Rhodus Watches is an upcoming brand, and their first model is the Rhodus Watches Skull Diver. The owner, David, is a watch lover and a somewhat recent microbrand lover and decided he wanted to create his own brand. His first watch is vintage skin-diver inspired, but his special touch is the skull. Skulls and watches are not normally associated with each other, and when it comes to diving style watches, most people think of sharks, dolphins, sea creatures, etc. Skull themed jewelry, including watches, have been around for a long time, though it is more of a niche product. Bell and Ross is probably the most notable brand that produces watches with skulls, though many would find those watches a little too ostentatious, or immature looking. I don’t believe anyone would use those words to describe this Skull Diver.
As you can see with the above photo, the Rhodus Skull Diver is nothing like your typical skull-themed watch. You can easily wear it with a suit, a t-shirt, have it as your weekend watch, or of course your beach/dive watch. Hell, take it fishing or anything else you want to do if you fall off the boat, the 300m of water resistance will keep the watch dry, but you will probably need a towel or two. Some reading this may be thinking “Why would anyone want a skull on their watch?”. Well, you could also ask why anyone would want an octopus on their watch, or car, or any other symbol. Myself, skulls, and I go together like peanut butter and jelly and have for the better part of 20 years. Without drifting too far from the main point of this article; I became infatuated with skulls and a skull ring because of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who has always worn a silver skull ring. That lead me to rock stars, most notably Keith Richards, who has famously worn one since the late 70s. I not only wear a replica (more specifically a skull ring made by the same makers who made Keith’s Ring) but have also loved almost anything with a skull on it. As Keith has stated, we all look the same under our skin, and that is what the skull represents. We are all the same underneath. When it comes to watches though, I have never really liked a skull on the dial.
That is until now. The Rhodus Skull Diver has allowed me to embrace my skull side in a watch, mostly because it is subtle. It’s funny, but as you get older, you don’t want everything to be large and in your face. As you can see, the skull ring above is quite large, and when it comes to my watches, I prefer it to be more traditional instead of gimmicky. While there are quite a few skulls placed around this diver, they are very subtle. The main one on the dial is just above the dial text, and if you prefer a less cluttered watch, there will be a no date option as well, that uses an NH38 movement. Yes, there is a skull on the crown, clasp, and of course the skeleton scuba dude on the case back, but if you are wearing this watch on this wrist, no one would notice the skull, they may notice that beautiful teal dial though.
Let’s get into specifics. Yes, the dial is teal. In the video, I was wrong again, only because the owner told me it was blue after I confirmed with him, to apologize, and say he messed up and that I was indeed sent the teal. Honestly, he had me questioning my ability to see color, but it is teal and we all make mistakes. Other colors available will be black, blue brown, and full lume white (not sure if this will be a stretch goal on Kickstarter or not). The case is mostly brushed, with sleek polished chamfers and overall it is much more brushed than high polished-something I greatly appreciate as I am just not a big fan of mirror-polished watches, but especially when it comes to a tool or dive watch such as this. The case is very reminiscent of many skin-divers to keep with the vintage theme there is a beads of rice bracelet, and yes they are individual links. As far as I know, the only change from this prototype to production will be reducing the thickness of the case ever so slightly, so most likely that catalog clasp will stay on this watch. Fortunately, the price is very low and a quick change nylon strap is included as well, along with a very nice leather pouch.
Those with a keen eye will see that the Rhodus Watches Skull Diver uses applied markers very similarly to the older Eberhard Scafograph 300, but that is where the similarities end. The gradient sunray dial is striking, and like any dial with this makeup, depending on how the light catches, it will appear to be a light blue or that deep dark teal. Teal has never been my first choice for a dial color, but I have to say this one is convincing. Both the dial applied skull and the skull on the crown will be a little sharper come production, with both being more highly engraved, but everything else should stay the same. I have to say, even as it is now, the dial is just plain beautiful and looks much more expensive than what these will be selling for. Topping the dial is a sapphire crystal, and surrounding that dome is a gloss ceramic bezel that is loaded with SuperLumiNova.
Because of the 40mm case with a 41mm bezel, the Skull Diver wears a little larger on the wrist than one would think. If you are used to 40mm watches feeling small, like say your classic Rolex Submariner, you will be pleasantly surprised with this micro diver. Now, this isn’t going to be a 44mm watch on your wrist, so if you prefer a big watch, this is not it, but if you have been hesitant to try a 40mm, this might be the one to try. The beads of rice bracelet is super comfortable on the wrist as any well-made bracelet should be, and it drapes around my 7 1/2 inch carpal bone like liquid metal. As stated earlier, I would prefer a sleeker clasp, possibly a little more custom, but that seems a lot to ask when looking at the price. That said, everything else is so top-notch, the basic clasp, while functional, makes you yearn for something better, even if it cost a few bucks more.
The Rhodus Watches Skull Diver will go on sale sometime at the end of November, though Kickstarter, with delivery planned for May 2021, barring any delays. This probably doesn’t need to be said, but this year has not been easy for anyone, and hard on many small businesses especially. Starting a business and running a campaign is always a huge risk, doing it during a pandemic has to be terrifying. If you do decide to pledge, give Rhodus or any other company a little slack, as things just do not seem to be going as planned for anyone this year and it doesn’t look like next year is going to be much better.
That was a little gloomy for a watch review, I know, but with that out of the way, I wish David nothing but success. The Skull Diver prototype looks and feels great, and for those that thought I forgot the lume, check the photo below. If you are a lume junkie, this one should keep you smiling. All things considered—design, size, functionality, and price, Rhodus is definitely on track to producing a very nice dive watch well under the $500 price point. The skull aspect is something I appreciate and even if you are not a fan of the skull motif, it is so subtle and not overly done, you can probably overlook it as the retro-style skin-diver has so much else to offer. If you can’t overlook it, hopefully, David will produce something for your palette with his second model, whatever that may be. Here’s hoping he reaches that milestone soon.
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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