ZENO Watch Basel Deep Diver Tachymeter watch review - crazy watch for crazy owners

Published on 28 December 2022 at 20:43

On my last review I have shown and reviewed one very unusual watch bought for my wife. Well, my wife is not the only one in our family which owns an unusual watch. The other person is - of course - me. :) The very unusual diver watch which I want to present you today is the Deep Diver Tachymeter watch from Zeno-Watch Basel Company (shortened as Zeno further on).

Even though Zeno is a Swiss watch company with quite a history (Zeno brand was introduced in 1922), it is again a company which is not well known all over the world. If you want to check the short history about the company, check here. In the last two decades I had the chance to view several (primarily pilot) watches, I even owned two or three for a short time, but none of them were attractive enough to become a keeper for me. Among other watches Zeno has launched also one quite interesting alarm watch but again not so special that would be worth pulling a trigger on. So, long story short, for me Zeno was always treated just as yet another Swiss middle range company which does not offer something special for my taste. Well, until - out of the blue - one day Deep Diver was spotted! Seeing this watch for the first time was a total positive shock for me! Watch does not falls to any of my collection categories, yet it was a love at first sight and I immediately put it on my whish list. From that moment on I was just seeking for the right time or better say for right price to buy it. And just before Christmas I finally found the right offer and decided to buy it.

So, what is so special about this watch? The most obvious thing is, that this watch is a monster. It is a BIG and HEAVY watch. It is not so extremely wide (diameter of the watch is 46,5 mm), the main dimension that makes watch so monstrous is it's height, which is 19,5mm. And it is not just that watch is just at  the peak of the glass so high, it has a flat glass and the entire case is so thick.

The next very unusual thing is the shape of the case and the watch itself. I was thinking how to describe the shape at all. The best I can do is to say that watch looks like a donut to which a small cake was put on top of it. Or, even better - the watch is just perfect to serve as a small model of an UFO in some late sixties movies. Check the pictures below:

So in general it looks as if two layers of the watch were glued together. The dial lies at the top of the first layer, then followed by the second - bezel layer - which ends with a sapphire glass. So if you look into the watch from the side, you can see how deep into the watch the dial is actually placed. It is also interesting, that even though the bottom layer has almost 47mm, the second layer, has only 41mm, and the dial itself has only 30mm.

As you can see from the pictures, the lugs are hidden into the case, so the L2L is - despite huge outern diameter - only 45mm. Which allows watch to be worn much easier than expected.

Since I already mentioned the position on the wrist, you must ask yourself how this watch can be worn at all. Before I start discussion about that, let me give you another important information - watch is not just big, watch is also quite heavy. Just watch itself without straps or bracelet has more than 200 grams. 

Why is this so important? Well, what I noticed is the fact, that the biggest obstacle for using or wearing this watch is not a height (that is somehow expected, there are 46-47mm watches which are easily worn), not even the height (even though watch does stand out!), but the weight. Originally the blue version of Deep Dive comes on a Nato blue strap. In the collection there are also yellow and orange versions (both also on Nato strap) and black version which comes on mesh stainless steel bracelet. So, since I bought a blue version, I received the watch with the blue Nato strap. And this has shown to be a very important factor in the discussion about the watch comfortability. 

In general - I am not a Nato straps fan, hardly ever do I use one. In this case nylon Nato strap is even ok, the color fits nice to the dial, quality is solid, so no complains there. But! Watch is simply to heavy for such a strap. Nato strap does not hold the watch strong enough, watch bounces around the wrist. And since there is no counter weight of the strap itself, you have a feeling that you really don't wear a watch but a weight. A said I don't like Nato straps, so I had in my mind to replace the Nato strap from the beginning. The first minutes with the watch on my wrist just confirmed my intentions. 

I tried several options which were available to me (what was on stock with 22mm lug size in my ladder). First, I tried one new leather strap. Total miss! Leather strap was new, quite stiff, watch was 1cm above my wrist. No go.

Next attempts were much more successful -  rubber (silicone strap). I only had grey strap in 22mm size, but it showed me, that rubber strap might be a good choice. I also have a similar blue strap, unfortunately only in 20mm size. Otherwise a perfect color match. I wore the watch for a few minutes on a blue strap, feeling was good. But those 2mm gap bothered me and I decided to try another thing. Since original black watch is on mesh bracelet, I decided to tried this combination as well. I have several mesh Molnija bracelets (yes, from Russian Molnija company), which are surprisingly good and quite soft and with right size. The result was shocking good. Bracelet fits to this watch perfectly. Since it is a mesh version, you can micro adjust the clasp so that the bracelet does not allow the watch to dance around the wrist but still watch is not to tight around the wrist.

Bracelet also have it's own weight and that helps. It has a counter effect on a heavy watch, total weight is more evenly spread around the wrist now. All together it is a heavy equipment, for sure. But not unwearable any more. I "survived" wearing the watch for 48 hours without taking it off without serious consequences :) Wrist is still not broken, functions well. There is another positive thing - any watch on the wrist after Deep Diver feels like feather light. 

Nevertheless, I have to warn you - watch is well spotted in the public, you can not expect to be unnoticed. And it's shape and size calls for a comments, positive and negative. So, if you are not ready for jokes about your watch, don't buy this one!

I owe you also some additional technical details about the watch. The most important thing is - watch is supposed to be a diver watch. It has a 500m water resistance, bezel (which is unidirectional with 90 clicks) has a tachymeter scale. Will anyone ever use it as a diver? I don't think so. Nevertheless, it has a very good luminova, which easily last for a whole night.

Watch is powered by - hmmm - one of the Swiss movements, I have no idea, which one. On the official web pages it is stated that watch is powered either by ETA 2824-2, either by Soprod 024 (which is ETA 2824 clone) either by Ronda 150. Without opening the back plate I can't tell you, what is in my watch. All three movements have similar characteristic (28800 bph, hacking, date), so I can only guess it is an ETA 2824-2 inside. Why? Because watch is extremely accurate. It runs from -2 sec/day to +3 sec/day based on the position, but within 48 hours on my wrist the general result was less than +1 sec/day. 

Glass is of course sapphire.

Watch is limited to 300 pieces, serial number is shown on the backplate. Together with the Zeno logo.  

Speaking of logo - as you can see, logo is huge, plus a company name is a long one. Nothing wrong with both if you print it just on a back plate. But for the dial, the logo and the whole text is too much. Thanks God that on Deep Diver Zeno at least used the small font size (on some pilot watches logo and the company name fill all upper part of the watch).

I must also praise the date. Even though the entire dial is sinked deep down the watch and the dial itself is relatively small, the date window is simple yet visible. So it serves it's purpose, one can truly see the date. That is not so common nowadays.

Another pleasant surprise is the packaging of the watch. All Zeno watches that I have had used to be packed in a very simple leather pouch. This watch has a proper very nice bakelite inner box and outern cartoon box. 

Original factory price for a Nato strap version watches is 878 CHF, black version with bracelet is 988 CHF. With all duties, taxes, shipped to EU country that is around 1100 EUR for Nato versions and 1200 for bracelet version. Which is a decent price by my opinion. It seems that watch was not a huge success and now it can be found much cheaper. So if you are one of the "crazy" guys that like "crazy" watches, this one will not disappoint you. 

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