Gruppo Gamma Divemaster D-02
Here’s another NH35 powered affordable diver tool watch. So why did I get my hands on it, and why should you if you can find one? Well for starters (and honestly one of the most important reasons) it’s a Gruppo Gamma. Earlier this year I discovered I’m a huge fan of their watches when I reviewed the Bronze Vanguard, that watch really got me hooked. So when this Divemaster made itself available to me I jumped on it.
Let me start by saying after having the bar set so high by my Vanguard, this watch doesn’t disappoint! It’s really well put together! It ticks all the necessary boxes and then some including a helium release valve. Double domed AR coated sapphire crystal, reliable NH35 movement, brushed 44mm SS case, screw down case back and a really sturdy and manly 3 o’clock crown. When I say manly that’s exactly what this watch exudes! And it’s not just the crown (which isn’t guarded, probably because the crown is so manly it told the guards to “Piss off, I don’t need you.”) This watch, while not being over-sized is still weighty and muscular enough to feel like it’s a Hulk and that it’s capable of mayhem should you make it angry.
When gazing straight down on the watch, the shape of it reminds me of Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter with its circular case and aggressive beveled drilled 24mm lugs. The bezel has lumed markers and a sapphire insert. There are 3 grip points on the bezel which make the Watch look like it’s flexing. I mean the whole appearance is muscular. This watch is a thug. We’ve all watched scenes in the movies where the tough guy removes his watch before a brawl and places it out of harms way. Well if you were ever faced with an impending brawl and wearing this watch, I’m pretty sure that this watch would remove you, then tell you to go wait outside while it handles itself like Charles Bronson in a prison riot. Manliness.
This D-02 version has embossed markers as opposed to the sandwich dial of the D-01, and the lume is very good. It’s visible all night, and also lights up nicely in the evening when the light is dimming but is still bright out. You can definitely see where this watch takes its design cues from the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, but it exudes a totally different feel. Being a Canadian I know a bit of French and I can tell you that Blancpain translates directly to English as “White bread” which makes me imagine a slender French man with a thin moustache taking a walk on the beach with his baguette for a picnic before he goes snorkelling. Well if that’s the case, then Gruppo Gamma must translate directly to “Red Meat” because it evokes images of 5 o’clock shadow and marines chewing on rare steak in tactical scuba gear.
So when it comes to watches that aren’t only built tough, but act tough too, this watch wears the crown in my collection. And that’s not to say my Vanguard isn’t tough (because it it is), but comparing the two would be like comparing the Dread Pirate Roberts to Fezzik (played by Andre the Giant) in the Princess Bride. For a full list of specs Click here. Gruppo Gamma is also very active on social media, are responsive and available. Now this model is sold out but are occasionally available second hand. Follow them on Facebook for up to date info on all their current projects like the Chrononaut which is expected to be available for preorder October 2017. I also just heard that they are beginning to plan their next version of the Vanguard (Excited to see that!)