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With the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic, the Swiss manufacturer announces nothing more and nothing less than a small revolution. For the latest generation of its popular diver’s watch, they have developed a special new material that is supposed to put even titanium in the shade… But there is more to discover!
New Argonauts set sail
Davosa has been on the market with its Argonautic diver model since 2008. Despite the still quite short manufacturing period for a watch, the functional timepiece has become a classic in the fan community and beyond – if you can already speak of a classic after 14 years.
The term ‘Argonautic’ itself is meant to stand for the characteristics that were important to Davosa in the design and creation process. To understand this, a short excursion into Greek mythology is necessary. The crew of the Argo was known as the Argonauts. Supposedly the fastest ship of its time, it had set out on an adventure under the leadership of the hero Jason in search of the golden fleece. In ancient times, the golden fleece was thought to be the golden skin of Chrysomallos, a ram. By the way, the word Argonaut contains the Greek word nautes, which simply means seafarer. The Davosa Argonautic therefore bears the appropriate name without a doubt.
A facelift for the Davosa diving flagship
What the golden fleece was for the Argonauts, the new high-tech material BEYOND STEEL is for Davosa – at least in terms of relevance. The key figures and initial descriptions on the part of Davosa itself read as if they had been taken from an ancient saga. Hold on to your hats: BEYOND STEEL is said to resemble gold in its density and diamond in its hardness! Add to that extreme heat resistance and an appearance reminiscent of stainless steel. Sounds like the egg-laying pillow and makes me critical at first, to be honest. Why haven’t the others thought of this yet? Why exactly Davosa? In the past, the brand flew (unjustly) a bit under the radar with me until I got my hands on the Swiss’ first timepiece. The Davosa Vintage Diver Pepsi GMT is an excellent entry-level model, settled in the lower three-digit price segment.
Still, a new high-tech material that makes even titanium look old, I wouldn’t have guessed in the new Argonautic generation either. Rather in the absolute luxury segment. The new Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic, which was sent to me, however, just scratches the 1000 Euro mark at 928,- euros
I am more curious to see how good the new diving watch generation really is. Davosa itself seems to be convinced and speaks of the reinvention of its model. The retread collection holds a total of four different color variants. Instead of the usual classics with black, blue or even green dial, Davosa sent me a variant with white front this time. It is the Argonautic BGBS with three-link stainless steel bracelet, reference number 161.528.10. Watches with white dial, especially diving watches, I generally test far too rarely. The model comes in a black box, which in turn contains a glossy black box.
Despite its possibly revolutionary choice of materials, the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic appears very classic. The diver presents itself in a timeless design that both fits today’s times but would have suited the 60s.
The main focus for this watch review should of course be on the completely redesigned bezel. How does the new BEYOND STEEL material of the bezel inlay differ from ceramic? First of all, very little. Without any advance information, I would have guessed a conventional bezel. However, the fact that you don’t feel much of the innovation when you look at it and touch it is positive. After all, the differences to ceramics should come into play during everyday use.
The Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic on the wrist
What already looked good on the previous model, the designers at Davosa have logically hardly changed. This concerns the basic design philosophy and the harmonious proportions. The diver’s watch is still 42.50 millimeters wide in diameter and a solid 13.50 millimeters high. Potential buyers among you, however, will likely be interested in the more important case length. From lug to lug on the other side, the case measures 51.20 millimeters. These perfectly positively meant “average” dimensions make the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic wearable by just about anyone. Worries that the watch might be too small or too big are unjustified.
And since we just talked about the timeless design: it can be flexibly integrated into all everyday situations and combined with different outfits. Sure, that’s what we love about classic stainless-steel divers. They are functional and sporty, but still chic enough to wear with a shirt and jacket. This is especially true for the white Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic, in my opinion the classiest of all color options.
What you must know about BEYOND STEEL
For a change, let’s start “at the top”, with the redesigned bezel. The bezel is probably the element of the Argonautic whose concept has been most thoroughly turned on its head compared to its predecessor. By that, I don’t just mean the use of BEYOND STEEL. The fluting is also finer now, which makes the watch easier to grip with diving gloves. If you really want to take the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic with you on dives – it won’t fail because of the functional diving bezel.
Just as little on BEYOND STEEL. I must confess that I have not tested the material for its properties, since this is a test model after all. I did not want to and could not expose the watch to enormous heat of 2950 °C, chemical influences or pressure (the material has a hardness of 9.5 Mohs, almost as much as a diamond). However, the data sheet reads impressive. Davosa also gives a density of 19.3 grams per square centimeter. This would make BEYOND STEEL almost as heavy as gold. This is not entirely far-fetched. The Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic weighs in at a hefty 208 grams and is not exactly a lightweight on the wrist.
Made for diving use
The workmanship of the bezel, as well as the other case elements, is impressive. The middle section, which flows smoothly into the lugs, is made of conventional stainless steel. I’m curious to see if it will be technically feasible in the future to make even more components out of BEYOND STEEL instead, or at least to finish them with a layer.
In other places, it becomes apparent that the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic can do more than just look nice and functional. The most obvious is the helium valve at 10 o’clock. During the decompression phase, it allows the tiny helium molecules to escape and enter the case through the seals of a diver’s watch. If they don’t escape quickly enough without the valve, it could cause the watch to burst. Primarily, professional divers use helium valves. I assume that very few of you have this profession, but better to have than not to have, right?
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal completes the good overall impression. Given Davosa’s claim, any other material here would have surprised me as well.
DAV 3021 and what’s behind it
Davosa uses an automatic caliber, which is called DAV 3021. Behind the cryptic name is a Swiss movement from Sellita, more precisely a SW200-1 Elaboré. In this quality level, Davosa installs the caliber. The “Elaboré” quality level is more accurate than the standard version. With a frequency of 28800 vibrations per hour, the movement has a power reserve of 38 hours, which should be sufficient for everyday use.
Dial and bracelet of the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic
In the latest generation, the dial of the Argonautic is equipped with hand-applied and satin-finished indices and makes a good quality impression. Besides the main standard functions, a date can be read at 3 o’clock. Speaking of readability – it’s really solid, though not quite as good as the other color variants, which is no surprise due to the bright indices on a white dial. In low-light conditions and darkness, BG W9 SuperLumiNova remedies the situation. The indices and hands shine very brightly and evenly. Orange accents on the tapered, arrow-like tip of the second hand and on the lettering soften the overall look.
How could it be otherwise, the bracelet called TriaLink is a stainless steel bracelet with dive extension, which also still fits effortlessly over any wetsuit. The links can be removed individually so that the bracelet can offer good wearing comfort. The quality does not drop in comparison to the case. Optionally, the watch can also be equipped with a multi-link strap.
My conclusion about the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic
It can always be better. In this class, however, not really. With a price of 928,- Euro, the Davosa Argonautic BGBS Automatic scratches at the premium segment. But actually, it is exactly that – a premium watch, which can be bought inexpensively. If you’re looking for a diver’s watch to be a daily rocker on your wrist, the entire collection should be on your radar. The Davosa Argonautic BGBS packs an exciting new material – BEYOND STEEL – into a classic guise. And it does so very well, as must be commended at the end of this review. BEYOND STEEL is certainly the showpiece here.
But otherwise, the Argonautic doesn’t fall short and convinces with Swiss quality and a powerful automatic caliber. A watch that every watch brand and watch collection needs. Because – as we all know, you can never have too many divers. Important to know: Those who want to do without BEYOND STEEL can reach for the sister models. Besides all other innovations, these still have a ceramic bezel.