle after angle creating a faux bezel area, with lots of nice high polishing. The case has a really good heft to it as well and just is a solid and well-built piece. Unfortunately, the crowns, while solid and very functional, have not grown on me. The shape, size, and placement on the case sides just do not vibe with the rest of the watch, but more importantly, that inner bezel is very hard to use because of the 10 o’clock crown. It starts to move pretty instantly after unscrewing it and once set to your desired position, it doesn’t really lockdown, and you will find once you go to screw the crown back in, the bezel will move if the right amount of pressure and angle is not being used on the crown. The bottom line, it can get really annoying, possibly aggravating.
Unlike the majority of their models, the D1Miliano Subacqueo does not come on a stainless bracelet, but this time a rubber strap, or silicone to be more specific. I make it a point to say that, is this not the strap I was hoping for with a piece like this and since there is no bracelet currently availabe and with intgrated lugs such as this, you will not be changing out this strap anytime soon, if ever. The strap also needs to be cut to fit properly, so if you are someone who likes to switch up the collection often, know it might be a hard sell, or at least a slow one, while you wait to find someone with the same or smaller wrist size. My biggest issue is the strap and clasp do not feel up to par with the case head, and because the silicone is very floppy and does not add any weight, I think it makes the watch feel a little unbalanced.
Of course, then we get to the movement, and this I will not drone on about. It is a Seiko NH35, one of the most common movements for watches from microbrands and now brands such as D1Milano, which I wouldn’t consider a microbrand at this point, with how many models they have and being sold all over the world and such, but yes, it is a little on the higher price of things when it comes to watches using this reliable but inexpensive movement.
One other area that lacks a little is the lume The hands will glow a good amount of time (about 2-3 hours), but the markers will start to significantly dim before that, and that makes me give the lume a grade B-. Even for a diver-style watch, I was hoping for stronger luminescence, but when initially charged, it does look nice in the dark.
I try to often put the caveat in my reviews that, this is all of course one man’s opinion. I think too many like to act as experts and while I do have a lot of experience, your tastes will differ from mine. For the first run at a dive watch, especially with having to work with this case style, I think the D1Milano Subacqueo is a damn good effort on their part. The overall look and feel is inspired but still kinda fresh and new and if there are some people in your area or just friends that know you are a watch guy, you will possibly get a few comments with this one, and I can definitely see this being a fun weekend watch, and while I wouldn’t be diving deep with this, a trip to the lake or beach should be more than fine. At the very least, it is not your average homage, and that is never a bad thing.