Many of us are, or have been drawn to ownership of a ‘dive watch’ at some point during their interest in horology. Others (i.e. those with no particular interest in watches but who wish to wear one) consider the dive watch to be the watch to wear both from perhaps a fashion perspective and also a practical one. After all, in theory such a watch can be worn 24/7 in all weathers and under all conditions, wet or dry. I certainly see the logic here or indeed how marketing has played no small part in the huge popularity of the dive or sports watch. Arguably, the clear leader in all this has been Rolex with their Submariner and Sea Dweller; for many though, attaining ownership of the latter is difficult as prices continue to rise both of new models and indeed, vintage ones. The question is as to the true worth (or value) of many of the top brands that we associate with the definitive dive watch; this question becomes more pertinent as time moves on, the economy dips yet prices move up and as new entrants appear who take advantage of the internet as a sales vehicle. Readers may recall my Dreadnought review of nine years ago which compared that watch to the Rolex Sea Dweller – such a comparison might not have been possible as little as twenty years ago and since my review of 2003 other highly specified watches have appeared which in my opinion really do offer a viable alternative to a ‘name’.
There have always been alternatives to the leaders in the dive watch arena; cheaper alternatives at that. In the 1960s and 1970s, those who wanted the ‘look’ could opt for a chrome cased pin pallet movement affair with dive bezel or indeed should they have wanted the functionality then the likes of Zodiac or Heuer were available which were fit for purpose (with the looks to match). The very latter decades of the last century arguably gave people even more choice albeit with quartz movements playing a large part in the offerings available. One or two manufacturers produced truly authentic lines of dive watches; Seiko for example, with their ‘Tuna’ line, both automatic and quartz, which continue today and which continue to be the choice of real divers who value functionality and reliability over celebrity endorsement (though I concede, James Bond did wear a Seiko 7549 Tuna in ‘Octopussy’!). So, if the likes of Seiko, a hugely respected watch manufacturer, can produce true dive watches to fulfil the needs of sea and desk divers alike, why then should anyone consider anything else? Well, firstly, many people (wrongly in my opinion) consider the likes of Seiko to be ‘cheap’ brands thus would only have such a name on the dial of a ‘cheap’ watch and secondly, at the time of writing, the cheapest Seiko professional diver (SBBN013) is priced around the US $1100 mark. For many, the two don’t correlate. In itself, the US $1000-$1500 price bracket is slightly odd territory – such a budget precludes the likes of Breitling, Omega and Rolex yet is ‘too much’ to spend on mainstream brands such as Seiko, Citizen et al for so many purchasers.
As alluded to earlier, there is a vast range of smaller brand watches on the market in this age of the internet; more specifically, if it is a dive watch that a purchaser is looking for, then following the Dreadnought of 2003, there has been a real proliferation of highly specified pieces coming to market which pricewise fill the gap left by traditional brands as they have continued to increase prices in the knowledge that name, status and reputation will (theoretically) ensure ongoing demand. Marketing and association have played their part in price justification of some of the newcomers – tactical this and SWAT that, Navy SEAL, Special Forces and so on and so forth. And then there has been the odd brand that has decided to ‘go retail’ whilst garnering some sort of celebrity endorsement – the net result of which has ultimately been a huge price hike (for essentially the same product), taking the product into the price territory of well known, traditional brands. Whilst I applaud the ambition of the smaller producers wishing to move upmarket, it does grate somewhat that as a consumer, suddenly the same product may be double the price it was a month ago! I for one, count value for money as the top priority when purchasing a wristwatch for myself or when advising someone on how to spend their cash – this extends from a watch leaving change from US $100 and upwards.
Dive watches have indeed evolved, certainly getting bigger with ever higher depth ratings adorning dials, fluid filled cases helping along the way. Automatic movements have re-taken their place, being offered alongside quartz versions and it would seem, in that interesting area of US $1000 to $1500 then the automatic would be the movement of choice for many, offering the possibility of little outside interference during many years of operation. A rugged, automatic watch of large proportion, capable of emulating a diving bell would seem to be the order of the day. But for the price range we are discussing, in my book there needs to be quality and engineering in addition to the aforementioned prerequisites – all these add up to the value for money that makes me smile when I look at a new purchase. On this occasion however, the purchase wasn’t for me, rather for a relative who cares little for brand names. Thus, I was tasked with helping him find an automatic watch with impressive depth rating that would last some considerable time and is well built; no mean feat in terms of the first two requirements but perhaps made a little easier by the third. Another stipulation was that the watch should be ‘big’. It is beyond the scope of this review to detail the process I went through, suffice to say, my final choice was the Westcoastime WCT 1000m Diver.
