Keith Campbell takes a look at the 96Zero Diver – a military-inspired watch that promises excellent quality at an affordable price.
96Zero Diver Watch Review
Do you like your Omega dive watches? Do you like your Doxa dive watches? Do you like the quality? Do you really like the price? Honestly, do you? Well, what if I could show you a dive watch that possibly could be on a par with them, but cost less than £400? Interested? I thought you would be…
960 Watches was set up to design something a bit different to the myriad homages and replications of established watch designs. 960 were the last 3 digits in the Army Service Number of the manufacturer during his Military Service, so became the company name. As a Military Veteran myself, I am always keen to see what others are up to after they leave and join ‘Civvie Street’, so was keen to see what had been created here. The result of a lot of designing and an equal lot of hard work is the 96Zero Diver.
This is the first release in what will eventually become a trilogy of watches covering all 3 branches of the Armed Forces (a field watch (Army) and aviation Air Force) themed watch are both in the design pipeline and look awesome, but more on them once they are released – back to the watch in hand, or on the wrist!. What you get is a very well designed, ergonomic watch from someone who has actually sat down and thought about what they wanted to create, drawing on their own experience of military watch wearing from a practical viewpoint.
It looks unique and familiar at the same time. At 148 grams in weight, is has a solid feeling on the wrist, without being too heavy for its size. The design is undoubtedly dive watch (hence the obvious name), but it has hints of flieger and field watch contained within it as well, reflecting the background of the designer. It does feel as though it has been meticulously engineered to carry out a specific role.
The 316L stainless steel case is 44mm wide, but they have thinned the depth down to 13.2mm (utilising a 3.9mm thick internal automatic movement) in order to make it fit comfortably under a sleeve cuff. It feels like a 42mm on the wrist to me, but certainly not cumbersome or oversized. The 120-click bezel is also 316L stainless steel and has a ceramic inlay. It is waterproof to 20ATM ( 200m/ 660ft/ 300PSI) so can easily deal with what most people need from a waterproof watch. The crown has the 96Zero motif etched into it and is unscrewed (much more peace of mind in my head than the simple pull-out crowns) before pulling it out to change the time and date.
To allow you to find your own style for your watch, you get a selection of 3 straps with your watch – a double button folding steel bracelet, a standard NATO strap, and also a softer-feeling seatbelt NATO strap as well. The NATO straps both have orange colouring within their design, which matches the minute and second hands on the dial. All three straps compliment the watch nicely and come in a canvas watch roll as well.
Protected safely behind 3mm of sapphire crystal, the dial itself is simplistically laid-out with a no-nonsense approach to reading the time at a glance. There is a date in the 3 o’clock position which is clear and easy to read. it is all extremely well lumed, which makes it easy to know the time in the dark.
A mainstay of microbrand watches, the classic Miyota 9015 automatic movement beats away inside at the heart of the watch at 28,000 vibrations per hour. The power reserve is 42 hours and the accuracy is +10/-30 seconds per day. Having measured the accuracy of mine, it is running at +3 seconds per day, so I am very happy with that! It also has a hacking function when you pull the crown fully out so you can set the EXACT time to the second.
96Zero Diver – Summary
Is it modern? Is it retro? Is it military? Whatever it is, it is brilliant! The quality shines through as a great tool watch that you can wear anywhere. In my opinion, it is a bargain at the price point for what you are getting. To be honest, it felt ‘familiar’ to put on my wrist, reminding me of issued military watches I have worn in the past. In short, buy one…
Movement: Miyota 9015
Case: stainless steel 31L
Water Resistance: 20 ATM
Sapphire crystal: 3mm
Bezel: stainless steel with ceramic inlay, 120 clicks
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After spending 16 years circumnavigating the globe and going up-diddly-up as part of the Royal Air Force, Keith became a Professional Aviation Photographer. His natural progression to watch product photography came after companies approached him due to the images he was creating of his own watch collection with an aviation theme. He now works with over 50 watch brands, from the majors to micro brands. His aviation (and Star Wars) work can be found and purchased via his website at www.captureasecond.com along with @captureasecond on both Instagram and Twitter. Worth following out of morbid curiosity!
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