This specimen is a controversial one. The Deep Blue Rally Diver 1000 Automatic (regrettably, the “1000” here stands for feet, not meters of water resistance) comes in a sort of nonspecific Submariner-style case, while the choice of the caliber doesn’t look the best (putting it mildly). The thing that saves it is the vibrant (almost jovial in some combinations) dial.
The Overall Impression
During their time in the business of making affordable watches, Deep Blue has made itself a reputation as a solid, albeit a bit lackluster micro-brand. While they mostly use dull, uninspiring cases with a very basic finish, they don’t try to make a living off all sorts of shameless “homages” to the vintage “icons.”
The Rally Diver 1000 is one of those diving tools that could look excruciatingly boring if not for their colorful dials that make the watch stand out even among competitors that are a lot more expensive. This one combines a checkered chaptered ring with a set of three color-matched hands.
I am not particularly happy about their choice of the self-winding Ronda R150 caliber for this model (see below.) Yet, I must admit that the combination of a relatively low price, great overall build quality, and, again, an interesting dial makes this one an easy choice for a person looking for a sporty diving companion.
The stainless steel case is predictably oversized. It measures 44 millimeters in width and is about 51 millimeters in length, which makes it acceptable for the majority of male customers. Inspired (like hundreds of other divers from dozens of other micro-brands) by the Rolex Submariner, it looks generic, especially when it comes paired with their standard-issue bracelets.
If I understand it correctly, there is a helium escape valve (HEV) at 9 o’clock that prevents the sapphire crystal from popping during a rapid decompression.
The HEVs are common among a lot more expensive timekeepers that tend to house expensive calibers. In this price range, the valves are a rare breed, even among watches rated for more than 300 meters of water resistance, so, kudos to the Deep Blue engineers.
The 120-click unidirectional bezel also looks almost like a copy of the one on the Submariner: even the typeface seems to be the same.
The only couple of things that differ between this one and the Sub are the lack of a luminous dot inside the triangle at “00/60” and the diving scale that now expands from 15 minutes to a whole hour (probably, to compensate for the lack of a proper chapter ring on the dial).
The bezel features a ceramic inlay and all of its elements are luminous making this one a lot more readable at night than the Rolex.
As usual for the brand, you can get the watch either on their standard “oyster” steel bracelet or on a silicon strap if that’s your thing.
I personally would get the Rally Diver on a silicon band, throw it (the band, not the watch) right into a desk drawer, and put in its place something more appropriate: like a NATO strap with a set of stripes matching the dial accents.
There are many choices on the market. Zuludiver (no affiliation of any kind) has a gorgeous Veryan collection that would play nicely with any of the finishes that the Rally Diver’s dial is available with.
Introduced about 6 years ago at Baselworld 2016 as a direct competitor to (NOT a direct replacement of ) the old ETA caliber 2824-2, the Ronda caliber R150 failed to gain considerable share of the market. There are dozens of micro-brands that use the mechanism in their watches, but Deep Blue seems to be the most prominent among them.
The low level of adoption makes it difficult to predict how reliable the mechanism is going to be in the longer run. In addition, it will be painful to service the watch if you happen to live outside of the United States where Deep Blue operates. Not only parts may be scarce: but service persons who really know the caliber may also be in short supply.
Otherwise, it is a nice mechanism.
The R150 offers about 40 hours of power reserve (although Ronda says that you will need to wear the watch at least 12 hours per day daily for the mainspring not to gradually lose the energy that it stores). It is fairly good at keeping time, too, with average isochronism after 24 hours of +/- 20 seconds per day .
The Dial & Legibility
The dials look colorful and they do attract attention, but they do not exactly shine, at least when it comes to the legibility department. Without the proper chapter ring, reading time can be sometimes difficult and the ultra-small calendar aperture won’t make your life easier if you tend to forget what date it is.
The luminous markers on the bezel help a little, but I am still not particularly happy about the data representation, especially for what is essentially a semi-professional diving tool.
The Pricing & Availability
Deep Blue likes to set the bar high and then put it really low when it comes to pricing. This collection, for example, has official MSRPs of $899 and $799 on a bracelet and a band respectively. As usual, the brand offers the watches at a “sale” price of $449 and $399 (shipping not included, but I tried Denver, Colorado and it was like $10.)
Within this price range, there are tons of competitors (you can get something as great as a Seiko Samurai Automatic or a Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Quartz,) so it’s really hard to say how much value you get here. Probably, not much if you are not a die-hard fan of the brand or particularly like the dial.
Photos: Deep Blue
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 5/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Deep Blue Rally Diver 1000 specification
Price (MSRP): $899 (Steel oyster bracelet) / $799 (Silicon band with Deep Blue logo)
Winding: Automatic (manual winding option)
Movement: Ronda caliber R150, hacking seconds, Swiss Made
Movement finish: Oscillating weight with Deep Blue logo
Number of Jewels: 25
Cadence of Balance: 28,800 vph
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating (120 clicks), luminous elements, ceramic
Crown: Stainless steel, screw-down
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 15.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Dial: Black, checkered chapter ring in dark blue, purple, orange, light blue, red, yellow, or green
Hour markers: Luminous (Superluminova,) on the bezel
Hands: Luminous, color-matching the elements on the dial
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Stainless steel “Oyster” bracelet or different silicon bands with the DB logo
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective coating
Back: Transparent, screw-down