I have purchased from Westcoastime before – both straps and the excellent little M16 tritium tube watch which I have previously reviewed. The 1000m diver was described as Swiss/German which in this case refers to the Swiss movement and German case. My experiences of German watch cases has always been good with the offerings from one or two manufacturers being of truly excellent quality and thus I was immediately drawn to this watch.
In this day and age of small brand proliferation then some of the names we see adorning watch dials are (in my opinion) becoming ever more way out to say the least. I am most interested in being able to read the time quickly as opposed to being distracted by too much text or bright, large brand/model names. My feeling when it comes to non mainstream watches and their dials is that ‘less is more’. The WCT 1000 therefore ticked the correct box in this respect! I had looked around the internet at many dive watches before making my decision, many offerings were obviously budget watches being sold at quite a lot more than I deemed worth. The other point of note was the fact that the exact same timepiece was being offered under different brand names by different sellers; now as far as I am concerned this is fine and I believe has been a long established practice. However, it is now a very common practice yet I wanted to find something that was at least a little exclusive, even if it should be something found elsewhere under a different name.
On paper, the WCT 1000 looked to be exactly the specification I was after – large (but not stupidly so), Swiss automatic, with date, with (easily changed) bracelet, 43mm+ in diameter, 15mm+ in depth, 500m+ water resistant, easily read dial and hands and NO NAME! It would seem that Westcoastime set out to offer excellent value for money in a highly specified dive/sports watch, particularly if the watch were compared to like for like.
Having exchanged pleasantries with Howard Marx, I was satisfied that this was the watch I should be buying so paid my money, waited, and the watch was delivered to the UK from the USA within five days of ordering. Thus, I was now the proud owner of the WCT 1000m Diver.
For postage to the UK, the watch was securely packaged in a more than adequate outer box and Westcoastime had been thoughtful enough to ensure that there was plenty of padding around the watch box itself.
The watch box (or case) itself is an aluminium ‘camera case’ type; use of such suits the watch itself and serves good purpose in protecting the watch should it be in postal transit. Whilst of little store to me, the quality seems more than reasonable and the case is equipped with a folding latch which closes securely and ensures that the lid is very snug once closed.
On flicking the latch and opening the case, the WCT 1000 almost hits one in the face with its presence; whilst as we shall see this is quite a large watch, on first sight whilst it is undeniable a ‘monster’, it doesn’t look stupidly so; my example came fitted with its Maratac Zulu with the included bracelet curled around the cushion next to it. First removal of the watch confirmed what I had expected: this is a lump! Nicely head heavy when fitted with the strap and every bit (to use a current horological cliché) an ‘instrument’. This observation extends too to the bracelet which we will consider later in the review.
Paperwork wise, this consists of a very simple but informative instruction manual, a warranty in the form of a ‘credit card’ and a Westcoastime business card.
So, there is the package in its entirety; having opened the case, removed the watch and handled it for the first time I was thus far impressed looks wise and ‘feel’ wise. These were early days and the watch itself would need a thorough grilling before I could be sure that I had made a savvy purchase.
Before examining the watch in more detail, a brief specification:
- 316L Stainless Steel with inner iron core
- Automatic helium escape valve
- Diameter: 44mm across bezel
- Lug to lug: 53.5mm
- Lug width: 22mm
- Height: 18mm to top of crystal
- Bezel: stainless steel, unidirectional with 60 clicks
- Screw on caseback
- Screw down crown
- Sapphire crystal, domed with anti-reflective treatment to underside
- Crystal diameter: 28.5mm
- Soft iron with matt black finish
- Date aperture at 6
- Luminova indices
- Hands (including seconds hand) with Luminova coating
- ETA 2824-2 automatic with date
- 316L stainless steel with brushed finish
- Solid end links
- Solid links (screwed)
- Double folding clasp with wetsuit extension
- Maratac ZULU nylon, 22mm black
Weight of watch head: 141 grams
Case and Crown
The WCT 1000 case is really what this watch is all about; at first sight it smacks of something that has been engineered rather than manufactured. Angular, cut and machined are words that spring to mind. So often, the marketing department of a watch company will describe a piece as having been ‘hewn from a solid block of steel’ – the WCT 1000 does truly look like it has been created thus. What we have with this watch is a basic cylinder from which extend the lugs and the crown guards.
