Archimede SportTaucher Review – How Do You Say ‘Badass’ in German?
By: Mark Signorelli
I know a badass watch when I see one. Some obvious examples? Tudor North Flag on bracelet, Mühle Glashütte S.A.R. Rescue Timer, Victorinox I.N.O.X. You get the idea. That leads me to the Archimede SportTaucher (Sport Diver in English) that is the subject of this review. I wasn’t expecting a badass watch until I held it in my hand. This piece is stout. I’m not sure if it could stop a bullet but if Wonder Woman were nearby, I’d ask her put the SportTaucher on and give it a try. If you’re looking for polished surfaces, chamfered edges, genteel bracelets… well, there are plenty of other choices out there.
On the other hand, if you are keen to find a non-homage dive watch with a superbly machined case, top-notch crown, thoroughly sensible dial, and beefy (but surprisingly comfortable) bracelet, you just hit the jackpot.
Case, Dial and Hands
The CNC-milled, stainless steel case of the SportTaucher is all substance and muscle. It’s chunky without being bulky and completely void of gimmicks. Still, there is some grace in how the crown guards flow out of the case and comfortably position the crown at 4 o’clock. Size wise, it doesn’t follow any of the downsizing or super-sizing trends and just goes straight up the middle with a 41.5mm case diameter and a length that is just shy of 50mm. In keeping with its water resistance of 300 meters, the case back is etched with the image of a deep-sea diving helmet.
Archimede would not reveal the dial material but, to my eye, it looks like injection-molded polymer. There is complexity in this dial that warrants further discussion. First, there is the chapter ring, which appears to be molded into the dial as opposed to being a separate piece. The integrated chapter ring offers a precision that prevents misalignment with the hour markers (are you listening Seiko?). Then there is the sunken center section of the dial, which offers a soft transition from the hour markers. This is the only concession to softness on the entire watch and it’s very pleasing to the eye.
The hour and minute hands are standard looking sword hands while the needle-shaped second hand is a glossy red to complement the five minute indicators on the chapter ring. The hour and minute hands as well as the hour markers and bezel pip are lumed well enough to last until morning. The fluorescent green lume on the hour and minute hands is noticeably brighter than the soft aqua used on the hour markers and pip.
I like the way that Archimede handles the date window on this watch. It’s at the 4 o’clock position and simply takes the place of the hour marker. This arrangement doesn’t interfere with any of the numeric hour markers and aligns directly with the crown.
Bezel and Crown
The screw-down crown of the Archimede SportTaucher is excellent and it’s one of the best I have ever seen. It engages the threads with ease and its size is head-and-shoulders above the skimpy crowns that watch companies typically scrounge from the parts bin.
The 120-click dive bezel could use some additional precision. There is a small bit of vertical play as well as some back-play. On a positive note, the clicks are very positive, there is no binding and the bezel markings line up precisely with the corresponding markers on the dial.
The stainless steel, five-link bracelet is solidly built and rather thick at 4mm. It looks like it should be a hair-puller but I didn’t experience any discomfort at all. With four micro-adjust positions, I was able to achieve a perfect fit. The clasp is partially milled, double locking and feels very secure.
A diver extension is provided as well. Overall, it’s a very masculine design and contributes to the SportTaucher’s durable character.
The Archimede SportTaucher is powered by the Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement, which features a quickset date and a 38 hour power reserve. The SW200-1 has become somewhat of a workhorse with watch manufacturers, especially in light of a limited supply of comparable ETA movements. Sellita’s own specifications indicate an expected accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per day (although in my experience I would expect something more in the +/- 5-10 second range).
On the Wrist
This is a seriously robust watch that feels like it can take a beating. You won’t mistake it for a dress diver, because that’s not the Archimede SportTaucher’s purpose. This is a no-nonsense watch that can handle most of what you can throw at it. On bracelet, it’s very comfortable but you won’t forget that you’re wearing a piece of steel. If you want to lighten the load, the SportTaucher looks good on a variety of NATO straps.
Archimede is part of the Ickler family of watch brands, which also includes LIMES. Based in Pforzheim, Germany, Ickler has earned its reputation as a quality manufacturer of watch cases over a 95-year period. They handle the case design and manufacturing as well as assembly and quality control.
I was fascinated by the smorgasbord of options available on the Archimede website. In addition to the five-link bracelet, the SportTaucher can be ordered with leather or rubber straps as well as an attractive Milanaise mesh bracelet. Dial options include blue, white and black/orange. You can also specify a 12 hour bezel in addition to something not often seen, a 360 degree compass bezel. Lastly, PVD case finishing is available.
Archimede will gladly sell any of their watches directly to customers via their website. As of this writing, the SportTaucher I reviewed is listed for 890.76 Euros (excluding VAT). U.S. customers will need to factor in shipping costs as well as import duties but another option is to buy from Ickler’s sole U.S. retail dealer, Watchmann. From personal experience, Greg Stein at Watchmann offers excellent service and is very responsive and accessible by phone and email.
The SportTaucher line of watches is probably overshadowed by Archimede’s better-known Pilot and Outdoor collections. In the world of dive watches, however, I feel that the SportTaucher is a more enduring alternative to the homage aesthetic and trendy styling flourishes that have become commonplace. Being badass doesn’t hurt either. Check out out Archimede Watches resource for more reviews, brand history, and more.
• 20mm lug width
• 300 meters of water resistance
• Flat sapphire crystal
• Screw down crown
• Sellita SW200-1 Swiss automatic movement
• Price: €1,060.00 incl. VAT (€890.76 excl. VAT)
Mark retired in 2018 after 37 years in the financial services industry. He “Discovered” watches in 2015 after seeing a photo of a Steinhart OVM1 in a car forum. Ever since then he’s filled two watch boxes (and is trying to decide between buying a third one or thinning the herd). His additional pastimes include hiking, working on cars, exploring and photographing abandoned military bases.