The watch world is amazing, more so than ever these days, and just trying to remember all of the brands, past and present is a task I am not admittedly up to. And within the past 10-12 years, there are so, so many microbrands that seemingly pop up out of nowhere as it is much easier to start a brand than ever before. Enter the Ithyus Abyssi, a model from a young microbrand I somehow totally missed. Yes, this is not on Kickstarter or up for preorder, or even just released. No, this watch was released in 2019 believe it or not. Somehow, I completely missed it. Well, I shouldn’t say somehow though, because doing research on this model, I realized the brand has absolutely no social media presence, are not a part of any Facebook groups and while it has been reviewed by a few, it really never gained much traction. That could be because of the initial selling price, which was around $750. Nowadays, almost 3 years later, it is selling for $500. That does make a difference. Let’s explore.
So yes, this watch was released almost 3 years ago now. It is unbelievable that this watch went way under my radar, as on looks alone, this dive watch is definitely my style; 41mm, clean easy-to-read dial, thin profile, and just that classic looking diver. What’s the story with the brand? I don’t know a whole lot to be honest. It was started by two guys, it released right to the website with no preorder or anything, and of course, is machined in China. But, it is assembled in the USA, Washington State, and the Sellita SW200 movement is regulated there and that’s where the watch is pressure tested as well. The owners are definitely watch enthusiasts from what I can see, and there is a lot of good to be had here, but there are always quite a few missteps in my opinion as well.
The Ithyus Abyssi is an all-stainless steel case and bracelet with a unidirectional 120 click bezel, with a blasted titanium insert. The watch is available in 3 options: a gloss black dial, a gloss blue dial, and this matte blue dial, and all have printed markers. It is intended to be a dive watch with the design of the course and also a screw-down crown and 300m of water resistance, a fully indexed (and lumed) bezel, dual-color lume, and a solid case back. Couple that with the SW200, and you think how did this watch not sell out already? How are there any left? Well, it wasn’t always $500. Matter of fact, it seems the brand keeps dropping the price, and so far we are now at $500. Will it go lower? I am not sure, but even with (spoiler alert) all the bracelet issues, is a great deal at $500.
Yep, there are quite a few bracelet issues, which at the original price I feel has really kept this watch down. But before I get into all of that, let’s talk about the case and dial. The Ithyus Abyssi is one of those weird microbrand watches that remind you of a few more well-known watches without directly ripping any of them off. More and more I keep hearing Damasko, and the more I wore this watch and filmed it and took all the photos, the more I see it. Originally I thought it was just the dial, but the more I looked at the overall design, I could see more Damasko in it, but again, as an inspiration.
You can see elements of that brand and a few others, but it isn’t just a clone of something else. The case is mostly brushed, with some high polished chamfers, the crown guards are prominent and the crown itself is very easy to grip and has a good look, though could use a little smoothing on the edge where the logo is, is just a touch sharp. Drilled Lugs allow for easy removal of the bracelet or a strap and the bezel action is superb. Speaking of bezel, the insert is titanium. Blasted titanium. I love the look, very different from what you see with aluminum, sapphire, or ceramic, and yes, blasted titanium is prone to scratches, but that wouldn’t be something I would really worry about personally. A flat sapphire covers the dial and has a pretty good AR coating.
The dial is matte and when you get up close, has an eggshell texture, and is a good vibrant shade of blue-if you want a darker blue, look at the gloss blue dial instead. The hands when fully illuminated to show off that high polish look mostly proportionate but they are overpowered by those large printed indices at 12. Maybe they could have been a touch longer/wider, but depends on the angle I’m looking at. Then of course we have the name. Not the best brand name, nor model name, which is something else that can hold a watch back. I just personally don’t care for the name, and I don’t think others did as well. Something else I chuckle at these days is the word automatic printed on the dial. I never had a problem with it, but there’s a guy on a Facebook watch group that always seems to bring it up “Why the need to put the word automatic on the dial? Leave it for the case back!” He is right you know, no reason for it to be on the dial. It’s like a car, we don’t put automatic or manual on the front or back of the vehicle-though we do put the word turbo, so I don’t know. Just funny is all.
Case back is solid and depicts water molecule, appropriate for a dive watch of course, and as I have said many times already throughout this review, this Ithyus Abyssi has a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement and is regulated by Ithyus in Washington. Simple case back which I prefer, but I am sure some would love to see the movement.
But then we get to the bracelet, and if you have made it this far in the review, you are probably thinking how great of a value this watch now is, but the big issue is the bracelet. I will break it down simply, the links are way too far apart and have way too much sway and movement to them, the clasp has only 1 micro adjustment hole and there are no half links as well. It also scratches easily, because the links rub against each other, and you can see rub marks all over this piece, even though it is basically a new watch.
And lastly, it uses the pin and collar system, not really a big deal, but I know many prefer screws or friction pins, but pin and collar is a very strong system, though, with the overall build quality of this bracelet, I am not sure if it will matter in the long run. One good thing is the end links fit perfectly to the case, and if the watch is laying down and just chilling, it all looks pretty good together. Just don’t pick it up, as you will hear the rattle. Oh yeah, there is so much wrong with the bracelet, I forgot how horribly the clasp rattles.
Because of these many bracelet issues, on the wrist, it is not as comfortable as I would like and the large gap of the links does catch my arm hairs if you were wondering. More importantly, I was not able to get a really good fit, 3 links out were too loose, 4 links out way too tight. With warmer weather on the horizon, the bracelet fits a little tighter but still looser than I would prefer. The solution here, if you bought a watch knowing you were not going to use the bracelet, would be a nice nato, rubber, or leather strap. The watch head itself with the short lug to lug and 41mm case is a great fit on my wrist though.
Ithyus Abyssi on 7.5-inch wrist
An area where Ithyus really hit it out of the park? The lume. C3 X1 and the pip and minute hand are green while the rest glowing a nice icy blue, again, to help with diving, even though the bracelet has no dive extension or would be a bracelet most would use for diving. But, back to the good, and just look at the photos below. This is just absolutely phenomenal lume. It can legitimately put some Seikos to shame.
People always ask me, why I don’t like to recommend a watch, and I say well because I spend a lot of time reviewing a piece and laying it all out for the reader/viewer to make up their own mind. With this Ithyus Abyssi the big question is, at the current price of $500, is it worth it? A question only you, the potential customer can really answer, but I feel at the $500, it is a pretty darn good value, even with the bracelet issues, but with so much competition out there these days, are a nice dial and good lume in a simple stainless case that has a Swiss movement worth it knowing you’ll have to put a different strap on it right after it lands on your doorstep? I am not sure. Then there is the realization that this brand has been around for almost 3 years and most of you reading this have never heard of it, and they are still dropping the price of this watch to dump the stock. I would say maybe the production of this piece is just ongoing, but if that were the case, why drop the price at least 2 times since its release?
I don’t know the answers to a lot of those questions, but I still think this watch was a good first effort, but now am wondering if we will ever see a second.
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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.
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