The cylinder itself has a depth of just less than 8mm which appears to be in perfect proportion to the 4mm of the caseback and the 5mm of the bezel; nothing looks too thick or too thin. Overall this is a thick watch at the 18mm quoted but the proportions of each element certainly serve to disguise such thickness to a degree. The sides of the case are perfectly vertical – there is no curve at all and I feel that this the most suitable design; given the shape of the lugs then any vertical curvature would give the watch a ‘fashion’ look in my opinion, which would detract from the object of the exercise. Finish wise, the case cylinder is brushed in a vertical orientation with the brushing being of a medium coarseness. This brushing has been thoughtfully extended between the lugs – no rough finish here.
This watch features an automatic helium escape valve positioned at the 10 o’clock position and featuring a polished finish. It goes without saying that 99.9% of us will never need this facility but it is discreetly there and a talking point for those that need such! If we compare this to the valve equipping the Omega Seamaster then I have to say that the WCT 1000 is the way to do things – that of the Omega can surely only serve to catch on things and be more of a hindrance for those of us who will never make use of it.
Moving to the 3 o’clock position and we have the all important crown guards. What is interesting in this case is that the protection for the crown is not equal – that is to say that at the topside of the crown there is more metal surrounding it than at the bottom. This, to me seems a logical approach – the top (dial side) of the crown is more likely to suffer knocks and so on and thus deserves more protection, the underside (case back side) of the crown is afforded protection by the wrist thus deserves less. From a practical perspective, this approach allows for easy enough handwinding of the watch too, as one’s forefinger can do most of the work given the extra serrations available bottomside. Horizontally, the crown guards cover all but a fraction of the crown serrations – excellent; there is very little crown protrusion and I feel that the guards would serve their purpose well should the watch be subjected to rough and tumble.
So to the lugs of the WCT 1000. These are the most angular aspects of the whole design and suit the slab sided case perfectly in my opinion. Including chamfers to the top of the lugs and the inner sides, there are no less than eight facets to each. This serves to make interesting what could have been a slightly bland aspect of the case design. The fact that the lugs (and crown guards) are very slightly raised above the case cylinder also serves to give some character to the overall look. Thus, as can be seen, the bezel rotates within these raised top facets and this makes for an interesting look. The lugs themselves slope downward at an angle of around 45 degrees when viewed from the sides and are flattened at their bottoms; they extend no more than about half the depth of the case back thus will never dig into even the largest wrists – it is likely that there will always be a gap between the lug bottoms and the wearer. I feel that the way things have been done is a good compromise; if the slope angle were any greater (thus allowing for longer lugs) then I feel that the case would start to look ‘odd’, if the lugs were extended any further as they angled now then from the top things would start to look somewhat out of proportion. As they stand, the inner facets of the lugs extend some 7mm from the bezel line and I feel this is enough.
The outer sides of the lugs are brushed vertically to match the case cylinder as are the very ends; the tops are brushed ninety degrees to the sides, thus the grain extends along the length of the lug tops as opposed to across the widths of them. This works very well, truly engendering the lugs with the look of a steel bar. Two edges of the lug tops are endowed with chamfers – this serves to soften the look very slightly (the chamfers are discreet) and may possibly help a little should the top edges of the lugs get knocked – it would be easy for an owner to refinish the chamfered edges – much easier than attempting to refinish a whole lug facet! All finishing is uniform, well executed and matches. Indeed, overall the whole of the main case seems to be superbly cut, machined and finished. Whilst we are visiting the lugs then mention should be made of the lug bars – the WCT 1000 features screwed bars as opposed to fixed or indeed standard spring bars. The case is machined perfectly in order that the screw heads fit snugly once the bars have been screwed into place; removal of the bars is easy enough but does require judicious use of two suitable screwdrivers.
