Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me to review, but I was not incentivized in any way to make this review. This is in no way sponsored by Ickler / Limes or any other entity. All opinions here are my own. Since this watch was worn/used by other reviewers, please make note that the experience might differ from that of a brand new watch. In the spirit of full transparency, Ickler was kind enough to send me two straps for my Archimede Outdoor Protect 39.
I mentioned this brand in my review of the Archimede Outdoor Protect 39 as another brand under the Ickler umbrella. Limes appears to be the oldest brand within Ickler and has been around for nearly 90 years. There doesn’t appear to be a hierarchical difference between Archimede and Limes, but Limes watches are typically dressier such as in the Pharo and Chyros product lines. The Endurance line is what got me excited, with the audaciously aggressive case designs on diver style watches. Archimede has it’s own line of dive watches, the SportTaucher, but those designs are more modern with smooth edges and contemporary case shapes.
In terms of design, this case looks absolutely monstrous and I mean this in the best way possible. Without remorse, every potentially smooth edge has been ignored to make room for bold angled surfaces and edges. There is a very raw and industrial aesthetic to the case, from the overall brushed stainless steel finish to the sharp angular lugs and the angular crown guards. Even the bezel grip continues this utilitarian design identity. The case diameter is 41.5mm and has a lug to lug width of 50mm with an overall thickness of 12.5mm. The lug width is 20mm but visually looks larger because of the case design. Strap junkies can rejoice the use of drilled through lugs and the use of screwed link pins.
The crown and crown guard design has me as impressed as I was with the Archimede Outdoor Protect. It is extremely comfortable to operate, with perfectly spaced crown ridges and an overall 6.75mm diameter. The manufacturing tolerances on the crown guard and crown are excellent and the crown screws down perfectly into the case with no gaps. The crown is signed with the parent company (Ickler’s) logo. I think Ickler’s crown and guard designs are some of the best in the business.
Both the crown and case-back screw down into the case and the watch is rated for up to 300m of water resistance. This is impressive considering the watch is only 12.5mm tall (The 300m WR Archimede SportTaucher is even slimmer, at 12mm). The case-back is a simple solid case-back signed with the brand’s logo and the case specifications.
The bezel continues the overall aesthetic and is quite interesting in that it extends outward over the case at 12 and 6 o’clock positions. The rest of the bezel fits within the silhouette of the watch case. The 120-click bezel is comfortable to operate and quite loud, so if you’re a click junkie, this will make you very happy. I noticed a little vertical movement in the bezel, but no back play.
In terms of construction, the Endurance, like the Outdoor 39, lives up to hype around Ickler case manufacturing. Apart from the slight vertical movement in the bezel, the rest of the case is perfect. The tolerances are impressive and even the bracelet and case joint is perfectly snug with no wiggle. Another terrific case from Ickler.
If you’ve read my review of the Archimede Outdoor Protect 39, you might remember that my biggest issue with that watch was the cheaply made clasp and the adequate bracelet. The bracelet on this watch proves that Ickler can make an awesome metal bracelet.
The brushed links have a 5-piece link design style and are manufactured incredibly well and articulate sufficiently. The bracelet has been very comfortable and I have no complaints whatsoever. The clasp is much better than on the Archimede and has milled inner components but a pressed outer clasp with 4 quick adjustment slots spanning 6mm. I think they could have got away with adding 1 or 2 more, but I was still able to dial in a perfect fit for my wrist. The clasp also has a well made milled divers extension.
So overall, this bracelet and clasp is significantly better than the Archimede and quite a success, with the links being the star of the show. I would still like to see them attempt a milled clasp with on-the-go quick adjust. I think at the roughly $1500 price range, this is becoming an expected feature these days, with many micro-brands offering them in their dive watches.
If you’ve been following my other reviews, you won’t be surprised that I requested Ickler to review the blue dial, blue bezel variant. They were kind enough to entertain my unhealthy obsession with blue. This watch has been a bit tricky to photograph, because in person the dial and the bezel are different shades of blue, with the bezel being closer to turquoise and the dial being a dark purple-ish blue. Under bright lights or in low light settings, the two appear to be the same color, but they aren’t. I’m glad they didn’t use the same color for both as I think that might’ve been too overpowering.
