Monday, July 21, 2008

Orsa Sea Angler Lithium

Anyone who has been into dive watches over the last few years had heard the name Orsa. Orsa watches are the creation of Martin Berg. The most legendary of his creations has been without a doubt the Sea Angler.

The Sea Angler started life in two runs of 50 watches in each run. You had a basic black and orange model. These watches raised eyebrows and sold out in short order. I am happy to say I am the owner of an Orange Sea Angler Automatic which is one of my most prized watches. Berg followed these up with two Swiss made series in silver and luminous dials. Then there is the ultra-rare 3T Limited Edition Sea Angler which I was too dumb to buy though being a moderator at 3T. DOH!! Berg has since released a Miyota powered behemoth known as the Monstrum and continues to produce nice inexpensive military style quartz watches he sells via the Bay. You’ll also find a line known as the Pro Divers which come in a number of configurations and colors. I am also the proud owner of a rare Pro Diver Automatic.

Berg has recently released the Sea Angler Lithium though his affiliation with 3T. The watch is being offered in either a black or stainless steel bezel and brings the great Sea Angler look and feel to a whole new realm. The watch is currently available exclusively though Berg’s brand forum at 3T and if any are left they may eventually be sold on the Bay.

Let’s just dispose with the technical specifications per Berg:

Ronda 715 lithium, Swiss made, 5 jewels.

316l Stainless steel case
unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks
Domed hardlex mineral crystal
300m/1000ft Water resistant
8mm Screw down crown
Date at 4hrs
Super luminova coated hands and dial.
Bezel/case back polished.
22mm lugs with connecting rods
Weight: 126g
Dimensions: 45mm wide x 54mm length
Thickness 16mm
only 50 pcs available for each models

This is truly a Sea Angler for everyman; not just the WIS of the world. I opted to get one with the stainless steel bezel as I thought the look was a little flashy and very cool. The stainless bezel adds a little pop to the watch in my opinion while relegating it useless for true diving. No worries as this is a recreational sport watch in my world.

Where to start? There is the instantly recognizable Sea Angler case which is thick and chunky. This is a purpose built tool and the case leaves little doubt to the rough and ready nature of the watch. The screwdown crown is at 4:00 aligned with the date window. The crown is buffeted by beefy crown guards adding another element of utility to the watch. The lugs are 22mm and quite pronounced with a downward curve which allows the large case to wrap the wearer’s wrist. There is some dissention over the combination of the finishes on the case and bezel. Some do not like the polished bezel edge in combination with the bead blasted finish on the case. In my opinion this adds depth to the case and bezel, creating an imposing 3-D superstructure. The caseback is a true classic highlighted by the well known Sea Angler motif.

The dial is really a love/hate affair for many. Obviously I am in the love camp. The Lithium Sea Angler comes with an orange dial with a flat black/charcoal minute track. The minute track features luminous markers in five minute increment. The five minute increments are marked with the distinctive script which makes a Sea Angler a Sea Angler. Lume is persistent if not blazing and is good for many hours after charging though it will never blow you socks off. It is just utilitarian. You go for the time in zero light and there it is. Wonderful. This all resides under a domed hardlex crystal. While I would prefer sapphire, the hardlex is a viable option and should prove tough. Hands are the familiar Sea Angler paddle hands and glow a tad brighter than the indices. The stainless bezel is beautiful to my eye with a blasted face featuring polished numerals every ten minutes. A little blingy and a sure attention grabber.

The watch comes outfitted with a durable and comfortable rubber strap with signed Orsa tang buckle. The strap is nothing fancy but it quite comfortable and tough. The 22mm lug size and easy screw pins allow for a variety of strap options. Many have put their Sea Anglers on exotic straps though my thought is this is a tool watch and should be strapped up as such. Nothing fancy for me.

Although I am predominantly a collector of mechanical time pieces, the simplicity and dependability of the Rhonda movement is really a big plus. It is kind of nice not to worry about having the watch wound up or sitting on a winder. It’s a true grab and go and since its arrival it’s been a favorite for a day in the pool with the kids.

Berg has hit upon another winner in my opinion and sales support this stance. I have been told all the black bezel models have been sold and that Berg in fact produced 60 in the black bezel and 40 in the stainless bezel. If so this makes mine a touch more rare though this is not a watch I’ll part with any time soon. The watch is too much fun and too easy to love for it to go anywhere but on my wrist.

Thanks for having a look.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I’ve always loved a classic pilot’s watch or flieger. For me the flieger is one of the archetypical watches which any WIS worth their salt needs to have in their collection. I’ve gone through a few fliegers myself and will wager I’ll go through a number more before its all said and done.