Moving to the bezel and this is a unidirectional affair with count up scale. Thus, it is theoretically useful for measuring dive times; 0-15 is marked with engraved and black filled hashes and thereon numerals mark the five minute intervals, again, engraved and black filled. The 60 minute marker consists of an engraved triangle with luminous pip to its centre. All markers are engraved to a very high standard and the black fill appears thick and consistent. The bezel itself is of all stainless steel construction and is solid – there is no separate insert; readers will notice that it has a large surface area, being 8mm wide at its widest point. The main surface is finely brushed and is sloped outward flowing from the crystal – view the watch side on and the bezel and crystal appear to be one – a very pleasing effect indeed. The outermost extremity takes on its own angle of slope (slightly steeper) thus allowing it to be polished with precision; such polishing extends to the thick, well cut serrations which are easily gripped and I am sure would also be so if one were wearing gloves. Aside from the helium release valve, the bezel edge is the only polished part of the watch and adds a little dash of flash which is not at all intrusive and which I feel works very well. The bezel ratchet feels precise with the markers well aligned; the triangle on this example falling exactly as it should over the corresponding dial marker. In terms of the pressure needed to shift the bezel then this feels ‘just right’ – I feel it unlikely that the bezel could be rotated accidentally unless it was subjected to quite some pressure. There appears to be no undue vertical movement and axial play is very limited too.
Back to what is appears a wide bezel and whilst such might not be to everyone’s taste, I feel in this case that it works. My reason for this is that it matches the heft and thick walls of the rest of the watch case; proportionally once again it seems right – were the watch thinner it would look out of place. Another factor is that the wide bezel works to give the thick, domed crystal a slight ‘porthole’ feel to it.
Turning the WCT 1000 over and we can consider the caseback. This, like the rest of the case is very substantial; indeed, the back of the watch accounts for some 4mm of the overall thickness of the watch. Tap a fingernail on the back of the watch and one is greeted with a satisfying ‘thud’. Finishing extends to concentric machining to the flat central area and brushing to the angled outer ring. As with the rest of the case, this has been achieved to a very high standard indeed and here on the back of the watch we find in writing some explanation of why the case is well cut and well finished – ‘Germany’. The country of manufacture is engraved between two of the six tool slots (which themselves are beautifully deep and crisply cut) and the other five spaces allows for the words:
Westcoastime – 1023 – 316L – 1000m – Antimagnetic
These are self-explanatory with the ‘1023’ being the watch serial number of this example. It is notable that the central area of the caseback is plain with no wordage at all. That is fine by me and such an expanse of thick steel leaves plenty of acreage should a purchaser wish to have the watch engraved with a date, name and so on and so forth.
Finally to the crown. As per the specification this is screw down as would be expected on a watch rated to 1000 metres. Diameter is 7mm which is a decent enough size for hand winding when necessary. Unscrewing and screwing down is aided by particularly well cut serrations – serrations which are extremely well protected from damage by the cleverly designed crown guards as described previously. When the crown us fully pulled out for time setting then there is no excessive wobble or play and the whole affair seems very solid. It takes approximately three rotations of the crown for it to become flush to the case on my example and the threads feel smooth and precise as the hatch is closed – no grinding or easy cross threading. In terms of design, the crown is domed and features a raised ring. It looks perfectly suited to the watch and is the only part of the WCT 1000 to be bead blasted. I feel that a polished crown would be out of place against the vertically brushed case side and the fine bead blasting which has been applied sits extremely well within the crown guards.
Thus, at this point it would seem that the case of the WCT 1000 is indeed a substantial affair that has had thought put into its design and execution. Proportions all seem to be just right for a case of this size and the manufacture has been undertaken with precision, care and attention to detail. It has to be said that there very similar cases being manufactured in China and whilst I am gaining greater respect for Chinese manufacture as time passes, from what I have seen these items aren’t yet up to the standards of what is coming out of Germany. The metal of this watch would seem very fit for purpose as a serious dive or sports watch; certainly able to take the knocks and protect the contents within all the way down to 1000 metres!
