I recently bought multiple dive watches (“divers”) to find The One True Watch that would make me stop pining for a no-date pre-Glidelock Submariner (14060), without costing me thousands of dollars.
When I was a few timepieces into my latest watch buying fugue, Mr. Roland Kemmner told me about his just-released 007-Stingray 39mm diver. I was immediately very excited. Spoiler: I was not disappointed. This watch delivers.
Right around that time, Banko posted a notice about this new Kemmner offering: New Kemmner 007 Stingray announced
If you want good photos, go there first.
I’m calling this a “Vintage” dive watch because it doesn’t have a crown guard. Hopefully that’s a fair classification.
I think this is the most interesting and most desirable dive watch Mr. Kemmner has ever produced in his “Kemmner” line. If he ever comes out with one that adds some yellow to the dial or improves along any lines that I discuss below, I could see myself selling this one and buying that one. Right now I can’t think of any other watch I’d sell this one to buy.
I find the dial a little un-exciting in person. While there are two shades of “white” it still feels monochrome. This is my biggest concern about this watch, but not my only one. It is a minor concern and positively subjective. For comparison, I love the yellow text on my MWW No. 4 and have even more of a yearning for yellow like the non-five-minute minute indices I’ve seen in photos of the Raven Trekker. Those are, to me, sublime. Not suggesting them for this watch, just pointing out what I’ve seen that I like so readers can have some point of reference for my monochrome niggling.
I wish it were domed more aggressively (taller dome in the middle), but that’s just my preference, not a criticism.
Readability (Telling Time)
Very readable from dead on or very wide angles. Practical. Usable. This thing tells time and isn’t just an art piece.
I love the 8mm crown. For me, it’s the perfect size. No shoulders (crown guard), I’m happy to say.
No minute marks. Bezel is black with recessed numbers 1 through 11, all lumed, and a lumed 12 o’clock arrow. I like it. I won’t use the bezel for anything, but it’s unusual and pleasing.
Great grip on the 60-click unidirectional bezel. Feels good to turn. Great sound. 60 vs. 120 clicks? I don’t know – who cares? I care, sort of, but I can’t figure out why I should.
I love the stingray drawn on the back of this case. Love it. It’s a neat mascot and the drawing itself is very nice and very nicely applied. This was a significant part of my purchase decision.
Disclosure: I wear watches on the underside of my wrist. And my watch is for me to enjoy — I don’t like to advertise.
This H-link bracelet is comfortable and substantial. A big pain in the rear for me to adjust since it had two-sided link screws and the first one I tried to turn was pretty tight. But I made it through and this thing is sized perfectly for my wrist.
I prefer a 16mm bracelet width at clasp, which I’ve mentioned in some other replies on WUS. But I like this bracelet and it doesn’t feel bad (too wide) at clasp like my Squale 1545-ORIG Militaire does.
I wish it were an Oyster-style bracelet, not H-link. But it’s a nice bracelet and it doesn’t bother me. I plan to keep this watch on steel. I have enough watches on strap that I need never take this off of its bracelet. As a corollary, my MWW looks so good on my two-piece black strap that I may never even size its bracelet.
The solid links are not too thick/tall. The bracelet flops together effortlessly in the way I like, just like my NTH Nacken does.
I thought this might be the same H-link bracelet as my MWW No. 4, with different end links. But it is not. I compared them. The MWW’s bracelet seems to use identical (large) removable links, while my Kemmner has large and small removable links. The clasps are very similar, but the part you put your fingernail under is round-shaped on the Kemmner and not so on the MWW. And the MWW’s safety/backup clasp thingie is polished. The bracelets are the same width and I’m guessing come from the same manufacturer, but who knows.
I haven’t put the stingray-skin strap on this yet, but I find it gorgeous in person and think it looks great on the watch in photos.
The clasp is a bit hard to clip down and the diver extension falls out sometimes. It looks good and the engraved “Kemmner” seems to have an almost “burned” outline that I like.
I’m very happy with where the hands line up with the dial indices. I love that there’s an inner circle of short lines for the hour hand.
I’m not going to make specific design/color suggestions because the whole piece has to be considered for such things to have any validity whatsoever, however subjective even that would still be. I’ll stick to my mild criticism above about it being too monochrome and mention again my usual pining for some burnished yellow on the dial.
The logo/name presentation is just okay. Not a great font used for “Kemmner”. Probably better than the earlier “Kemmner” inside a barn/pentagon. For me, the gold standard of a logo is the MWW mountain/lake_reflection with its back story that it represents the mountains of the maker’s home state of Vermont and their reflection in a lake. Awesome.
