Shimmering a shade of blue clearly inspired by Caribbean waters, the Halios Tropik SS ($650) on my left wrist appears candy coated, looking infinitely more confident than I feel. A quick test of my regulator complete, I twist the Tropik’s unidirectional ceramic bezel to mark the beginning of this, my first real dive, and submerge. Barely seventy yards from the dock at Half Moon Bay, the reef appears majestically; my group quickly descends to 45 feet. After a mask clearing exercise, I make a routine glance at my wrist and almost miss the three-foot long Black Jack speeding between me and my partner. Spawning season is just beginning and he’s obviously got better places to be. I flash the underwater signal for “cool”, make some quick mental calculations and determine I’ve got about another half hour of bottom time.
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I currently own seven dive watches. This is not boasting — really, it’s shameful. As of this writing, not a single one of my submersible sidekicks has been enlisted for duty in the field for which they were designed. In the automotive world I would be guilty of keeping “garage queens”, cars that seldom see the road. To set things right, I enrolled in a PADI Open Water Diver certification program. Equipped with a brand new Halios Tropik SS on my wrist, I set off to The Island of Bays, Roatan, for a week of exploring the Honduran depths and to finally baptize a purpose-built diver.
Calibre: Miyota 9015 Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: approx. 42 hours
Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Material: 316L stainless steel
Diameter: 41 millimeters
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Water Resistance: 300 meters
Applied steel rectangular markers with BG W9 (blue) Superluminova
Ceramic (color matched), 120-click unidirectional
Sharkskin with stainless buckle (stainless steel bracelet available separately)
Vancouver-based Halios has held strong standing with dive watch enthusiasts since its inception. Every previous Halios effort — each one a sport or diving watch — has sold out, including the black version of my tester (a second batch is being released in Q2 of this year). With obvious efforts spent on build quality and distinctive styling along with competitive pricing, it’s really no wonder why.
The Tropik SS’s cushion case measures a modest 41 millimeters wide and sits comfortably on the wrist, both in and out of the water. Available equipped with a sharkskin band or stainless steel bracelet, my tester came dive-ready in full tool watch regalia astride an optional navy blue Isofrane rubber strap. Arguably Halios’s most elegant watch design to date, the raised indices surrounding this diver’s dial, curved sapphire glass and color-matched date wheel are aesthetically pleasing details often found on more expensive timepieces. In fact, more than one of the other divers hanging out near the pier confessed they thought it might be a more lofty accessory. Even so, the Tropik SS is a simple beast. The vintage inspired shape and intuitive design harken back to a time when instruments were designed to perform one task reliably.
The Tropik SS served its purpose admirably during my dives. Its Miyota 9015 automatic movement is a dependable one, and I began to rely upon it more heavily to accurately estimate bottom times and air supply and to clock a requisite safety stop before ascending. By the time I took the lead on the group’s fourth and final dive, my comfort underwater and newfound trust in my instruments had become apparent: our bottom time increased while we hung out with a barracuda, a few moray eels and an eagle ray in mid-flight. With Open Water Certification now in hand, it’s high time my other “garage queens” took their first dip; the Tropik SS was a fine watch to lead the way.