Crystal, Dial and Hands
Although it is essentially part of the watch case, I have left consideration of the crystal to this part of the review as in my opinion, the crystal can make a big difference to ability to tell the time with a quick gland – distortion, glare and so on can have a detrimental effect on the whole ‘experience’ with any particular watch.
The WCT 1000 features a particularly thick sapphire crystal. I certainly wouldn’t have expected a mineral crystal on this watch so full marks in that regard. There is no mention of the actual thickness on the Westcoastime website although my guess would be somewhere in the region of at least 3mm. Undoubtedly, this sapphire truly feels that it is an inherent part of the watch case. Tapping it with a fingernail produces the thus that I would expect.
As mentioned previously, the crystal is domed to match the slope of the bezel (or vice versa) and this has been superbly achieved. It does not stand proud of the bezel at all giving the whole watch a fully integrated feel. I allude back to my previous comment that in some ways the crystal has a ‘porthole’ feel to it – it is 28.5mm in diameter thus relatively small given the diameter of the bezel which surrounds it. It in no way looks too small at all, rather, it aids the impression of this watch being a nautical instrument – quite literally is has a feel of being unbreakable and of withstanding the pressures of 1000 atmospheres under the sea. I am assuming that the crystal is double domed as distortion even viewing at extreme angles is just about non existent. The hands and markers can read from all angles with ease. Furthermore, the underside is anti reflective treated which goes a good way to reducing glare in bright sunlight – glare being the downside of a sapphire crystal.
The WCT 1000 features a soft iron dial which goes some to affording the watch its 80,000 a/m anti-magnetic capability. Whilst we can’t see that this is the case, it is reassuring to know that the same thought has gone into this aspect of the piece as seems to have been the case with everything else. Advertised as black, in reality the dial is more of a very dark grey – this may be due to the fact that (thankfully) the finish is matt. Gloss black dials do have their place (and beauty) but for me, a dive/sports/field watch should not have such; the glare that can hit back on a very sunny day is almost quite literally blinding with massive reflections.
If there is any bone of contention for some potential purchasers, it might be what some would consider being slightly small hour markers. I personally do not have this view; at first sight I erred toward this but then I put the markers into context with the circa 28mm dial diameter and those beautifully chunky hour and minute hands. The choice of these hour batons has added a little finesse to the dial yet it still looks extremely functional. Big round markers I feel would have given the watch a ‘toy’ look and undoubtedly overcrowded things to some degree. For those in any doubt then all they need do is take a look at the Omega Ploprof, a much admired classic with a dial that works in a similar way to that of the WCT 1000. When the batons are inspected under a loupe, it can be seen that they have been applied superbly – beautifully pillowed, thick white Luminova onto a white paint base. Application of both the white paint and the luminous compound has been achieved with a precision that I haven’t seen in some time; at the 12 o’clock we have a double baton to give some orientation in the dark. The quality of the dial printing extends to the white painted minute hashes – under a 10x loupe they look as good as they do with the unaided eye – the paint is thick and even, no bubbling, no thinness, no runs – absolute precision; I would go as far as to say this is one of the very best dials I have ever seen.
Thankfully, we have a date aperture and this has thoughtfully been cut at the 6 o’clock position which works well and doesn’t upset the balance of the dial in any way whatsoever; the date wheel is white on black, a good choice in my opinion, adding to the discreetness of the dial which is devoid of any script whatsoever. Room has been left for a small luminous dot too below the date. I cannot fault the dial of the WCT 1000 in any way.
Hands wise, the WCT 1000 has kept things simple: a stubby hour hand, slightly narrower minutes hand with triangular tip and a white seconds hand with black counterbalance. These are a foolproof solution and work extremely well – seeing the time at a glance is a snip and proportionally (as with the rest of the watch) all seems to be in order and well balanced. I have always been a fan of all white hands (e.g. Sinn, Tutima, Damasko etc.) on ‘tool’ watches and the WCT 1000 doesn’t disappoint in any way. All three hands are matt black at their centres with the outers coated in white Luminova, nicely applied and only showing grain under magnification.
What then of low light or night time performance? The Luminova has been applied thickly to the dial with perfect pillowing and this manifests itself in the form of a very visible, long lasting glow at night. Compound on the hands is similarly long lasting though not as uniform as that of the dial. In reality, I was able to read the time until the early hours after the watch had been exposed to a healthy dose of light before bed.
