Dietrich Watches, a charming micro brand watch company out of Zurich, has built a reputation of producing avant-garde watches in and around the $1,000 price range. Many of their releases in the past, although intriguing, have been slightly too much for me personally. Skin Diver 1 enters the chat. The SD-1 retails for $1,050 and comes in three dial variants, Pacific Blue, Tropic Green, and Suave Black. This watch takes the skin diver mold from the 60s and says… hmm wouldn’t this be so much better if it had been made in the world of Tron? And the answer to that question is a resounding yes. The design language screams alien technology and futuristic streamlined metal. Truly the epitome of a watch that is more than the sum of its parts.
Many watches have come out as “skin divers” and they mostly have similar water resistance, a stainless steel case, some standard steel bracelet, they glow in the dark, and have a 60 minute rotating bezel. The Dietrich has all of those things, yet manages to be like nothing else you have seen before. To accomplish that is absurdly difficult. It is akin to opening up a Lego kit meant to create a Batmobile and instead you manage to produce the Eiffel Tower. Simply preposterous.
- Case: 38.5mm Diameter, 20mm Lug width, 46.2mm Lug to Lug Length, 12mm thickness
- Water Resistance: 150m
- Date Window: Open aperture at 6 o’ clock index position
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Bezel Insert: Sapphire bezel insert with superluminova printed indexes underneath
- Movement: Sellita SW200 automatic
- Dial: Sapphire dial with fumé in the centre
- Crown: Signed sapphire crown with lume
- Bracelet: Multilink bracelet with hexagonal elements, micro-adjustment features and secured butterfly-style double clasp with “Perlage” decoration
- Rubber Strap: NBR rubber material, DIETRICH signed buckle, available in black and blue
- Taper: Taper from 20mm to 16mm at buckle section
- Price: USD 1050
On the Wrist
The SD-1’s thinness from caseback to crystal keeps everything sleek and streamlined. This slim profile and semi-integrated feel of the bracelet allows for an extremely comfortable wrist presence. My 7 inch wrist felt right at home with the SD-1’s 38.5mm diameter. The size is refreshing and makes it perfect for warm days in the Caribbean, where you could throw this on and snorkel somewhere shallow and colorful. Sadly, we are still in the depths of a pandemic rather than some salty blue water, otherwise you would get to see some images of the SD-1 underwater. To hear more about what I would use this watch for…. check out my adventures to the alpine with it.
The first thing that comes to mind looking at the dial of the SD-1 one is depth. The dial itself is a semi translucent sapphire with a fumé effect, fading from pitch black on the outer edges to white in the center. By using sapphire, the dial has an added 3D effect that, when combined with the indices on top, create a depth that would be otherwise impossible. Beneath the dial is a color matched date wheel that is showcased at six with a lumed perimeter. This lume of the date window has become more popular as of late and I am 100% here for it. The symmetry this creates with the rest of the dial is pleasing to stare at in passing, or pretty much every opportunity you have in a dark room. As you can tell, I savored every chance I got to take some lume photos.
The bezel has six flat sections that each carry coin edged ribs that makes gripping it very easy. Action on the bezel is sharp and very precise. This was surprising to me as many skin divers often place far less emphasis on the bezel as compared to traditional divers. The added attention to detail on the bezel shines through at first use. Within the bezel is a sapphire insert that is domed, reminiscent of bubbly vintage bakelite bezels. The crown is signed with the fishie boi logo within a sapphire insert.
The outer edges of the crown are finished in the same style as the bezel. Personally, I wish it was a little larger to make winding and time setting easier. Skin divers make me think of dinky prop planes puddle jumping around small islands in search of diving spots, and a larger crown to aid in quick time setting would add to this overall fantasy. The surface of the dial is light on text, with only Dietrich at 12 and AUTOMATIQUE above the date. Love the use of the alternate spelling here, had it just said automatic I would prefer it be left off altogether #bougie. This minimalism is possible because all those usual bits about water resistance are put between the lugs, hidden by the bracelet.
This was a first amongst all the watches I have ever seen, and I was a big fan. The information is there if you need it (Editor’s note: if you’re buying a microbrand watch, I’d presume you don’t need it) and leaves your dial clean and caseback empty, ready for an engraving.
Case, Bracelet, and Movement
Beneath the dial beats the Sellita SW200 automatic movement. At this price point, this is perfectly reasonable and I found no issues with this in use. With the movement covered, lets get to the second star of the show after the incredibly deep dial: the bracelet.
Leading from flat edge of the case, the bracelet has hexagonal middle links paired with tapered sides. Hidden beneath the hexagonal steel segments is an articulating H-link bracelet, but the visual effect is something that is totally new. Despite the two layers of center links, the bracelet remains thin and airy. The clasp will be slightly controversial, being a butterfly clasp, but it is well executed. The reason for potential controversy is that this may make it difficult to achieve the perfect sizing for some people (as butterfly clasps don’t have micro adjustment holes). I found that I was able to get a perfect fit and even if I didn’t it wouldn’t bother me as the watch is phenomenal on basically any strap.
Changing to a different strap is also easy because the bracelet comes with quick release spring bars. If you are unfamiliar with quick release bracelets, their springbars have two tabs on each side of the end link, which you can pinch with your fingers and remove the bracelet without the need for tools or the risk of scratching the back of your lugs. Additionally, Dietrich provides flat edges where the lugs meet the case, meaning any straight end link 20mm bracelet will fit the watch.
What are my conclusions on the Dietrich SD-1? Emmanuel Dietrich and his team have managed to create something that is a callback to watches of old whilst adding some very new twists, making the SD-1 entirely their own. To me that is incredibly compelling, and as an engineer and artist it’s something that I hope to accomplish someday. If you are looking to walk around with something unique and different, but still instantly recognizable as a skin diver, this is the perfect watch for you. It just happens the watch is also insanely comfortable and perfectly at home under any conditions. At the price of $1,050 the SD-1 has managed to feel upmarket and like a bargain at the same time. Hats off to Dietrich and thank you to @Marsh_Kai for getting me a review model.
Check out the Dietrich website for more information.
For Team Matick,