The Nautage Diver or the Nautage DA221 as it is labeled has been receiving a lot of buzz on social media and for a good reason. The introductory model from this young brand, based out of Denmark, is quite attractive, comes in a few different finishes, and boasts a Miyota 9039 No Date movement for about $430. The design has some similarities to other brands which I will get into shortly, but beyond being a good-looking watch case, it also has a great rubber strap, and if black is not your color, or you like to stand out a little more, there are about 10 other strap colors available for purchase, and depending on what sale is currently running, you can even snag yourself a second one for free. As with many microbrand watches at this price point, there are some compromises to be had, so let’s discuss.
41 x 50 x 12mm – 22mm lug width
Bead Blasted Case
120 Click Unidirectional Steel Bezel With DLC Coating
200m Water Resistant
Miyota 9039 No Date Movement
C3 Superluminova (Black dial)
Vulcanized NBR rubber, saltwater- and UVA-resistant
Country of Origin- China
Price $428-$437 USD (Price can fluctuate depending on current conversion)
Let’s start with design. The Nautage Diver has a little bit of Panerai in the bezel, and the case design reminds one of Stowa and their Pro Diver, or maybe even Unimatic U2, and maybe even a few vintage pieces. The owner of Nautage, Christian, says his inspiration actually was the Unimatic but wanted something a little more wearable, and they worked on the design, streamlined the case, gave it turned down lugs, and the result is a good-looking but more importantly, a very comfortable watch case.
This model comes in 4 different colors, all with a bead blasted finish, silver (shown in this review), gold, dark grey, and all-black DLC. Pricing is the same no matter the color you choose. Only two dial colors are available at this time, black and white, which is a full lume dial.
The dial is large, uncluttered, and has massive chrome applied markers that are generously filled with lume, and this is a no-date dial, and it is matched to a no-date movement, the Miyota 9039, which means no phantom date wheel. The hands are skeletonized, which is not my favorite look, though I do like the lollipop second hand, and overall, it is a clean and simple dial, yet still attractive.
The bezel is obviously inspired by Panerai, but again, not a copy, but it definitely stands out. The insert is DLC coated steel, and there are 3 stainless steel inserts to signify the first 15 minutes, but then the rest of the markers on the bezel are empty, or stencil, and somewhat look a little out of place in my opinion. Of course, lume junkies would have liked to see them all filled in with that C3 Superluminova.
The 120-click bezel is very easy to grip though, as is the screw-down crown, so turning the bezel or setting the time is easy as it should be. The large crown is signed, and even though there are no crown guards, I haven’t found myself knocking the crown into things, though you do need a perfect fit on the wrist so the crown doesn’t dig into the back of your hand.
The case back is a little unique, or maybe I should say interesting, but whatever you want to call it, the Nautage Diver does have an exhibition window to see the movement, but it is a very small window, and surrounding it are large circles, or as I call them, portholes, that match the design on the bezel and dial of this watch. I always appreciate when brands make a very cohesive design, and I think Nautage did just that.
If you are someone that loves lume, you will love the Nautage Diver, as it has some extremely bright and long-lasting C3 Superluminova applied to the indices, hands, and bezel pip. No, the bezel is not fully lumed, but if you need to tell the time in the dark, you will have no worries with this watch at all. Oh, and something I did not notice until I was just about to start writing and recording for this review, is the box is lumed as well. Yes, the box. Not sure why, but it makes for a fun pic if nothing else.
So it sounds like there are no downsides to the Nautage Diver, right? Well, not so fast. Remember those rubber straps I was talking about? Well, first off, they are gorgeous rubber straps. The semi-hooded lug design and the strap that flares out under the lugs create a great look for this watch and the strap itself with the ribbed lines and matching finish buckles looks fantastic. Unfortunately, they are NOT easy to install. It is a very tight fit and I would suggest either some curved spring bars, bending the strap at the top to make it a little more pliable or if you have them, a good pair of spring bar plier tools to make it easier to mount the straps. Nauatage is looking into different ways for mounting them come the next round of watches, but for this current lineup, they are not as easy as I had hoped. Do check out all the strap colors they offer HERE.
Speaking of straps, how does this watch fit my 7 1/2-inch wrist? Well, if I get it in the right hole, which for the summertime is a little tight, not bad. That would be the 5th hole. If I go to 4, it is a little too loose and that is where the crown digs into the back of my wrist. That said, we have all been there and I still think this is pretty comfortable on the wrist, and I absolutely love how it looks on the wrist.
But, I do have to mention, that this is a bigger watch than the specifications would suggest. I do not have a small wrist, and this is now how a normal 41mm watch would fit me. Expect a watch that is more like 43mm, and wears as such.
I have to say, I was very excited when this watch arrived, as I knew I liked the designs and wanted to review it the first time I saw it. I even had them send a brick red strap along with it, which is obviously not pictured here. Basically, I could never get the strap on the watch, though that was a different color model, to begin with, and if you are not sure what I am talking about, I will just direct you to the video where I explain it all, but basically, there were some hiccups with the watches that were initially sent for me to review. At some point, I will probably attempt to mount a different color strap again, but I do wish that Nautage had figured out the strap mounting issue beforehand, as changing up to all the different straps seems like a big part of this watch.
That all said, if you want a different color, have them put one on before they ship it, and if you are ok with not switching straps out regularly or that’s just not something that interests you, this is one hell of a good-looking and well-built watch, especially or the price. All brands suffer some growing pains in the beginning, and I am sure Nautage will get them ironed out. I think they have a good future, and I can’t way to see what model 2 will be, whenever that happens.
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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