The burgeoning niche watch market isn’t always the safest place to conduct business. Many rise and fall. Many more never rise. Peter Helson has made some very good choices to ensure this doesn’t happen to his company. Helson has focused their watchmaking on divers and unique ones, at that.
Helson Buccaneer recognizes that there are far too many Rolex Submariner clones out there. One fine example of their unique design approach is the Helson Buccaneer ($650). A meaty watch at almost 45mm in diameter, the Buccaneer wears very comfortably for hours on end, both in the water and out. The practical and classic natural rubber dive strap compliments the classically good looking numeric face and hugs the wrist in ventilated comfort. There were numerous occasions where I forgot I was actually wearing a watch. The included leather strap is of the highest quality and is so thick, you know quality was not sacrificed.
Movement-wise, the Buccaneer starts with very good guts: a 25 jewel Swiss ETA 2824-2 mechanical movement with a 40 hour power reserve. Accurate and reliable is a very good beginning. The bold numeric face stands out, that much more at night due to the super bright C3 Superluminova treatment of the hands and markers. Legible and bright, the lume will ensure that you’ll have no problem deep diving with this timepiece, not to mention its solid 500 meter depth rating. It’s capped off with a thick sapphire crystal that is anti-reflective coated on the interior, ensuring a beautiful glare-free view of the face. The helium escape valve is a nice and very practical touch, nearly flush with the case side.
Two surprising details on this watch were the engraving of the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones on the caseback (very cool) and crown and the interchangeable black and silver bezels, which change the look of the watch entirely. The silver bezel goes beautifully with the included thick brown leather strap (the strap in the photo shows an aftermarket black strap) and adds a nice sophisticated touch to a very robust watch. The black bezel is best with the rubber strap. The bezel itself ratchets nicely without being overly firm. The watch is, indeed, very well put together. Supremely solid construction. It looks just as good with a polo shirt, shorts and deck shoes as it does with a blazer, jeans and ankle boots.
So, if you’re looking for a diver that can run with the workmanship of watches costing twice as much and you don’t want to wear something that looks like what the next guy has on, take a serious look at the Helson Buccaneer. Its uniqueness is built into its numbers… just 100 have been made.
Buy Now: $649
Photos by Amos Kwon