After being very much impressed by the Helson Shark Diver 42mm, we were curious to see what Helson would release next. Regardless of our estimations, the new Buccaneer 47mm would have been hard to predict. The original Helson Buccaneer was a 45mm GMT diver with an external bezel and a stainless steel case and was one of the early stars of the Helson brand. This new Buccaneer 47mm has almost nothing in common with the original, instead featuring titanium construction, an internal bezel and a massive 47mm case. This new Buccaneer is a distinct and rather original design from Helson, and we were quite excited to see it in person and try it for ourselves. Boasting an unusual case design but displaying all of the traits of a capable sport diver, the Buccaneer 47mm is definitely worth considering if your taste in divers strays towards the extra large persuasion.
- 47 x 18.2 mm (at top of crystal)
- 14.5 mm tall at case edge
- 52 mm Lug to lug
- Titanium case and bracelet
- 170g Weight (as reviewed)
- ETA 2824-2 Automatic movement
- Domed sapphire crystal with internal anti-reflective treatment
- Helium Escape Valve (HEV)
- 24 mm drilled lugs
- Internal reflector bezel (two o’clock crown control)
- 1000m WR
- $1099 in a brushed or blasted finish
The Buccaneer comes delivered in the same screw-top “diver’s tube” that many of the indie brands are using and, encased within its fitted foam interior, you will find the Buccaneer 47mm, a titanium bracelet, rubber strap and a strap changing tool. The Buccaneer has a a 47mm titanium case which is quite wide and, along with the massively domed crystal, is a whopping 18.2 mm tall. The Buccaneer’s 52 mm lug to lug length keeps it from being altogether too large for my 7.5 inch wrist. For a size comparison, consider that the 42mm Ocean7 LM-5 GMT is 53mm lug to lug, which is longer than this Buccaneer, regardless of its 47mm case size. So, while the Buccaneer 47mm is quite large, its shape is conducive to being worn on average-sized wrists.
Besides the unique and rather modern case shape, the domed crystal stands out as one of the most noticeable elements of the Buccaneer 47mm. The crystal is beautifully integrated into the curvature of the case and the crystal itself has been treated with an anti-reflective coating on its internal side. Even with the anti-reflective coating, reflections are often prominently displayed on the crystal thanks to its highly curved shape. In day-to-day wear I did not find the reflections to compromise the view of the Buccaneer’s dial which is physically quite large and also employs over sized markers and numerals for increased legibility.
The Buccaneer 47mm’s two-crown design aligns the lower crown (which does screw down) with the date and timekeeping control while the upper crown (which does not screw down), has bi-directional control over the internal reflector bezel. Both crowns feature a skull and crossbones motif which is also seen on the Buccaneer’s clasp. The Buccaneer 47mm can be had in either a blasted or brushed finish (as seen in this review). The finishing on Buccaneer 47mm is excellent, employing even brushing and crisp case transitions.
The only carry over from the original Buccaneer is the 47mm model’s dial which features prominent military styling with over sized markers and numerals as well as a large and highly legible gilt handset which leaps off the dial. The date is seen through a small and unobtrusive window at three o’clock. The hands, markers, and entire bezel scale is fully lumed and glows brightly and with good longevity (see video). The lume application between the main dial elements and the bezel elements appears to be comparable so the visual power of the lume fades evenly and the bezel, with its light but positive action, is a welcome and practical feature which can easily be employed in low-light situations.
The Buccaneer 47mm is water resistant to 1000m and features an automatic helium escape valve at nine o’clock and the titanium bracelet features an integrated fold-out diver’s extension. While many dive watches may boast increasingly ludicrous water resistance claims, the Buccaneer, with its legible dial design, ample lume and domed crystal, seems like it would make for a great dive watch. As I am not a diver, I cannot attest to the practicality of an internal bezel for dive timing (even if only as a backup) but the crowns are fairly small and may be somewhat difficult to use while wearing gloves.
Thanks to its titanium construction, the Helson Buccaneer 47mm weighs in at a completely manageable 170g once sized for my wrist. Given its over-sized wrist presence I expected a weight in the low 200’s but was pleasantly surprised at how light the Buccaneer 47mm wears on wrist. The case back rests evenly on the flat of my wrist and the case edges did not cause any discomfort (a problem I’ve encountered on other 45mm+ watches). The Buccaneer 47mm was comfortable and exceptionally light on-wrist, especially when fitted with the included rubber strap.
Timekeeping is provided by the ETA 2824-2 Swiss automatic movement and was seen to be as reliable and accurate as any would expect from the robust but non-COSC version of this Swiss caliber. The ETA 2824-2 is one of the most widely employed of ETA’s movements and can be found in literally thousands of watch models as it has proven to be a reliable, cost-effective (both in manufacturing and eventual servicing) and highly capable three-hand Swiss automatic movement.
The bracelet features the same link design as the bracelet included with the Helson Shark Diver 42mm, but the Buccaneer 47mm’s bracelet is all-titanium. Featuring screwed link construction, a signed fold-over diver’s clasp with four micro adjustment positions and a fold-out wetsuit extension, the bracelet is nicely made and does not rattle nor pull hairs. Unfortunately, Helson did not include fitted end-links to better integrate the bracelet into the Buccaneer 47mm’s case, opting instead for straight links which makes the bracelet seem like an aftermarket option.
When on wrist, the height of the Buccaneer becomes very noticeable as it will not fit under most cuffs thanks to its 18.2mm thickness. The case is actually only 14.5mm thick but the domed crystal makes up the difference and, along with the 47mm case size, make this new Buccaneer a very casual and sporty watch. Best combined with a t-shirt, or perhaps a wetsuit, the Buccaneer 47mm is a very masculine and tough looking watch, especially when worn on the included bracelet.
Helson has priced the Buccaneer 47mm at $1099 and while I believe that price to be competitive, based on the Buccaneer 47mm’s spec sheet, there isn’t really any direct competition that looks anything like the Buccaneer 47mm. Aesthetics aside, this Helson will likely have to contend with the Benarus Megalodon but aside from price, case size and movement, the two are very different watches and may prove to appeal to different buyers. Much like the Megalodon, I find the Buccaneer to be a bit to big and thick for my tastes but it is very nicely made and if you prefer a large but light dive watch, the Buccaneer 47mm is definitely worth careful consideration.