05 Apr Spinnaker Cahill Mid-Size Watch Review
On deck today for review is the Spinnaker Cahill Mid-Size Diver. I’ve had this watch for several weeks now and I’ve had a chance to put it through its paces and get to know it well. It’s easy to see that Spinnaker has another winner on their hands.
The Cahill Mid-Size is another version in Spinnaker’s popular Cahill Diver collection. The Mid-Size, as you can probably guess, is a slightly smaller version of its big brother coming in at 40mm in diameter.
It’s pretty cool to see watch companies not just pump out watch after watch but actually take their watch designs and listen to their customers. There is a trend now towards some smaller watch diameters and Spinnaker picked a great watch from their collection to knock a few millimeters off of. The Cahill Mid-Size is a nice addition to their line of watches.
I love that many of Spinnaker’s watches are named after a person or place.
I love that many of Spinnaker’s watches are named after a person or place; it really gives the watch a little extra personality. The Cahill is named after James Cahill, who was a well-known pioneer scuba diver, one of the first US Navy UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) members and also co-founder of the National Association Of Underwater Instructors.
Usually, Spinnaker has a little more detail about the person or place their watches are named after, but their website was brief on Cahill.
It wasn’t until I did a little googling myself did I realize how much James Cahill is credited with. He was an old school badass for sure! Cahill was also tapped to help local authorities in his hometown of Salem (and abroad) for underwater investigations. In one such case, he recoved the murder weapon from the Merrimack River in the famous Clark Murders crime case.
After reading about him, I loved this watch even more! His story and accolades are definitely worth a read, so if you have the time I would put in the effort, especially if you end up purchasing the watch!
I bring this up because the more watches I have a chance to handle and preview, the more I find myself jaded and harder to impress.
How do you judge a great looking watch? Obviously, this is a subjective matter. The more and more you go down the rabbit hole of watches, I think you learn to appreciate more traditional styles and vintage cues in a watch. Those who are really into watches are actually few and far in between. I know Instagram would make you believe we’re all crazy, but I can tell you, it’s just not true.
How many of your friends and acquaintances own more than ten watches? My point is made. I bring this up because the more watches I have a chance to handle and preview, the more I find myself jaded and harder to impress.
So when the Cahill Mid-Size arrived, it quickly garnered the attention of all my kids and was labeled as one of the coolest watches I had ever received! So, if you want a good looking watch, I don’t think you can go wrong here.
The overall look and design of this watch is fantastic
Since the Cahill Mid-Size is a little bit on the smaller side, I think it appeals to some younger watch enthusiasts, too. Spinnaker definitely knows their audience and you can tell they listen to their customers.
The overall look and design of this watch is fantastic. It has a great vibe to it and combines some traditional dive watch traits with a few vintage watch cues.
I always talk about how tough it is to produce a watch today because the market is flooded with so many different designs. I love the way Spinnaker builds watches by taking a little sliver of history, some vintage looks and a bit of traditional style combined into truly unique timepieces.
They don’t ever come off as a crazy “modern art” piece that you really can’t wear. In the case of the Cahill Mid-Size, you have a simple, good-looking watch that appeals to the masses.
Spinnaker has their watches down to a science. You know when you’re buying a Spinnaker watch that you’re going to get a particular set of watch specifications and the watch is going to be at a certain level.
That’s exactly what we have here today with the Cahill. You’ve got an awesome watch with a solid workhorse movement, sapphire glass and a pretty decent bracelet.
I also reviewed the Spinnaker Croft, you can read it here: Spinnaker Croft Watch Review
The Cahill Has A Slight Tactical Feel With The PVD
The dial is beautiful and so is the handset, gilt-edge indices, and the hands and seconds hands really make the watch something to look at.
One of the things Spinnaker is known for is their textured dial; it shows up here on the Cahill. The case is solid 316L stainless steel with a screw down crown, screw down see-through case back, rotating bezel, and a lug width of 20mm. With an overall case height of 13mm, the Cahill Mid-Size wears exceptionally well.
With no crown guards and smaller dimensions, the watch has a neat 70’s feel to it. The crown has deep knurling on it and it pops out when unscrewed. However, if you have any experience with the Miyota movements, the action isn’t all that smooth. This is not a knock on Spinnaker, but just a trait of the movement.
The Cahill Mid-size Does Have A Beautiful Rotar, Albeit Noisy
Speaking of the movement, Spinnaker chose to go with the Miyota 8125 on this watch. While it’s certainly not my favorite, I can understand that they were interested in keeping the overall height of the watch down.
The movement is definitely solid and reliable and we all know it to be a workhorse. My little pet peeve is that I can’t stand hearing the rotor spin when you’re wearing a watch and this guy definitely suffers from that.
Also, the lack of a hacking on the 8125 is a let down. In my opinion, it’s the one thing that really ruins a great watch. For me, setting a watch accurately is important. I know that no automatic watch keeps perfect time and some gain time while others lose time, but it’s pretty important to me and many other watch wearers in general.
