Undive Dark Sea Black Storm
What do you get when you mix a Seiko 6105 and a Panerai Submersible? The Undive Dark Sea Black Storm. (Also available with a steel bezel, dubbed the Cool Steel.) The straight truth is that there are many in the microbrand world that do straight up copies and others who take inspiration from a few different iconic watch models and come up with something such as this. It is a mix of a few and that is a recipe that does not always work. I feel it works with the Undive. I liken this to a production of a Seiko mod. For some folks reading that are not aware, Seiko Watches, especially the dive watches, are some of the most modded watches out there on the planet. Undive took that idea to the next level and created the Dark Sea. I like what they have done, but there is some important info you should know. I do not know what is going on with this company at this point. Their website has not been updated and even though they sent this for review with the assurance they will be releasing more stock of their two models, I will say proceed with caution when it comes to purchasing from this brand.
Undive Dark Sea Black Storm Specifications:
- 316 L Stainless Steel Case
- (with DLC coating on brushed bezel (BLACK STORM version)
- 500m / 50ATM / 1640ft Water Resistance
- Helium Escape Valve
- 120-click unidirectional bezel
- CASE SIZE: 45mm (47mm including crown)
- CASE THICKNESS: 15.40mm (including crystal)
- LUG TO LUG: 50mm
- Seiko NH35 movement
- Matte black dial with SuperLuminova BGW9
- Sapphire crystal
Price $460 USD
So, what is the deal with the Undive Dark Sea Black Storm? (That’s a long name isn’t it?) Well, it was originally funded on Kickstarter and looking into it, most if not all received their watches. Actually, and someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I do not believe anyone complained of not getting their watch, but that their watches had a misprint on the dial. Getting that replaced is where there have been some issues, both with the replacement and communications. That is a shame, as you can have a great product, but if you do not have good customer service, it can definitely damage your brand. That said, it is weird they would send a watch to a reviewer (I believe a few other reviewers and blogs have received one of these recently) if you are not planning on putting more up for sale. When it comes to the watch itself, they did produce a nice product.
Obviously, if you are not a fan of homages/copies etc, the Undive Dark Sea Black Storm (or the other model, the Cool Steel) is not going to be for you. If you are okay with such watches, I can tell you the build quality on this one is very good. I have never looked at a watch through a loupe, I do not even own a loupe, but when I do macro photography or videography, I can see the good and the bad. From what I have seen, this one is pretty darn nice, regardless of the price. The applied markers and lume seem to be pretty even, same with the hour and minute hand, the polishing and brushing are smooth and clean and both the crown and bezel operate without issue. So, at $460, what is the downfall? Well, normally I would say the movement…
Yes, the Undive Dark Sea uses the Seiko NH35 automatic movement. Those are words I have become tired of typing or saying over the past two years, but the reality is it is an affordable hacking and hand-winding movement that if properly regulated can keep fairly accurate time. It is still not my choice of movement, and never will be. So why I am I okay with it in this package? There are a few reasons. 1. It comes in under $500, which is a price limit where I feel it is okay to use this movement. Why $500? Simply the sum of all parts, plus some other factors involved, I feel over this price, a different/better movement should be used. 2. The amount and quality of straps/bracelets this Undive comes with, which makes it a pretty nice package.
If you have not watched the video yet, go and ahead and do so where I show all this watch comes with. You should watch the video first anyways :-). As I show in the video, the Undive Dark Sea Black Storm comes with the VERY long rubber strap, which I forgot to mention is a Crafter Blue rubber strap. Not familiar with Crafter Blue? Go look them up. As a matter of convenience, here is their website: https://www.crafterblue.com/. As you can see, they make fitted straps for many of the popular Seiko Dive watches and also ones that will fit the Tudor Black Bay. I do not believe this strap on the Undive is available through their site, but it is a good quality natural rubber that should easily fit guys with wrists up to 9 inches. The Dark Sea also comes with a leather strap, a Nato strap, and mesh bracelet, none of which feel cheap or flimsy.
The lume you ask? Yeah, that is good too. A nice ice blue, compliments of BGW9 Superluminova, and if you look closely, red Superluminova on the 6105 styled second hand. How long does it last? It is about average. A few hours and it fades completely, though depending on how your eyes are adjusted to the dark, you might be able to see it 5 hours later, though we are talking pitch black darkness here.
As most of you have probably figured out at this point, the real shame here is that there really are no glaring issues with the watch, but rather the company. The Undive Dark Sea Black Storm has a lot to offer for under $500. Looks are subjective, but I dig it. Beyond that, it has a sapphire crystal, a workhorse automatic movement, a DLC Bezel, 4 different strap options and a damn nice build quality. I am still scratching my head a little at the brand name, Undive, but if you move past that, it is a good deal and nice watch. The bigger question is, do you want to buy one from them? The fact the website or social media has not been updated is what is really bothersome. Hopefully, they are busy trying to rectify a few things, but I mean, it only takes a few minutes to at the very least go in and put an update on the website. For their first model, Undive put out a good product. As for what happens to them from here on, who knows. I hope they can get their act together and get things tightened up.