With the boom of independent micro watch brands in recent years, the watch community is spoilt for choice when it comes to acquiring timepieces carrying an excellent price to performance ratio while maintaining a direct line from the brand to their customer base. Even though most micro watch brands are conceived by like-minded enthusiasts, it’s no secret that not all brands are made the same. An emerging brand like Evant, with the brand’s interesting ethos and its rather peculiar designs, has piqued the interest of many watch lovers around the globe. Based on the specs sheet alone, Evant watches have gotten many things right in producing timepieces that stand out from the sea of countless other offerings; from the high-performance Swiss-made automatic movements to some of the most gorgeous lumed ceramic bezels I’ve seen on timepieces in this price segment.
Since the brand’s release of their debut lineup — the Tropic Diver – many watch enthusiasts have been enduringly awaiting its next successor following its rapid sell-out at its launch. And yes, Evant answered the call, and the Tropic Diver will make its much-anticipated return, with a whole myriad of improvements and sensational revamps that the masses will absolutely appreciate. Quickly recapping the rudimentary design nature of the Tropic Diver, this lineup of dive watches looks in the past for a charming vintage inspiration while taking on a forward-looking approach of adopting a shade of futuristic panache in its novel dial design. The end result is truly fascinating, with the icing on the cake being the exceptional value for money considering its specifications.
Unveiling the Evant Tropic 39
Right out of the box, the latest Tropic Diver 39 is presented in a rustic sandy brown leather travel pouch, constructed with leather and precise stitchings that feel extremely high-quality. While the watch itself is certainly the main highlight, the little details like this really reflect on the ever-growing brand’s customer-centric attitude. And it is a really nice touch being able to utilize a watch packaging in preference of throwing it in the cupboard where it never sees the light again, props to Evant on this thoughtful inclusion.
Taking a look at the watch in person, the fit and finish of the watch feel amazing in the hand with a slight heft and well-refined surfaces. With each of Evant’s releases, it never fails to impress with how great the watch feels considering its relatively budget-friendly price range, especially coming from a rather young brand that has only been on the market for several years. From the first glance, the iconic appearance of the first Tropic Diver certainly manifests splendidly on this latest release, carrying that punchy ultra-legible dial design we’re familiar with from the previous model alongside the rather minimalist dive bezel layout, capturing a cool modern look.
In the world of dive watches, there are seemingly endless options. Nevertheless, it is especially refreshing to see something bold from Evant, setting itself apart from the rest of the crowd with the brand’s distinct style. Depending on the implementation, having a peculiar design may be a hit-or-miss situation, even more so for younger smaller-scale watch brands. However, Evant definitely managed to create some stunning timepieces with much splendor, taking a valiant step forward as the brand strives to create watches with unique personality while retaining a visually charismatic appearance — and the Tropic Diver lineup beautifully reflects this.
Perhaps the biggest change for this new release of the Tropic Diver is distinguished by its case size, downscaling from a 41mm diameter to an elegant 39mm form factor. Smaller watches are inherently more comfortable with their compact build, and more and more brands are embracing sized-down models as more people are leaning towards more traditionally-sized timepieces in recent years. It is almost like the cool new thing to look for in watches these days. For a vintage-style diver like the Tropic Diver, having it in a sub-40mm diameter definitely makes perfect sense, and 39mm is a winning formula.
A reduction of 2mm surely made all the difference. The watch arguably looks heaps more sophisticated, classy, and immensely refined. Contrary to popular belief, smaller timepieces can look confidently masculine on the wrist as much as their larger, slightly oversized counterparts.
Other than its tasteful looks, the Evant Tropic Diver 39 just got even more versatile, even pulling off a dressy front easily without a problem. It is worth mentioning that a full-fledged automatic dive watch with such graceful dimensions achieving a hefty 300m of water resistance is commendable. Throwing it on the wrist, the Tropic Diver 39 exudes an abundance of sporty character and a dashing vintage charm while carrying an understated wrist presence that is really eye-catching on the wrist.
