Watch Reviews

Fingers-On: The Up to date Wolbrook Automated And Douglas Skilled Skindiver Fashions


It wasn’t even 4 years in the past {that a} passionate crew of watchmaking veterans resurrected the watch model Wolbrook and its sister model Douglas. Primarily identified for his or her Skindiver fashions, after 50 years, these manufacturers’ device watches are actually as soon as once more assembled in France. Wolbrook watches had a fame for his or her sturdy development and good accuracy. They featured reasonable costs and rugged reliability, and all motion components had been customary and interchangeable.

This was additionally true for the resurrected fashions of 2019, assembled and controlled in France, housing off-the-shelf Japanese Miyota actions. Nonetheless, Wolbrook discovered a couple of factors on which to enhance its first new fashions. This text, at the beginning, is to tell about these updates and enhancements. Moreover, to check it in actual life, I wore the brand new Douglas Skindiver Skilled on my final motorcycle journey by means of Spain and can share my expertise with that watch.

Wolbrook Automated and Douglas Skilled Skindivers

For now, we’re trying on the common Skindiver fashions, not the well-known Worldtimer variations that Balazs wrote about in January 2020. At the moment, solely the widespread Skindiver fashions have acquired the updates, however I can think about the Skindiver Worldtimer mannequin will comply with.

Let me first clarify, briefly, the variations between the Wolbrook Automated and Douglas Skilled Skindiver fashions. The watches are very a lot equal, however there’s one thing that would make all of the distinction to you — the crystals. All Douglas-signed Skindivers sport a Hesalite crystal and are named Skilled. The Wolbrook Automated Skindiver, then again, sports activities a field sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the underside. And because of this, I suppose, the Wolbrook is rated 15 ATM / 150 meters, whereas the Skilled Douglas has to accept 12 ATM / 120 meters.

Countdown bezel

What’s the first distinction you discover evaluating the outdated and new fashions? Most likely the bezel. Whereas, till now, the uni-directional bezels had been numbered like another dive bezel, the reworked bezels have countdown numerals. Within the Sixties, the reference 673B was geared up with a countdown bezel, whereas the 674A had a daily count-up dive bezel. Countdown bezels comply with the “plan the dive, dive the plan” ethos, the place you need to comply with timed steps after timed steps. In that spirit, a countdown bezel is smart. Moreover, the brand new bezels sport a BGW9 (blue-ish) Tremendous-LumiNova triangle at 12 o’clock.

Two issues right here ignited my curiosity. Typically, a count-down bezel — generally nicked a pilot’s bezel — is bi-directional, whereas common divers bezels are uni-directional. The count-down bezel on the brand new Wolbrook and Douglas Skindivers stays uni-directional, like the previous mannequin with a diver’s bezel.

The lumed triangle and minute hand are completely different colours. The lume coloration of the bezel pip matches that of the minute hand.

Secondly, the lumed triangle has a blueish glow, which is good. Nevertheless, the colour of the lume triangle or pip differs from the lume on the palms and within the dial. Typically, the lume coloration on the triangle or pip matches that of the minute hand, which it’s speculated to work with.

I have to admit that each the uni-directional countdown bezel and the absence of an identical lume coloration haven’t bothered me in any approach throughout my two-week hands-on expertise. So let’s not make it appear any extra essential than it’s and simply go away my nit-picky observations behind us. On with what has been up to date on these Skindivers.


Googling the phrase “hexaplex”, you’ll discover a medium-to-large sea snail of the household Muricidae. However, in fact, that’s not what I’m writing about right here. In 2020, designers and engineers had been engaged on a brand new case structure that would offer extra safety to a watch motion. A yr of R&D later, the consequence was embodied in HexapleX®. Wolbrook, clearly, registered the title to point the improved shock-resistant development.

Although much less seen than the countdown bezel, the brand new Skindivers are actually geared up with the HexapleX case structure. It delivers enhanced shock resistance by way of 3D rubber shock absorbers strategically positioned within the motion holder’s entrance, again, and facet. The motion is in a floating configuration and successfully shielded from each giant and small impacts to the watch case. The brand new Skindivers, geared up with this case development, are essentially the most impact-resistant and correct timepieces Wolbrook has ever manufactured. Watches sporting the HexapleX structure are marked with a laser-engraved seashell emblem on the again of the top-right lug and the within of the case again.

