Esoteric: “Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.” New watch alert! Esoteric Watches are selling themselves short. Their 44mm Miyota-powered Bathyal Oscuro’s eye-catching color and bold design will find favor with a broad audience (both here and abroad). Who doesn’t like the 120-click unidirectional bezel’s large print luminosity? Speaking of esoteric, the watch’s name refers to the Bathayal zone . . .
“the part of the open ocean that extends from a depth of 1,000 to 4,000m below the ocean surface.” The Bathayal is “only” water resistant to 620m. (Missed it by that much!) Oscuro is Spanish for dark. The Esoteric timepiece is certainly that, thanks to the matte-black DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coated case and bracelet. The Bathyal Oscuro is a distinctive diver that won’t break the bank or, given the steadfast movement and five-year warranty, break.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver – $22,300
Gerald Genta’s original Royal Oak was an understated masterpiece that invented the Swiss steel sports watch genre. The new Royal Oak Offshore Diver pisses on Genta’s legacy, from its oversized “mega tapisserie” dial texture (in grey, navy blue or olive green), to the undersized dial size (relative to the case), to the oversized crowns (one of which rotates the inner bezel). The Oak’s trademark move, the integrated bracelet? Gone! Aside from the “diver’s helmet” bezel, the Diver has about as much “Oak” to it as a potted plant.
To be fair, the Diver trumps a standard Royal Oak’s water resistance by a factor of 10 (300m vs. 30m). As no scuba diver worth their salt dives without a dive computer strapped to their wrist, who cares? Leaving us with an ungainly watch powered by a modified Code 11.59 movement (AP has a lot of those hanging around). New watch alert! The only way this thing makes sense: the completely OTT limited edition orange Offshore Diver Chrono (above). Go garish or go home? That’s AP these days.
FURLAN MARRI Chronograph – $345
I’m not surprised FURLAN MARRI unleashed a Kickstarter cash tsunami. If you want to raise a million dollars, create a watch that looks like a million dollars. FM blew past their $80k fundraising goal like it was standing still. And no wonder. All four 38mm variants are drop dead gorgeous – in a funky fresh way that makes the 40mm Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph look overwrought. And wouldn’t you really rather have a Seiko VK64 meca-quartz-powered timekeeper rather than AP’s rickety old Code 11.59 engine? No? That reminds me . . . new watch alert!
Like all Kickstarter campaigns, FURLAN MARRI’s links to an Accountability page. It’s worth reading. There are currently 2914 watches on order. Do we really think the talented Mr. Furlan and the mysterious Mr. Marri can get their Chinese workers to crank out 3k watches by August and maintain quality control? I’d feel better if FM revealed their “finest partners” and didn’t assert that “memories last forever.” Still, the esoteric ad copy didn’t ding their chances, did it?