Thus, at this point everything we can touch and see about the WCT 1000 seems to be of the highest standard. There is nothing that I can find real fault with; it appears totally fit for purpose.
The whole purpose of this item is to tell one the correct time, for a long time. In order to facilitate this, the watch has been equipped with the ubiquitous ETA 2824-2 automatic movement from Switzerland, the basic specification of which follows:
- Diameter: 25.6 mm
- Height: 4.8 mm
- 25 Jewels
- Power Reserve: approximately 40 hours
- Winding by central rotor in both directions
- Etachoc shock resistance
- Etachron regulating device (with eccentric screw)
- Nivarox 2 hairspring
- Nivaflex NO mainspring
- Beats Per Hour: 28,800
- Hacking (seconds stop)
- Date indication (quickset)
What I am uncertain of at the time of writing is the grade of 2824 that has been used though I suspect it to be a grade higher than the above specification with Incabloc shock resistance. Whatever the case, my experience with the 2824 in whatever grade has always been good – more specifically, I have always experienced excellent accuracy from this movement, often out of the box and if not, after regulation. Furthermore, this accuracy has been ongoing for long periods without any need for further regulation or service.
Arguably, a dive watch would be better equipped with a quartz movement – more rugged, more accurate and so on. However, the argument persists that a quartz battery could die and leave the user in a predicament and that at very low temperatures things start to go wrong. Whatever the arguments for or against quartz, the fact remains that an automatic movement is capable of more than enough accuracy, will run for many years without much user interaction, is traditional and gives the wearer pleasure, knowing that there is a precision mechanism within the timepiece.
My example of the WCT 1000 has been running at a consistent +5 seconds per day since the watch was received. ‘Consistent’ is the keyword here, there has been no variation in this rate whatsoever and it may be that after settling in, the gain reduces slightly. This is more than adequate performance as far as I am concerned, within chronometer specifications and in keeping with the quality of the rest of the watch so far experienced. If the truth be known, I have moved on a little from the days when for whatever reason I felt that I needed the utmost, +/- 0 seconds per day accuracy from a watch; yes, it is good to know that a movement is well adjusted and regulated but I have learned to appreciate the whole.
Manual winding the WCT 1000 is smooth as should be the case, the crown pulls out smartly to the date set position and likewise to the hand setting position. In use, the date clicks over bang on midnight (which is nice). I feel that this movement is the right one for the WCT 1000, it performs well, it performs accurately and if personal experience is anything to go by, it will give many years of service before attention is required in any form.
So, thus far the watch head and its internals would certainly appear to be up to par; I am very impressed with the design, fit, finish and performance of this most solid watch. It does however need to be worn and to do so, it needs either a strap or a bracelet. The WCT 1000 comes with both and these are considered next.
So often, the bracelet supplied with a watch is almost an afterthought; this applies particularly to the end links which (although this is changing now) are tinny, folded affairs which bend and lose their fit after a period of wear. Indeed, it has taken even the likes of Rolex until March 2012 to equip the basic non-date Submariner with solid steel end links. In terms of wearing comfort, it is often the bracelet that lets a watch down – be it through lack of flexibility, hair pulling, lack of fine adjustment and so on. This is one of the main reasons why I prefer the use of a NATO strap on most occasions. Rarely will I be happy with the bracelet supplied with a watch.
The WCT 1000 is supplied with a stainless steel, solid link bracelet with solid end links. A good start. The bracelet is 22mm in width throughout its length giving a formidable, chunky look which suits the watch head well. Chunky in looks and chunky in nature as the bracelet weighs in a 123 grams with all links present!
Design and construction wise we have five rows of independent links allowing for good articulation. Given that the length of a single link is just 9mm, the bracelet will wrap comfortably around all but the smallest of wrists without feeling uncomfortable or awkward; there is great flexibility here and looking at the links in profile view, it can be seen that both the upper and lower faces are slightly curved. The lower surface of a link is important here and that slight curvature possibly goes some way to achieving the comfort that this bracelet achieves. The links are 3.5mm in thickness, not overly thick and certainly not as thin as too make the bracelet took a puny match for the watch.
