Assembled in the United States, powered by a high-grade Swiss-made movement, and bearing a price tag close to $2000 USD, the new Mk. II Fulcrum automatic diver is a bit too expensive to my taste, but it still looks great. Also, I dig their decision to tweak its exterior design here and there in order to make the refreshed timekeeper ahem less similar to the original that the previous version paid homage to.
Yes, the Mk. II Fulcrum was inspired by the legendary Rolex Military Submariner, a gorgeous timekeeper that has spawned a whole plethora of epigones that tried to outdo it but never succeeded. Introducing a “homage” to such a timekeeper is always a risky business since your new watch will be compared not against the famous original, but rather against another “homage” that was introduced by another brand and offered at half (or maybe even 1/4th of) the price.
Of course, I am talking about Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military diver.
Looking almost like a faithful reproduction of the legendary Rolex MilSub (by the way, if you are into this stuff, they also have a fairly good “homage” to the 1955 Rolex Submariner Ref. 6200 called Ocean One Vintage Automatic) and currently being offered at just €350 (around $480 USD at current exchange rate,) the timekeeper with its bullet-proof ETA 2824-2 automatic caliber and overall feel of great-bang-for-the-buck feel about it is a serious threat to any third-party homage-maker if its name is not Tudor.
Apparently, their earlier MkII MilSub model just couldn’t compete against numerous other homages, so the American company decided to ditch the model altogether, make cosmetic changes and to reintroduce it under another name.
Well, here comes the MkII Fulcrum.
If you compare the two models, you will see that the Fulcrum still offers a similarly styled dial with similarly shaped hands and the same hour markers at 3, 6, 9 and 12 hours, but has the other eight round indices replaced with stick-shaped ones and also places the date aperture between 4 and 5 hours.
The unidirectional rotating bezel is also new. Offering a cleaner layout, it still can be used for diving, but its functionality has been expanded: you can now use it to display a second time zone if you need to and, with its aluminum inlay, it is a pleasure to look at.
As I have already noted, it is powered by a good Swiss movement. Previously using engines from ETA, this time Mk. II’s owner decided to use a good and reliable Soprod caliber A10, which is ordered in high-quality Elaboree grade, sports nice decor on its bridges and oscillating weight, and is even adjusted to 6 position, which potentially makes it a very accurate timekeeper.
Of course, at a price of $1925 it is a serious commitment, but if the “Made in USA” brand doesn’t scare you away (and, in fact, American goods are now a lot better than they were even a decade ago), you should consider this gadget.
Photos: Mk. II
Build quality: 4.5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Mk. II Fulcrum specification
Movement: Automatic, Soprod caliber A10, Elaboree grade, adjusted to 6 positions, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Rhodium-plated, Perlage on bridges, Geneva Stripes on the rotor
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, second time zone (on the bezel)
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel: Matches case, with aluminum inlay
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 15.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Natural black rubber strap with steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective, domed