Skin divers are always fun as they’re generally a more stylish take on pro counterparts (hence the name). There isn’t a hard definition, but skin divers are smaller, slimmer versions of bulkier professional divers with depth ratings between 100 and 200 metres. Some folk prefer a vintage-inspired “re-edition” like the Longines Skin Diver, while others gravitate to modern interpretations like Dietrich’s SD-1. Skin diving itself is recreational and requires less gear (if any) to explore shallower depths. Dan Henry already has an impressive retro diver, the 1970 Automatic Diver 40mm, and the new 1975 Skin Diver comes in four variants with accessible prices.
Dan Henry isn’t just a guy who created a microbrand. Many in this field find a horological passion at some point and try to fill a “hole in the market” with something new or innovative. More often than not, however, microbrand offerings are more of the same, perhaps with unusual colours or a cool design element. The man behind this brand has been a collector and watch enthusiast from a very young age. By the time Dan was 10 years old, he was already trading watches at school and was a serious watch collector by the late 1990s. His collection today is impressive by any standard, spanning over a century of watchmaking, and he has a dedicated website with pictures and descriptions: timeline.watch.
Although Dan has amassed a sizable cache of watches, many of which are rare and expensive, he’s always impressed with the affordable ones that stir the soul without draining the wallet. It’s a big part of why he created Dan Henry Watches, to offer vintage-inspired models based on his own collection and experiences that just about any enthusiast can afford. His current portfolio has chronographs and divers with inspiration from specific points in history – from 1937 to 1975. If there’s anyone with the knowledge and expertise to replicate watches from specific decades, it’s Dan Henry, and he does it without the side effect of sticker shock.
A classic design with charm
The brushed/polished stainless steel case of the Dan Henry 1975 Skin Diver is the perfect size for a retro skin diver at 38mm in diameter (39mm including the bezel), as no actual 1970s models exceeded 40mm. The smallish size is still contemporary enough for most wrists today. At only 11.5mm in height, it’s compact and classy both in and out of the water. A warm acrylic crystal would give it a vintage vibe, but a boxed-shape sapphire crystal provides that old-school look without the inevitable scratches and scuffs; it is the 21st century, after all. It’s an impressive crystal for an affordable collection and has all the right distortions at sharp angles.
There are two distinct lines within the collection, separated by different bezels and a date window with a magnifying lens on the crystal. All have unidirectional rotating diver’s bezels, but the date models have Super-LumiNova inserts under sapphire glass, while the non-date models have steel with engraved scales in black. The 60-minute bezel markings with a detailed 15-minute scale are the same, although they’re a bit more legible on the steel variants. The sapphire bezels come in two colours, black or white, matching their respective dials.
The screw-down steel casebacks have a polished, embossed octopus over a sandblasted background. The guarded crowns are push/pull only, but water-resistance remains solid for recreational diving at 150 metres. Each watch comes with a 20mm colour-matching FKM rubber strap with a steel pin buckle and quick-release levers. They’re both very comfortable and not oversized to help fit smaller wrists (which is very much appreciated). A stainless steel oyster bracelet is also an option.
There are four dial colours with two styles – date and no date – bringing a lot of choice to the Dan Henry 1975 Skin Diver collection. There’s a bright orange or black dial with no date and steel bezel and a white or black/gilt dial with date and sapphire bezel. The overall aesthetics are similar enough to keep them tied together – they’re clearly related and part of the same line. All dials have applied indices with Super-LumiNova inserts, and the hour and minute hands have lume inserts as well. The base and counterweight of the two main hands match the respective dial colour, while the seconds hand is orange on all but the orange dial, which is black. Whether you dive or not, these are stylish and affordable all-occasion pieces, and each has a different vibe.
High(er) Beat Miyota Engine
Powering the collection is the Miyota 9015 automatic. It’s a popular, reliable workhorse that launched in 2009 with desirable features like hacking seconds and a 4Hz beat rate. It’s also hand-windable and easily obtained at an affordable price. It has 24 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 42-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and date (the latter is simply hidden on two models). Accuracy is rated at -10/+30 seconds per day, which is comparable to an entry-level ETA or Sellita calibre. It will also last a lifetime with periodic maintenance.
Dan Henry watches are more than just stylish, run-of-the-mill microbrand offerings. They’re well-thought extensions of a world-class watch collection, bringing specific eras of watchmaking to enthusiasts at affordable prices. All Dan Henry collections are quite literally dated, with this one being 1975. The colour choices are certainly diverse, with different moods to choose from. I’ll say that the no-date black model is my favourite, although I tend to be conservative with my watch styles. The boxed-shape sapphire crystal is a surprise given the price and has a retro flair. Bezel clicks are rock solid, fit and finish are excellent, and there’s no issue with legibility, although the black sapphire bezel tends to wash out in certain light. All Dan Henry 1975 Skin Diver models are tremendous value for money, and you won’t find a better period-correct diver for less.
Availability & Price
The no-date/steel bezel models retail for USD 430, while the date/sapphire bezel models are a bit more at USD 450. All come with a colour-matching FKM rubber strap, but an oyster-style steel bracelet is available for USD 80 (USD 45 for an additional rubber strap).
Dan Henry is also offering 1975 quartz variants with 36mm and 38mm case diameters. They use a Seiko VH31 hybrid mechanical (mechaquartz) with a sweeping seconds hand instead of impulse ticking like a typical quartz. You get the look of an automatic with an accuracy rating of +/- 15 seconds per month, which is admittedly also cool.
For more information and to make a purchase, please visit Dan Henry’s website.