Bracelet links are connected to each other through the use of screwed pins. Removal involves the use of two suitably sized screwdrivers; one to hold one end and the other to turn the screw head at the other end. Thus, there is no thread present in the link itself with the pin screwing into itself so to speak. The good news here is that it will be impossible to damage thread in a link and thus make it unusable. The whole bracelet has a brushed finish which matches the case well and the grain of which will make for very easy do it yourself refinishing if or when the need arises. This is one aspect which makes a brushed bracelet (and case for that matter) preferable over a bead blasted one; bead blasted items would need to be sent for specialist refinishing and incur associated costs.
The clasp is similarly finished to the top and sides. It is of a good thickness steel with a folding safety catch which feels very secure and which fits well. On opening the clasp then access is made available to the wetsuit extension; this is easily extracted and unfolded and adds just on 20mm to the length of the bracelet. In terms of fine adjustment at the clasp then there are three holes within which the bracelet can be pinned; this may not sound like many but the good news is that those three holes count for just about half a link adjustment between them. In practical terms this means that after link removal, one can then fine adjust in two quarter link steps on the clasp.
Between the bracelet and the case are the all important end links. Predictably, given the quality of all other aspects of the WCT 1000 then these are of solid construction. Machining and finish are to an extremely high standard and fit to the watch case is ultra precise. Once the bracelet is attached to the watch then the full effect can be seen; the visual heft of the watch and that too of the bracelet combine into a hugely impressive whole; and whilst this watch is indeed a large and heavy piece, it still manages to retain an air of refinement which I think might be in part down to the dial markers. The bracelet matches the watch perfectly, fits perfectly and makes the watch very comfortable to wear.
A black, heavyweight one piece Maratac Zulu strap completes the WCT 1000 package. I am a lover of fabric straps, particularly NATOs which I will use on any watch I own given the opportunity. The Maratac item is once again, of extremely high quality and constructed of a thick ballistic nylon with the joints being sealed and stitched. The rings are of stainless steel, brushed and a nice touch is the discreetly signed buckle. This gives the strap some distance from the many generic items that are now seen on sale; however, what gives the Maratac even more distance is its quality; a good weave, precise cut and neat, thorough sealing set this one apart from mainstream Zulus.
On the watch, then the Zulu fits and sits well and for those who cannot or will not wear a bracelet, it is a great choice. A fabric strap is a love it or hate it thing for many people thus it may not be pertinent to dwell on this subject at great length. Suffice to say, in my opinion the Maratac matches the WCT 1000 very well indeed. One concern may be that of balance; a heavy watch head (141 grams) coupled with a light fabric strap might result in the watch slipping around the wrist. Personally, I have never experienced such so my only advice to WCT 1000 owners would to try it and see what happens!
Certainly the Zulu does look excellent on, and there are ample holes for adjustment which aren’t too widely spaced. I feel that a one piece strap is preferable to a traditional NATO for this watch as the latter may well result in the whole affair becoming a little too tall on the wrist.
So, I have considered each element of the WCT 1000 in turn and it only leaves me to express my conclusion as to the watch as a whole.
There is a sea of independently labelled dive watches out there at the time of writing. Certainly this sea has been around for maybe a decade or so but getting deeper year by year and from my perspective it is not very often that a watch comes along that emerges as something which stands out. Certainly in my recent search, the WCT 1000 stood out.
Does the watch represent value for money? The WCT 1000 from Westcoastime costs US $1295 plus shipping. Certainly in comparison to an identical watch (yes, there was one) then value for money is undoubted with the WCT being less than a third of the price of that piece. That aside, the precision that is evident in every quarter make me feel that this US $1295 was very well spent even if we compare it to watches half the price.
The word which describes the WCT 1000 overall might be ‘presence’ – it oozes presence in every way and is a pleasure to handle and more importantly to wear. Is it fit for purpose? Undoubtedly this watch is well designed, well engineered, well built and performs flawlessly. From an aesthetic perspective it all works well – the sum of all its elements is certainly more than the equal of them. At circa 250 grams on the bracelet it is no lightweight; if a purchaser is looking for a watch with such heft to be worn anywhere at anytime and for a long long time then I unreservedly recommend the WCT 1000.
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