Aragon Divemaster 2.0 Review
Updated: Feb 18
When the news was released by Master Wing Liang, creator and designer of Aragon Watches, that there was a planned release of an updated version of the famed Divemaster model, all fans of Aragon Watches rejoiced. After all, the Divemaster series had been a fairly solid anchor, a safe play if you will, in a line-up of creative, very forward-thinking, Aragon watch designs.
For past reference, the previous Divemaster model (shown above), had more of the traditional, submariner look, with Wing never being shy about offering his designs in more robust, 50mm case incarnations, as pictured above. This particular model shown, featured a day / date complication, as well as lume provided in the form of Tritium gas tubes, at each hour position (save 3 o'clock), and the hour and minute hands. For those lume junkies out there, Tritium tubes are great, because they don't require a light source to charge, but many lack the initial vibrant glow of Tritnite, or Super Luminova paint, so just an FYI.
For the 2.0 version of the Divemaster, there are some obvious design departures from the original, that I happen to like very much. The coin-edged bezel remains, however, the aluminum bezel insert has been replaced in favor of a one-piece, etched marker, bezel design, with the markers being filled with a Super Luminova paint treatment. The new bezel design is a definite upgrade for a couple of reasons, as the previously used aluminum bezel insert had no luminous properties, and aluminum bezel inserts can be prone to dings, dents, and scratches during periods of normal wear.
There are other significant design changes, within the dial and hand presentation of the Divemaster II from its predecessor. While Wing opted to move away from the traditional submariner bezel insert, he did go back to the future with the dial; well sort of, as this Divemaster II sports a more traditional submariner dial configuration, given the index marker look and style, and magnifier date window at the 3 o'clock position. Another nice touch, opting for a color-coordinated frame around the date window (matching the running second hand), to facilitate easier viewing of the date. The hour and minute hand, probably represent the most drastic design change from the original Divemaster, moving from a broad-sword style, to more of what Wing has described as "ladder-style" hands. Not sure I'm completely sold on the new hands, but it does nothing to detract from the overall aesthetics of this timepiece. The full color second-hand, case design, and brushed stainless steel bracelet, are the few design aspects that remain from the original Divemaster. One more point regarding the case and crown, the crown screws down to a short stalk, that protrudes from the case, but doesn't actually screw-down flush to the case, as is the case with most screw-down crown systems; a bit of a design peculiarity.
As to be expected with every Wing Liang creation, the fit-and-finish of the Divemaster II is extraordinary, and isn't at all indicative of the rock-bottom prices that Wing offers his designs; direct from Wing to collectors through the Aragon website, with no middleman mark-up, offering arguably the best bang-for-the-buck in the watch industry. Beautiful, finely applied brushed treatment on the bezel and bracelet, is contrasted nicely with polishing work on the coin-edged teeth, crown, and index marker edges. The only downsides I can find with this particular Divemaster II design, is that the white Super Luminova used, against the brushed bezel, can appear washed-out at times, and lose visibility at some angles depending on the lighting, and secondly, the original push-button, flip-lock safety clasp is basic, and doesn't nearly match the quality of the timepiece, but it does the job. Wing does offer the option of a clasp upgrade on this model, for those that desire a step-up in clasp quality. This is no deal breaker by any means.
As with the previous Divemaster models, there is a party in the rear of this timepiece, with an exhibition caseback design showcasing the Seiko Instruments, NH35A automatic movement. No added decoration to speak of on the movement itself, but automatic watch enthusiasts will enjoy peering into the mechanics of the movement nonetheless.
As stated earlier, Wing's decision to move from the Tritium tubes, to Super Luminova paint on the Divemaster II, was a wise choice indeed. Not only did it possibly reduce the engineering costs of the timepiece, but the use of luminous paint on the bezel, and in a different lume shade than that used on the dial and hands, presents a striking luminescent contrast, that is just so, and not overdone by any means.
In summary, the Aragon Divemaster II, is everything that a next generation version should be, an improvement and upgrade from the latter. The design enhancements (bezel, crystal, dial, and lume), from the previous Divemaster versions, were well thought out, giving this Divemaster II a very unique look all its on, in a very muddled sea of submariner-style dive watches. For this Divemaster II, I opted for the more wrist-accommodating 45mm version, rather than my earlier 50mm version, only as a matter of personal style preference these days, with 44mm to 46mm being my new comfort zone for wrist watches. With a 45mm case diameter and case thickness of 17mm, this timepiece is extremely wearable for most any wrist. But I'm glad that Wing is still offering the 50mm versions, as there are those collectors that prefer the big and bold look of maximum wrist presence. The Aragon Divemaster II is about the closest thing to a sure thing, and no-brainer, that you'll find available in the retail watch market today.