Pablo watches is a new watch brand and their first watch is the Profundo VB-1, a 60’s Submariner style dive watch. Pablo, the Spanish male name for Paul, might be the founders first name. I am not sure what Profundo means. The company wants to “shake up” the watch industry, a phrase that I have heard numerous times from many new microbrands. In most cases this phrase rings hollow. Usually there is nothing significant about the watches being offered by the brand other than they are reasonably priced and they are trying to emulate much more expensive brands. And of course, by not selling their watches through costly retailers, the markup is much less. Without the internet the microbrand watch industry could not exist or flourish as it does today. In the past, a watch buyer could never determine what was available on the market by stopping by retailers. We are very lucky today!
For a first watch from a new brand, the Profundo VB-1 is a home run. I suspect the people behind the brand have been in the watch industry for quite some time, or they know people that are highly qualified and experienced watch manufacturers. From this point onward I will just call this watch the VB-1. The 21st century is the golden age of the mechanical dive watch and the Submariner look is here to stay with an endless choice of iterations to choose from. The VB-1 has a high quality Swiss movement, is Swiss assembled and tested, but it is available from only one online seller in Asia.
The VB-1 is just under 41mm in diameter, just under 13mm thick and is 49mm lug to lug and 20mm between the lugs with a 7mm guarded gear edged, polished and etched screw down crown. It’s all 316L stainless with all surfaces perfectly finished. This includes the brushed case front, brushed and etched case back, polished case sides and chamfers, brushed and polished bracelet surfaces, brushed, etched and polished clasp and the solid, brushed, milled clasp links. The VB-1 case has proper drilled lugs and the bracelet has polished sides with real screws for the removable links The polished, round head, rivet bracelet link fasteners have a parallel surface grove on all outer link edges, giving it a design finish not usually found on Sub homage divers bracelets of this type.
Rarely have I seen brushed, solid bracelet, end links done with perfection, but the VB-1 has them. The center sections of the end links are recessed and well finished and conform perfectly to the wrist. The push button clasp is unusually small with only one micro adjustment. The bracelet tapers from 20mm to 16mm and it is extremely comfortable when adjusted for my 7 inch wrist. It should be noted that the brushed case back is etched with pertinent watch information and each watch is numbered. Only 200 will be made. The case back of the VB-1 indicates that this watch uses the highly respected ETA 2824-2 Swiss Elabore Grade automatic movement, which is 25 jewels, 28,800 bph with a 40 hour power reserve. This movement hacks and is hand winding as expected, and is rated -10 to +15 seconds per day. My example is less than 10 seconds per day fast. With calibration, I think that this movement could be even better.
The face of the VB-1 is dateless, symmetrical and matte black with standard Submariner style raised indices except they are all in a beautiful caramel color with Superluminova Old Radium lume. There is a small matching caramel circle around each of the twelve indices. The Mercedes style long handset is beautifully done in brass with the same lume. The long baton, brass second hand has a lollipop tail and lollipop lumed circle toward the tip. I rarely dive watch handsets as well proportioned as they are on this Submariner like dive watch. The VB-1 uses a high clarity, box sapphire crystal with internal A/R as well as a 200M w/r rating, as expected. Surrounding the crystal is an extremely well done, 120 click, unidirectional stainless steel bezel with a matte black and aluminum finish bezel insert. This bezel and insert is a standout. First the bezel insert has a wonderful matte finish. Second, the bezel has a red triangle at the top of the bezel surrounding a matching thin aluminum edged, old radium lume pip. Third, the bezel edge is beautifully cut and polished. Fourth, it has the most solid bezel action I have ever seen on any dive watch, bar none.
What would I change on this watch? I would like the second hand finished in red as well as red printing for the w/r rating on the watch face, to match the red triangular lume pip on the bezel. Pablo is selling this limited watch exclusively through Gnomon Watches for $520 US. I highly recommend this dive watch, particularly for someone looking into Submariner homage that is a bit different with extreme attention to detail and quality. gnomonwatches.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.