I’ve wanted a Kobold watch for pretty close to three years now. The first Kobold I fell in love with was the Polar Surveyor since it has both a chronograph, and a 24-hour hand. When I went through a military watch phase, I was dying for the Kobold Phantom. And I’ve always been a huge dive watch fanatic, so the Kobold Soarway Diver SEAL was a big temptation. But when I was recently fortunate enough to get my hands on almost the entire Kobold collection at one of the very few authorized Kobold dealers, the one that seemed to make the most sense for me was the Kobold Soarway Diver (non-SEAL version).
Kobold watches are known for their substantial cases which are usually between 41mm and 44mm wide (without their prominent crowns), and 15mm to 17.75mm tall. That’s a pretty big watch for my relatively small arm. The Kobold Soarway Diver uses the very slim ETA 2892 movement, however, which allows the case to be a mere 10.25mm high — in my opinion, the perfect size.
I was also lucky enough to find a very special Soarway Diver. It turns out that James Gandolfini of Sopranos fame is a big Kobold fan, so when the show ended last year, he ordered 400 custom made Kobold Soarway Divers for the cast and crew. A very small number of these watches ended up being sold by crew members who, having little appreciation for fine timepieces, decided they’d rather have the cash than the souvenir. Being a huge Sopranos fan, when I was lucky enough to come across one, I snatched it up immediately.
The caseback bears the following inscription:
“REST IN PEACE”
Here’s a breakdown of the custom-made “Sopranos” version of the Kobold Soarway Diver:
- Polished titanium case.
- Brushed titanium, uni-directional, engraved ratcheting bezel.
- Screwdown crown and caseback.
- Date between the 3 and 4 o’clock positions.
- Anti-reflective (inside only) synthetic sapphire crystal.
- Luminescent hands, hour markers, and bezel “pearl”.
- Waterproof to 100 meters, or about 330 feet.
- Antimagnetic case.
- Retail price of $3,450.
The Kobold Soarway Diver is an unusually simple and elegant timepiece, especially with the black canvas Zulu strap that I use in place of the brown calfskin band it came with. Although Kobold has a very passionate following, it is not a mainstream brand which means you can have a beautiful and well constructed automatic watch, and still fly under the social radar. Even though this watch is only 1 in 400, and a gift from the most famous on-screen gangster since Marlon Brando, people admire it for what really counts: its beauty.
By Christian Cantrell