Welcome to Deep Dive, in which we test dive watches both new and vintage beneath the waves in some of the world’s most beautiful locations. This time, we’re underwater with the Supermarine S2000, a high-tech modern diver from famed British manufacturer Bremont.
What is to be gained from SCUBA diving with a mechanical watch? I’ve struggled with this question, even doubting the enterprise, but my hunch was that there was value in it. So I kept diving with watches, kept writing up my findings, and I’ve finally come to realize something that feels important: the aesthetics of a dive watch will never exceed the prowess of its functionality.
How would you feel about a Land Rover Defender that had the mechanical guts of a Honda Civic? A Ferrari with a VW 4-cylinder engine? What about a chromed-up, air-brushed, fancy-ass espresso machine that only made lame drip coffee? How about a leaky boat?
Herein lies the crux of why the Bremont Supermarine S2000 ($5,5995) is such a compelling dive watch: its functionality underwater easily matches its tasty aesthetics. The S2000 is in the same class as a real Defender, a real Ferrari, an actual La Marzocco espresso machine. We may never take a Ferrari up over 200mph, and we will (hopefully) never rely on a mechanical watch while diving, but knowing that these machines — however beautiful — can deliver as machines is a major part of their sex appeal. Their functionality doesn’t just amplify their beauty; it is essential to it.
The Bremont S2000 As a Desk Diver
For well over a decade, Bremont has consistently created colorways that delicately balance pop and restraint. Moreover, their colorways are warm and inviting, like hygee on the wrist or staring at a campfire. Specifically, it’s been Bremont’s restrained use of red on small details — here the bezel pip, the top of the rehaut, and the tip of the lollipop seconds hand — that’s so compelling. The other splash of color comes from the tip of the minute hand matching the 20-minute timing array under the sapphire bezel, a design move that creates a sense of intention and unity in this otherwise monochromatic watch.
The dial is a beauty, using vintage-inspired round and rectangular markers, a raised and etched center sector that contains the white text, a discrete and nicely framed date window, and a 60-minute rehaut. The hands are proportionately large, and divided into sections that are filled with ultra-bright Super-LumiNova.
The fit of any 43mm Bremont watch (and many are 43mm) is always surprisingly comfortable on even the narrowest of wrists. This is because of Bremont’s unique three-piece Trip-Tick case, which sandwiches a ribbed, DLC-coated middle case section between the top unit with the lugs and the case back.
These unique lugs dive downward toward your wrist, but without looking too small in proportion to the watch (an aesthetic problem for a number of large-format dive watches). And even though the S2000 is a full 18mm thick, it manages to hug the wrist comfortably. Importantly, only the bezel rises above the lugs, making this a well considered design that avoids the “cat food can” effect we’ve seen on other thick dive watches.
The integrated rubber strap goes a long way toward giving the S2000 a finished look, and it accentuates those unique lugs while also curving downward for a snug and comfortable fit. The case back is adorned with a ship’s propellor, so deeply carved into the hardened steel that we have to call this a sculpture, not an engraving, and the crown at 2-o’clock is set into a bolted-on, polished crown guard that’s reminiscent of an exposed frame on a badass motorcycle — grunt and all.
Beating Up The Bremont S2000
The true test of a dive watch’s durability has to be how much of a beating it can take above the water. We don’t tend to beat watches up underwater, but hauling heavy tanks, getting in and out of boats being tossed by ocean swells, climbing out of the ocean onto rocks when shore diving, and making one’s way around the obstacle course of a dive boat can beat the shit out of a dive watch. You want to be able to bang the thing indiscriminately and then plunge to 100’ without worrying. It’s a tool, after all, and the S2000 is entirely up to the abuse.
Bremont uses a hardened steel that I can tell you from experience is nearly impossible to scratch. The bezel can be a weak spot on a dive watch, especially if it overhangs the case. It makes sense, then, to just keep the bezel inside the width of the case, but that results in bezels that are hard to get a grip on. Bremont splits the difference, with the S2000’s bezel overhanging just enough to bite into your fingertips, but not enough to get caught on anything (like a bit of boat rigging, or, in my case, the gate on a pick-up truck while hoisting tanks in and out).
Bremont hardens the hell out of the crystal, too, which is a positive because there is a slight dome to this crystal. Perhaps a flat crystal would be a better option for a wrist-banger like me, but keep in mind that domed crystals offer greater structural support under pressure, which helps this watch achieve its 2000 meters of water resistance. As a point of reference, the Rolex Sea Dweller DEEPSEA, which went to the deepest point of the Pacific Ocean, also has a domed crystal.
In short, the S2000 can take anything you throw at it — literally. It’s a watch you’ll never have to worry about, no matter what you’re doing. And that is sexy.
The Bremont S2000 Underwater
This is a seriously capable dive watch. The three things you’ll want when underwater are (1) water resistance, (2) legibility, and (3) good bezel grip and action. The S2000 delivers all three as well as any watch I’ve worn.
Water-resistance on the S2000 is 2000 meters. That’s 1.243 miles, or 2 kilometers. No, you won’t ever go that deep. Nor will you likely get your Ferrari over 200mph, or take your Land Rover Defender across the desert. But, unlike these vehicles, there are times when a watch can encounter high water pressure at recreational depths. This can happen when water moves across the watch at high speeds, causing the pressure to increase dramatically.
It’s more likely to happen if you’re diving in a cave with intense currents or if you were welding a submerged oil rig, sure. But the water resistance not only feels badass because it’s there, like some fall-out shelter full of freeze-dried food, but also because you’re simply never going to flood this watch, no matter what happens above or below sea level.
Legibility is a no-brainer. The lume is incredibly bright, and the markings are smart, familiar, and obvious. The Super-LumiNova lit up inside a swim-thru (a small coral tunnel) at 100’ down, where light was simply gone for a moment. In fact, the watch provided some comfort during that descent into the dark.
“The S2000 can take anything you throw at it. It’s a watch you’ll never have to worry about, no matter what you’re doing. And that is sexy.”
Tools Are Beautiful
As much as this watch is a luxurious and beautiful thing, it felt like a real tool underwater. Just as knowing that the V12 under the hood could launch you into the next county — even if it never will — it was thrilling to wear such a capable dive watch at depth.
I’d struggled to understand why some watches didn’t give me that “endless horsepower” feeling until I took the S2000 into the deep. Even a week diving in the Rolex Sea Dweller DEEPSEA didn’t give me that feeling, perhaps because I knew one had been to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, thus making a mockery of my recreational diving depths. But the Bremont doesn’t brag like the Rolex DEEPSEA; it doesn’t compete for world records; and it doesn’t pose at all. No one likes a poseur, but who doesn’t love a beautiful and overbuilt tool?