Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me to review and I was not paid to write this. This is in no way sponsored by Iridium, or any other entity. All opinions here are my own. Since this watch is a prototype and was worn/used by other reviewers, please make note that the experience might differ from that of a brand new watch.
Iridium is a sister brand of Audric, whose dive-watch (Seaborne 500m) I recently reviewed and enjoyed. From what I’ve gathered, Iridium was established to produce slightly more affordable watches, that would use Japanese movements instead of Swiss, but continue to deliver the same level of quality.
Iridium will launch their debut watch in March, a 42mm diver that boasts of 300m of water resistance, a scratch resistant coating and a reasonable price tag of $399. These watches will become available early 2021, and the brand plans to launch this project on Kickstarter. Audric’s Kickstarter project was very successful, so I suspect this will follow in a similar manner, since they know their way around these parts already.
Let’s check it out!
I measured the case to be 42.25mm in diameter, 50.5mm from lug-to-lug and 13.75mm in height (including the curved sapphire crystal, which protrudes out about 1mm). The case is made entirely of stainless steel, but is coated with a scratch resisting coating, which also gives it a slightly gray-brown color that I love.
The mid-case extends out into a pair of dramatically curved lugs that have beveled and polished edges. The lug width is 22mm, which works well with the rest of the case dimensions.
The bezel is made out of a single piece of stainless steel and is also coated with the same hardening coating. The bezel grip is polished, but has well designed ridges that are easy to grip and operate.
The bezel action is great, with snappy clicks. There is a slight springiness to the bezel back-play, but it locks into place perfectly. This unit had a fraction of a millimeter of misalignment, but Iridium are aware of this and have assured me that the final units will be perfect. I do like the bezel a lot, and I think the finishing is great.
The bezel seats a heavily domed sapphire crystal that adds a lot of distortion at the edges. There appears to be multiple layers of AR coating on the lower surface that has a slightly blue tint to it.
There is a signed and lumed 7mm screw-down crown at the 3 o’clock position that is easy to grip and operate. The crown action is good, with no crown or stem wobble. Good stuff here.
Flipping it over, you have solid screw-down case-back with a torpedo engraved in the middle. This watch is rated for up-to 300m of water resistance.
I was sent the black dial to review, but they have other more interesting colors like green and blue that I personally prefer. The base of the dial has a sunburst texture, and is very well finished for a sub $400 watch.
There is an outer minute track that has large ticks for the hour markers and smaller ticks for minute markers. Unfortunately the distortion caused by the crystal makes it a bit tricky to read the minute markers. Iridium has informed me that the crystal will be swapped out for something with less distortion to fix this issue.
You then have applied hour indices that combine circular and diamond shaped indices that are generously filled with lume, and very well finished given the price category. The indices play with light beautifully, and at certain angles you could be convinced that these were rhodium plated.
There is a framed date window at the 3 o’clock position with a white date wheel background and black font. I’m not a fan of 3 o’clock date windows, and I think this would’ve been better placed at the 6 o’clock, specially considering how bold the indices on the 4 primary axes are.
On this black dial in particular, the brand’s font is given a lot of attention since it is quite large and against a simple black background. I think the font could’ve used a bit more identity, or been replaced by a more unique logo. But the quality of printing is excellent.
The handset is great, with a very unique warhead shaped hour hand, an arrow head minute hand, and a painted orange seconds hand. All three hands are generously lumed, and the finishing is excellent.
Overall, the dial is well executed with great finishing, but the black dial doesn’t excite me in terms of design, and the somewhat lackluster font dulls it down a bit. I think this is remedied on the blue and green dials, which throw in a bit more excitement into the mix.
The lume on this watch is terrific. I didn’t even need to prepare a completely dark room to shoot the lume on this watch, since it starts to glow bright even in a dimly lit room.
All the bezel elements are lumed, and quite generously so. They’re bright and hold their charge well.
The hands and indices are also generously lumed with BGW9 Super LumiNova. Overall, great lume quantity and quality, and the design checks off all the boxes as well, with all lumed dial elements and also a lumed seconds hand.
I don’t expect to find great bracelets in the sub-$400 dive watch category, but the Iridium delivers a pretty good one that is entirely coated with their surface hardening coating. The end links are very well machined, and fit perfectly snug with the case and lugs. No wiggle here at all, and the bracelet tapers from 22mm at the lugs to 20mm at the clasp.
The screwed pin links are great too, have a solid construction and a nice hefty overall weight. The bracelet has two polished center link pieces and 3 brushed pieces.
The signed clasp is a pretty typical micro-brand clasp that is friction fit with a folder over lock and six micro-adjustment slots. Unfortunately, the diver extension makes it impossible to use any of the micro-adjustment slots since it has no room to fold-over into it. I’ve passed this information back to Iridium and I believe they are upgrading the clasp to a ratcheting clasp instead.
This watch uses a Miyota 9015 movement, which is quite impressive for a sub $400 watch which also delivers in terms case quality, reasonably good quality control and a solid bracelet.
On the time-grapher, this watch was running at about +8.5 spd in the dial-up position, which is pretty good for this watch, and this movement. No complaints here.
On The Wrist
This is a chunky watch, but not in an over-sized way. On my 6.25″ wrist, the 50.5mm lug-to-lug width does not feel too large, perhaps because of the curved lugs and the fact that the end links articulate very well at around 49.5mm.
The 13.75mm height includes the roughly 0.75mm sapphire crystal protrusion, and the mostly flat case-back allow it to sit low on the wrist. It feels very well balanced on the wrist and the x g weight makes it feel like a serious and robust watch.
Overall, this is a solid watch with lots of value to offer in terms of build quality, specs and finishing. I’m not crazy about the black dial, and I would personally gravitate more towards the other colors like the blue and green. I think the simple black dial puts too much focus on the Iridium text under the 12 o’clock, which in itself is quite dull. But I’ve seen the other colors, and they look much better.
So I think this is going to be another review where I say, “If you like what it looks like, buy it”. It’s a well made watch with quality components, at an attractive price.
Thanks for reading!