We’ve followed the progress of EMG watches closely at WRUK. They started out about the same time as us, and their first model – the DL63 – was one of our first Week on the Wrist features. Their second watch, the Horizon Chronograph, brought the square watch bang up to date and came with some cool dial colours. This time around they have produced a diver’s watch – the EMG Nemo – how did it fare during a week on our Editor’s wrist?
A Week on the Wrist – EMG Nemo
If this watch looks a touch familiar, that is because it is based on one of my favourite prototype watches of the year: the Watchuseek F71 forum project watch – the Emperor diver. I took a look at the Emperor diver back in August, and this watch shares a case and bracelet with it. The logo on the dial matches that one the watch featured in our most popular review: the Seagull 1963 Chronograph – HKED edition. HKED is part of the EMG team and this watch bears his logo.
I usually start with the presentation of the watch, but since this is a prototype I didn’t get the box and don’t know what else comes in the package. The first thing I noticed when unpacking the watch is that although it shares its 40mm case with the Emperor diver, it feels a little smaller. This could be down to me misremembering its size, or possibly because I was wearing a huge Deep Blue while I opened the box – or it might be that the smaller font on the EMG Nemo’s bezel makes the watch look smaller. The bezel numbers are fully lumed and look brilliant in the dark. The bezel itself, although it appears the same as that on the Emperor was a little stiff and hard to grip. I never noticed that in the other watch so might just be a peculiarity of this prototype.
The case is the same as that of the Emperor diver (read more about it here) and I still love the way that the watch edges are curved inwards to make it look slimmer than it is. It’s a really neat trick that I’ve never seen before and gives the illusion of a much thinner watch. Inside is a reliable Miyota 905S movement. The crystal is a gently domed sapphire and I notice reflections on it more than I did with the Emperor Diver. This may be because it is a prototype, or maybe it could do with slightly better AR. Finally, the case back has a cool squid design, which I absolutely love! It is etched on this watch but will be a deeper, stamped case back on the final watch.
Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are nothing like the Emperor diver’s and both are a step up even from EMG’s previous efforts. I was never 100% happy with the way EMG’s logo was printed on their dials. This time the watch has the applied “Star Trek” logo from the HKED Seagull 1963, which nicely balances the minimal text at the bottom. I hate too much text on a dial (I’m looking at you, Tudor Pelagos) – this one has just enough. On this, the “denim blue dial”, the contrast of the red writing could be a little better. The indices have vintage lume and I like the way they are shaped. The chapter ring has red markings and then black numbers around the outside but I found the numbers were too far towards the edge of the dial and impossible to read in most conditions. They may as well not have been there.
The hands are great, lumed in vintage yellow and with a nice black line down the centre that makes them stand out. The spot of red on the second hand makes it easy to see that the watch is running. I always whinge about the lack of a date on a watch, and this is no exception. I continually use the date on my daily wear watches and not having one significantly reduces the potential for me to wear one. It’s tricky with the EMG Nemo because a date would unbalance the dial wherever it was placed, but this is a practical issue for me rather than an aesthetic one.
The bracelet is the same excellent beads of rice design as the Watchuseek Emperor diver. It’s comfortable, easy to size with quality screwed links, and looks amazing. I remain underwhelmed with the clasp, which could do with one or two more micro-adjustments but it does do its job perfectly well. It will be changed in the final version, but I don’t know what the new one will be like.
On this watch, there was a visible gap by the end link at the 6 O’clock side. I never noticed this on the identical case and bracelet on the Emperor Diver and this made me worry that the tolerances in production are greater than I’d like. However, EMG has clarified that this is a problem only with the prototype and will be corrected in the final production watches.
What I Liked
- The case is brilliant, and I love how it deceives you into thinking it is thinner with its curved design
- The bracelet is superb – this watch is amazing to wear, and I barely noticed I had it on
- The choice of dial colours are really bold, and you won’t find many watches that look like it
What I Didn’t Like
- The bezel action was stiff and I found it hard to grip. The tightness will be addressed in the production watches but there is still only a small area of bezel to grip and the crown blocks access a bit
- Although I agree that a date function would spoil the balance of the dial, it does make the watch less practical as a daily wearer, and would have been a nice option
- The end-links of the bracelet did not fit the case well on this particular watch but I am assured this will be fixed in the final watches
EMG Nemo – The WRUK Verdict
I always point out three things I like and three things I don’t about every watch. This time I really struggled to find three “cons” and I don’t think that they outweigh the “pros” by any stretch of the imagination. This is a great watch: everything I raved about in my Emperor Diver Review stands here. It’s great to wear, looks superb and has one of the best bracelets I have ever worn.
Would I buy one? Well, I have already put my money down for the Emperor Diver, but otherwise, I’d have been really tempted. The Emperor I have ordered has a date function, which is a big plus for me, but then the “powder blue” version of the EMG Nemo looks fantastic too… Basically, if you think this watch looks great – and everyone I showed it to thinks it does – then rest assured that its quality more than matches how good it looks in the photos.
Buy an EMG Nemo
The EMG Nemo is available for preorder on Kickstarter at $400 USD for the next week, so get in quick if you want one at this discounted price. Deliveries should start in January 2019, so not too long to wait after making your payment.
Changes in the production version
EMG have fine-tuned the production run based on feedback from these prototypes. The final watches will have:
- a stamped (not acid etched) case back
- The “Star Trek” logo on the crown
- An upgraded bracelet with the “Star Trek” and squid logos
- Vertical brushing on the logs, rather than radial, to match the bracelet