Update June 2022 – We have had a couple of reports from people who backed 220 Watch Company Watches that they have not received the watches they bought and that the company has stopped updating the Kickstarter campaign and is not responding to their emails. This review has been left live as a matter of record.
Potential buyers are advised to proceed with caution.
It’s been a while since we reviewed a bronze diver’s watch. That is why this new watch from the 220 Watch Company, the Diver Bill, caught our eye.
220 Watch Company Diver Bill Review
Jared Steadman, the founder of the 220 watch company, tells me that idea for the Diver Bill started very soon after the idea for his original watch: The William Walker. The main aim of the William Walker was to faithfully represent the dive helmet as closely as possible. That meant that any bezel markings were out. Jared wanted to stick with William Walker’s story, and so the second watch takes his nickname: Diver Bill.
Unlike the William Walker, the Diver Bill has a bronze case, rather than copper. The watch is a compact 40mm (and just 11.1mm thick) and is water-resistant to a depth of 300 metres. The bronze case is smooth and beautifully finished, and the engraving on the back is bold and easy to read. The bezel has a positive action with no back-play. I found that the sapphire box crystal picked up a lot of reflections in photos but never noticed any glare in daily use.
A display window reveals a decorated STP calibre 3-13. This Swiss movement is based on the venerable ETA2824 but improves its power reserve to 40 hours. I think it is a great choice, and allows for a high level of accuracy without costing silly money! Watch snobs may balk at the fact that the ebauche is manufactured in China and assembled in Switzerland to meet the minimum “Swiss Made” standard but regular readers will know that I don’t care about that.
Dial and Hands
The enamel dial on the Diver Bill oozes class. It is hard to define just how much difference dial material makes in a watch, but here, the deep black draws in the eye and gives a real feeling of – excuse the pun – depth. The markers are all surrounded in metal and the 220 Watch Company text is also applied – which was impressive given its intricacy.
For my eye, whilst I liked the printed text on the watch, I find the 220 Watch Company Logo a little too intricate for a watch dial, and to my ageing eyes it was a little tricky to read. The dial is based on that of the 1970s Rolex Submariner, and those used to more modern watches may prefer larger circular dot markings. I like the vintage look, but you might find it makes the dial look a bit empty in the absence of any other textures or layers on the dial.
The date window, at 6 O’clock, is a welcome addition but I found the text was quite hard to read. The font is quite thin and seems to be a lot darker than the white text above it and the white marker immediately beneath it.
Strap and Bracelet
The black vulcanized rubber strap feels great on the wrist. It makes the watch snug to the wrist and balanced, without ever becoming too uncomfortable.
You can, optionally, opt for a bronze-coloured, stainless steel, shark mesh bracelet, but I thought the strap looked better – as the case picks up patina the bracelet may begin to look a bit odd – and also is a more practical choice.
220 Watch Company Diver Bill – Video Review
What I Liked
- This is one solid-feeling diver watch without resorting to just making everything bigger
- The STP movement is a good choice, you’re not paying for the ETA or Sellita name but getting all of the benefits
- At the price-point, this represents an affordable way to add a quality bronze watch to your collection
What I Didn’t Like
- I admire the craftsmanship of the applied 220 Watch Company text on the dial but I found it a bit too intricate and less legible than I would like.
- To modern eyes, the dial may feel a little empty due to the small hour markers
- The thin date text can be quite difficult to read
220 Watch Company Diver Bill – The WRUK verdict
The Diver Bill is a superb sophomore effort from the 220 Watch Company. I am a sucker for bronze watches anyway, and this one is a welcome departure from the usual approach of making huge bronze watches that feel unbalanced on the wrist. The vintage look is not for everyone, but it works for me. My only real misgivings are the hard-to-read date and the font for the brand name: if you can live with those you will get one heck of a lot of watch for your money.