TWCO Salvage Diver
Every time I turn around there seems to be another micro-brand watch company releasing a new watch of some sort. I am becoming more finicky these days when it comes to dive watches as I find myself more drawn to this style than any other. So, I find it very refreshing when a micro-brand company releases a superbly finished watch at an affordable price packed with quality specifications. My experiences tend to find one or the other not both.
TWCO Salvage Diver Specifications:
- 316L Surgical Grade Stainless Steel
- 43mm case diameter
- 51mm lug to lug
- 14mm thickness
- 22mm lug width
- 300m water resistant
- Miyota 9015 automatic movement
Price $873 USD
Technical Watches Company (TWCO) is still what I consider a relatively new micro-brand based in the Netherlands. TWCO has focused on robust dive watches and the Salvage Diver is the 3rd model the company has released after the Air Controller and three different variations of the Sea Rescue. I think I may have mentioned in the video that the Salvage Diver was the 4th or 5th watch from TWCO as I was taking into account the variations of the Sea Rescue so I wanted to take a moment and clarify. Dual crown dive watches have become quite popular over the last couple of years and I have had the pleasure to review at least one that I recall and seen several others in person over the past few years. I have to admit I was a bit worried about the Salvage Diver prior to its arrival based on my past experiences with dual crown divers. Don’t worry I will explain my concern a bit later in the review. You can read more about TWCO at http://www.twcowatches.com/.
The very first thing lately that I have found myself focusing on with any watch is the finishing. I have lost count as to how many times a watch arrives for a review and right out the box the case brushing is uneven or the plating is sub-par. While the case design itself was a bit underwhelming just because I have seen it before, I was immediately impressed with the finishing on the Salvage Diver. Of course many of you are probably thinking, a watch that costs over $800 better have a good finishing, right? The finishing that is present on the Salvage Diver is just quite simply not a constant these days for watches in this price range. Besides the extremely fine primarily brushed finish, the case also consists of exquisite high polished outer edges down the lugs and around the outer fixed bezel. The finishing alone makes me quite proud on days when I wear it into the executive board room as the watch draws some attention from colleagues and others. Once they find out the cost, they are even more impressed. Yes, even though the Salvage Diver has some thickness it fits under a dress shirt cuff without being uncomfortable. Overall, I give two thumbs up to TWCO on the superb case finishing.
Looking beyond the case finishing the next aspect of the Salvage Diver that I was immediately drawn to was the dual crown design. As I mentioned previously, the Salvage Diver is not the first dual crown diver that I have had in my hands. I also mentioned that I would explain my pause in regards to the dual crown design on the TWCO. The crown at the 2 o’clock position operates the inner rotating bezel for timing dives for those of you that may not be familiar with this type of design and is not screwed down. Other dual crown divers that I have had/seen tended to be a bit on the free side in regards to how this crown operated. Can everyone see the problem if this crown has a bit too much play or freedom? I’m not sure I could depend on an inner rotating timing bezel if too much play existed. TWCO seems to have solved that problem as their inner rotating bezel crown is quite stiff. Now the crown isn’t stiff to the point that it is going to be difficult to rotate with gloves on or anything like that so never fear. The crown just isn’t going to knock out of place easily which will be huge for anyone depending on this watch during a dive.
Wrist shot on 7 3/4 inch wrist
I have to admit one aspect of dual crown divers that has always puzzled me is how the watch maintains the stated level of water resistance especially when the bezel crown does not screw down. The only thing I can assume is the gasket system must top notch especially in this case to maintain 300 meters of water resistance. The screw down crown at the 4 o’clock position on the case obviously operates the complications of the watch. One other aspect I really like about the crowns on the Salvage Diver is that they are over-sized at 8mm and quite easy to grasp. An important fact to mention is that TWCO touts the use of Viton seals throughout the construction of the watch which of course helps maintain the specified water resistance. Five levels on the bottom crown and a dual system on the case back crystal. If you want to read up on Viton gaskets/seals, you can read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viton.
Have you heard me mention in the past how much I dislike domed sapphire crystals? Well if you haven’t I’ll say it again. I do not like domed sapphire crystals. I have to admit due to the dual anti-reflective coating under the sapphire crystal on the Salvage Diver, I can give this one a pass. While the dome still distorts the dial at certain angles, I had very little difficulty obtaining some great photographs of the glossy black dial. The watch has an extremely clean dial with limited branding which combined with the applied markers and glossy finish give the dial a sexy overall appearance. The case finishing combined with the sexy dial really make the watch what I consider more of a dress diver rather than tool diver.
What about lume? The specifications mention Superluminova but do not specify between C3 or BGW9. The markers and hands have a pure white color to the luminous materials so it had me immediately thinking BGW9 but apparently C3 can now be found without the green hue normally found with C3. Regardless, whether C3 or BGW9 when charged the lume has a strong bluish glow that lasts for hours. Lume fanatics are going to be pleased, period.
Powering the Salvage Diver is the Miyota 9015 automatic movement. The Miyota 9015 has become quite a popular movement over the last few years and has proven to be quite reliable. The rotor can be a bit noisy but I can put up with a bit of rotor noise to get that extremely smooth sweep second hand of much more expensive movements such as the ETA 2824 and other Swiss Made movements. The Miyota 9015 also helps in keeping the overall cost down for consumers. This watch with an ETA movement would easily cost hundreds more.
A top quality micro-brand diver better be finished off with either a top notch dive strap or a superb bracelet. TWCO doesn’t disappoint with an outstanding brushed stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is assembled using double-sided flat screw heads (screw + screw bar). This design is probably the only negative in my book about the entire watch. Now, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with this type of design. However, this design lends to quite a bit of user error toward scratching up the sides of the links. If hex-head screws would have been used this quite frankly would be one of my favorite bracelets of all time.
As many of you may recall from past reviews, I tend to lean more toward quality straps over bracelets these days. I have to admit the reason for my recent preferences toward straps over bracelets has quite a bit to do with the ease of sizing and fit with most bracelets. The bracelet on the Salvage Diver is finished off with a ratcheting clasp, which is useful not only for using over a dive suit, but to obtain a better fit after removing links. The ratcheting clasp allows for easy micro adjustments on the fly, as opposed to your standard clasp that uses spring bars. I highly doubt even though I love my Isofrane dive straps that I will even remove this fantastic bracelet. I have a feeling you will feel the same way if you decide to purchase one.
The TWCO Salvage Diver is a higher priced micro-brand dive watch, especially if comparing to Kickstarter microbrands. With that extra price comes the higher level of finishing and attention to detail. I can say this model compares to or exceeds the quality of other dive watches in this price range. If you are looking for a dual crown diver this option may be one of the best if not the best I have run across to date. If TWCO keeps producing dive watches with this level of quality, they are certain to be one of the go to micro-brand watch companies for years to come. I highly recommend checking out the Salvage Diver.