The French fashion brand Saint-Honore has finally expanded its affordable Worldcode family with a quartz-powered diver. Although the new Saint-Honore Worldcode Diving Quartz (ref. 861202 71DBN) model sports all the necessary attributes of a diver and features different finish to its highly legible dial, the family DNA is still here, which is good.
The task of applying the family design language to the new model was, probably, not difficult since the original Saint-Honore Worldcode Automatic that was revealed a year ago, too, boasted a sporty appearance. Judging by the look of this watch, all they had to do, was to put a unidirectional rotating bezel on an existing case and make it more legible for diving purposes with a painted aluminum inlay. The dial, too, needed some upgrades in terms of contrast and overall legibility, but, again, it wasn’t too much work.
When all the upgraded elements were put together, we’ve got a watch with exterior that, while looking sporty and energetic, is neither too aggressive, nor too obvious, especially if you compare the watch to numerous competitors from Japanese and European brands that are desperately trying to look like Rolex while keeping their own brands’ DNA (and often failing miserably at both tasks.)
As you can see on the photos below, the three Arabic numerals are now even bigger and bolder, as are the stick-shaped hour markers and the hands. All these elements of the dial are generously covered with a luminous substance that will make the watch more legible at night (just don’t expect much from it: watches in this price range rarely sport particularly bright and long-lasting luminous compounds.)
The date window is small and there is no magnifying lens on the sapphire dial to make it easier to read, but that’s the only legibility problem that I see here.
The body, while retaining the same shape and proportions, has also been increased in size to more prominent 43 millimeters. Gone is the angular crown guard and the setting crown itself was changed for a more elegant job, which is decorated with a stamped Saint-Honore logo. The lack of the crown guards makes the watch visually lighter and a bit more versatile -a major factor for those who plan to keep it in a daily rotation-, although it also makes the Worldcode Diving more susceptible to damage, especially if you plan to use it as an actual diving companion.
There are basically two problems with this watch from the view of sheer usability.
The first, of course, is its pretty unimpressive water resistance. Rated for only 100 meters, the watch is only good for snorkeling and skin-diving. You won’t be able to use it for serious underwater exploits. However, if you are simply looking for an inexpensive beater that not only looks great but can also serve as a recreational watch, you should consider getting yourself one of these beauties.
The second problem that one may encounter later in the gadget’s life is the way the black rubber band is attached to the Worldcode Diving’s body. Using a proprietary lugs attachment system, the choice of replacement straps seems to be limited exclusively to those offered by Saint-Honore: no third party solutions here, no textile NATO straps, no leather. Some may find this not a problem to consider, but for yours truly it’s sort of a bummer.
For some reason (well, the reason is probably an attempt to keep costs down,) the original ETA 2824 automatic movement was replaced with an unspecified quartz movement, which is, too, made in Switzerland.
To my taste, this is not a big deal, since the quartz movement will certainly be more accurate than the self-winding ebauche and will also require less maintenance: you will only need to change a battery once in a while.
Price & Availability
According to the company’s press release, so far the watches are available in four colors: black, brown, navy (ref. 861202 71DBN, pictured) and pink gold. Plenty to choose from, indeed. The recommended price of €700 is steep, so it would be wiser to get one of these gadgets from an online retailer during a year’s end sale: at half the MSRP it would be a steal.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Saint-Honore Worldcode Diving Quartz (ref. 861202 71DBN) specification
Movement: Quartz, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel, brushed
Bezel: Matches case, with aluminum insert in black, brown, navy or pink gold
Size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 13.00 mm
Lug width: 21.00
Dial: Matches bezel
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap on deployant buckle