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The VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey promises a combination of minimalist, Scandinavian design and exceptional quality that you’d otherwise only get from divers in the four-digit price segment. How much of a diver’s watch do you really get at the entry-level price of just 399 Euros? This is my VANDAAG experience!
From service provider and manufacturer of other brands to an own watch brand
The watch enthusiasts who founded VANDAAG have been working with timepieces for more than twenty years. In Oldenburg, in the heart of northern Germany, they initially developed watches for brands from all over the world. The process ranged from the first design draft to production. So you definitely can’t deny the two entrepreneurs a certain amount of know-how.
The upheaval followed a few years ago. “Why not set up something of our own?” reads the homepage of the Oldenburg watch company, which bears the unusual name VANDAAG. ‘Vandaag’ is Low German and simply means ‘today’. What name could be better suited to a watch company from northern Germany, where Low German is still widely spoken?
However, VANDAAG does not only bear the pride of its own origin in its name. The philosophy of the young company is also strongly oriented towards Nordic values. As true “North Germans”, the watches are to stand out with a minimalist, reduced design that impresses with calm colors, timelessness and restraint. Under the “hard” shell, however, the VANDAAG models are supposed to exude genuine North German charm and reliability with a lot of quality and fine materials.
The dream of their own watch brand has been very promising so far. Three collections are on the market. One of the diving watches, named ‘Tiefsee'(Deep Sea), I would like to take a closer look at today. The VANDAAG Tiefsee automatic variant Balance (grey) makes a very promising impression, after all. I am more than surprised by the price. Because it is just 399 euros! Is this a real insider tip? Which experiences will I get? A test should clear things up…
The fact that first impressions count doesn’t just apply to people. Yes, watch brands can also trigger joy, if they not only make an effort with the watch itself, but also with the “trappings”. VANDAAG has undoubtedly done just that. The VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey comes in a chic, sleek and black wooden box that you can open with a click mechanism. A classy and calm appearance! Inside the box, lined with grey velvet, is my test watch for today.
“A fancy piece” I think as I take the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey off its cushion for the first time. The diver’s watch is a timepiece without a spectacular design with a WOW effect. It simply pleases. Straightforward, minimalist and classy, it is more of a second look watch that has the potential to be a real daily rocker. The design of the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey proves: a watch doesn’t always have to cause a big stir to be good.
With round indices on a plain dial, a true diver’s bezel and an oval stainless steel case, the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey has a fairly classic appearance and is recognizable as a diver at first glance. The red date window at 6 o’clock is already my personal favorite detail.
Practical: The wooden box provide further space for storing accessories when the watch cushion is removed. With an enclosed card, VANDAAG gives you a warranty of a generous 3 years. And if you choose the steel band variant, the included tool for shortening the band is also placed here in a cloth pouch.
The VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic Balance Grey on the wrist
Hands on! On the wrist, the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey cuts a fine figure. With a case length of 48 millimeters and a diameter of 41.5 millimeters, the diver has the perfect dimensions and is suitable for any wrist. The proportions are extremely harmonious. With a case height of 12.30 millimeters, the wristwatch lies flat on the wrist. This gives it a sporty character at the same time.
If you are looking for a watch that can be combined in many ways, the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey is the perfect choice. Thanks to generous stainless steel surfaces, VANDAAG has managed to make its Tiefsee Diver look functional, but never too technical. So it is no problem to wear the watch also in everyday life, for example at a meeting. Combination possibilities with the most diverse outfits are virtually inexhaustible.
The case: solid and high-quality
Since inner values also count in addition to an appealing appearance, I took a closer look at the case and its interior. It consists of a three-part construction. Solid 316L stainless steel was chosen as the material, which is known for its special hardness and was manufactured with a CNC milling machine. All edges are meticulously ground, the level of workmanship is very high. The stainless steel surfaces are hand-polished and satin-finished, which gives the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey a plastic and varied appearance. Shapely, the case blends into the lugs, which are 22 millimeters wide.
The screw-down caseback is solid and raised. To my delight, VANDAAG gave it a circular viewing window, through which you can marvel at the automatic movement. In fact, sapphire crystal was used here. Other companies in this price segment often skimp at this point. Robust and pressure-resistant sapphire is also used on the front of the watch glass. And since the focus of the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey is on functionality, the company from Oldenburg has double anti-reflective coating on the inside of the watch glass. This not only looks nicer, it visibly improves the readability of the time, especially under high sunlight.
VANDAAG specifies a water resistance of 20 bar. This is sufficient for a diving depth of up to 200 meters. That’s certainly not record-breaking. But let’s be honest: none of us will ever dive deeper. Therefore, this value is absolutely sufficient in my opinion.
The details of the automatic caliber
The movement, which you can see through the window in the caseback, is a Miyota 821A with second stop. According to VANDAAG, it was modified for its use in the Tiefsee automatic. The power reserve of the automatic caliber is a solid 42 hours. Diving watches are so popular because of their simple and straightforward handling. The Miyota 821A has the following functions: Hour, minute, second and date. That’s all you need on dives and in everyday life, right?
Winding and setting the movement via the crown is extremely simple. This is mainly due to the lateral fluting of the dual-density winding crown. You can see how much love has been put into the details by the ‘V’ logo engraved on the top of the crown.
Dial & Bezel
The straightforward design is also continued on the dial. It is grey, simple and does without color gradients or sunray look. The dot-shaped indices as well as minute and second hands are coated with Nemoto LumiNova luminous material to ensure optimal readability even in the dark or under water. On the outer rhombus, in addition to the indices, there is a printed 60-minute graduation. When it comes to keeping time to the minute in everyday life, this certainly doesn’t hurt. In my opinion, however, the most beautiful detail of the dial is the date disc, which adds red color accents in a circular window at 6 o’clock. Somehow, this makes the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey even more extraordinary.
A true diver’s bezel is framing the dial, which is unidirectional. The 120 clicks engage very cleanly. While the bezel is made of steel on the outside and fluted on the sides, VANDAAG relies on a high-gloss grey ceramic inlay on the inside with a printed surface.
The bracelet of the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic Balance Grey
When it comes to the bracelet, you are spoiled for choice. Should it be the chic stainless steel bracelet or rather the sporty grey textile strap for casual use? The decision is yours. However, if you want to change your look, that’s no problem. A quick-change system on the strap lugs makes it easy to swap bracelets. This is true luxury!
It’s certainly a matter of taste, but my personal favorite remains the stainless steel bracelet. Its links can be easily removed with the included tool, so you can adjust the length. During my testing period, the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey was very comfortable to wear with the stainless steel bracelet. The massive butterfly clasp guarantees a secure fit.
My VANDAAG experience: a conclusion about the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic Balance Grey
If you are looking for a more than solid and everyday diving watch, I can warmly recommend the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey. Especially if it should be your first purchase of a diver, you can not go wrong with this timepiece. For the fair price of only 399 Euros with a solid steel bracelet (even starting at 359 Euros with a nylon strap), the VANDAAG customer gets high quality, well-made materials and an appealing design.
Although the VANDAAG Tiefsee Automatic (Balance) Grey looks a bit reserved at first glance, it’s still a watch that you quickly take to your heart. As a perfect daily rocker, it offers enough everyday practicality while still being highly functional! And after all, this is the watch we are all looking for. A watch for now, for today. That is the philosophy of this timepiece. All in all my first experience with VANDAAG was great.
For those who are not yet comfortable with the stylish grey tone, I would like to suggest the other model variants with blue dial or black DLC coating. Each variant is limited to a total of 999 pieces. So, better don’t wait too long!