By Jake Fogarty, founder of It's All About Watches:
New Scurfa watch review...
Paul Scurfield, founder of Scurfa watches, is a professional saturation diver. He founded Scurfa (the name has no relation to scuba diving and surfing, it is derived from Paul's last name, Scurfield) to provide watches to fellow saturation divers, not to the public. About eight years ago, a diving vessel would have been a watch lover's dream. It was full of all the Comex Rolexes, Milsubs, Double Reds, Great Whites, and Subs you wanted, all on the wrists of divers. However, when the prices went up, divers were left with the option of realizing a large payday by selling their now valuable watches, or risk of wearing a valuable timepiece in a hostile environment. Not surprisingly, over 90% of the divers elected to sell their watches (Paul helped sell many of them) and the divers were now left without a watch to wear during their dives. They got as many as they could from Divex, a diving supply company, but when they started charging too much, Scurfa was born, and they have been making watches ever since. This watch has a Ronda PowerTech quartz movement, with a battery life of up to 10 years. Awesome, right?
Case and Crown
Rather than creating a custom case, Paul decided to use a pre-made case to keep prices down (please note that the 42mm silicon model features a custom case). Despite the fact that pre-made cases don't have the highest reputation, I can't find a problem with it. This case has the best quality as I have seen at this price point and in addition to a number of finishes, the watch is topped off with AR coated sapphire crystal, a rare thing to see in a watch with a price less than $200. The case is 40mm in diameter, 48mm lug tip to lug tip, and has a lug width of 20mm.
Since the watch is water resistant to 200m, it is a given that there is a screw-down crown. The action while screwing down the crown and while unscrewing the crown is very smooth and there is very little friction. The action while moving it into the positions is very firm and there is a definite and distinct click. The complaint I have about the crown is that one must rotate it almost a 1/4 rotation before it activates. That's a lot of play, but it is so nit-picky to say that because the crown still works. Other than that, the action when setting the time is silky smooth and although the crown has a not-so-discernable click when adjusting the date, it is still relatively easy to select the correct date.
The bezel is a classic-looking 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel. However, it does not have a lume pip, so timing dives will be hard unless the light is able to penetrate to the depth you are at. Of course, most people don't use dive watches anymore, they use dive computers. That is, unless you are a saturation diver in the North Sea. If you are wondering about the bezel action, it isn't the best I have seen. I was able to move the bezel ahead almost two minute makers before it clicked into the next position.
The case back is relatively plain and has the information you would expect engraved onto the back. A nice feature is the polished area to break up all of the brushing. No one even sees this part of the watch, but it is a nice touch and shows plenty of attention to detail.
Overall score: 7.5/10
Strap and Buckle
For this watch, Paul decided to put the watch on a NATO strap. This was a wise choice and anyone who is familiar with this style strap will agree. It is superbly comfortable and complimented the watch well. I have worn the watch for a number of days using the same hole in the strap and it has yet to show any signs of wearing down. The strap should fit at least an 8" wrist, although I don't think many people with an 8" wrist would feel comfortable wearing a 40mm watch.
Overall score: 10/10
Dial and Hands
The dial and hands makes this watch instantly recognizable as a diving watch. The sword-style hands are coated with lume as are the markers on the ploprof-sytle dial. Despite how they look in the pictures, both the Scurfa logo and the "Diver One" text are quite underwhelming and are hardly noticeable in my opinion.
I'm not sure how to explain the lume. It is bright, but not too bright. You can see it very clearly at night, but it does not light up a room. The lume, as should be expected on a diver, lasts quite a while and slowly fades throughout the night.
Overall score: 9.5/10
As Paul puts it, these are "tool boxes for tool watches". These are german-made twist boxes that are usually used to supply spare parts to the diving industry, only made larger to fit Scurfa watches. This is what packaging should be. It is clean, simple, and does the job effectively. You get what you see: a box, and a watch. Anyone with half a brain should know how to operate a three-hand watch and since Scurfa does not have any chronographs or GMTs in their current lineup, there is no reason to include a manual. In fact, does anyone even read the instruction manual on a watch?
The packaging, because it is not part of the watch, will not receive a score.
Overall score: 27/30
What a cool grab and go watch. Scurfa is still a young brand, but it's only up from here. Their "Diver One:: Stainless Steel" watch, which was on a bracelet, has already sold out and both their other NATO watch (40mm, black case, orange hands) and their silicon model (42mm, different design) are both selling well. We will see this new model sell just as well, if not better than the past models have and I am looking forward to seeing what the future will hold for Scurfa. As with my other reviews, I will include a few points about this watch which I think could be improved upon, so here they are.
1) Right now the bezel has quite a bit of play, I would like to see a slightly stronger spring to make the action just a little firmer.
2) There is no lume pip on the bezel. I realize that this is a relatively useless feature because less than 1% of dive watches will ever be exposed to depths more than 15m, but it would be nice to see.
This watch will retail for £112 (which is approximately $190 USD) shipped with tracking and confirmed delivery. Scurfa is an advertiser on It's All About Watches and I received this product free of charge.
To wrap up this review, I wanted to do a quick interview with Paul and ask him a few questions, so here it is.
IAAW: What was your inspiration to start your own watch company?
PS: I set out to make one watch for my workmates to wear. If you went on any diving vessel in the North Sea about 8 years ago you would come across all the Comex Rolexes, Milsubs (Comex employed all the ex navy divers), Double Reds (my supervisor still wears a pat pending Double Red) Great Whites and Subs you wanted, but as you all know the prices went crazy and about 90% sold (with my help).
IAAW: What did you want/what did others want to see in the watch?
PS: Now they all had no watch for work and we scrounged as many as we could from Divex the diving supply company in Aberdeen, Scotland but that only lasted so long and now they charge about £95 for japan quartz with mineral glass so I thought I'd have a go. The Silicon watch I've got for sale now was going to be the only model, but then you had the ex navy lads wanting NATO straps and the lads who were used to wearing Rolexes wanting stainless steel so thats how the others come about. No one wanted anything bigger than 42mm because it just would not be comfortable at work on a 12 hour shift.
IAAW: How did you end up with the design that you did?
PS: First of all the watches had to be quartz because of accuracy as dive times, decompression and pressure test times are critical for safety. The watch had to be comfortable with a good luminous dial and hands as well. We charge them up and need to see the time in our bunks without disturbing other people sleeping.
IAAW: Where do you see Scurfa going in the future?
PS: The future goal of Scurfa watches is to make high quality watches using the best materials available with an affordable price tag. I could not use any reference to Comex as Rolex purchased the link with Comex and watches but I can use the colour orange (Comex diving bells and equipment was painted orange) and also their philosophy of using the best equipment and materials that served the company well as the equipment is still used today.
Please note that all scores are given relative to the price of the watch.
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