Gavox Avidiver Watch Review
By: Michael Penate
Back in the ’90s, it didn’t take much for kids to get into aviation. A lot of it had to do with my dad, who took me to air shows, showed me how to build model planes, and spent hours upon hours watching reruns of Wings on the Discovery channel with me. Even after that, there was still a turning point and it was the day I got to climb into the cockpit of a Harrier Jump Jet over at Homestead Air Reserve Base back home in Florida. I was mesmerized by the instrumentation and how it seemed to engulf me inside of that cockpit. That’s the kind of appeal some watch brands like to shoot for these days and companies like Bell & Ross and IWC immediately come to mind. However, after spending some time with the Gavox Avidiver, I found myself almost immediately transported back to that day but the watch takes a few more twists and turns that set it apart from the rest.
The Gavox Avidiver is what you might consider a hybrid watch and that’s almost immediately apparent in its name. And while in theory, this might sound like it can have its drawbacks, the execution is impressive and I think the watch does a good job at covering some pilot and dive watch utilities. But, my favorite part is the fact that the Avidiver plays with slightly more subtle aviation design cues. It isn’t as over-the-top as a Bell & Ross and this subtle approach really had me swooning almost at first glance.
Starting off with the 316L stainless steel case (optional PVD), we have a nice twin-crown design that is fully brushed and designed to work flawlessly with the integrated rubber straps. It measures in at 43mm in diameter with a lug-to-lug distance of 50.8mm. Before getting the watches in, I expected them to be rather thick. This isn’t the case and the Gavox Avidiver is only 12.8mm thick. Paired with nice curved lugs, a fully brushed design, and a minimal bezel, this watch has a pretty low-profile look. This is especially true if you opt for the black dial version with a black rubber strap (my favorite combo). Overall, the case seems built to show off the big dial, which is expected in something more aviation-focused. Water resistance is 200m (untested by me) and the Avidiver has both a sapphire crystal with AR-coating and an exhibition case back that I really got a kick out of.
Ok, so here’s where things got a little nerdy for me. Like I mentioned before, the Gavox Avidiver blends design cues that can be found in both pilot and dive watches. However, I think the dial falls a bit more in line with the aviation side of things. The big sword hands over the high-contrast layout results in a look that might remind you of an altimeter. But there’s more beneath the surface and the Avidiver actually sports somewhat of a triple “sandwich” construction that results in serious depth – especially considering the thickly applied Super-LumiNova… seriously it’s everywhere.
At the 4 o’clock position we have a tiny date window, which didn’t bother me much and I actually have no complaints about it here – it just adds to the utility. The centerpiece of the dial is of course the internal rotating triangle. It’s also lumed and can be used for a variety of different time-tracking tasks besides just elapsed time. Personally, I was amused at how much this little triangle reminded me of the way fixes are depicted on IFR en-route aeronautical charts – one of the many tools pilots use for navigation. It’s bi-directional and can be controlled via the 2 o’clock crown that also has the triangle engraved in it. Just below, you’ll find a video where Michael Happé (owner of Gavox Watches) demonstrates the various ways you can use the rotating triangle to track elapsed time, countdowns, dual time zones, and more.
Ticking inside the Gavox Avidiver is none other than a new-found favorite of mine, the Miyota 9015. While some might call it played-out or overused, the movement is solid and as always, I had no issues with timekeeping or accuracy in any of the three examples I had in for review. I won’t go into the specs too much, but the movement offers both hacking and hand-winding that is just buttery smooth. However, transitioning between the winding and setting positions is where I found my only real issue with the Avidiver. At times, the action felt a bit “sticky” and I’d find myself stuck in a weird in-between phase when trying to set the date and time. I often wonder if a larger, redesigned set of crowns could remedy this issue.
There isn’t much decoration (totally not a big deal for me) but there is a really cool Gavox logo on the rotor. This is yet another subtle aviation design touch and Gavox’s logo has always reminded me of the markings you’d find on an Attitude Indicator or “artificial horizon” – one of the six primary flight instruments a pilot should be familiar with.
The Gavox Avidiver comes with a soft silicone rubber strap that immediately reminded me of the latest iteration of Seiko’s Z22 strap. It’s extremely lightweight, comfortable, and pliable. In combination with sloped lugs and an integrated strap design, this allows the watch to sit really low and close to the wrist. It’s something I’ve been more critical of lately and I think that Gavox totally nailed it here. Does it catch some dust here and there? Sure. But that didn’t get in the way of me enjoying the watch.
Also, the strap is fitted with a thick, signed buckle that fits perfectly. Everything lined up correctly in terms of sizing and I always felt like I could get my size right no matter which of the Avidivers I was wearing. It’s also worth noting that the Gavox logo also carries on through the entirety of the strap – a pretty cool touch. Finally, there are grooves for the keeper closest to the buckle that prevent it from shifting… something I want on all my straps now!
I can’t really say if the Gavox Avidiver is the ultimate “flyer” I’d want to add to my collection but I’m sure of a few other things. After having a brief conversation with Gavox founder, Michael Happé, I found that this watch is truly a culmination of his passion and dedication for watches, design, and aviation. This hit me hard and in a time when we’re seeing more and more derivative micro-brand divers come about, it was really a refreshing realization. The Gavox Avidiver (at least to my eye) is truly its own thing and while I can’t speak for its utility as a dedicated dive or flight watch, I can say that it’s just fun and very, very capable. Price for the Gavox Avidiver is currently around $625 and you can learn more about it here.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.