I started off simple with an Aeromatic 1912 flieger I grabbed off eBay back in 2004. This watch was bought during the nascent days of my WIS-dom. If ignorance is bliss then I made a wise choice when purchasing this watch. If you anything about the Aeromatic brand you know these are Chinese watches, which imply German origins. That’s all well and good because I certainly knew I wasn’t getting a German built timepiece. It didn’t matter to me. I wanted an automatic flieger than was inexpensive and that’s exactly what I got fresh from The Bay. The watch arrived in a neat tin and I though it looked pretty darn good. I was drawn to the observation dial, which features an outer track with the time marked off in five-minute increments and an inner track with the standard 12-hour markings. This and the arrow at 12:00 sang to me. The watch was outfitted on a reasonable leather strap and featured a Chinese clone of the eta 2824 I honestly don’t recall the number of jewels used but the movement wound, hacked and kept pretty good time. I got some good use out of the watch and threw it back to The Bay not all that long ago. I’ll tell you I didn’t lose a cent on it, and I sincerely hope it is still enjoying life on another’s wrist.

My next flieger was a classy little number I grabbed from one of the watch sale’s forums from a fairly well known WIS. This was an IWI Pilot with eta 2824. This was a “Swiss Movement” watch and pretty darn nice. It had all the right bits (sapphire, screwdown crown, eta 2824) and was quite a looker in my opinion. The seller informed me this was indeed a rare flieger as it featured a red second hand, which was not standard issue for the watch. The fit and finish were very good and the watch was one ace of a timekeeper. I wore the watch on a sharkskin and poliot’s strap and had a great time with my IWI Pilot but as my WIS-dom increased, I found myself drawn to a whole new concept for the hoary flieger.

One of the members on my home watch forum had obtained and N.B. Yaeger Delta Sector and I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. I still think Martin Braun (the brain behind N.B. Yaeger) came up with a fresh take on the flieger, which is innovative while remaining classic. At any rate, said forum member was (and still is) a serial flipper. When complimenting his new timepiece I immediately called dibs quite publicly. It was only a short time until he offered the watch to me for an attractive price. What a fantastic watch. It came on a beautiful bracelet with a rubber strap should I desire any change of pace. I wore this watch often while neglecting my IWI Pilot. At some point, my funny little WIS brain told me I was done with the traditional flieger and I would “fly” forward on the cutting edge with only my N.B. Yaeger. I decided the IWI Pilot had to go find a new home.

And off it went to a new home where it thrives to this day. The new owner reports it is one of his most accurate watches. Well as WIS-dumb will have it, it wasn’t long at all before I found myself pining for a more traditional flieger. I added a true pilot’s strap to my NBY but it didn’t satiate my desire for a traditional flieger. Combine this with a penchant for hand wound watches and it’s easy to see I was in a bit of a spot and needed to get myself right. I began scouring the sales forums for fliegers, particularly hand crankers and hit upon a sweet Lacher, which I narrowly missed. I kept looking and considered one of the DeBaufre Nav-B watches but found myself wanting an observation dial, which was not offered on the offering from DeBaufre. Besides that, I still don’t care much for the new name for Steinhart!

I put it on the back burner deciding I would bide my time and hope for something to come up on a sale’s forum… well lo and behold, something did pop up. Would this get your attention?
“SOLD is a self built Unitas 6497 Flieger. I purchased the bits seperatly and assembled it myself. To make it look authentic I applied vintage noctiluminova to the dial and hands to make it look like aged tritium.Swiss Unitas, soigne grade with blued screws, Saphire crystal front, K1 back, 42mm case bead blasted, fantastic vintage leather strap.”
Well it sure got mine. May be I am a little askew.

In no time, the watch was in my possession form over the pond in a super smooth deal between WIS. Now if you look at the watch it looks a little beat… and that’s a lot of its charm in my mind. This is a Flieger plain and simple. So I’ve added this flieger to my collection and couldn’t be happier with the watch. It most definitely has the look of a classic flieger. In fact the WIS I bought it from pit it together to have a vintage look and feel. In this, he excelled. The fuzzy, aged markers and classic observation dial give the watch a vintage appearance in combine with the no nonsense bead blasted 42mm case. No frills here; just timekeeping plain and simple. The dial is the essence of legibility, and the generously applied vintage noctiluminova assure visibility in zero light conditions. The soigné grade Unitas 6497 is a fantastic movement. Winding is a pleasure and time keeping is precise. The nine-eater sub seconds sing to me! The beautiful movement is visible through an exhibition pane and is the ultimate in simplistic beauty.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the seller outfitted the 22mm lugs with a sweet 24mm Ted Su vintage ammo strap. I am certain I will try other straps on this flieger and will put the ammo on another watch at some point, but for the time being the two a one as it were; the strap adding to the character and charm of a very vintage looking flieger. I think you’ll agree this is a sweet flieger. It has a homespun rustic feel which allows me fantasize it’s an ancient treasure.

I really should ask the seller for some more details on the watch as I get many questions. People’s eyes are drawn to the big bold dial and upon handling the watch, they are always full of questions. Not only should I get some more information; I think I owe that man another round of thanks.

For the time being I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with my two fliegers. That is unless I hit the lotto!!

Thanks for having a look.