You may be already by familiar with the original Spinnaker Spence diver, but the watch we’re talking about today is the updated DRAB edition. They call it the DRAB because of the faded mono-color variations in the line, but this model is anything but drab.
“The DRAB edition of the Spence utilizes a colour palette that creates a more tactical stealth look to this every day wear diver watch from Spinnaker.” -Spinnaker
Spinnaker took one of their existing models and kicked up the design cues a few notches. What you end up with is an affordable tool watch with style. Sure, this may sound cliche, but for the fashion-minded readers in the crowd, you will immediately be able to pick up on some of the reasons why this is a diver that could go with dark denim and brown boots, as much as it can match up with a button-down shirt and chinos.
With the DRAB, all of your expectations of a dive-worthy timepiece are met, but with good looks that don’t normally come with water watches – especially in the sub $500 price range.
As you see with the model shown here, they kept the colorway simple with just brown and white. Everything matches, just like your OOTD. The brown dial with white accents carry over to the bezel, then carry over to the strap. Even the shapes are consistent from the chamfered markers to the stitching on the strap.
Flipping the Spence DRAB over gives you a look into the exhibition style caseback covering what we often refer to as the Beast of the East: the caliber NH35A by Seiko Instruments (SII). With this movement you get self-winding automatic action, a date at 3:00, precision hacking (the seconds stop when the crown is pulled out), and an option for hand-winding. Most of the mirobrands just throw the SII or Miyota movements in their watches stock from the factory, but Spinnaker customized the rotor on this one.
The 42mm diameter brown IP (ion plated) case is formed out of 316L stainless steel. It sits 14mm tall on the wrist with a lug-to-lug measurement of close to 47mm. Some collectors might be apprehensive about a tool watch with any kind of plating or coating (after all, even DLC can scratch, chip, or fade), but the DRAB is a watch that would look just as good with some wear and tear as it does in NIB condition. This is why the 22mm hand-stitched leather strap they used looks so good on it – it marks up easily and looks gently weathered on top, yet clean and smooth on the bottom. Don’t fret about getting it wet, this band is water-resistant.
Wearing a watch is all about looking good, but what good is a dive watch that can’t swim? The Spence DRAB is water-resistant up to 200m or 660ft, in part thanks to the screw-down crown. The 120 click bezel is uni-directional rotating with a smooth ratcheting feel to it, but not too smooth that you have to worry about bumping it. The design cues mentioned above are really apparent with the matching brown IP steel bezel insert. They kept it minimal and only used the first 15 minutes of the markers – the most important span of a dive watch bezel. Furthermore, the 15 minute hash marks are lumed and ready for murky waters.
There is one element of affordable watches that is often a bummer. Can you guess what it is? The crystal.
On the DRAB, the flat glass over the dial is clear and easy to see through at all angles without glare, but it is mineral, not sapphire. This is common for a watch of this price range, but for a slight increase in the retail price, we feel it would have been worth it to have a more scratch-resistant option. You might find other sites incorrectly assuming that this piece has sapphire, but it does not.
For $280 USD, that is definitely NOT a deal breaker by any means. You’ll be hard-pressed to find this much value in an affordable diver that looks this good.
The DRAB is available in brown on brown (SP-5063-02) as shown here, green on green (SP-5063-03), and black with a steel case (SP-5063-01). We’re showcasing the brown version in this review because, frankly, it looks really good and there aren’t enough brown watches on the market!
Keep in mind that if you look for the Spence DRAB on the Spinnaker site, just look at the pictures and don’t bother reading the descriptions. They seemed to have copied and pasted and incorrectly listed everything as being dark brown and olive. Sometimes it happens!
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