In most cases, we judge a watch base on our first sight of them. When I first laid eyes on the Spinnaker Dumas, a not-so positive opinion formed in my head.
In all honestly, I didn’t plan on releasing an article for this piece. I felt that this blog should only cover topics that I am genuinely interested in, and that wasn’t the case for this piece, initially. I’ll just get it out of the way, the size, case shape and abundance of colours put me off when I first opened the box. But my major gripe with this watch that made me put it down was something else, read on to find more about what it is(TLDR Included).
Let’s first cover some background and nitty-gritty specifications of this watch, then I’ll talk about my wearing experience: How it transitioned from a watch that never saw the sun to something you’ll see me wearing at even home.
How The Spinnaker Dumas Came To Be
The “Dumas” Name
The Dumas line is named after Frédéric Dumas, a french writer with a passion for diving. He is most notable for his co-developing the diving regulator as well as his tie-ins with industry-legend Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Spinnaker’s decision to name their line to this free-diving legend was admirable. While I don’t see much association with this design, there really isn’t a need for it. Dumas held an array of achievements, for which I shall not regurgitate from the web. Find out more about him here
My first impression was that it’s a rather fresh design I haven’t seen before. But that’s really because of my limited experience with vintage dive watches. This watch deeply reminsce the Omega seamaster 200 SHOM.
Yup, especially with this “NightFall Black” colourway I’m reviewing, you can really see that it’s truly inspired by the Seamaster from another era. The octagonal-case and handset are really similar, but of course Spinnaker made it their own with their own changes. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that the likelihood of Omega releasing this model would be low, and it’s perfectly fine for another brand to create their version of it.
In fact, for enthusiasts that love this design, It’s a worthy refresh as a modern watch with some technical updates, let’s see what this watch offers.
Firstly, the Dumas runs on the Seiko NH35 Movement, with a custom rotor design. This isn’t something to be surprised at this price-point where reliability for movements comes first. However, this watch features an open-case back even with a depth-rating of 300m, kudos for making that happen Spinnaker.
The steel octagonal-case is 44mm in diameter, 16mm thick and has a 48mm lug-to-lug with a 22mm lug-width. The bezel is topped with a mineral crystal that is lumed although really dim and barely notice-able unless it’s pitch-dark. But the bezel itself though? A really solid but smooth 120-click unidirectional movement with little to no back-play.
The sapphire crystal sits flat with the slightly sloped-insert, and at 16mm, it wear slightly thinner with it’s dimensions.
We are also greeted with a polarizing dial design. A flat chapter-ring marks the blocky-hour markers with orange rectangles, positioned across 24-hour markers. With the green accents from the insert, the visual package contrasts strongly against the black dial.
What struck out to me though, was the gigantic orange-marked sword hand. Needless to say, that design cue was from the Seamaster mentioned earlier, but it’s still really uncommon to see. In my opinion? I think it’s suitable for these design leaning heavily as dive watches. I really like the visual separation, and matching the orange colouring with the markers made it easier to interpret.
Undoubtedly, timing dive sessions rely on the minute-hand the most for measuring time, and with such a large lume plot, it’s truly practical.
My Gripe – Bracelet Option
My initial impression when I took the watch out was: ” Wow, it’s a heavy bracelet”. If you take a look at the image below, you can clearly see why.
A solid, chunky mesh bracelet comes stock, and it’s not for me. It’s an all metal package, but due to the reinforced tail-end, the strap slips out of the keeper frequently. While this is really only because my wrist measures at 6.5-inch, it still isn’t a pleasant experience wearing it.
In my opinion, an overly-large watch relative to your wrist is alright, to a certain extent. However, the strap option is then crucial, a thick mesh bracelet just didn’t work for me, but something else did.
My Personal Opinion
As I mentioned, I initially felt that this watch was something I wanted to share. Bing, who founded this blog, recommend me to try some other rubber strap options, so I put a black rubber strap on it. Still, there was an excess in strap tail, so it made the watch look bigger than it already it.
My New Solution To Excess Strap Tails
While lamenting over the incompatibility of my wrist size, I was also bemoaned from purchasing a wrongly-size deployant clasp.
The deployant buckle looks like this, so the buckle mechanism keeps the excess strap tail under instead of sticking out. While I initially purchased this for a dress watch of mine, I bought one sized too large, and so I realised I could make it work for the Dumas instead.
So, how did it turn out?
First of all, it wears much better. While it still does feel like a big watch, the absence of strap tail created a shorter visual size on wrists. The clunky feeling of the mesh bracelet is now replaced with a more fun experience because of how snug it wears now without wearing big.
Again, this whole procedure of integrating a deployant clasp is really only needed because of my smaller wrist size. But it’s a good lesson – Not all straps need to be short, this is a simple workaround to those irking excess strap tails.
A Week On The Wrist
The Spinnaker Dumas is a leisurely interpretation of a enigmatic Seamaster SHOM. It is definitely not a watch for formal activities, but it holds well for those most basic errands one tends to.
To me, this is the watch-equivalent of a pair of beach shorts with a fun pattern. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s within the semi-casual category and works well with water.
TL;DR : The choice of fitting a specific deployant clasp quickly changed my opinion of this watch. My choice of replacing the stock, thick mesh bracelet to a tapered rubber strap with its tail kept made the whole package easier to wear and enjoy.
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