Pressure Tested by the Diver That Made It
Words/Photography: Me / Model: Me, Scurfa Watches
Several weeks back a reader emailed me asking if I’d ever seen a watch from Scurfa Watches hands-on. Scurfa, a microbrand based out of the UK, is owned by Paul Scurfield. A North Sea pressure diver, Paul created Scurfa in order to build dive watches that gave divers high-end capability… but at an affordable price.
Priced at £188.00 (roughly $250), and sold directly from Scurfa, the Diver One is certainly affordable. Sapphire glass and 300m of water resistance ensure the Diver One lives up to its premise. 300m is also excellent water resistance, especially at this price.
Scurfa is a two-person brand – my favorite kind of company – and so I decided to buy a Diver One Blue and get my feet wet. Let’s dive in.
Disclosure: I purchased this watch on July 27. Some photos used are from ScurfaWatches.com (they are not WYCA branded).
Scurfa Diver One Blue Technical Specifications
- Model Number: Diver One Blue
- MSRP: £188.00 (Appx. $250 USD)
- Case Diameter: 40mm
- Alternate Models: Multiple versions at Scurfa Watches
- Movement: Quartz, Ronda 515SM
- Complications: Date display
- Battery Life: Approximately 3 years
- Water Resistance: 300m / 990ft
- Crystal Material: Sapphire
Good Looking & Sized Right
Watches are getting bigger, and leading the way are dive watches. They are ballooning in size (example: the portly Ecozilla I reviewed last month), with case sizes north of 46mm becoming common, and that’s a problem for wimpy-wristed men everywhere (myself included).
There’s just no way I can get away with a 44mm+ case.
Scurfa’s Diver One is sized more modestly at 40mm. This is a great size for me and probably for you, too. This modest size helps the Diver One work as a daily wearer, where it complements casual and dress attire. Swap the silicone strap with some brown leather and you’ve got a great office watch.
The Diver One Blue is nicely muted with grey undertones. Hour markers are large and filled with Super Luminova SL-BGW9; visibility is never a problem, regardless of the time of day or how deep you might be.
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A True-Blue Dive Watch With an Interesting Story
As a small business owner, I love it when I see businesses tackling problems that they face in their industry. Paul is open about what inspired him to start Scurfa: as a pressure diver, he often works 24 hours or more in a shift and needed a watch reliable and robust enough to keep pace with him in the depths below.
The brand’s roots are humble and enjoyable to read. On their history page, Paul tells-all about the motivations to build his own watch and what he’s learned along the way. While maybe not intended, this candor between the brand and the wearer is rare. The relationship between the Diver One, my wrist, and Scurfa as a brand feels special because I know the people behind the Diver One.
That type of relationship is hard to build, and few brands – save for other microbrands and watchmakers, such as Nick Harris – are able to do it. But Scurfa Watches has that feeling, and it makes the Diver One feel that much more special.
The 316L steel case feels good to hold and wear. The Diver One isn’t heavy, but it’s noticeably heavier than non-divers. It feels solidly built, from the uniform and smooth surface to the deliberate motion of the bezel as it turns.
The machining on the crown is equal to that of the rest of the case. It screws-down smoothly and has yet to misthread or catch. With the screw-down crown tightly sealed, the Diver One boasts 300m / 990ft of water resistance. Very rarely will you need more than 300m of resistance, and if you do, you probably have more than $250 to spend on a watch that achieves those ratings.
All told, the Diver One presents itself well and should be a long-lasting companion for your wrist.
It’s Hard to Find a Better Diver Than This for $250
Independent brands like Scurfa are often the best because of the love and care you can find built-in into their watches. The Diver One is an example of that kind of process, and you can read about the journey Paul underwent as the Diver One grew from a concept to a reality if you want an additional perspective to appreciate it from.
Someone looking for an affordable dive watch with an accurate Swiss-made quartz movement would be hard-pressed to find a better watch than the Diver One.
In addition to a great build, quality materials, and sensible sizing, the Diver One has a story behind it that larger watch brands and conglomerates just can’t recreate. This story goes a long way in making a watch interesting, but the Diver One doesn’t rely on it to be good. It very much earns its high marks on its own merits; an interesting backstory is just a bonus.
If you’re looking for a diver, check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.