Dive watches are a dime a dozen, with countless mainstream and microbrand watch manufacturers trying to capture the adventurous spirit of enthusiasts. And rightfully so, as a proper dive watch does not only work well underwater but does so in virtually any circumstance. The robust build, clear and legible dials and practical timing bezel (for diving or boiling an egg) check many of the day-to-day boxes watch lovers want to be checked. But apart from the usual suspects, every now and then, one pops up that sparks our interest. Case in point is the recently resurrected brand Circula and the new Circula SuperSport, a proper Super-Compressor dive watch.
Before we dive into the Circula SuperSport, perhaps a brief overview of the brand is in order. The name Circula might not ring a bell with everyone, but the German brand has its watchmaking roots in the mid-1950s in Pforzheim. Situated in the Black Forest in Southern Germany, Pforzheim was and still is home to quite an active watchmaking industry. It seemed that more high-end manufacturers gathered in Glashütte, while manufacturers of more accessible, tool-like instruments found their way to the town near Stuttgart. Brands like Laco and Stowa can still be found there, amongst several others, and of course, companies specializing in assembly and components.
Cornelius Huber, the grandson of the founder of Circula, is now running things for the once-dormant manufacturer. While things have been challenging, it certainly helps to be able to build upon an existing and relevant heritage. As our contributor Erik explained in his article introducing the Circula SuperSport, the Huber family started as a jewellery and watch wholesaler in 1926 before shifting to watch production under the Circula brand in 1955. As you can imagine, Circula did not escape the quartz crisis and was hit hard, with the brand ditching mechanical watchmaking in favour of quartz power. Soldiering on until roughly the turn of the millennium, watch production ceased in the early 2000s. Now, with Cornelius at the helm, the brand is on its way back as a family-owned, reputable watch manufacturer.
The new Circula SuperSport
The SuperSport is the latest collection to be introduced, following the successful Retro Quartz collection, the mechanical Classic Collection, the Heritage Collection with new old stock Pforzheim-Rohwerke GmbH (P.U.W.) movements (more details here). What followed was the AquaSport, a mechanical skin diver with a 1970s vibe and a design that was inspired by a vintage Circula watch and produced with the help of over 400 contributors from the leading German watch forum.
The first thing that should be mentioned before going deeper into the Circula SuperSport is the fact that it is a proper Super-Compressor dive watch and not a Compressor-styled dive watch. A (Super-) Compressor is a diving tool where the case reacts to the increased pressure of water. A special spring-like O-ring is gradually compressed, effectively sealing the case tighter and tighter and locking out the water. The term Super Compressor is trademarked by Ervin Piquerez S.A., and watches made between the 1950s and 1970s could reach depths of 200m or more.
The Circula SuperSport has a cushion-shaped stainless steel case, measuring 40mm across and 12.5mm thick. The shape and design are very pleasant to the touch, with brushed surfaces all around and a subtle polished edge on the bezel. A nice touch, giving the watch a bit more character, is the top profile of the lugs that continue onto the case. On the right-hand side, you see the dual-crown setup, with the top crown manipulating the inner rotating bezel. The other, with a colour-matching ring, is used for winding and setting the watch. A sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating covers the dial, while a closed caseback with a detailed image of a vintage diving helmet covers the backside.
The dial for the Circula SuperSport comes in three colour combinations. The black and orange you see here, but also a petrol blue version with white and yellow markings and a light-grey dial and light blue elements. The last one is limited to 99 pieces and doesn’t have a date indication.
The rotating bezel is always black with Super-LumiNova C3 X1 and a coloured scale for the first 20 minutes of your dive. The central section of the dial is a sandwich construction, with cut-out hour markers backlit by a Super Lumi-Nova plate. One step inward is a separate minutes track in a contrasting colour. The hands you see here will not be the final ones; they will be a bit more refined. Also, the hour hand will be slightly shorter and touch the minute track. The seconds hand will match the secondary colour in each of the dials (orange, yellow or light blue).
Under the hood of the Circula SuperSport ticks a Sellita SW200-1. This automatic movement, a good and reliable alternative to the comparable ETA 2824-2, has 26 jewels and runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4Hz). As an optional extra, Circula offers a Top Grade Sellita SW200 movement, featuring a Glucydur balance wheel and improved accuracy. In addition to the hours, minutes and seconds, there’s also a date indication on the black and petrol versions.
The Circula SuperSport has a distinctly retro vibe emphasized with the black rubber Tropic-style strap. As an option, there’s also a three-link stainless steel bracelet with a folding buckle. Both feature quick-release pushpins to easily swap out one for the other. During the pre-order campaign, running until the 15th of October, all clients will get both straps with their order.
Considering all of the things that can be said about the Circula SuperSport, there’s one thing I’d like to emphasize more than anything else; it is a very interesting, solidly built Compressor dive watch. We don’t see too many genuine Compressor watches nowadays, despite the style’s popularity.
While we can’t judge for others, we certainly feel the Circula SuperSport is an attractive package. It captures the charm of early diving watches with this particular type of construction and updates it to modern materials and specifications. Its design is fresh, the quality feels good, and it’s offered at a very competitive price, especially during the now-running pre-order campaign (closes 15 October 2021).
Availability & Price
The pre-order price for the Circula SuperSport is EUR 699, which is excellent value for money. After the pre-order campaign finishes, the price will remain the same but without the bracelet. It will be available as an upgrade and cost EUR 799. The Top Grade option for the movement will cost another EUR 100 on top of that.
For more information or to place an order, please visit Circulawatches.com.
Note – The watch we shot was a late-stage prototype. The final production version will have updated hands, a more refined brushing on the caseband, and slightly taller crowns.