The diver’s watch marketplace is crowded, with lots of competition. Is there room for the Matterhorn Divemaster 300?
Matterhorn Divemaster 300 Review
My week with the Matterhorn Divemaster 300 started on a good note with one of the nicer boxes I have seen recently. Perhaps a dive watch does not need great presentation, but it is nice to have a decent box if it does not add too much to the price. Since this watch is going to be around the £200-£250 mark, then this beats my expectations. The cardboard box of the Matterhorn is solid enough and includes a rubber strap as well as the bracelet that is fitted to the watch.
There was only one negative for me with the package: the cushion on which the watch sits is too small, so the watch slides off it as soon as you pick it up. It would still be too small even if every removable link were to be taken out. I wrongly suggest in my first impressions video that the strap change tool has a large fork which is unsuitable for this watch – that is not the case, although the other end is a pin pusher which is for drilled lugs that the review sample does not have (lug holes are a possible stretch goal for the Matterhorn Divemaster 300. The rubber strap has a quick-release mechanism so no tools are needed for that.
The Divemaster 300’s case is a very wearable 41mm. This is right in my sweet spot, and I thought it felt good on the wrist. Some eyebrows have been raised at is 14.3mm thickness, but I thought it was absolutely fine, I do wear a Breitling SuperOcean 42 as my daily driver, though, so perhaps I am used to thick watches. The crown is smooth and easy to use, with a very light engraving of the Matterhorn mountain log. The movement, a Seiko NH35, is becoming the default choice for a small brand at this price range, and I am a fan of its mixture of cost and quality.
I’m not sure that a display case back is really needed with an undecorated Seiko movement, so if there were a choice of a solid case back that saved a few pounds I would take it. Everything else is as you would expect for the money: sapphire crystal (the production version will have AR coating), 316L steel case and BGW9 Luminova. The plate on the side with the brand name may upset some people, who associate the feature with Invicta more than Blancpain, but I found it relatively inoffensive. The final watch may change to a Miyota 9015, which I would welcome, more because of the better beat rate than the resultant thinner case.
Dial and Hands
It is clear that Matterhorn has taken some inspiration from the Omega Planet Ocean when it comes to the dial design of the Divemaster 300. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it is not so close an homage as to veer into copycat territory. All the text is crisp and easy to read. I would perhaps have liked slightly taller applied markers to give more depth, but for the money, I can’t complain. The hands are of a design that makes them easy to read, and the whole thing comes together nicely.
Bracelet and Strap
The rubber strap is soft, supple and comfortable, with a great design on the back that wicks away sweat and makes the watch comfortable to wear. The bracelet is also really good. The edges are more square than I would expect, but it doesn’t dig into the wrist, and it is well made. The clasp will be changed in the final watch, hopefully to an option with a greater number of micro-adjustments as I find that with just three, it can be fiddly to get the perfect fit. The clasp was not great on the review sample, with a bit of “give” but as it is being upgraded in the final watch I have not docked any marks for this.
Matterhorn Divemaster 300 – Video Review
What I Liked
- The case is comfortable and well balanced to wear
- Although not the most original design, the watch holds together well and looks good
- The price point makes this watch great value
What I Didn’t Like
- The dial could have had a bit more depth, perhaps with thicker applied markers
- The plate on the side with the brand name will divide opinion.
- There is a lot of competition at this price range, and I would still choose the Rotary Super 7 Scuba over this watch, despite the Divemaster’s slightly better specifications.
Matterhorn Divemaster 300 – The WRUK Verdict
Overall, I like the Matterhorn Divemaster 300. The problem is that the £200-£250 dive watch marketplace is very crowded and, although it is a decent watch, it is not my favourite in this price range. The conservative design means it would not find a place in my collection over my Rotary Super 7 Scuba, but if you are in the market for a decent black dialled diver, the Matterhorn Divemaster 300 should be on your shortlist.
Buy a Matterhorn Divemaster 300
The Matterhorn Divemaster 300 is coming to Kickstarter in early April, with prices starting about £180 (assuming the movement remains a Seiko NH35). Sign up to the mailing list at https://www.matterhornwatchco.com/ to keep in the loop with developments.
[Update 20th March 2020 – the watch will now come with a Miyota movement and the case will be a little thinner]