It seems like a lot of watch companies are chasing their tails trying to come up with the brand’s first this and first that. It’s easy to miss the mark when you’re running in circles, but Spinnaker nailed it with their first titanium dive watch.
They call this one the Tesei. You know, named after that world famous Italian naval officer Taseo Tesei – no, you don’t have a clue who the guy is (no offense, Taseo). Similar to how AVI-8 creates watches that honor figures from aviation history, Spinnaker does the same with the sea. Taseo Tesei is one such figure. Spinnaker’s site says he invented the human torpedo, but information on Wikpedia is conflicting. It doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that this is a sweet affordable titanium tool watch. Read on…
The Tesei’s 43mm diameter case is constructed out of grade 5 titanium, which is known as “workhorse” titanium. This is a fitting name for this metal since the Tesei also has a workhorse movement of sorts. More on that later, for now let’s keeping talking about the case.
Grade 5 titanium sounds fancy, but in reality it’s the most common titanium in the world – accounting for about 50% of the world’s titanium. This highly durable and ultra lightweight metal is used in everything from aerospace to marine and automobile manufacturing.
While most watches are made from stainless steel, grade 5 is what you’ll find in titanium watches. Steel is a popular choice because of the ways you can finish the end product. Titanium isn’t as flexible appearance-wise, but it serves a purpose, especially when it comes to tool watches like the Tesei.
Compared to steel, titanium is about 30% stronger, yet about 50% lighter. Some collectors prefer heavy watches, but let’s face it, you don’t want a heavy beast on your wrist while you’re working. Combined with this lightweight material, the 15mm thickness and 51mm lug-to-lug make for a modern and manageable size for a dive watch.
Hypo-Allergenic Unlike… Rolex
Another cool thing about titanium is that it is hypo-allergenic, whereas stainless steel can cause allergies in some people due to the 8-10% nickel content in the alloy. Rolex watches are even more susceptible to allergies because of their 904L steel having almost twice as much nickel as the common 316L. Again, titanium is a non-issue.
Affordable Tool Watch
Aside from the high-strength metal used to make the Tesei case, it’s packed with other quality materials that you should expect from a tool watch. The uni-directional 120 click bezel has a matte blue insert made from a scratch resistant ceramic material (lumed nonetheless!). The convex domed crystal is scratch resistant sapphire with anti-reflective coating
The band is built with a heavy-duty military spec fabric called Cordura, the bottom has water-resistant leather. It has a common 22mm lug-width if you want to throw another strap on it. All of this is backed by a 660ft/200m water resistance rating with help from the screw-down crown.
The time on this piece is told via the self-winding mechanical Miyota caliber 8215. This is a simple 3 hand automatic movement made in Japan. Some folks might complain about the non-hacking function, others might not like the stuttering seconds (learn more here).
A lot of the microbrand watches are using Miyota movements because they of the low cost and ease of procuring. Plus, Miyota isn’t making threats to stop supplying movements to watch brands any time soon (ahem, ETA). The 8215 is a no frills workhorse, and it’s perfect for an affordable tool watch like the Tesei. At Spinnaker put a sweet black branded rotor on it which is more than most brands using this caliber can say.
Not Just For Tooling Around
We keep calling the Tesei an affordable tool watch, but it doesn’t mean you have to wear it like a beater. Just check out the wristshots with a button-down shirt. This watch can easily pass for office attire and cocktail hour.
While it’s a tough tool watch at heart, Spinnaker added elements like a textured dial and contrasting stitched on the strap. We’re showing the black dial/blue bezel/black strap model in this review (SP-5061-01), but they also have a blue dial/black bezel/blue strap option (SP-5061-02).
Lume And Buckle
There are two things we’d change about the Tesei. First is the lume. It’s not horrible by any means… it is Super-LumiNova after all. But we’re finding that many brands are using Super-LumiNova as a selling point without actually putting enough layers of lume on the dial to make it stand out. A lot went into this piece while keeping the price as low as possible, but just a few more layers of lume is all we’re asking for! Before you say the lume looks incredible in our lumeshot pic, you should know that it was slightly enhanced so you could see the lume design.
The second thing is more of a pet peeve: they have a titanium case with a stainless steel tang buckle. This isn’t a deal breaker (frankly, neither is the lume), but it’s always nice when brands go the extra length and include a buckle made from the same metal as the case.
If you have purchased Spinnaker watches before, then you are familiar with the small white box they come in. The white box wasn’t bad, but Tesei is in a newly designed blue box which we really like the design of inside and out! They also include a signed polishing cloth which was a nice touch.
The price of this piece is $520. Coming soon to the KTT watch shop. Video review on the way.