TEMPEST Viking V2 2000m Automatic Diver 45mm Stainless Steel Black Dial
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Tempest is a brand I had been in contact with prior to them having a completed product. I experienced the founder (Ben) going from a concept phase to a completed product and having to change his mind a bit a few times during the process. Like many independent watches, the Tempest Viking represents one person’s idea of a dream watch, that they toiled to put together given the resources available to them. There is a good and bad side to this. The good side is that the result is a very pure form of timepiece in the sense that it is a watch made specifically to satisfy a single watch lover’s desires. Love it or hate it, you have to appreciate that a single person struggled to bring their dream to market–and their own wrist.
The bad side is that, unlike large companies, small independent watch makers lack large budgets, marketing plans, deep industry connections, and the experience of having made watches for years (for the most part). So what you get is often a dream and a compromise and these range from pitiful shells of their own potential to truly impressive timepieces that combine a load of features for a fair price. The Viking is much closer to being the latter.
I don’t necessarily know why dive-style watches are the most common indie watches out there, but they certainly are. Watch guys love the idea of creating their own ultimate tool watch, which often takes the form of a diver. The Tempest Viking certainly epitomizes the concept of one person wanting to throw in as many ideal features as possible. There really is a lot to the Viking, and it is rather unlike much of the competition. That starts with the uniquely designed, massive 45mm wide case.
Around the dial is a pretty hefty looking rotating diver’s bezel, and it is among the more impressive elements of the design. Tempest really wanted a bezel with a sapphire crystal insert, and that is what they got. The core bezel is fully lumed with minute markers, and over that Tempest places a sapphire crystal ring which is highly scratch resistant. This is a feature you’ll not find in any watch at this price that I am currently familiar with.
The case also includes an automatic helium release value (used in certain circumstances while diving, but again you won’t need it), but it sort of adds street cred to the watch, so why not have one? On the back of the case is a etching of a Viking ship… you know, because of the name of the watch. I like it better than the many manta rays, squids, or other sea creatures other brands tend to force on the back of their dive watches. In addition to being water resistant to 2000 meters, Tempest also claims that the Viking case is highly anti-magnetic and also rather shock resistant. Again, all this goes back to one man’s dream of ultimate durability.
There are so many different types of features in the Viking that I can imagine the designer writing a list of his “wishes” and making sure that each of them was included in the watch. I am rather impressed that he was able to include as much as he did. Going to the dial you’ll find ceramic. Yup, the dial of the Viking is ceramic, and that includes the black, blue, and orange models. The dial itself is pleasant to look at and highly legible. The hands are the right size even if they are more functional than they are pretty, and the amount of SuperLumiNova on the dial (and bezel) is really stunning.
Another benefit of the dial is the symmetrical design. Tempest placed the date window at 6 o’clock to preserve symmetry and it does not materially get in the way of any of the hour markers. Watch lovers will further appreciate that the date disc is black, which helps it blend in with the case. This means it is less obtrusive and should soften the age-old debate watch lovers have about how a date window should be integrated on to a dial–if at all.
Each of the three dial colors is available either in the steel case or the PVD black-coated steel case. They are further each available with either the standard or Super Dome sapphire crystal. That means a fair amount of variety for consumers, even though I think that the black-dialed versions are probably selling best. I feel that the blue dialed version of the Viking has potential, and it is handsome, but I think it would do better if it was matched to a blue versus black bezel.
The question of the sapphire crystal is an interesting one. Again, I am going to take a more conservative route and suggest that the flat sapphire crystal is a better option for more people. There is something very lovely about the highly domed sapphire crystal but it is not as practical as the flat one. In addition to the added thickness of the case, it is also much more reflective, which means light glare and reduced dial clarity. Also, if the domed sapphire crystal adds any water resistance, which I don’t actually think it does, then it is added water resistance no one in particular needs.
One area that I believe Tempest needed to make a change during the planning and production phase of making their first watches was what movement to use. Originally they wanted to use Swiss ETA movements, but due to the difficulty of actually getting ETA movements they decided to opt for Japanese movements. What Tempest chose was the newer Miyota caliber 9015 automatic movement which is meant to be a direct competitor to something like the ETA 2824.
The 9015 is a very capable movement with a similar performance and feature set as the ETA 2824. As a three-hand movement with the date it operates at 28,800 (4 Hz), and it has a power reserve of 42 hours. In addition to being an automatic, it also has a hack seconds function and offers hand winding. As a fully featured Japanese mechanical movement, we’ve been seeing them show up a lot in independent small brand watches and feel that they are generally a pretty good choice. I wouldn’t want to spend $5,000 for a 9015-based watch, but for this price point, I am more than satisfied with its inclusion.
As I said, Tempest is a brand built by a watch lover for watch lovers. You can see that in the product and the attention to detail in the product presentation. The box includes an extra strap (ZULU style), screw tool, cleaning cloth, and the case itself is designed for travel. Overall there is a lot for the money and it is a solidly built tool watch with a lot of character. In many ways it is like a work truck–it might be rough here and there around the edges, but it is designed for durability, and you sort of want to beat it up a bit. Overall, I think that anyone looking for a very durable dive watch who has a sub-$1,000 budget should certainly take a close look at the Tempest Viking collection.
MOVEMENT: Automatic – Miyota 9015
CASE: Stainless Steel Case
CROWN: Screw Down
DIAL: Black Dial with Orange Accents
BEZEL: rotating Diver
CONDITION: Pre owned – As-New!
BOXES/PAPERS: Yes/Yes – Complete! – Comes everything you see in the pics
WATER RESISTANCE: – 2000m
STRAP/BRACELET: – Original Tempest Stainless Steel Bracelet with all links & Additional Tempest Black NATO Canvas strap with Steel buckle.
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