About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver
The About Vintage 1926 At’ Sea Diver is, of course, a vintage style watch, from a brand out of Denmark, with what they describe as Scandinavian style. I wouldn’t exactly put About Vintage into the microbrand category at this point in time, they have been around 5-6 years and the brand was started by two friends, but nowadays they have a marketing team and seem to be a bigger operation than your standard microbrand. The watch I have for review today is one of their quartz vintage diver offerings. This piece is 42mm, but it is available in other sizes, you get a choice of two straps or bracelets, and there are many colors and options to choose from, which I will discuss in this review. Pricing starts at $379.
- 42mm Stainless Steel Case
- 22mm Lug Width
- 50.5mm Lug to Lug
- 12mm Thick
- 162 Grams in Weight
- Seiko VH31 Smooth Sweep Quartz
- Box Sapphire Crystal
- 200m Water Resistant
- Screw Down Crown
- Country of Manufacture-China
Price $399 (as reviewed)
There is a good amount to talk about with this About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver, first of all, the brand name, the owners’ names, and 1926. So, let’s start with the owners’ names, which you will find towards the bottom of the dial. By Skov Andersen. This is the two names of the owners combined, and the story is one we have heard before-two friends who were having a few beers, I believe they said Corona’s and decided to start a watch brand. 1926, is the year Rolex made the first waterproof and dustproof watch, and About Vintage uses this on their divers, as they name their different series of watches after important historical times in horology. A little cheeky, but I get it. When it comes to the brand name itself, well, it makes sense to go with something that immediately tells one what the brand will be about, but I feel they could have done something a little less generic. And the owners’ names on the dial? I think that could have been left for the case back.
Looking closer at the dial, you will notice it is a combination of applied and sandwich markers, although the way it is implanted is odd. Only two indices are sandwich, the 12 and 6. I like the shape, but I think they could have done a few more, say the 3 and 9, to make it a little more symmetrical and stand out a little more. The rest of the dial is pretty standard fare-syringe style hour and minute hand, lollipop second hand, and a black sunray dial, which can look charcoal grey at times, pretty common with a sunray dial, and part of the appeal. There is also the logo, which I still do not have confirmation on what, if anything it represents, but a Youtube subscriber mentioned, maybe it is a small S and A, combining the brand owners’ names. Above the dial is a box sapphire crystal, which I do like normally, but I don’t know why I don’t exactly feel it on this watch, it just doesn’t seem to have the pop these types of crystals usually add to a watch.
Standard fare is probably a term you will see here often, especially when it comes to describing the case, crown, and bracelet. Now let’s be fair, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but with so many watches out on the market, especially vintage divers, the About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea doesn’t exactly stand out in a crowded market. On the other hand, it is a $400 watch, and just another option out there, so does it have to stand out to get your attention, or is the low price and all it includes enough? The brushed top case and polished sides are pretty standard, and when it comes to the bezel itself, the small coin edge looks good and is easy to grip, though I feel the bezel turns far too easily and can be knocked out of place with little friction.
The crown, feels solid, but I have had more than a few misses when screwing it back down. It gets caught, and while every time I was able to correct it, long term this might be an issue. The bezel insert is aluminum, which fits the vintage vibe, and I seem to be drawn to aluminum bezels much more these days, though I wish this were brushed instead of the glossy sheen it has.
For those not familiar with the movement, this is a quartz movement, the Seiko VH31, which has a 2-year battery life and that is really the only thing that concerns me. The smooth sweep of this movement is pretty decent, and definitely allows it to feel much more like an automatic, but if I wear it often, every two years I will need to take this in for battery replacement and if I am concerned about the water resistance, pressure tested. Many quartz movements that are put into affordable watches these days have 5 or 10-year batteries. Just something to think about.
On the case back, you will find a beautiful etching, and if you look even closer, you will notice that the bracelet, has quick-release pins, as well as the rubber strap I have with it. More on that in just a second, but I do want to mention that the finishing on the inside of the bracelet could be much better. It just really looks very cheap.
One of the big selling points of this About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver, at least in my opinion is the number of options you have. You cant switch out bezels and dials, but there is a fair amount of customization you can do, at least when it comes to the bracelets and straps. But before we get to that, I have not mentioned the different size watches available, as this model and the green dial/bezel model come in 3 different sizes, 36mm, 39mm, and 42mm. As far as the rest of the colors available, most of them only come in 39mm, which is quite strange. So if you go over the website and are wanting this in all PVD, it is there, but only available in 39mm. I hope About Vintage will rectify this with future releases.
But yes, you do have a lot of strap options and you get TWO straps when purchasing this watch. From what I see, all models besides the full gold or full PVD, are able to be purchased with two bracelets, the 3-link one you see in this review, and a 5-link bracelet as well. Or you can opt for any of the other strap options, and there are many.
I opted for this green silicone strap, and I love the color and feel it looks great with this black dial. The strap is silicone but doesn’t seem to attract link and dust as many do, and it feels very comfortable on the wrist. I also quite like the texture, which I describe as a meat tenderizer, but I am sure that is not what it is called.
The bracelet is an absolute run-of-the-mill strap, quick change pins, a brushed finish with polished sides, friction pins, and a generic clasp. Completely functional, but a little boring. Also, notice the male end links. If you have a small wrist, this bracelet may not be the way to go.
And lastly, we get to the lume, and this is a real area of disappointment. Now let me be clear, I do not really need lume, and these days, as far as in my personal life and daily use of a watch, it is not that big of a deal. That said, if you are going to make something labeled a dive watch and put lume on it, it should be done well, and this is just not it. The picture below is it at its absolute brightest, and not only is that not that great, but believe me, it starts dimming seconds afterward, and after only a few minutes, it’s almost complete gone, especially on the 12 and 6 sandwich markers.
If there were only 35 watch brands in the world, or this was the start of the microbrand influx and I saw this watch, especially for the price, I would probably be all over it. Nowadays, I couldn’t even begin to count or list the number of watch brands available and with the exception of the slightly quirky dial, this watch just doesn’t stand out. The case and overall look give that vintage Rolex or Tudor vibe, among others, and there are a lot of watches out there like that these days. I think the key, at least to this About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver, is the almost countless colors and versions available, much like the Glycine Combat Sub offers, and the ability to get two straps or bracelets with your purchase. I hope to see this model, with a few changes, especially to the ideal and lume, come in an automatic in the future. I think with a little tweaking, the brand can make this watch appeal to a wider audience.