Last month, I had the opportunity to interview John Patterson, the owner and founder of Bathys Watch Company. This month, I had the privilege of reviewing their best selling automatic timepiece: The Bathys 100 Fathom.
The head of this watch is by far the selling point. It is fantastically well finished. The crystal is sapphire, slightly domed, and has an antireflection coating which glows blue in flashes of light. The real pièce de résistance is the ruthenium grey dial which has many subtle tones and is quite iridescent, flashing grey and brown. Although this is not the most popular 100 Fathom model (the black on black is their best seller), this dial is truly unique and like nothing I have seen on another watch. The markers on the dial as well as the hands are covered in superluminova, a paint that glows brightly in the dark. I wore the watch to “Live Free and Die Hard” and I can attest to its very capable luminosity which easily lasted the duration of the film. And then there’s the stainless steel, black PVD-coated case which somehow both gives the watch a stealth appeal, and actually makes it stand out more than any of my more shiny watches. The PVD makes it scratch resistant and adds to the overall depth and quality of the piece. The caseback is also PVD-coated, and is engraved with a map of the Hawaiian islands. The watch is water resistant to 200 meters (about 660 feet, or roughly 100 fathoms, naturally), and is known to be very reliable in an aquatic environment as it was designed for divers and surfers.
The watch comes packaged with two straps: a black leather strap with a PVD-coated deployment clasp, and a rubber divers strap with a PVD-coated buckle. I generally dislike rubber straps, but this one is excellent. I wore it on the rubber for about a day and found it very conformable in the formidable heat of the Canadian summer. The leather strap, unfortunately, did not work out as well. It’s beautiful and would be a fine strap if only the deployment clasp would work. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the pin guard to snap shut. I even resorted to carefully tightening it, but no dice. I think this issue is due to the fact that I have small wrists, and I believe the deployment clasp would work on a larger setting. This is definitely something to look out for if you are among the narrow-wristed, and something Bathys could improve.
The Bathys 100 Fathom comes in a very cool little Pelican 1030 waterproof Micro Case (if you’re familiar with Pelican cases, you know what a treat this is). Several of my friends commented more on the case than on the watch. Also in the package was a Bathys sticker and the warranty information. Altogether, probably the coolest packaging of any watch I have owned or reviewed.
If you like the style of the Bathys watch, the rest will not let you down. The finish and quality of the watch are fantastic, and the automatic ETA movement keeps excellent time. If you want a watch with a lot of wrist appeal, but don’t have a taste for “bling”, a Bathys 100 Fathom might be the right choice. They come in a wide selection of case finishes (PVD, silver PVD, and UV PVD) and dial types (Black and Grey), and there are both quartz and automatic versions. The model with the black PVD case, ruthenium dial, and automatic movement goes for $795, but the quartz versions go for $500.
Article and Photographs By James Stacey