Besides the case dimensions, another key upgrade for this latest Tropic Diver is instantly noticeable on the dial itself. The addition of a fresh Evant logo is exquisitely riveted on the dial at the 6 o’clock position, showing off the iconic mark of the brand in a detail that is so delicate yet exceedingly significant. Admittedly, it would be perfectly fine even if Evant utilized the previous dial design. It looked amazing as it was, and there was nothing wrong about it, so to speak. However, Evant went the extra mile anyway to bring something revitalizing to the dial of the Tropic Diver, which gave it a serious step up in finesse.
Riveting the intricately machined Evant logo on the dial is an impressive feature that brands often overlook when adding fine attention to detail in ornate dial elements. Typically, such designs would depend solely on the use of high-quality industrial quality glue to secure applied logos onto the dial. This could potentially pose a risk of the logos disastrously peeling or falling off. Evant effectively eliminates this risk with a firm and secure attachment by fastening their logo onto the dial using short metal pins. Yet again, to achieve such a level of production quality, despite this competitive price point from a brand that has only been around for a few years, is a true marvel to behold.
A defining characteristic of the Tropic Diver is clearly distinguishable in its striking dials with distinctively large hour markers, following the core design of the first Tropic Diver. Diving into dials of the black (remastered) and blue (royal) model, both of these new releases sport a dazzling fumé dial finished with radial brushing that lustrously plays with the light in different angles, producing a mesmerizing effect as its gradient fades to a deep inky black at the edges of the dial. Like the first edition, it is easy to see why the community really loved these dials. They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and the extensive world of watches definitely has limitless dial options to offer. However, the distinctive modern aesthetic forges a compelling look that rivals even watches way above its price range.
Despite holding a rather traditional layout without excessive elements, the dial is executed well with delicately applied hour markers, constructing its unique look being slightly oversized while allowing for an extra legible experience when viewing the time. One of the details that made the watch especially appealing to me was the contrasting diamond-shaped 12 o’clock marker that pleasingly aligns with the design of the sweeping second hand, exhibiting a sense of balance and uniformity throughout with a touch of delightful peculiarity.
Naturally, a dial as stunning as this deserves a 3mm thick sapphire crystal, slightly domed with a treatment of blue anti-reflective coating for extra scratch-resistance. While not exceedingly domed, the gentle curve of the crystal feels just right, boosting the clarity and legibility of the dial when viewing at an angle without feeling entirely overwhelming.
The Ever-Reliable Swiss-made Engine
Following Evant’s fundamentals of only utilizing Swiss-made mechanical movements, the Tropic Diver 39 packs the ever-dependable Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement, essentially an ETA 2824-2 equivalent with an exceptional reputation of being a true performance-driven ‘workhorse.’ Seeing this movement on the specs sheet, especially with watches in this price range, is always delightful. The SW200-1 is certainly no stranger to many of our folks here, considering it is one of the most popular movements for a Swiss-made option both for microbrands and even timepieces in the entry-level luxury segment. Opening up the case back, the movement remains largely at its core form with a rather basic satin brushing (not that it really matters too much with a closed screw-in case back). Nevertheless, we can expect great performance and reliability from this highly-recognized Swiss engine.
A Bracelet Inspired by the Past, Crafted with Excellence
Coming to the most exciting and, unquestionably my favorite, addition to this new model — the vintage-style “beads-of-rice” stainless steel bracelet. In recent years, this classic bracelet design from the golden age of watchmaking has been making a huge comeback, gaining popularity with enthusiasts for its unique yet incredibly comfortable appeal. The beauty of having such bracelets on is the ability to look immensely elegant yet with a considerably sporty persona, evoking a timeless charm that handsomely complements the retro-futuristic style of the Tropic Diver 39.
