Company: Scurfa Watches
Model: Bell Diver 1
Case size 43mm Lug to Lug 51mm and 16mm thickness, 22mm strap size
8mm screw down crown
Working Heliox Escape Valve
Domed Sapphire Crystal
500m ~ 1640ft
Grade A Super Luminova SL-BGW9 Blue on the dial, hands and bezel insert
Ceramic bezel insert with matching Super Luminova SL-BGW9 markings
Miyota 9015 Automatic movement
Some of my all time favorite watches are dive watches. I’m obsessed with the ocean. There is so much life within the depths of the ocean and there are so many undiscovered mysteries. A lot of research goes into watch design by companies when making their watches, but few have the experience of the ocean that the owner of Scurfa Watches has. Paul’s experience is something that has truly aided in the designs of his watches.
“Having first been made for divers and support staff who were left without a watch when the value of their vintage Rolex diving watches exploded leaving them the option of a large windfall or too self conscious of wearing such a valuable item in a hostile workplace, Paul Scurfield watch enthusiast and saturation diver tried to fill the void with a few affordable watches built to a high standard using the best materials.
Divers working in the North Sea are made up in teams of three and on any working dive you have a diver 1, diver 2 and the bellman, diver 1 controls the dive and this is where the name for the watches come from, diver 2 is there to make his job easier, the bellman tends the divers from the diving bell and the divers work in the water for a maximum six hours, a normal saturation diving system will house four teams of three divers covering the full twenty four hours of the working day stopping only for bad weather or crew changes, the work period for the divers is 28 days including decompression.”
Today we are exploring the new Bell Diver 1 which by judging from the first glance, you can see that a lot of thought went into the design. Paul has spent a lot of time within the depths of the ocean/sea so he surely knows what demands are needed to be met to survive the involved rigors. All these considerations have been well thought out by Paul himself and encorporated into the Bell Diver 1. The 43mm x 16mm case is a prime example of experience that can’t be faked. On the non crown side of the case there is a working Heliox escape valve which Paul himself tested from 151m of decompression. This is one of many features on the Bell Diver that make it so special because of Paul’s personal experience.
The screw down crown is beautifully designed and functions like a champ. The edges of the crown make it so easy to grip and operate. To top off an already great crown, Scurfa signed it with an engraved BD 1. While we are on the subject of great details, the edge of the bezel is pretty great. Not only does it match the crown, but it is wider than a typical bezel which makes it very easy to grip and rotate it unidirectionally. The ratcheting action/sound is music to the ears and fingers. The ceramic bezel insert looks fantastic and with the Super Luminova SL-BGW9 coating this baby looks awesome in both the light and dark. There is absolutely no play on the bezel rotation either.
Honestly the lugs on the Bell Diver are a true work of art. Just take a look at those chamfers! A detail that isn’t often found often watches in this price range. The brushed finish on the case is very well done. Giving the Bell Diver a nice mix of a tool watch but also with nice finishes of a dress style diver. The screw down case back features some nice engraving work with the Scrufa logo found right in the middle.
It is very hard to ignore the dial on the Bell Diver for this long, but now it’s time to take a look at this beauty. The matte grey is absolutely amazing. Traditionally I’m a matte black dial fan and never appreciated a grey dial until the Bell Diver arrived at my door step. The matte grey has so much depth to it and I really like how the shades of grey changes under different lighting. The grey is continued into the chapter ring as well giving the dial even more depth. The dial has some help in the 3-dimensional plane because the applied hour indices. What makes these so special in my opinion is that the white indices are bordered in non traditional black. I see a lot of this style that are always bordered with chrome/silver which looks nice, but not as nice as this black border.
The classic sword hands recieved the same treatment with the gloss black border and matte white interior. The red second hand nicely the matches the raised red printed text on the dial & the red minute markers on the inner chapter ring. The dial has its fair share of nice lume treatment which glows brightly throughout the night on a full charge. Tucked away nicely at the 3 o’clock position is the date window. It blends so well thanks to Paul’s attention to detail. The date wheel is black with white printed numerals. This dial is a work of harmonious beauty. Everything complements eachother and there’s is nothing that’s over done. The bezel lines up perfectly with all the corresponding dial markers as well, which is something my OCD eye always looks for on a watch. It drives me bonkers when the triangle on the bezel doesn’t line perfectly up with the 12 o’clock position on the dial.
The Bell Diver comes on a nice rubber dive strap. I for one love a good rubber strap on a dive watch. Silicone is also nice but it collects dust and lint like no other. The Bell Diver’s strap has some great little details that take it above the simplicity of just a rubber dive strap. On the buckle side of the strap features the raised Bell Diver 1 logo and on the other half of the strap it features a nice raised pin stripe. I really enjoy the wide buckle pin with the large holes which operate flawlessly when strapping and unstrapping this watch.
Ticking away inside the Bell Diver 1 is the ever so reliable Miyota 9015 Automatic movement which has become one of my favorite movements, slightly edging over it’s ETA counterpart. With a standard accuracy rate of -10~30 seconds per day and a power reserve of 42 hours the 9015 is a great alternative to those Swiss movements. Now there’s some extra features included on the inside of the Bell Diver 1 that I think is a must have. The watch movement is protected with a brass cover for the low levels of magnetism that are often experienced offshore. I recently had my first magnitized watch movement experience which has caused the watch to gain 5 minutes per hour. Yes, not a fun experience. Paul doesn’t what you to have that experience either. *UPDATE 11/23/16* I’ve been timing the Bell Diver 1 and it’s been averaging +3 seconds per day. That’s in every position, I even slept with it on my wrist!
The Bell Diver 1 is a absolute solid dive watch that is quality from head to toe. This bad boy can easily keep up with the boys who cost much, much more. I’d put my money down on that. The Bell Diver 1 is so well designed. Designed by a person who knows first hand what it takes for a watch to survive the tests of the sea. I have so much respect for what Paul does and the experience that he has. This experience, teamed up with his passion for both watches and the sea has truly come through in all aspects of the Bell Diver.
I HIGHLY recommend this watch to anyone looking for a dive watch. Why do you need to break the bank to get a watch? Honestly you don’t. No trickery here with the Bell Diver. You are paying for what you get, but your money here actually gets you a TON of watch. It’s an excellent value. Take a look at the customer comments that are out on social media about the Bell Diver 1. They speak the truth here. I can’t express enough what a great value the Bell Diver 1 is.
I can’t find a single thing on this watch to nit pick. Paul has thought everything through on this one. The case and dial are simply gorgeous to look at. It’s a great size too, meeting in that sweet spot of 42mm-45mm. It has great wrist presence and is very comfortable to wear all day long.
I want to personally thank Paul for this honor of allowing me to review this watch. I have the highest of respect what what Paul has achieved here. It’s pretty inspiring actually. I’m a one man operation here who is very passionate about what I do, and I can see how passionate Paul is. Which makes what I do, a heck of a lot more exciting.
Thanks for reading.
WRIST 7 1/2″ for reference: