Let’s say you’re in the hunt for a quality dive watch — but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, you don’t like derivative styling and your wrists don’t resemble Clubber Lang’s. Numerous dive watches with fat diameters, some as big as 50mm, won’t work for you. And while big is still the trend, it’s showing a bit of a downswing. Tactico (actually spelled t.a.c.t.i.c.o., but as you can imagine, our typing fingers got tired), the affordable, discerning, military-inspired division of the Spanish brand CREPAS, has just released their second timepiece, the TC2. It’s a worthy and more moderately sized follow-up to their first watch, the popular TC1, and we’ve got the full review and photos after the jump.
Tactico’s first watch, the sold-out TC1 (released in 2011) was a huge hit in the boutique watch scene, and for good reason. It was big (44mm), bold and a true technical dive watch powered by the tried-and-true Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement. The TC1 sported Kobold brand style without the corresponding price, which is a recipe for getting snatched up by the constantly hungry horophile world. It seems that CREPAS was very deliberate with their second Tactico watch — because the TC2 is like nothing else out there.
The TC2’s case diameter and thickness are both considerably smaller than the TC1’s. A 42mm diameter is by no means diminutive, but the TC2 lays on your wrist with more subtlety than the bigger boys. The TC1 could easily be chalked up as an homage watch (Kobold should be flattered), but while the TC2 is reminiscent of a lot of great vintage divers, it was not inspired by any specific one. This watch blazes its own trail. The beautifully original dial sports style made popular at least a few decades ago, as can be seen in the classic yellow markers and red highlights. The layout is simple but decorative; it doesn’t scream, but surely will get noticed.
The case is handsome, with a smoothly beveled edge that runs down the sides to the ends of the lugs. The Tactico. logo is embossed on both the crown and the caseback, which happens to display one of the nicest aspects of the watch — a sunburst/turbine-like design. Of course, no one will really see that part of the watch (except for you), but it’s nice to know that Tactico took the time to incorporate such a great design touch.
The watch’s styling is fantastic, but it’s truly the other details on the TC2 that make it a standout watch, especially for the price. Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement drives the timekeeping (ETAs, as we noted before, are becoming harder to come by for non-Swatch-group watchmakers). Also of note is the anti-magnetic protection, which means the movement is actually protected by an inner soft iron cover and resists the accuracy-robbing effect of magnetic fields.
The uni-directional diving bezel ratchets smoothly and firmly with a full 120 clicks, and the wide square teeth are easy to grip, even with gloved hands. Its double-domed, anti-reflective-coated sapphire glass is thick and doesn’t encumber dial legibility from any angle. The dial is painted with Vintage Tritium Superluminova, providing excellent low-light visibility. The case finish is both brushed and polished, depending on the surface, and makes for one very good-looking watch.
The TC2 comes with two NATO straps, one black and one sand colored — both match well with the watch’s aesthetic. The simple but well-made stainless steel “Oyster” style dive bracelet is comfortable and was obviously chosen to match the vintage style of the watch. We laud Tactico for not pushing the envelope of standing out too much and over-designing both the watch and its corresponding accessories (it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t do the same with their name).
Tactico’s deliberate choice to not issue too many watches has clearly been a good one — and the wait for the TC2 has been well worth it. What they’ve created in the TC2 is a strong, unique and very stylish younger brother to the TC1 that deftly manages not to be overshadowed by its predecessor. Its addition to your watch collection is highly recommended, as is the immediate removal of the Ben Franklin coin watch you drunkenly purchased from the Home Shopping Network.
Buy Now: ~$700