Like most of us these days, you are probably on Instagram and Facebook often, and as a watch enthusiast and blogger/YouTuber/watch journalist, I am on these platforms a lot. That is how I first came across Vaer and the Vaer D7 Atlantic and their dive series in general. They seem to have spent quite a lot on sponsored ads through these platforms and multiple ads as well. If you haven’t seen these ads, you might not be aware of Vaer and what they are known for primarily. That would be very affordable, American Assembled field watches. How affordable? They start at $199, with quartz movements, and sapphire crystals. From what I have seen, they look pretty good as well, and for that price, I think those watches are probably hard to beat. Vaer was started in 2017, by two watch enthusiast friends, and has been pretty successful with their field watch lineup so far. When I saw them putting out ads last year for their dive watch series, I was pretty excited, expecting a great dive watch at an affordable price, assembled in the USA. To be fair, they have produced that exact watch. This is not it though. The one I am reviewing is the D7, which is the Swiss Made version. This has an ETA 2824 movement and is marked Swiss Made. What are the other differences you ask? Well, none. So, today I will be reviewing this vintage-inspired dive watch that is quite attractive but also answering the question-Is the Swiss Made version worth it?
Let’s dive right into the pricing. The Vaer Dive watch series is split into two different versions, the D5, and the D7. The D5, much like their field watches, are American assembled. The D7 is the Swiss Made Series. Both have the same dials, straps, case backs, etc. The only difference besides price is the movement. All come standard with a tropic rubber strap and are available with either date or no-date versions as well as broadsword or pencil hands. The stainless steel oyster-style bracelet costs $100 extra. The American version (assembled, not manufactured) uses a Miyota 9015 and starts at $499 and this Swiss Version starts at $799. Available on the website is a spinning wheel discount, which you can get up to 15% of the price, at least at the time of publishing this article and can save you a little cash on these pieces. Dial options are pretty much the same as well, though there is one dial you can only get with the D5. Sound a little confusing and complicated? I do feel it is as well, though these days it seems either the brands want to offer a boatload of options, or that is seemingly what the customer wants. I am not sure what camp you are in, but I prefer things to be a little more straightforward.
On to the watch. The Vaer D7 Atlantic has the pencil hands and date window at the 6 o’clock position. The case design is one we have all seen before. It has lyre lugs, similar to Omega, and a dial and crown position that makes you think of some of the Rolex Milsub watches, among many others from the 60s. The broadsword hands version looks even more like a Rolex Milsub, and again, this is all intentional. Have we seen these designs time and time again from countless microbrands? Yes. Is that a bad thing? Well, that depends on how you feel about homages and vintage-inspired pieces from microbrands. These dive watches from Vaer are overall well constructed, and I like the look here, as again, it is very familiar, but classic styling is classic for a reason, and 20 years from now, I have no doubt this style of watch will still be just as popular. (That is if we are all not half-robot and have internal clocks in 20 years. I mean, who knows these days.)
The case has an all brushed finish, with not one bit of high polish anywhere to be seen. This is somewhat rare in this style of watch, but one I find appealing. So many watches try to dress the case up with high polished crowns or bezel edge and I am someone who likes high polishing on a dress watch or a watch that is specifically meant to be more of a flashy design, but on dive watches like this, I prefer the satin finish all over. When it comes to the actual steel, it looks and feels well finished and I found no rough edges to speak of. The crown is solid, easy to use, and while there are no actual crown guards, it screws down into a case cut out, so the crown is not sticking out awkwardly from the case. At 39mm with a 40mm bezel, it is not oversized or more specifically, upsized so much from the vintage pieces that inspire it. The lyre lugs also give the watch a wider appearance, so it doesn’t look small on my 7 1/2-inch wrist, but feels comfortable enough to wear all day and not get in the way of any activities.
The dial is what you would expect with a watch like this. The Vaer D7 Atlantic is not cluttered with erroneous text, the hands and indices are more than visible, and getting close-up, you can see it is not sloppy when it comes to lume paint and the hour and minute hand being filed properly. The bezel on the other hand, or more specifically the ceramic bezel insert, has an issue. A lot of times, when a watch has a double-domed sapphire crystal such as this, you can have a hard time seeing if the bezel insert markings line up with the dial. You kind of have to move the watch around at a few angles to see if they line up correctly. I will cut to the chase here. The triangle and 30 marker do not seem to line up on my example. It almost seems this was done on purpose and they were not centered but lined up at the edge, but I could be wrong on that as well. The 120 click coin edge bezel itself functions as it should, and is actually quite nice to use, with almost no back play at all.
You don’t get a choice of straps with the D7, instead, it comes standard with a tropic style rubber and you can add other straps such as a single pass nato or two-piece nylon strap for no extra charge, or a Horween leather strap ($50) and this oyster bracelet for $100. Now, this is where I feel we run into some problems. These Swiss versions do of course use a Swiss ETA 2824 movement and get that Swiss Made stamp on the dial. You end up paying $899 to get the bracelet and I am just not sure if it is worth it. Sure, many prefer to have a bracelet on their watch, but at $900, I expected more. It is a standard bracelet, with a standard clasp, no dive extension, and uses friction pins, not screws. This is the same bracelet you would get if you purchase the Miyota version and add a bracelet, but you would be paying a lot less money for that version. $300 to be exact.
The Vaer D7 Atlantic does look good, uses all the materials we would expect from a quality microbrand these days, and as you can see below, the X1 C1 Superluminova does a good job of keeping the watch lit in the dark. Sure, in this version, you are getting the Swiss ETA movement, and I guess are supporting an American company, which is something I am obviously fond of. Manufacturing is still taking place elsewhere, par for the course these days, and not a fault of the current microbrands. The infrastructure to actually design and manufacture watches in the USA is just not here these days, and who knows if it will ever return unless some large company wants to dump billions into revitalizing the American watch industry. Digging deeper into that, even if that did happen, would consumers want to pay for USA-made watches? We all know the premium we currently pay for American products and many watch collectors like microbrands for their affordability, and not exactly where they are made.
I know. It seems like I am being hard on this watch. Maybe I am, but I try to look at these watches and these reviews from the consumer point of view. The reality is, everything is exactly the same on the D5 and D7, except the movement. You can claim that the D7 was in Switzerland and assembled there. If that means something to you, fine. For me, that does not mean much these days, and I would have rathered the option of a Swiss movement option, which would have still raised the price above the Miyota, but not as much as having them assembled overseas. To be honest, I do not remember ever seeing a watch that is identical but is assembled in two different locations like this Vaer dive series. At the beginning of this review, I put forth the question- Is the Swiss Made version worth it? Well, in my opinion, it is not. But that is one man’s opinion. I feel you get the same quality watch with the D5, with a Miyota 9015 movement, which does not feel lesser than the ETA 2824. To some, Swiss is still everything, so if you must have a Swiss Made watch, the D7 is surely the way to go, if you are shopping for a Vaer. If not, you can save quite a few buckaroos by going with the D5.
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.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.