Havaan Tuvali Code Zero-6 Orca II (Review) + Interview with founder

Today we have another new watch from a company called Havaan Tuvali. I reviewed their first watch Squadron One in the past and that was a great watch. I gave it to my dad to wear, and he is enjoying that watch, soon when 1 year will be through I will do an update post about how it performs. But today we are gonna take on their new watch, and it is a diver! You all know I love dive watches, and this one is pretty cool one. But first, we will talk with Eric, the founder of Havaan Tuvali Watch Co.

1. Introduce yourself?

My name is Eric Yeh and I’m the founder and owner of Havaan Tuvali Watch Co., Ltd. I’m also the designer of my watches, and I do the assembling of the watches myself. Well, since there’s only one person in my company, I basically have to do everything.

2. What started your watch passion?

As a kid, I was into anything mechanical, I always try to break things down and assemble them back. I wasn’t much into watches growing up until I bought an Aquanautic King Cuda watch, I bought it simply because it looked cool, but once I have the watch, I started to dig deeper into watches and it ultimately leads to me starting my own brand.

3. What makes a good wristwatch to you?

It has to tell time of course, but I think a good wristwatch needs to have its own personality and style. Take the Rolex Submariners for example, it pretty much sets the standard for dive watches, almost all watch lovers can recognize a Submariner, and Panerai as well, when you see a cushion case with a bridge crown guard, you can tell it’s a Panerai. That’s what I’m trying to create too, the design or style that in years to come, people can instantly recognize that it’s my brand.

4. How much watches do you have in your personal collection?

Right now, my collection is only my own brand of watches. Ever since I started my own brand, I sold all of my collections. Maybe the one I regretted selling the most is the vintage Breitling Navitimer and the Aquanautic watch which started my passion for the watch. By the way, I didn’t sell the Aquanautic, it was actually stolen when my house got broken into a few years ago.

5. Who is your ideal customer?

My ideal customer is one that knows what he wants and not just following the trend. Customer who understands and appreciates a good design, and is not afraid to let me know the flaws my watches.

6. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches? Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Like most men, I’m into cars. When I’m not working on watches, I’m always browsing the internet looking for parts that would make my car go faster or look better; my car is an Alfa Romeo by the way. But when it comes to inspirations for my work, I don’t really limit myself; I can go to a navy museum one day or an art gallery the next, because you can never know when that light bulb moment will come.

7. How do you see Havaan Tuvali watch brand in future?

Hopefully still making watches, haha… I want Havaan Tuvali to be a premium micro brand, but still offering watches at an affordable price. I hope to add one new model each year, quantity will be kept no more than 300 for each model and in 5 years, to have a lineup of Pilot’s, Diver’s, and Race watch.

8. Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?

Now that I’ve done a pilot watch and a dive watch, I’m planning my next project to be more of a dress watch, I have a few ideas in mind, but of course since I just release my dive watch, have to sell a few watches first so I can have the funds to create my next project.

9. Is it hard to be a microbrand?

The answer is yes and no. Yes because I haven’t made a name of myself, I always have to compete with the bigger brand names when selling in my local market, and as a microbrand, you don’t get as much recognition. No, because I can go wild as a microbrand, I can design and make the watch the way I want it to be. To have fun and make a watch me myself want to wear is the main reason I started my own brand, what the point of starting your own business if you can’t have fun and do things the way you like.

10. Any suggestions to people who would like to make their own microbrand watch?

Be unique, and be really passionate about watches. Create a watch that you can proudly wear every day and don’t settle for less.

Now that we are through the interview, let’s get into the watch. So I found about that Eric made a new dive watch through Facebook Microbrand group. And the most amazing thing is that the watch came out of nowhere. By that I mean, he just released it without any crowdfunding campaigns or anything. Which is pretty hard to do at these times, usually 99% of microbrands try to launch a new model through crowdfunding campaigns, but Eric went a different way, I would even call it the “He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne” way 😀

The new watch is called the Code Zero-6, and it has 4 versions: Bluefin (Blue dial), Orca (Black Dial), Marlin (White dial) and Snapper (Orange dial) and each of those have two options. So by that I mean there are Orca I and Orca II, Marlin I and Marlin II and so on. One of those two comes with a rubber strap and the other one comes with stainless steel bracelet, but each has some different colour bezel or hands. The watch that Eric sent me is the Orca II. I had a chance to choose from the whole catalogue and I think The Orca II Bluefin II and Snapper I looks the best. I have to mention that only 99 pieces will be made from each version, so get your’s while you can.

So the watch arrived in a nice leather carrying pouch. It is made from a dark brown leather, it has a zipper on the side, contrast yellow stitching and a nice Havaan Tuvaali logo embossed on the side. Inside the pouch, you get a lot, just like with the Squadron One which reviewed in the past. You get the Orca II on a really nice black rubber strap with a nice signed stainless steel clasp. But I don’t like the way you size it, as this is the one where you need to cut out a section to size it, so if you want to sell the watch in the future, it won’t probably fit another person’s wrist. You get the same stainless steel bracelet that was included with the Squadron One. It is a decent bracelet, it has solid links and endlinks, the clasp is also nice, it is milled. But the problem with the bracelet on this watch is that it just makes it wear too big in my opinion. And the third option that I was surprised to see was the olive green parachute strap. The strap is made from new olive green elastic webbing, and it is really comfortable because you can adjust it very precisely to your wrist. The strap is actually made from parachute straps. You also get a spring bar tool which looks to be a good one, at least it isn’t one of those cheap ones. And the last you get the warranty card.

