Spinnaker launch their first-ever chronograph watch on 9th August – is the Spinnaker Hull SP-5068 as good as their other recent offerings?
Spinnaker Hull SP-5068 Chronograph Review
Spinnaker makes affordable dive watches that have unusual designs and consistently good build quality, so I was intrigued to see how their first chronograph would hold up. Based around their Panerai-like Hull chassis, the Spinnaker SP-5068 has a cool retro look. It comes in the standard Spinnaker box – just enough material to protect the watch but not so much that it fills up your loft.
The Spinnaker Hull case is a cushion design, with clear nods to Panerai. The circular bezel offsets the square-ish case nicely. This watch looks big but wears really well, thanks to this shape. On the side are the screw-down crown and two screw-down pushers. For a watch with just 100m water resistance, this is perhaps overkill, but it makes the Spinnaker Hull feel like a “proper” dive watch even if it’s not suitable for the depths of the ocean!
I really like the Spinnaker Hull case. It wears really well and looks excellent. Finishing is to Spinnaker’s usual high standards. Inside the watch is the popular VK64 movement, made by Seiko. It is a “meca-quartz” which means it combines accurate quartz timekeeping with a smooth sweeping chronograph second hand and an instant reset like a mechanical watch. It’s a good movement that is affordable and reliable – mechanical chronographs can be very expensive to service. The polished finish looks great, although the caseback could do with a deeper engraving. To be fair, not many rbands at Spinnaker’s price-point have anything better than laser etching so it’s not fair to expect an Omega/Christopher Ward quality stamped case back.
Dial and Hands
Spinnaker dials are always good, and the Spinnaker Hull is no exception. A sunburst pattern radiates across the textured sandwich dial, which looks like it belongs in a far more expensive watch. There’s a big date at 12 O’clock and running (ticking) seconds at 6. Most VK64-powered watches only use the elapsed minutes and 24-hour dials so it’s nice to see the full dial being used. The date is an especially unusual one, being made of two big digits and right at the top of the watch.
The downside to the amount of stuff Spinnaker have crammed onto the dial is that the date can hard to read. Because the chrono hand stays pointing at 12 in normal use, the circle towards the end of it partially obscures the date at my normal wrist-viewing angle. I also found myself wanting the second hand to be a bit longer so it touched the markings around the edge of the dial.
Strap and Buckle
Spinnaker’s straps on their last few models have been exceptional, and the Spinnaker Hull is no exception. Although it does not have the quick release spring pins I have grown to love, it’s thick, supple and the stitching looks great.
The strap is water-resistant, and so suitable for diving. The buckle, a standard Spinnaker type – is good – but I’d love to have seen a chunky Panerai-style option to counter balance the watch head!
Spinnaker Hull – Video Review
What I Liked
- The Spinnaker Hull has the usual high build quality
- It’s great to see the brand diversifying from three-hand dive watches
- The whole package feels more expensive than it really is – always a good sign
What I Didn’t Like
- The dial is a bit busy, which might put minimalists off
- On a 100m rated watch, screw-down pushers are more of an inconvenience than a benefit
- The circle on the chrono hand is about 1mm too high up, making it obscure the date from some angles.
Spinnaker Hull – the WRUK Verdict
Overall, despite a few minor flaws, I enjoyed my time with the Spinnaker Hull SP-5068. I can see some obvious improvements that Spinnaker should make in the next version of this watch, but it’s certainly worth the asking price and there are few watches with this cushion case shape at the price point. The watch costs just $235 (about £180), and that makes it excellent value for money in my book – especially if you use code MICHR69 at checkout to drop that price to just £150.
Buy a Spinnaker Hull SP-5068
The new Spinnaker Hull chronograph comes out on 9th August. Until then, you can sign up to be amongst the first to get one at http://bit.ly/Hull_Chrono
You can shop the range of Spinnaker watches on their website. Use our code WRUK at checkout for a 15% discount.