The dial has white hour indices with a combination of minute markers and minute numerals at the edge of the dial. I’m a huge fan of the Omega / CWC military-spec oversized and lumed white hour markers. I think the blue and white contrast makes for excellent legibility. There is an inner 24-hour GMT ring with hour markers and indices painted in red. An excellent choice of colors, in my opinion.
There is a date window at 6 o’clock that blends in well with the outer hour markers and has a white date wheel, which further helps it remain subtle and inconspicuous. I think Ickler has mastered the art of integrating a date wheel onto a dial without making it look too asymmetric and awkward.
The hand set is very well finished and legible, with generous amounts of lume on the minute and hour hands. The seconds hand also has a lumed rectangular element, which is always a win in my book. There is a red arrow shaped GMT hand that navigates the inner 24-hour GMT ring. The GMT hand is painted red and filled with lume. The hands are well made and almost perfectly finished. I couldn’t find any surface irregularities or scratches. I did find a small dust/fabric element on the seconds hand, but unfortunately this is not uncommon even among the most expensive of brands.
The lume on the GMT hand is green whereas the rest of the lumed elements are blue. The bezel pip is also lumed. The lume on the indices is a bit weaker than the hands and fades away sooner than the rest. But overall the night time legibility is very good.
I think the overall finishing on the dial is good, but could be just slightly better at $1500. I did notice some dust on the seconds hand and a few stray white particles (possibly paint). These are not visible to the naked eye and require a loupe or macro lens to be found. This could be easily fixed with another 10 minutes at the QC desk.
The Endurance GMT houses an ETA 2893-2 elaboré grade movement. This is a tried and test GMT movement that can be found on many popular watches like the Sinn 857 S UTC, Zelos Horizons, Hamilton Jazzmaster, and many more.
I logged the watch’s accuracy over a 4 day period and observed an average accuracy of roughly +7.2 spd. The slowest rate of +4.8 spd is when the watch is rested over night in the crown-up position and +9.8 spd when in the dial-up position. This isn’t bad, but I’m certain this movement can be regulated to much tighter bounds. But this watch is a demo/review unit that probably hasn’t been regulated in a while.
On The Wrist
I was a bit worried about the 50mm lug-to-lug width, but the watch wears great on my 6.25″ wrist. This is primarily due to the fact that the links are short, and the end links articulate really well. I wouldn’t recommend this watch for those with under 6″ wrists as it might be too large.
The height is a very appealing 12.5mm, which together with the short angled lugs means that it sits low on the wrist and allows for a comfortable wrist experience. I also think the bracelet has a lot to do with the overall comfort of this watch, and if you’re considering this watch, make sure you get the bracelet.
To wrap things up, I think the Limes Endurance GMT has lots to offer for a $1500 watch. The case is fantastic, and designed to be rugged and utilitarian. The manufacturing tolerances all across the case are excellent, and the crown and crown guard execution is phenomenal.
The bracelet is very good, with excellent links and a good clasp. The bezel on it’s own is very well made and has negligible back play, but some vertical wiggle room.
The dial is very legible and well designed. The hands are excellent and of very good quality. In terms of design and construction, Ickler brings their roughly one century of watch making experience and excellence. In terms of the very fine details, the few stray particles and dust make it fall a step or two short behind their incredible manufacturing skills.
Overall, this isn’t the cheapest GMT watch in terms of price, and there are plenty of GMT watches available as cheap as $500. But what this watch offers is exceptional case construction, a well designed and clearly legible dial, a very good bracelet, a good movement and an overall comfortable wrist experience.
Lastly, the watch ships in what appears to be Ickler’s standard branded cardboard box with a pillow and some padding. I’m not a fan of elaborate watch boxes that take up half your cupboard to store, but at $1500, it’s nice to be pampered with a slightly more upmarket box. Ickler did send me a bag of Haribo with this watch, so I’ll easily forgive the simplistic packaging.
Thanks for reading!