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Vaer D5 Tactical Diver
Vaer Watches have become extremely popular and this Vaer D5 Tactical Diver is very popular as well. How do I know? Well, at the time of this publication, this watch in both the 42mm shown here and the 39mm variant was sold out. This review got pushed back a little, mostly my own fault and as such if you want to get your hands on one of these, you will have to wait for a restock. This diver is like the other line of divers from Vaer, with the same style case and dial layout, but this one gets a tactical look, basically blacked out if you will, with a black PVD case and black ceramic bezel insert, with a black sunshine dial. Pricing starts at $649.
- 42mm x 48mm x 12.4mm (13.7mm w/ crystal)
- 20mm Lug Width
- 78 Grams
- 200m Water Resistance
- All Black PVD Case
- Miyota 9015 Movement
- Double Dome Sapphire With Inner AR
- Ceramic Bezel Insert
- Choice of 2 Straps
- Country of Origin (China, assembled in the USA)
Like the Diver model, I reviewed previously from Vaer, the D7 Arctic Swiss Diver retains the same case design and shape. Pretty much The only change to this model is the all-black PVD finish. I wanted to take a look at it though as this model is less expensive than the previous model I reviewed, and that is because of the movement. See, Vaer does two lines of watches basically, especially in the dive category, Swiss Made and Assembled in the USA. The USA models, assembled in Arizona by FTS, use a Miyota 9015 automatic movement and are priced at about $200 less. For those who want the same watch basically but want to save some money, or want to support American watch companies such as FTS and Vaer, the assembled in-the-USA versions are a good option. As far as the movement seen below, we all know the 9015. Solid, dependable, if not loud with that rotor spinning, and for this one, I would have liked it if the rotor was done in black PVD as well. I think it would have been a little more cohesive.
The dial on this Vaer D5 Tactical is a nice sunray pattern and is almost a deep charcoal when you get up close, but that can be hard to see at times due to the insane double-domed sapphire crystal. This crystal is apparently great if you are going diving, but even with a few layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside, this crystal creates distortion at angles and a lot of glare, glare you can see in my photos and the video above. I could have done some tricks to eliminate that, but I think it is more important that you are able to see how the watch will truly be in hand and not a stock beauty shot that makes it look perfect. I love the overall look here, the applied indices, the C3 lume compound on the hands and indices, and that sunray dial, though the frosted silver is still on the outline of said hands and indices, and if we are going tactical, should have gone all the way and went with black in my opinion.
The case, like the other variations of the Dive series, still has the twisted or lyre-style lugs, which makes for not only an attractive piece but also a comfortable one. This style may be a little derivative these days, but then again you can probably say the same thing about a lot of watches. If it works, why fix it? The crown and bezel action is precise and solid, at least on my review example, and I love how they kept the dual finish on the case with the highly polished chamfers, which I admit, does look fantastic, as the polished area, just like the bezel is a very inky black. That said, a brushed or blasted case, with a matte black ceramic insert, would have looked really great as well and would have made this piece much more subdued. And that insert, like most glossy ceramic bezels, is a smudge magnet. Also, notice the hue of the numbers on the bezel is more white than the green hue of the hands and indices on the dial.
Like most of the offerings from Vaer, you get a choice of straps, and that means 2 straps of your choice. Now because this model is currently sold out, I can’t tell if something is missing from the website, or if they just don’t offer a bracelet for this model, which would be strange to me. If they do offer it and I’m just not seeing it, great! If not, they definitely should. I chose a black tropical rubber and the black leather strap and much like before, I love the tropics they use, they are FKM rubber, have a great length, and feel great on the wrist. The leather straps are shorter and they are what I deem just fine, but would never be my first choice. Both straps do have a big oversight though and that is a stainless steel non-plated buckle. How could you do an all-black watch and not get some coated buckles? It’s a little thing, but at $ 650 this should not happen. On my 7.5 inch (19.05cm) wrist, the case design, short lug to lug, and overall size at 42mm is very at home on my wrist.
Lastly, we get to the lume of the Vaer D5 Tactical, which Vaer describes as the strongest lume of any model, and as you can see, this watch will definitely light your way in the dark! It is extremely bright and long lasting due to them using C3 X1 Super-LumiNova. The slightly more white color of the bezel does not seem to be an issue when the lights go out, so lume junkies, you will love this one for sure.
I always thought an all-black PVD model was great to add to a dive lineup, and Vaer is doing this with a few of their models recently. Vaer says the PVD is 1.3 microns thick, which apparently is a pretty heavy coating, and though we don’t know what it is coated with, I am hoping it holds up and is as scratch resistant as DLC is. I think the case looks great but things like frosted silver hands and indices and the stainless buckles on the straps, and the lack of (as far as I can see) PVD bracelets are an oversight, at least to me. The pricing is good, especially for the quality of the watch and being assembled in the USA, but I think if they took this just a little further, it could have been even better.
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