Spinnaker seems to have really hit its stride of late, with every model hitting a high bar of quality at very reasonable price points. Will the new Spinnaker Dumas continue this trend?
Spinnaker Dumas SP-5081 Review
The Spinnaker Dumas has been around a while now, and its 1970s shape and Ploprof-esque looks have made it a very popular choice for those wanting an affordable, chunky dive watch. The 2019 facelift brings two new colour options and a chunky 4mm Milanese mesh bracelet.
Presentation is par for the course for Spinnaker: a two-part cardboard box that protects the watch in transit but not much more. You don’t buy a tool watch for its presentation, so I forgive this – we’ve all got cupboards full of watch boxes that never get used!
The octagonal case is the signature of the Spinnaker Dumas series. It gives a cool 1970s vibe, and the straight edge over hidden lugs prevents the 44m watch from overpowering the wrist. It also makes it possible to use various straps and bracelets without either limiting your choice to something with a custom-fitted end-link or leaving a hole. The watch is 16mm thick and though it is not excessively heavy, you know you are wearing it! The Dumas reminds me of the Omega Plongeur Professionale (“Ploprof”) a great deal but it is less of an acquired taste than that watch.
What appears to be a ceramic bezel is actually a lumed ring topped with mineral glass, although the crystal over the dial is ceramic. This could make the bezel a little fragile and more susceptible to scratches. Indeed I’ve seen a couple of earlier models with shattered bezel glass. The crown is chunky and easy to operate and the Japanese automatic movement (which I believe is a Seiko NH35) is visible through a display case back with the usual black Spinnaker-branded rotor. I loved wearing this watch – I enjoy a big heavy dive watch – and it feels absolutely solid.
Dial and Hands
Spinnaker dials are consistenyl well-made and the Dumas is no exception. There are plenty of layers and applied parts, the lume is excellent and it has a real premium feel. The oversized hour hand is surrounded in orange, and this matches the square amrkers at 12, 3, 6 and 9. Of the four colour choices, this black dial is my second favourite – I think the new yellow option just about wins out for me.
The new Milanese mesh bracelet is the key new feature for the 2019 Spinnaker Dumas. It’s really thick (4mm) and flexible. The finishing is excellent,and it secures nicely with a sliding clasp. It really does look and feel superb – I was extremely impressed with its build quality and its heft.
However, there is one critical problem: the floating keeper. Because you can’t really cut down a mesh, and because it is not designed with removable sections, you resize it by moving the clasp along the length of the bracelet and clamping it into place. Of course, this leaves a length of bracelet exposed at the end – much like a watch strap. Just like a strap, Spinnaker supply a floating keeper into which the loose end can be tucked. The trouble is, this keeper is not able to be clamped into place, and so it moves towards the buckle while you are wearing the watch. What this means in practice is that unless your wrists are 8 inches+ you will forever have a flap of mesh bracelet flapping around. It gets stuck on sleeves and pockets and clangs against the bracelet, making it irritating to wear.
Unless you wear your watch so tight that the keeper can’t move (I like mine a little loose) then there are only two solutions to this that I can see – you could use something like blu-tack to jam the keeper in place, or Spinnaker could make the end of the bracelet magnetic like Apple do with their Apple watch mesh. The third way would be to swap the strap to something like Spinnaker’s excellent rubber or waterproof leather options – but then you’ve paid for an expensive mesh bracelet you don’t intend to use! I’ve reported the problem to Spinnaker and I am sure they’ll address it in future designs.
Spinnaker Dumas SP-5081 Video Review
What I Liked
- The look and feel of the Spinnaker Dumas is superb, you would believe it is a much more expensive watch than it is.
- The multi-layered dial is a pleasure to read, with great use of colour
- The choice of colours means there is something for everyone: if you have had your fill of black dial divers then you can go blue, white or yellow!
What I Didn’t Like
- The mineral glass covering the bezel will pick up more scratches than the sapphire lens and has been a little fragile in the previous Dumas models.
- The price, at $400, is higher than the outgoing model thanks to the addition of the mesh bracelet…
- …however if you buy one of these you might find yourself wanting to replace the mesh if you can’t secure the loose end, so it will cost even more to add a rubber, leather or NATO strap.
Spinnaker Dumas SP-5081 – The WRUK Verdict
Although I really love the styling of the Dumas, and found it great to wear, I was a little disappointed in the new mesh. You certainly feel like you are getting a lot of watch for you $400, but I would be a little annoyed if I paid extra for a mesh and had to replace it with a different strap due to a design flaw. On rubber, this is one of my favourite dive watches. My recommendation is that if you buy one, to use the 15% saving from the WRUK discount code to go towards a 22mm rubber strap such as this one from Spinnaker: https://www.spinnaker-watches.com/collections/straps-collection/products/sp-strap22-r
Buy a Spinnaker DUMAS
You can find out more at the new British-based Spinnaker Watches website – and don’t forget to use our 20% off discount code WRUK at the checkout when you buy a Spinnaker watch.