We recently covered the launch of a new watch dedicated to Teseo Tesei – the Italian inventor of the WW2 Naval Torpedo. As well as the bronze model, a cheaper option is being released in titanium – the Spinnaker Tesei Titanium.
A Week on the Wrist – Spinnaker Tesei Titanium Review
For those unfamiliar with Spinnaker, they are a sister brand to Avi-8. Primarily produced in the Far East, they specialise in affordable dive watches. Unlike the Swiss-Made bronze version of the watch, the Spinnaker Tesei Titanium is made in Hong Kong and fitted with a Japanese Miyota 8-series movement to keep costs down. This watch was provided to me free of charge to review, so bear that in mind when reading mine or any other reviewers’ comments. The presentation is a little sparse compared to Avi-8. A simple cardboard box contains the watch on a soft cushion, and the instructions and a cleaning cloth.
For those who have not handled a titanium watch before, it can be a bit disconcerting. Titanium is about half as heavy as steel, so titanium watches tend to feel “too light” at first when compared to their stainless-steel brethren. The finish on titanium is not shiny like steel, it’s more of a matt, and it seems smooth and warmer to the touch. The case of the Spinnaker Tesei Titanium is really well made. It has crisp lines, and there is not a sharp edge in sight. At the price point, I was extremely impressed as you would often find compromises or shoddy finishing but it feels really good. The screw-down crown has a well-engraved Spinnaker logo and the curves of the lugs and crown guards are very pleasing to the eye. On the front is a domed sapphire crystal which is either lacking an antireflective coating or could do with a little more as it does tend to catch the light a bit. Round the back, we have an exhibition case back displaying the workhorse Miyota 8-series movement.
Although it’s nice to see the movement in a watch, I would have preferred a closed case back on this watch. An undecorated Miyota 8215 movement is really not that impressive to behold, and I found the black rotor looked a little odd. You don’t see it when wearing the watch, but in this case, the display back is adding nothing. The watch wears really well. Once you have got used to the lighter-than-usual feeling this fairly large 43mm watch wears really comfortably.
Dial and Hands
The black dial features applied luminescent baton markers which appear to be in a kind of vintage orangey colour. Because the dial is surrounded by a blue bezel – the numbers on which are also filled with lume, but in this case they are coloured white – I thought it looked a little odd at first. Once I got used to it, it was not an issue but at first, I felt it made the watch look a little unbalanced. In the dark, this watch is something to behold, with Superluminova lighting up the full face and bezel.
The applied features on the dial are really nice – as well as the hour markers, the date window surround and brand name are also made of metal. I felt these little touches added value. The hands are simple sticks and they are very legible – although the brushing seems a little rough when they catch the light. I think this watch looks great.
Strap and Buckle
The staps on watches can be a make or break when it comes to the experience of wearing them on a daily basis. Spinnaker has made a big deal of the fact that the strap on this watch is made of Cordura, but I am sorry to report that I did not get on with it at all. It is a good thickness, but the strap is very stiff which makes it “nip” the sides of my wrist. Maybe in time it will break in, but it was the only part of the watch that I felt really let it down.
The waterproof leather backing and reinforced holes are a nice touch for improving its longevity but I found it took a lot of effort to force the signed tang buckle’s pin through, and I would not expect the strap to last long with the amount of fiving about it takes to take the watch off. If I bought this watch I would look to replace the stock strap with a quality aftermarket leather or NATO alternative. The titanium buckle is actually really nice but I wonder whether its wide tongue would fit many aftermarket straps.
What I Liked
- The fit and finish of the case and dial is excellent, on par with far more expensive watches
- The “full-lume” dial and bezel looks great in low-light conditions and sets it apart from the crowd
- I think the watch looks great, the design and the matte titanium finish make a really aesthetically pleasing combination
What I Didn’t Like
- The strap was too stiff for my taste and was hard to put on and take off. I’d have preferred a simple seatbelt NATO strap instead.
- The movement, though dependable and accurate, is a little uninspiring and seems unworthy of an open case-back
- The orange-coloured markers would have looked better if they matched the numbers on the bezel
Spinnaker Tesei Titanium – the WRUK verdict
Overall, you are getting a lot of watch for your money. It looks great, wears well and should give many years of pleasure. Swap the strap for a decent aftermarket alternative and I think Spinnaker have a winner on their hands. The pre-order pricing of £349 runs until 21st November, so get in quick if you want to buy a Spinnaker Tesei Titanium. After that, it goes up to a less palatable $520, and I find it harder to recommend it at that price. For the preorder price it’s a steal, though.
Buy a Spinnaker Tesei Titanium
You can shop the range of Spinnaker watches on their website. Use our code WRUK at checkout for a 15% discount.