Heck, I could care less about hand winding and would rather just have hacking, but I know it doesn’t work that way. The Cahill Mid-size does have a beautiful rotar, albeit noisy, that you can see through the back of the case, which is a nice touch that Spinnaker carries through with on many watches.
The Cahill Mid-Size and recently released Fleuss Diver on a bracelet
While we are on the dial, we can talk about the lume. The Cahill Mid-Size has a healthy amount of Swiss Super-LumiNova applied to the indices, hands and also the bezel.
You can never say that Spinnaker cheaps out on their lume; they do an excellent job. The dial is beautiful and so is the handset, gilt-edge indices, and the hands and seconds hands really make the watch something to look at. Spinnaker doesn’t list what the hands are made with, but I am assuming its ionic plating in rose gold is similar to the black on the bracelet.
When you look at the dial makers, they almost appear to float. This is an effect caused by the gilt edges and the textured dial. It also gives the watch a little bit more of an elegant or refined look.
All things being equal in the specification department, this is where the competition for watches is most fierce, in the style department. The gold accents definitely make the watch stand out, so if you’re looking for something a tad more subtle, the blue dial version on the stainless steel bracelet might be a good choice.
All things being equal in the specification department, this is where the competition for watches is most fierce, in the style department.
An additional spec to note on the watch is the anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal covering the dial. Many watches at this price point opt for mineral glass; it’s nice to see Spinnaker stretch here.
Additionally, the case back is also sapphire. A further finishing touch is the glass bezel on the watch. I really like the look of the bezel, it gives the watch a softer look which I think enables you to wear it for a wider variety of occasions.
An Excellent Bracelet
Moving on to another highlight: the bracelet. This is another area where Spinnaker really excels; the quality of the bracelets they deliver on their watches is excellent. The Cahill comes on a nice steel bracelet with a milled scissor clasp with a push button safety release as well as a fold over clasp.
Spinnaker went the extra step and added a diver’s extension on the bracelet. The bracelet is adjusted with push pins that are fairly easy to remove and insert, definitely not the nightmare that a Citizen or Seiko can sometimes be (which shows how much some manufacturers really cheap out.)
Besides the diver’s extension, the bracelet also has three micro adjustments. An additional nice surprise is that the bracelet has solid end-links.
This watch is listed at $400, but you can usually save a bit with the coupons that Spinnaker typically offers (I also have a discount code you can use to save a few bucks.) The model I have in for review is the SP-5075-33 and retails for $400. My version has a blacked out case and bracelet with gold highlights, definitely a looker.
The black color comes from Ionic Plating and is a $50 premium over the base Cahill Mid-Size. Ionic Plating, or IP for short, is a process of ionizing metal vapor and spraying it as a film on a substrate, in this case stainless steel. It’s also referred to as a PVD which you might be more familiar with.
One thing that sets Spinnaker (as a brand) apart from other watchmakers in this sphere is the attention to detail that they bring to every single watch they design.
Spinnaker Produced A Great All-Around Sports Watch
The Cahill is rated at 150 meters, obviously more than enough for the average Joe, but not enough to be rated as a true diver. It’s odd that the water rating is only 150m, considering that the watch is named after one of the original Navy Frogmen. The full-size Cahill does carry a full 200m of water resistance. This is one of those technicalities that can be easy to get hung up on when you’re “into” watches. In this case, we need to step back and look at who this watch is made for.
In my mind, Spinnaker produced a great all around sports watch: something that you can wear to the office, play a round of golf, go on a dinner date and also run to Home Depot with on a Saturday morning. It has both the style and the ruggedness to make it a useful watch to have in your collection.
This is one of the higher-priced models from Spinnaker. Their sweet spot seems to be the $300 area. So, do you get more for your money here? I would say, yes. The PVD coated case and bracelet along with the gold highlights set it apart from its $350 stainless steel brothers.
One thing that sets Spinnaker (as a brand) apart from other watchmakers in this sphere is the attention to detail that they bring to every single watch they design. I think the extra effort justifies the higher price.
Deadly Competition To Any Diver In The Price Range
My reviews, as we know, are ultimately based on the value of a watch. By this I mean: what does your money get you compared to the competition and how does the watch stand on its own merits overall? In the case of the Cahill Mid-Size, you get a lot of sophistication and great details for your money, but it definitely pushes my limit for what I consider an outstanding value. The true worth of this watch, to me, comes in the style department.
If you’re looking for a solid diver, but want something a little more classy than an average SKX or Orient Mako, then this is the watch for you. If you can score a 20% coupon (which pops up every so often, if you’re willing to wait ) that pushes this version to $320 and that makes it a real contender. A 20% discount on the stainless steel version knocks it down to $280 and, at that point, you have a deadly competition to any diver in the price range.
The Cahill Mid-Size Has A Signed Crown
It’s a good-looking, classy diver that delivers a solid experience.
Spinnaker has released a whole slew of watches lately, the Cahill Mid-Size being just one of them. It’s a good-looking, classy diver that delivers a solid experience. It’s original enough to stand out, but subdued at the right points to make it a very useful watch in your collection. The size puts it in the sweet spot for a sports watch and it has a decent spec sheet. The Cahill Mid-size definitely gets my vote!
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.