Enhanced water resistance

The water resistance of each fashions has additionally been improved. Previously 10 ATM / 100 meters, the strain score has now gone as much as 12 ATM for the Skilled mannequin and even 15 ATM for the common computerized. One would possibly assume that this nonetheless isn’t extreme for a diver’s watch, however the fact is that — and Wolbrook exuberantly reminds us of it — ISO 6425 customary for diver’s watches solely requires a score of 10 ATM. In fact, the ISO customary requires many different issues than simply 100 meters of water resistance, and we now have no details about if the Wolbrook and Douglas Skindiver’s comply solely. However, to be sincere, upon first inspection, I don’t see a motive to assume that they’d not.

Dial and basic look

The dial opening is now barely smaller to permit for a extra compact visible feeling, and the case and bezel profile have been barely reworked. Moreover, to match the historic Skindiver ref. 673B from the Sixties, the font of the numerals at 10, 8, and 4 o’clock markers has been modified accordingly. The screw-down crown is now a bit greater, having grown from 6 to six.7mm. The Wolbrook and Douglas fashions present an encircled embossed W on them.

Each the Skindiver Automated and Skilled function a safe screw-down case again. The primary 949 items — a tribute to Wolbrook Watches institution in 1949 — include a limited-edition case again. These case backs every bear particular person numbers and have a deep engraving with enamel of the proverbial motto “The proof is within the coral reef” and a clown triggerfish.

Motion and straps

There aren’t any adjustments to report within the motion division. It’s good to know, nonetheless, that the Miyota 8315 has no date disc (the date place of the crown nonetheless exists, although) and is adjusted in France to an accuracy of ±15 seconds per day. The 21,600vph, 21-jewel, computerized caliber is manually windable and sports activities a hacking seconds hand. What additionally hasn’t modified are the wonderful Tropic-style rubber straps that Wolbrook provides. A metal beads-of-rice bracelet can also be obtainable. Though I’m a fantastic fan of such a bracelet, finish-wise, the one which Wolbrook makes use of doesn’t match the watch as excellently because the rubber straps. However this may be only a private hangup.


Wolbrook positively enhanced the Skindiver Automated and Skilled fashions. They’re now much more enticing watches which have more-than-adequate specs. It’s arduous to imagine that they’re obtainable for lower than €400. I’m certain many individuals will favor the Wolbrook Skindiver Automated fashions with their field sapphire crystal and inside anti-reflective remedy. I, nonetheless, favor the Hesalite Douglas Skindiver Skilled, which was reworked for higher visibility at completely different angles, by the way in which. And naturally, it’s not the one €20 distinction in value that makes me select the Hesalite. I simply assume it fits the classic look of the watch higher.

On my bike journey, I loved the watch very a lot. For me, it may have been one or two millimeters smaller in diameter, however that, in fact, is only a private desire and is expounded to my 17.5cm wrist. And I have to admit, it appears that evidently the HexapleX development is fairly satisfactory to get rid of the consequences of impacts on the watch case. After many kilometers on my Ducati, the watch remained very correct.

Watch specs

Model Wolbrook
Mannequin Skindiver Automated and Douglas Skindiver Skilled
Reference 22-SA-001-BOR-STL-LE1 and 22-SP-001-RB1-BLK-LE1
Dial Black
Case Materials Brushed 316L stainless-steel
Case Dimensions 40mm diameter × 48mm lug-to-lug × 13.5mm thickness
Crystal Hesalite (Douglas Skilled) / Field sapphire (Wolbrook Automated)
Case Again Dodecagon-shaped screw-down case again with a clown triggerfish. Individually numbered to 949 items.
Motion Automated Miyota 8315 — 21,600vph, 21 jewels, hand winding chance, hacking seconds. Adjusted to +/- 15s/day in France.
Water Resistance 120 – 150 meters
Strap 20mm width, Tropic-style rubber strap or stainless-steel beads-of-rice bracelet
Capabilities Hours, minutes, seconds
Worth €379 – €449 together with EU tax
Guarantee 2 years
Quality Lifes

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