Hands-On: The Edox SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition Is A Retro Skin Diver Watch Done Right
Did you know that the red panda is not really a panda? The red panda, or lesser panda, with its chestnut fur and long, bushy, ringed tail, is not a relative of the black-and-white giant panda. Sorry to burst your bubble. But the red panda, with its happy white face, is closely related to raccoons, skunks, and weasels. And did you know that the Edox SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition is not an ultra-rugged, oversized tool watch built to the specific needs of an elite battalion of paratroopers, but a retro-styled divers’ watch instead? Sure you did, but still, the name might be cause for confusion.
Like so many other brands, Edox is riding the retro wave. The two latest watches meant to catch that commercially interesting wave are the sea-worthy SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition models in two colorways with easy-on-the-eye skin diver looks. I say “skin diver” because despite the modern 42 × 13.9mm steel cases, the two executions of the SkyDivers show all the typical features of 1950s skin diver watches. But strangely enough, the contemporary SkyDiver is based on a mysterious watch from 1969.
Edox SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition — The colonel, the watch, the name
According to legend — or perhaps a coffee-machine conversation that circulates in the Edox offices? — the SkyDiver is based on a watch that materialized in 1969. It was ordered by a wealthy Swiss colonel who remains unknown. And now the plot thickens regarding the name.
… a diver that dropped from the sky; ergo, a skydiver …
The colonel talked to Edox about making a special watch for the elite paratroopers under his command. It had to combine the no-nonsense functionality and do-it-all characteristics of a divers’ watch with the looks of an instrumental pilots’ watch. Whether the watch with its cryptic name — a diver that dropped from the sky; ergo, a skydiver — got out of the prototype stages to serve with the military is not fully clear. But then again, legends never really are.
Vintage looks, contemporary proportions
What is very clear in 2021 is that the new SkyDiver’s 42mm case has contemporary proportions. While the prominent dome of the sapphire crystal and thin unidirectional diving bezel hearkens back to the ’50s, the decade has only aesthetic ties to this model. This new SkyDiver is not an XL sports watch like the 44mm SkyDiver Neptunian we featured earlier on Fratello. That watch is much bulkier and it’s water-resistant to 1,000 meters. The SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition doesn’t want to dive deeper than 300 meters, but that’s still not a number it should be ashamed of. The fact that the oversized crown is unguarded is a tell-tale sign of its more leisurely approach. The two versions of the SkyDiver Automatic are limited editions of 600 pieces in black (80126 3N NINB) and very dark green (80126 3N NINV). Both models cost €1,699.
No fauxtina, but still retro
Of the two new releases, the green version is my personal favorite, and I think you know why: it doesn’t need “fauxtina” to paint a vintage picture. The slim case profile, domed crystal, and slender bezel do the trick just fine. It’s good to know that the vintage-looking bezel is actually an up-to-date one executed in scratch-resistant, shiny ceramic. I also like the incredibly dark green tone of the dial. It appears to be black, but in some light, it reveals a green hue.
This green strap combines a matte rubber outside with a comfortable leather inside …
The green on the hands and hour markers have the same lighter military green color you also find on the strap. This green strap combines a matte rubber outside with a comfortable leather inside to create a convincing look that matches and mixes the past with the present. The oversized buckle and rectangular shape of the pin are definitely more contemporary touches. The black-dialed version comes on a brown strap with a traditional top-and-bottom leather construction.
Lume and distortion
The paratrooper theme comes to life on the screwed case back, with an engraving of a parachute with wings above the Edox logo. Beneath the badge beats the automatic Edox caliber 80, a movement based on a Sellita SW200. Nothing special, but it does what it has to do without complaint and very steadily, just like a good soldier indeed.
Also functional, but with aesthetic qualities as well, is the bezel’s lume pip, which glows blue in the dark. In contrast, the Super-LumiNova on the hands and indexes produces a green glow. Not glowing, but also part of the visual attraction is the way the curved sapphire glass distorts the shape of the indexes. Scratch-resistant glass with a Plexiglass look provides a nice optical touch reminiscent of yesteryear.
Edox SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition — What is it?
I think the green version of the SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition is the perfect combination of sexy and cute. No, sorry, that’s what Steve Carell said in the 2011 movie Crazy Stupid Love. The deep and dark green SkyDiver is a near-perfect combination of vintage and modern, whereas the black-and-beige one just tries too hard. And although 42mm might sound a bit large to some, because the watch has short lugs it is a good fit on my 18.5cm wrist. If Edox had used a 40mm case, proportionally comparable to the adorable and cuddly red panda, the green SkyDiver would have gotten even closer to perfection.
Try it out, try it on
But still, the SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition is very pleasant on the eye, thanks to its flowing, slender lines and brushed and polished surfaces. It’s a 1950s skin-diver-like 2021 reinterpretation of a 1969 watch, using very long hands and elongated indexes reminiscent of pilots’ watches. Nevertheless, it just kind of works. But does the concept of the two versions of the Edox SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition work well enough to justify the price of €1,699? I know there’s quite a bit of competition out there, for sure. You know the brands I’m talking about. But still, the SkyDiver Automatic Limited Edition is definitely worth a try.
Learn more about the SkyDiver on Edox’s official website.