Duzu is a new watch brand from Western Australia started by Wayne McCay and his first watch is the Ningaloo Reef. Named after the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef, located on the northwest coast of Australia, the watch is a standout among microbrand dive watches. It is not a homage to any other watch I can think of, but at the same time it brings a fresh view to the table that really stands out among ultra tough dive watches. The watch is first off, not petite. It measures 52mm lug to lug, 44mm in diameter across the bezel, 48mm in diameter across at the crown and it is 16.5mm thick. Lug width is 24mm and the lugs themselves taper from just over 36mm across to about 33.5mm across at the leather strap buckle. The thickly threaded machined signed crown is a stout 8mm in diameter by about 3.5mm tall.
The first thing that you notice about the watch is the structural/skeletonized 316L stainless steel, bead blasted and machined case, which surprisingly includes a DLC (diamond like carbon) coating for high scratch resistance. Combined with the wide machined stainless steel vertical reversing grooves of the bezel edge and the similar narrower machined grooves going around the signed stainless steel crown, this watch has a rugged look and feel that is hard to beat. In addition, it has six hex screws holding down the beautifully machined, branded case back. Two smaller hex screws and caps finish off the watch lugs. This feature makes changing the watch strap a pleasure and just looks plain perfect for this watch’s design.. A two piece knurled body hex tool is included with the watch, making removal and installation of the hex screws and cap lug bolts a simple operation. This tool is a gem that really compliments the watch well. It should be noted that the ends of the approximately 45 degree downward sloping lugs are beautifully rounded and finished, as is the whole watch. As a result, this watch has no sharp edges to worry about. To me this relatively large dive watch is comfortable and the lugs conform to my 7 inch wrist well.
The watch comes from Duzu with a waterproof black with white stitching leather strap and a signed stainless buckle. Zulu straps as well as a custom rubber strap are also in the pipeline. I changed the leather strap to a black stainless steel all solid three link, beveled edge bracelet with a stamped push button release and folding clasp with three micro adjustments. I sourced this very affordable bracelet from Amazon. For me a bracelet like this is a better choice than a conventional strap and buckle. It allows for a more precise fit and it is faster and easier to take the watch on and off. I understand Wayne is considering this bracelet design as an option. The slightly domed 4mm thick anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal works perfectly with the fully lumed ceramic inlaid, stainless steel bezel as well as the sandwich type dial. The bezel has minimal back play and I have never moved it accidentally.
This dial uses sandwiched single segmented Arabic numerals at 2, 4, 8 and 10, with 10 being only a 0, to maintain balance to the face. This particular example has a matte aqua face and it is also offered with matt black and matt orange faces. A combination of sandwiched lines and circles are used at the 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11 positions as well as a double line at the 12 o’clock position. There is a white on black 3 o’clock calendar window as well as fence post (or dipped paint stick) hour and minute hands as well a matching white dipped black wire second hand.
The upper half of the face has the sandwiched Duzu logo and printed name below it while the lower half of the face has Ningaloo Reef printed in a nautical looking font with the 300M/1000 ft water resistance rating just below it. The almost vertical chapter ring has 48 short white line markers and 12 short black line markers without adding clutter to the watch face. The bezel and most of the face and the hour and minute hands are spectacularly lumed with BGW-9 Superluminova lume, giving this watch unparalleled visibility in the dark.
Powering this watch is the tried and true Miyota 9015 automatic movement with hacking and hand winding. This movement is likely the most popular 28,800 vibrations per hour Japanese sourced movement on the market. It has 24 jewels and a 42 hour power reserve. With a factory accuracy rating of -10/+30 seconds a day, my example has been less than 4 seconds a day fast, which I consider excellent for a movement that is not COSC regulated. In addition to the wonderful strap changing tool, the watch comes with a fantastic watch roll and a warranty card. In today’s ever growing world of microbrand watches, manufacturing a watch with personalized specifications is exactly what Wayne McCay has achieved. Maintaining high quality throughout and manufacturing the watch in China is one of the best ways to succeed as a new watch brand. Current price of this watch is $499 but I was just informed that Duzu has reduced the price of this watch to only $379. I have not seen another dive watch currently on the market equivalent to this amazing value. www.duzuwatches.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.