The case of the Orca II is made from stainless steel and has a cushion shape. It is basically the same case that Squadron One uses. The case has a nice brushed finishing, the lugs are straight and pretty short. The lugs have polished finishing. Overall the finishing is done really good and no complaints there. The diameter of the case is 44mm, the thickness is 16mm, lug to lug is 52mm and lug width is 22mm. Overall the watch seems pretty big on the paper, but actually, if you put it on Nato, leather strap or the included parachute or rubber strap, it actually wears like 42mm watch. Of course, if you want to wear it on a bracelet, it will wear even larger than it looks, plus it will be a pretty heavy thing to carry around on your wrist. I actually put mine on a regular olive green nato, I cut off the seconds loop and wear it like that, and I think it looks nice. At 2 o’clock we have an offset screw down crown. The crown is pretty hard to unscrew if you have bigger fingers, but when you get used to it, it isn’t so hard. The crown has polished finishing and is signed with Havaan Tuvali logo. Crown threads nicely and it is easy to set time and wind the movement. I have seen one video review where the guy complained that there is still a date set function on the crown and when you try to set it, you can still hear that there is the date wheel, and he also didn’t like that there is no date option on the dial. For me that is no problem at all, it doesn’t interfere negatively on how the watch works or anything, and that there is no date, shortens the time setting process. Also, why do you need a date on a dive watch anyways? So, I’m glad that there is no date window. On the left side of the case, you have the helium escape valve which is polished. The solid case back is a screw in and has a circular brushed finishing. On the case back there is etched some specifications, which number of production is this one and a cool image of old dive helmet and two fishes. Mine is number 03 out of 99. Now we come to one of the most important parts of a dive watch: The bezel. It is an ion-plated 316L stainless steel bezel. Well, the bezel looks nice, it has polished finishing and black, almost dark grey aluminium bezel insert. But no matter how good the bezel looks it isn’t the best in action. The bezel is uni-directional with only 60 clicks. And I got to say, it has a pretty sloppy action. When you rotate the bezel, it feels cheap. Also, it is pretty hard to grip it. There is no play though, which is surprising to see, but when you rotate, it just doesn’t seem that good compared to the watch overall. If it was 120 click bezel and a smoother action to it, it would be the perfect hardcore diver! On top of the dial sits a double domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, which makes the dial really pop. The water resistance is also a whooping 80ATM (800m), which is more than enough for even a professional diver.

Now we come to the dial part, which is the most interesting on this watch and a first that I see on a mechanical watch, at least for me. When I first saw pictures of this watch I thought that the semi-circle in the centre of the dial was just a design thing. But when I actually started to read about the watch, I realized it is a temperature gauge, a real functional temperature gauge! I think it is a pretty cool feature and pretty useful in a daily use, even when you are diving. Usually, I check the temperature on my phone or on the gauge on the window. But having a temperature gauge on your wrist is very useful as instantly, just looking at the wrist you can check the temperature. But you have to take in mind that the temperature is shown only on Celsius, for people in the USA, it will be harder to read, although I think it isn’t any problem, as many people actually know how to read both Celsius and Fahrenheit and convert them. How do the temperature indicators work? The 9 temperature indicators located in the centre of the dial are liquid crystal, capable of sensing temperature from 0 to 40℃ (5℃ increment). The liquid crystal indicators are thin films; each is handmade and sandwiched between the dial and the movement. The original state of the indicators are black – when detected the temperature, the colour will become green, blue or brown. Green is the actual reading, brown is just above the actual reading and blue is just below the actual reading. For example, if the temperature is 25℃, the 25 square will become green, if the temperature is 23℃, the 25 square will turn blue and the 20 square will turn brown.

I went with the matte black dial with orange minute and small seconds hand. The Code Zero-6 is a two-hand watch, a two-hand watch in terms of “standard” size hands. The hands are sized well in terms of length and width, and larger and they would inhibit the temperature gauge. There is a seconds hand but it is on the small second’s dial located at 8 o’clock. The hour markers and hands are lumed with Superluminova C3 that allows continued legibility in low light and dark situations.

The movement in Zero-6 is the Swiss Made Sellita SW290-1 automatic movement. It has 31 jewels, 28800 A/h at 4Hz and 38-hour power reserve. The movement is really good one! I like that Eric went the Swiss movement way and didn’t choose the classic movements that you usually see in microbrands like Seiko NH-35 or the Miyota 8000 and 9000 series. Eric also checks every movement and regulates them. The example that I have here runs at +6 to +7 seconds a day which is pretty good. The movement also has a hacking seconds feature, but I think it isn’t so necessary, only big watch nerds who need their watches very precise use that function, for me it makes no difference.

Overall this is a pretty good diver. What you get for only 550$ is amazing. You get a nice leather travel pouch, 3 strap options, a good spring bar tool, stainless steel case, Swiss made automatic movement, double domed sapphire crystal, temperature gauge and a whopping 800m water resistance! This is a hell of a diver in my opinion and is a close competitor to my diver benchmark watches: Ginault and Seiko Orange Monster. It has everything you expect from a diver and even more! Of course, the bezel isn’t the best, but overall it is a very well executed watch. Eric is definitely going the right way with this one!

Price 550$ @ www.havaantuvali.com

  • Movement – Swiss Sellita SW290-1 automatic movement
  • Case – Surgical grade 316L stainless steel case w/ helium escape valve
  • Size – 43mm diameter, 15mm thickness, 52mm lug to lug
  • Bezel – Unidirectional ion-plated 316L stainless steel bezel
  • Crystal – Double-domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Dial – Superluminova C3 hands and hour markers, 8 o’clock sub seconds, centre temperature indicators
  • Strap – 22mm stainless steel bracelet / rubber strap / mm parachute strap
  • Water resistance – 800m / 2625ft

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