I don’t see a lot of watches with tritium gas tubes for illumination, so I was pretty interested in checking out the two Chronologia Dive Watches, the R004 and R004 Chronograph. I was also a tad skeptical, since I do have an automatic preference for automatics, but I found that I really enjoyed wearing both of these watches (though the 3-hander is more my style).
If you are not familiar with tritium tubes, these are a physical means of emitting light on a watch, with no need to recharge the luminous paint in the light or connect to a power source (hence draining your batteries). Chronologia uses tubes from Trigalight® with a minimum life span of 10 years. The image above is of the pair of watches that were sitting in the dark for weeks, exposed to the light for about 5 minutes (just to set up a shot), then shot in the dark. The image below shows the same watches after about 30 minutes in the light, with both the tritium tubes and Superluminova® paint lighting up. Suffice to say, these watches are easy to read in the dark.
They are also easy to wear. The watch case is made of carbon fiber. From the look of the watch, it is not sheets of carbon laid and then cut into blanks, but rather bits of carbon fiber sheets that are melted and then pressed into blanks, which are then finished as watch cases. I have not cracked one open, but there is typically a metal shell inside the case which the caseback threads into, providing the ability to make a water proof seal. Since these are Chronologia Dive Watches after all, this seal is important, and both watches are rated to 20 ATM, which is over 600 feet, way more that what is needed for even advanced recreational diving.
Also contributing the ease of wear is the way the strap is attached to the case, with the silicon strap connected at a downward angle relative to the case. The straps don’t pivot at the connection point, but the angle allows the watch to sit securely and comfortably on the wrist. There is a chance that if you have a small or very large wrist, this arrangement may be less useful, but overall it looks like a nice and solid connection. The strap is also very comfortable. It does not have any compression adjustments, so if you wear it over a thick wet suit is may loosen up on a deep dive, but the standard buckle allows you to adjust the strap easily.
Both watches feature 46mm cases with sapphire crystals and uni-directional bezels. On the review watches I have, which were produced prior to a crowd funded campaign, the bezels have a very odd 90 clicks. I have watches with both 60 and 120 click bezels, but I can’t even come up with a use for a 90 click bezel. I reached out to the brand on this issue, and they assure me that the production watches will have 120 click bezels (Note, if the bezel is important to you, please confirm with the brand before purchasing. Some of the watches sold at present may have the 90 click bezel, while future watches may have the 120 click)*. The bezels themselves are well marked with a dot of lume at 0.
Design-wise, I prefer the R004 three hander, but that is just because I have little need for a chronograph (though I do own another diver chrono). The general arrangement of the two watches is very similar, with tritium tubes on the hour and minute hand, as well as sitting in the beveled chapter ring at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00. The chrono shortens up the hour indexes a bit to make room for the sub dials, and moves the date window to 6:00 from 3:00 on the three hander.
The chronograph does keep it simple, which I think is a good choice. The central second hand is the chrono timer, with the 3:00 dial handling the second hand duties for normal time. The other eye is a 30 minute timer. The centers of two eyes are set a bit above the midline of the watch, and the locations make the design clean and easy to read. With only a 30 minute timer, the chrono function is still useful for most timing applications; if you need to time something in the hours, use the bezel to track the additional time.
Both of the Chronologia Dive Watches are available in 6 color schemes, three variation of black on black with different accents, a blue dial version, a grey on grey with silver and rose accents, and a grey dial and case with an orange bezel and strap. Powering all the watches are Swiss Ronda quartz movements, a 515 in the three hander and a 5030D in the chronograph. The three hander is priced at $395, and the chrono sells for $525. If you are looking for a comfortable, light, and very bright dive or tactical watch, these may be worth checking out. chronologia-watches.com
- Brand & Model: Chronologia Dive Watches models R004 and R004 Chronograph
- Price: ~ $3395 for the three hander and ~$525 for the chronograph
- Who we think it might be for: You want a watch that is readable in the dark for extended periods.
- Would I wear one myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yes, though I prefer an automatic, the three hander would get some wrist time.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Make an automatic version.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The illumination really is superb.
Tech Specs from Chronologia
- Movement: Swiss Ronda 515 quartz (R004) or Ronda 5030D quartz (R004 Chronograph)
- Functions: Three hander with date (R004); 30 minute chronograh, date (R004 Chronograph)
- Case: Carbon fiber
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water resistance: 20 ATM
- Lug width: Not specified (non-standard)
- Straps: Silicon
- Diameter: 46mm
- Thickness: Not specified
* 10/21/15, updated with additional information regarding the bezel.