Watch Review: The Spinnaker Amalfi Diver
Spinnaker has been releasing some very solid watches in the past year and it’s hard to argue with their value proposition of a solid watch for a fair price. I certainly have been a fan and it started the first time I strapped on a Fleuss Diver, which still is not only my favorite watch from Spinnaker but one of my all-time favorites in my collection. If you don’t know the Spinnaker brand, you are missing out. I think their intersection of original inspired designs and what you get for your money makes them a great buy.
Spinnaker’s latest release, the Amalfi Diver, looks to be another solid offering from the brand. It’s very hard to stand out in the dive watch market and it seems everyone is coming out with a new diver, so you really have to give Spinnaker credit for building original pieces that get noticed. Not only are they original, but the watch backstory and origins are also usually unique as well. Many of their watches draw inspiration from the history of diving and those intrepid individuals who pioneered the dive industry. With names like Croft, Cahill, Fleuss, Spence and more, the names of their divers read like a biography of underwater exploration. Since there is no shortage of dive watches out there, it’s nice to see a company put the thought and effort into creating something unique. It also adds to the allure of the watch when you look down and feel like you may have a piece of history on your arm. Or, Spinnaker is just masterful at marketing their watches, either way, their watches have pretty cool names.
An Inspired Design
For the Amalfi Diver, Spinnaker drew inspiration for the watches looks right from its namesake, Amalfi is a small coastal enclave situated on the rocky shores of southern Italy, with roots in maritime history going back to the Byzantine Empire. It was also an important mainstay of sea trading for centuries. In more modern times, the region is known as a secluded destination for elite vacationers and of course, truly amazing diving opportunities. Take one look at this watch and you will know that it was a purpose-built timepiece, it’s a traditional diver through and through.
One thing you’ll notice is this watch is big and on paper, you might be alarmed at the 46mm case diameter, but fear not, the watch definitely wears smaller than what the ruler will lead you to believe. Similar to a Seiko Monster, the Amalfi’s proportions lend itself to having an awesome wrist presence without looking ridiculous. The curved lugs also help to keep the watch in place and looking trim when you have it on. Make no mistake though, you’ll know the Amalfi is on your wrist and that’s a good thing for sure because the watch is a looker.
Seiko On The Inside
As we dig into the specs, you can see the watch was meant to actually spend time underwater. With 200 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown, rotating bezel and divers extension on the bracelet, the watch not only looks the part but has the features to perform. The dial is cleanly laid out with large markings, lots of lume and a nice handset. But, in a crowded market, can the Amalfi stand out from the rest? I think the answer to that is yes. Spinnaker has the formula down to producing a great product at a good price and the Malfi is no exception to that rule.
The listed retail of the Amalfi is $400, definitely placing it slightly above that Micro-Brand sweet spot, but if history repeats itself and Spinnaker keeps their discount codes flowing, you can expect to pay a few bucks less and that definitely makes the watch a bargain in a crowded field. The $400 retail also begs that we look at the watches details a little harder because, at this price point, the competition is stiff.
A Solid Braclet
I’ve touched on some of the basic specifications, but let’s get into some of the important details, like the bracelet. I always feel that many manufacturers overlook the bracelet and it becomes an afterthought. I can’t understand this since the band of a watch gets so much use and abuse. A poorly constructed bracelet really can kill the overall feel of a watch and cheapen the whole experience. Who wants that, other than nato strap companies! In the case of the Amalfi, I think the bracelet is above average. It has solid end links and a nice deployment clasp with a safety buckle. The bracelet also has five micro-adjustment holes, but in my experience of sizing the watch, only three are usable because of the divers extension and how it folds. The bracelet feels solid, is relatively quiet without that cheap “jingle” so many have and the end links meet with the lugs seamlessly. Another nice detail is the clasp is a fully milled solid steel, it’s easy for manufacturers to cheap out here with a stamped piece, but Spinnaker went the extra step.
With names like Croft, Cahill, Fleuss, Spence and more, the names of their divers read like a biography of underwater exploration.
The watch is running the Seiko NH35 movement on the inside, this is a well-known workhorse and should give years of trouble-free service. With hacking and hand-winding, the choice of movement helps elevate the overall appeal of the watch. Once again, a solid choice in components shows that Spinnaker has thoughtfully put the Amalfi together. Operating the guts on this piece is a large signed crown with the Spinnaker logo. The crown screws out nicely with the distinguishable “pop” you would expect from the NH35. When the crown is fully screwed down, the hefty crown guards make the first few turns a little clumsy, but once you have gotten past the first threads, it’s easy sailing in backing the crown in or out.
The overall fit and finish of the watch is very well done and something I have come to expect from Spinnaker. There are nice sharp transitions from the brushed surfaces to polished and the chamfering on the case is spot on. The case is solid 316L stainless steel with a nice display case back that screws down. The view through the back is a nice addition. I really like when manufacturers take the extra step to either engrave it or highlight the movement inside. In this case, when you look through the sapphire, you also get to see a custom rotar with the Spinnaker logo in dark blue.
Perfect Dial Layout
As much as it is nice to see the movement, the real gem of the Amalfi is the dial. It’s a clean and crisp layout with a no-nonsense tool watch feel. The Spinnaker name is across the top above the hands and two lines of small text are below. The applied markers are chock full of lume, outlined in a hint of steel and set on a raised inner dial ring. I love how the dial has some depth to it and it really captures the eye when looking at it from an angle. A flat piece of sapphire tops it all off. A steel uni-directional bezel surrounds the crystal and the bezel markings are engraved into it. The first 20 minutes of the bezel are also carved out like a relief painting and give the bezel some additional depth and a great look. At the 12 o’clock spot is a lumed pip and the knurling around the edges of the bezel makes it easy to turn.
The overall dimensions of the watch are kept in check with a nice height of only 15mm and lug tip to lug tip of 46mm. I have a 7.25” wrist and I like how it wears and feels. I also like the weight of the watch and to me, I enjoy it when the watch has some heft to it but not if it’s like an anchor. Somehow I think it’s more of a mental thing with the weight, the heavier the watch the more valuable it is.
I do have a few things I would like to see improved, changed or wished that Spinnaker would do a little different. Firstly, I think this watch warrants drilled lugs. It’s a real dive watch and undoubtedly will see some time on rubber straps and a nato. Drilled lugs just make your life easier. Secondly, I think at this price point, screws for pins on the bracelet would be a welcome addition, currently, it uses push pins. Other than those two things and the issue I mentioned above with the micro-adjustments, it’s a well-crafted watch.
Spinnaker has produced another homerun with the Amalfi and if you like bigger watches, you’ll be even more stoked to wear the watch. They did such a nice job with this one, that I hope the Amalfi goes the way of the Cahill and spawns a mid-sized version in the 40mm range. If Spinnaker did that, I would imagine they would take a huge bite into all the Mako and Rays that Orient sells.
A Solid Watch For The Money
The Amalfi was sent into me for testing and of course to grace my Instagram account, but the rules are the same if I buy the watch or they are sent in, an honest assessment and real opinion whether it’s worth your money. Is the watch perfect? No, but show me a watch that is. Is it worth your money? Absolutely. If you like traditional divers and not wasting your money, you’ll be very happy with the Spinnaker Amalfi.
Watch Specs: The Spinnaker Amalfi Diver
Here are the basic dimensions and specifications of the watch.
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.