Sunday, March 15, 2015

Strider Hyperdive: Not a Knife, but Knife Inspired Faux Diver

Strider Hyperdive

Miyota 9015: 28.8 kbph 24j automatic with date complication

  • Reference Number: ST001BK
  • Mfr Year: 2013; Limited Edition: 500 total in three variants, 250 in this style; no longer available
  • Case diameter: 46mm (without crown or crown guard)
  • Dial Diameter: 32mm
  • Case Thickness: 15mm (solid case back)
  • Lug to lug length: 52mm
  • Lug width: 24mm
  • 316 Stainless steel case, crown and back
  • Crystal: flat sapphire
  • Back: screw on with solid back option
  • Bracelet: 4mm thick with solid screw links; 24mm at lugs with no tapering
  • Clasp: signed Z-fold with double pushbutton lock, and glide lock ratcheting extension
  • Weight: ~ 300 grams (with all bracelet links)
  • Movement: Miyota 9015 2.8kbph high-beat automatic with date complication and 42 hr power reserve
  • Shock Protection: Miyota Parashock
  • Crown: screw-down 3 position push-pull for winding, quickset date, and time setting
  • Water Resistance: 500 meters (no ISO certification)
  • Dial:pebble grain textured sandwich
  • Hands: white broadsword hour hand and tanto knife blade minute hand; needle with red arrow seconds hand
  • Hour Markers: outlined tailed cutouts revealing white disk sandwiched under the dial and a split inverted triangle at the 12
  • Lume: combination of C3 (green) and BGW9 (blue) Super-Luminova on sandwich under the dial, outlines around hour markers, hour and minute hands, and on all the rotating bezel markers.

Strider Watch Ltd

Those who watched ShopNBC circa 2004-2011 (became ShopHQ, then Evine, then ShopHQ again) will remember Jim Skelton's watch program. He was a heavy spokesman for Invicta watches. ShopNBC ignominiously fired him in March 2011 after repeated behavior on the channel that Invicta and the channel wouldn't tolerate. His Watchgeeks forum, specifically for promoting the Invicta brand, folded soon afterward. Jim has not only hawked watches, he's pitched cigars and knives. He returned to knives after ShopNBC, then began reviewing watches and knives on YouTube, and I'm not certain what he's doing now. Suffice it Jim has a checkered and controversial past.

During that period immediately following his fallout with Invicta, he began creating a concept for his own watch brand, collaborating with Wing Liang, owner of Android, now Aragon, with his watch design and manufacturing acumen, to bring it into reality and production. That effort came to fruition in December 2013 with the initial model, a limited edition of 500 pieces total, called the Hyperdive. 

Limited Edition Hyperdive

This is one of three variants in a total of 500:
  • 250 of this variant with black dial and stainless steel (ST001BK)
  • 75 with gray dial and stainless steel case and crown, with black PVD coated bracelet (ST001BGY)
  • 175 with black dial in total blackout with black PVD coated stainless steel case, crown and bracelet (ST001BKK)
The graphic design is unique with a black pebble grain sandwich dial. The minute hand is in the shape of a tanto knife blade, and the bezel ring has a sawtooth edge resembling a circular saw blade. Bezel insert is black PVD. Above the dial is a thick sapphire crystal, and under it is an upscale Miyota 9015 28.8 kpbh high-beat automatic movement with hand-winding and hacking. Like other Miyota mechanicals, the auto-wind rotor only winds the mainspring when turning in one direction (unlike ETA and Seiko/SII). Other than the "S" portion of the logo with its dots in printed lume, everything else on the dial is applied and stands proud. The hour indices are upper dial holes revealing the lumed disc sandwiched beneath the openings. A small circular hole in both reveals the date complication.

Lume is impressive and very bright, with a combination of pale green C3 and pale blue BGW9 Super Luminova. The hour markers revealed on the lower dial with the dial cutouts are BGW9, and outlined in C3 on the upper dial. Hour and minute hands are C3. 0-15 on the bezel is in BGW9 with the remaining bezel markings in C3.

Bracelet is 4mm thick and 24mm wid with five links across and no tapering. Links pins are single-headed screws. The end links (or optional straps) are held onto the watch head with single-headed hex screws. The clasp is a milled Z-fold with double push button release and a unique glide lock ratcheting extension, also with a double push button to extend it.

The watch is delivered in an impressive leatherette covered wood box containing tools for removing the bracelet link screws and the bracelet end links or strap (from the watch head), plus a leather strap and a nylon NATO strap.

In spite of its chunky size, it fits smaller sized wrists well, with short lugs and bracelet end links that slant downward at a steep angle.

Even though it has an impressive 500 meter water resistance depth rating, it hasn't been ISO certified or depth tested (a requirement for actual dive use). This is a faux "desk diver". Its bezel is more graphic design than functionality, as are the hands and dial. The minute hand tip is along the edge, not in the middle, and the dial doesn't have a minute/seconds track. The pips around the bezel cannot read timing minutes readily. On a real dive tool watch, the timing bezel is used to count down the minutes required at each depth station during the ascent to avoid the "bends" (Nitrogen outgassing in the blood), which is extremely painful and potentially deadly (pulmonary embolism).

The Strider Hyperdive is a unique and visually attractive graphic design concept that is executed very well with excellent materials, movement, fit and finish. Alas, it didn't find an audience and the brand didn't "take" among watch enthusiasts. Some of it was undoubtedly the difficulty in getting a micro-brand started in a highly competitive marketplace that's already crowded with brands that have significant name recognition. A significant part of it may also have been Jim Skelton's checkered past and the reputation damage he suffered being fired from ShopNBC a mere two years before his concept came to fruition with Wing Liang. The latter was the subject of considerable discussion on watch enthusiast forums. I managed to snag this one as they were being liquidated from stock at greatly reduced prices two years after they were introduced and offered for sale.

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