Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me on loan to review and I was not incentivized in any way to make this review. This is in no way sponsored by Circula or any other entity. All opinions here are my own.
Circula is a German micro-brand based in Pforzheim, but the brand isn’t new. They were originally formed in 1955, but the family was in the jewelry and watch business since 1926. Circula was revived in 2016 by Cornelius Huber, to bring his family’s brand back into the industry, and they continue to operate out of Pforzheim.
They received a lot of attention recently, when they released a line-up of watches that featured their old in-house movements (new old stock). These Heritage dress watches were well received and they’ve now decided to move onto something a bit sportier.
They recently released a skin diver which pays homage (in the accurate sense of the word) to their own vintage skin diver. I will be reviewing the AquaSport with an ETA 2824-2 movement and a rubber strap, which retails at around $515.
Let’s check it out!
The case measures 39mm in diameter, 46mm from lug-to-lug and 12.8mm in height. The case shape is pretty typical for a skin diver, and this particular prototype has a radially brushed top and polished sides, with polished beveled lugs. I believe the final units will have brushed sides.
The mid-case is fairly thick, and extends into a pair of lugs. The lugs are short, and curve down slightly towards the wrist.
There is a 120-click uni-directional bezel. The bezel grip is excellent and it is easy to grip and operate. The clicks are snappy and loud, with little to no back-play.
The bezel insert has all lumed elements, a colored insert that is covered with sapphire crystal.
I’m not entirely sold on the color of the light blue section of the bezel, but Circula have said that they’re making changes to this portion of the bezel.
You have a screw-down crown at the 3 o’clock position that is very easy to grip and operate thanks to the excellent proportions. The crown does have a colored section in the middle that you can get on request. I think it’s pretty cool. You also have a signed crown top.
Flipping it over, you have a solid screw-down case-back with a diver etched onto the back. This watch is rated for up-to 200m of water resistance.
Circula offers four different dial options for this watch, and this might be the boldest of them all. In the current form, I’m not 100% sold on the color choices across the bezel and dial, but I’ve heard from Cornelius that there are changes on the final production units.
The base of the dial is a beautiful metallic blue that is just perfect for a blue dial. It isn’t too bright, but is also perfectly vibrant. Unfortunately, I’ve been told that the dial color will be changed to more closely match the blue on the bezel. I wish this was the other way around.
You then have a raised white outer track that has black printed minute markers, and the printed hour indices. I think this is great, and the quality of printing and finishing is very good here.
The indices are applied to this outer track, and are generously filled with C3 Super LumiNova, also painted with an orange border. The finishing on these is excellent too, and given how many different components went into this, that is quite impressive for the money.
There is a date window at the 6 o’clock position, which I always love, and the window is very neatly cut into the dial. The date wheel has a white background with black font, which actually works great with the black and white outer dial track.
My only problem with the watch, and is most likely limited to this prototype unit, is the dust particles on the dial. And this is disappointing because the rest of the dial is actually very well finished and unlike most $500 watches I review. So I hope that the final units are cleaner, because this watch deserves it!
You then have the brand’s logo under the 12 o’clock marker, which looks to be applied onto the dial. I like it, but the visibility on this is quite poor since it is highly reflective and surrounded by a dark dial base. I don’t mind it, but some might.
The handset on the prototype is simple and generously filled with lume. While this unit has high polished hands, the final production units are said to be brushed instead. I actually like the polished hands, and think that it works well with the polished logo.
The hands are well proportioned, and are easy to read. The minute hand extends over to the minute track, and so does the seconds hand.
The seconds hand is painted in orange to match the indices and I think it looks great. It also has a lumed arrow tip, which is another winner. I did notice a small fiber sticking to the tip of the seconds hand though.
Overall, I actually love the dial in it’s current state, and wish they’d change the bezel to better suit the dial and not the other way around. I think the finishing across the dial is very impressive for a $500 watch, but I think the dial could be a little cleaner.
No exaggeration here – the lume on this watch is incredible. Both the design, quality and quantity of lume used is very impressive. Even the Seiko lume fanatics will be pleased with this watch.
All the bezel elements are lumed, and they’re lumed very well. Usually this is an element that is quick to fade, but on this watch is holds its charge quite well.
The indices are very generously lumed, and so are the hands.
The seconds hand has a small lumed tip, which is great. Overall, brilliant job here and if you’re after good lume, this will not disappoint.
This watch uses an ETA 2824-2, which is an excellent movement, specially when you consider the price of this watch. Unfortunately I had too many watches to review during the week, so I didn’t get to do any accuracy measurements on this one.
But something worth noting here is that Circula is also offering a COSC certified option of this watch for $600, which is an incredible deal.
On The Wrist
The dimensions are pretty much ideal for a variety of wrist sizes. At 39mm in diameter, 46mm from lug-to-lug and 12.8mm in height, this watch wears great on my 6.25″ wrist.
Given the case design, it does wear a bit larger than typical 39mm watches, so if you have large wrists, don’t be afraid to give this a shot.
In terms of wrist balance, I think the 12.8mm height is a bit on the chunkier side of what I’d prefer, but the case-back is mostly flat so it sits nicely.
I’m not a huge fan of the tropic style rubber strap that it ships with, and I think it could’ve been slightly better designed to fit with the case and lugs. The beads of rice (BoR) bracelet is what I would get with this watch.
To wrap this up, for the price of this watch, you’re getting an terrific deal. I would get the ETA movement or the COSC certified movement option, and with the beads of rice bracelet. I think the case is solid with decent finishing, the dial is very elaborate and finished well. Even if they don’t clean up the micro-particles on the dial, I still think it’s a good enough overall package. But I suspect that the final production units will be much better overall, making this an even more appealing purchase.
Thanks for reading!