When I first posted photos of the Dievas Vortex on Y3, I called it a “poor man’s Kobold.” In hindsight that was a mistake because it needlessly provoked comparisons between two watches that have little in common beyond sharing the same Fricker-made case and bezel, and fanned the petty controversy over how and why Dievas came to acquire cases originally manufactured for Kobold.
If the cases were there, aren’t we as watch enthusiasts better served for someone having brought them to market in a new watch model? In terms of both mechanics and dial design, the two watches could hardly be more different, and in my opinion there’s nothing to be gained by evaluating the Vortex except on its own merits.
Movement: Swiss-made automatic ETA-2824-2
Case: micro-blasted aerospace grade titanium, fabricated in Germany by Fricker; automatic helium release valve
Case back: Screw-down solid titanium with twin gaskets
Dimensions: 44mm diameter, 14mm thick, 54mm lug to lug; 22mm lug width
Bezel: Micro-blasted titanium 60-click timing bezel
Crown: screw down crown, double o-ring, 8 o’clock position
Crystal: 4mm domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
WR: 500 meters
Luminance: Super Luminova
“Aerospace grade titanium?” Sounded like hyperbole, but some quick research proved me wrong. There is, in fact, a particular high-grade titanium alloy used by the aerospace industry. Panerai uses it also, and Kobold obviously (other watch brands may as well, but I didn’t pursue my research that far).
The Vortex case is immaculate in finish as well as in its clean, precisely defined lines and edges. Very spare, very utilitarian, very angular, very German. As the close-up shows, the “micro-blasted” finish is perfectly uniform.
The solid titanium screw-down case back doesn’t have the micro-blasted finish, but it does have a rather goofy graphic intended to represent a swirling vortex. Oh well, no one has to see that.
DIAL & BEZEL
I wasn’t sure about the pilot-inspired dial. In photos, the graphics seemed a bit busy and “heavy” (for want of a better description). Must be a case of the “camera adding 10 pounds,” because seeing the watch in person brought a pleasant surprise — the dial elements are elegant, nicely proportioned and well balanced. This is actually one of the easiest to read dials I’ve owned, on a par with my dear departed Halios Holotype for quick, at-a-glance legibility.
The micro-blasted titanium 60-click bezel is firm and sure in its operation, with a fit and finish that’s consistent with the rest of this Fricker-built watch.
Be forewarned: If you can’t live without a date window, you won’t like the Vortex. Personally, I enjoy the convenience of not having to fuss with setting the date on at least one of my watches.
The Vortex is equipped with a screw down crown located at the 8 o’clock position. Because of the very pronounced crown guards, I found it difficult to operate at first, but it just takes some getting used to. The crown action is very smooth and firm, easily on a par with my Steelfish.
The lume is better than I initially reported, but not world-class; probably adequate for all but the most hardcore lume freaks. I’d give it a 7.5 on a scale of 10.
The Vortex comes with a thick waterproof leather strap and signed pre-v buckle. I’ve seen a couple of complaints that the strap is too stiff, but I like it just fine and it’s definitely a quality strap. The Vortex is not offered with a bracelet (not an issue for me personally, as I generally prefer straps anyway).
FIT & COMFORT
At 44mm, the Vortex has nice presence without overwhelming my 7-inch wrist. This is my first titanium watch and I’m still a little amazed by how light and comfortable it is. It’s a big watch you can wear all day long without experiencing wrist fatigue.
Given the overall quality of this watch and a price of just 880 USD, I’m hard pressed to think of too many better values out there right now. What I like most of all about the Vortex, and why it will assume a permanent place in my collection, is the fact that it’s not even remotely redundant with anything else I own — a pilot watch, housed in a tactical titanium case, built to diver specs . . . a unique combination!