Today’s watch is something I stumbled on completely by accident – and boy oh boy, what a happy accident it was! Â The watch is the GMT Diver offered up by The BaliHa’i Project. Â Now, before you go and write this of as “just another diver”, let’s take a closer look at the company, and what they’re producing.
First, what’s up with that company name? Â They’ve taken their inspiration from the book South Pacific, where BaliHa’i was an unreachable paradise island. The founders felt that captured the laid-back attitude they wanted to capture – with a serious side hiding underneath. Â Why did they start the company? Â They’re watch enthusiasts who felt that they could make a better watch. Â So they set out, taking various cues from current and vintage models that they loved, and came up with their interpretation of a “best of breed”.
Now that brings us to the watch they currently have available, the GMT model. Â This is a serious tool watch, meaning it’s meant to be used and abused. Â The 44mm stainless steel case is rated water resistant to 1000m, and includes an automatic helium escape valve at the 9 o’clock position. Â Right off the bat, you can see this watch means business.
It also features an ETA 2893-2 automatic movement, 120 click rotating bezel, Â flat sapphire crystal with AR coating on the underside and a 22mm steel bracelet. Â The bracelet itself has a divers safety clasp as well as a ratcheting dive extension, further increasing it’s usability. Â Of course, if you don’t care for the bracelet, it also ships with a rubber strap.
It’s not all function with this watch, however. Â As you can see in the picture at the top of the post (and the ones below), this is a very good looking watch. Â They offer it in three varieties:
- Version A: Gray MOP dial, sapphire crystal bezel inlay, blue and orange hands
- Version B: Sunray brushed blue dial, red and white hands, sapphire bezel with lumed background
- Version C: Black PVD-coated finish, black dial with black lume, silver hands, PVD bezel
Of these three, I was surprised that the one that drew me in the most was the mother-of-pearl dial. Â It’s a finish that’s generally associated more with small accents and/or women’s watches – but it just plain works on this diver. Â Of course, if that’s not your cup of tea, there are the other two to choose from. Â The “stealth” version would be my second choice, but then I must be a contrarian, as BaliHa’i informed me that Version B is their most popular variant.
Regardless of the model you choose, you’re going to get something that’s extremely visible in low-light conditions. Â The watches have C3 SuperLuminova applied liberally on the dial and bezel – and of course on Version B, you have a fully-lumed bezel. Â Also? Â You’re going to get some great artwork from Gene GonzalesÂ in the form of the company logo engraved on the caseback.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m very happy I stumbled across this company. Â Though relatively young, they have a great name and following out on the various watch forums, and they seem very enthusiastic about what they’re bringing to market. Â For $900, you’ll get a very functional and visually-striking diver with date and GMT complications that willÂ absolutelyÂ stand out from the rest of the pack.
(For more pictures, you may wish to check out this forum thread)