The “beads-of-rice” style first took the watch world by storm in the 1940s to 1950s, most notably in the legendary bracelet manufacturer Gay Frèrres, or otherwise known as GF. It was quite a feat considering its rather complex construction with significantly more individual links required compared to most forms of bracelets. From the perspectives of vintage watch collectors, more often than not, the condition of the watch itself, or even the rarity of it, tends to be the main driving factor for assessing whether it would be a desirable acquisition. However, looking beyond the actual watch, having a fascinating bracelet to accompany a rare timepiece is another fulfilling factor that completes the whole package with extra add-on value. In that same spirit, the bracelet on the Evant Tropic Diver 39 categorically amplifies the beautifully-designed case and dial, stepping it up with an accessory that embraces a connection to the history of watchmaking.
Having this bracelet on the wrist with the Tropic Diver is indeed enjoyable. The fundamental design itself, with a set of polished rounded ‘rice bead’ links flanked by thicker brushed links on each side, allows for an easy and fluid movement of the bracelet in order to closely conform to the shape of the wrist — I surely had no problem wearing on the wrist for the entire day. This truly versatile bracelet will go well with just about anything, from wearing it with a serious outfit to something a little more sporty.
The Old and the New
Besides the reduction in size, the latest Tropic Diver 39 features some attractive upgrades in its build. Starting with its finishing, the satin-brushed sides of the new model capture a sportier, more utilitarian character than the polished sides of the previous iteration (and lesser of a fingerprint magnet). While the actual thickness remains about the same for both the new and the previous model, the streamlined mid-case of the Tropic Diver 39 appears significantly more compact and refined. In addition, the sharper lug design brings a whole new reformed look to the case, bringing a massive revamp in sleekness and wearability. At the 3 o’clock position, the screw-down crown also takes on a new appearance with the embossing of the Evant logo in place of the previous etching on the crown, a minor detail that Evant did not leave out.
Moreover, the stainless steel case now receives a lovely polished chamfer running from lug to lug, transitioning finishes on the lugs and the side of the case, an inclusion not present on the previous iteration of Tropic Diver. A chamfer or bevelling of the edges is often considered a distinguishing feature differentiating ordinary timepieces from superior ones associated with premium components or closer attention to details. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, the polished chamfer allows the light to elegantly play over the lugs, fostering an added presence on the wrist.
Another crucial factor that is considered a significant game-changer for dive watches is the rotating bezel. The Tropic Diver 39 retains the modern, minimal bezel design of the previous release that we’re familiar with, packing a gorgeous convex form with engraved markers portraying a warm glossy look synonymous with vintage bakelite bezels of the past. Notably, the bezel now proposes a more substantial bezel grip with deeper grooves, enhancing the overall experience of rotating the bezel even with diving gloves on; it is a fully-capable dive watch after all.
Flipping the watch around, the case-back moves away from the previous design to an etching of the Evant logo with a line pattern running over (perhaps a much sensible design to mask over hairline scratches that develop over time in day-to-day wear), a simple yet pleasant design nonetheless. Moreover, the screw-in case-back is now equipped with six porthole-style grooves instead of the standard hexagonal grooves seen on the previous release, resulting in a suave yet modernistic appearance.
Comparing the latest Tropic Diver with its predecessor, it is really gratifying to see Evant carry through a whole range of upgrades in both aesthetics and execution that the community is really looking out for, and the wait was truly worth it. Coming from a young brand like Evant, every model from the brand never fails to excite with phenomenal timepieces delivering a ton of value and attractive designs that stand out from the crowd. Overall, the Evant Tropic Diver 39 is a well-rounded dive watch excelling in both specifications and looks. The upgrades we get on this new release refined seemingly every aspect of the Tropic Diver. Presumably, these are the types of releases the watch enthusiast community yearn for from younger brands that have much more control over individual elements. The Tropic Diver 39 has showcased a bold direction from Evant when it comes to design innovation and understanding what people look out for in a great dive watch, and it is safe to say Evant has delivered one that propitiously transcended our expectations.