In my opinion, the dial text (not the time keeping numbers) is all too small. I’m referring to the text which says:
200 m=660 ft
The “Made in” and “Germany” text seems fine at its tiny size. It fits perfectly between the 25 and 35 minute indices. I wouldn’t change its size.
The font used for the depth rating is just so-so.
What text do I like? I’m not saying it belongs on this watch, but to give readers an idea of what text color, text size, and font I love, check out the yellow text on the MWW No. 4.
Also, I’d prefer the ‘m’ and ‘ft’ not be separated from their numbers by a space and the ‘=’ be bounded by spaces. Also, shouldn’t that really be an approximation symbol (‘≈’) since a meter is 3.28 feet (200m = 656ft, not 660 ft)?
No date displayed, thank goodness. I would not have bought this watch if it had a date anywhere on its dial. I’ll tolerate a date if the watch is downright inexpensive or if they do something remarkable like the MWW No. 4 did with date placement and presentation.
The syringe style hands seem very close to the dial, in a good way. I really like this in a watch. Hands up in the stratosphere by the dial bother me in most cases.
I like the seconds hand. It is non-distracting and I find myself watching it with pleasure.
I love the blue color. My Tisell is a torch though. Maybe I’ll come to prefer the more conservative lume level on this Kemmner sooner or later. I don’t know.
I can read the bezel numerals clearly in the dark. It’s a nice effect.
It’s actually a little taller on my wrist than I prefer, but it’s identical to my W3 39mm Vintage Diver SE so I knew what to expect. What’s the perfect height? I suppose my NTH Nacken or my Tisell vintage diver.
Compared to Other Watches
I’ll give some one-off comparisons to other watches I own. These are not full comparisons — simply the first or top things that I think of when I compare them in my mind to my Kemmner 007-Stingray.
- Precista PRS-82: The PRS-82 contains yellow. I love yellow. But its bezel is a little too hard to turn. And the PRS-82 doesn’t come with a bracelet.
- W3 39mm Vintage Diver Special Edition (sterile dial): I’m selling my W3. The Planet Ocean style dial, while probably a work of high craftsmanship, is not to my taste. I’m in love with yellow, not red. And I don’t want a date showing on my watch. And I think its numbers are red while its seconds hand is orange.
- MWW No. 4: The yellow text and its font on this dial blows my mind. And the dial is a bottomless enamel black. The MWW is a little too tall for me owing apparently to its case back height. I prefer the height of this Kemmner to my MWW, but I prefer even more the lower height of my Tisell Submersible vintage diver.
- Squale 1545-ORIG: The difference here is that I don’t like the well made Squale. It just does nothing for me.
- Tisell Submersible vintage diver: This South Korean obvious Submariner knock-off gives my Kemmner a run for its money as far as my affection goes, which is a complete surprise to me. I’m a big fan of shoulderless crowns and of watches that aren’t blatant copies of other watches. (Yeah, I realize the face of this Kemmner is a clear monochrome riff on the dial of a JLC watch as pointed out in a comment on the thread linked to above. But the Tisell strikes me as much more of a “copy” than an homage. But I still love my Tisell, shoulders and all.) My Tisell’s lume is stronger. Seems to be nuclear with almost no charge, whereas the Kemmner needs to be charged and isn’t quite nuclear even in that case. Perhaps I’ll see over time that they’re closer and this was just an anecdotal false positive or I’ll change my power preference through experience.
- Seiko SKX-007: These watches don’t compare. They’re both fine, just very different. I almost see no point in comparing them and I think that fact of my opinion is worth mentioning.
In The Box
The two included screwdrivers are really nice. The springbar tool is fine. The spare springbars are appreciated. I love the little screw-together tube they came in. Unscrewing that gave me an unexpected delight.
As I mentioned someplace else, I actually think of this as a value watch. Sure, it’s not three hundred bucks, but for the money I paid (480 EUR, about $560 US), I think this timepiece is a no-brainer and a steal for someone who likes the way it looks and wears and who appreciates its high level of quality.
I don’t know really. I’ll ask her and hopefully update this in the future. She did say she prefers my Tisell. (These two watches were delivered on the same day.)
Yes, this is a keeper. Why? Multiple reasons, many of which overlap each other:
- Fear of regret. I think I would regret it if I sold it. Even though it’s not quite as amazing as I thought it would be when I first saw Mr. Kemmner’s photos.
- Resale. There’s no rush to sell something that won’t likely go down in value (except to the degree I scratch it up). Unless I need the money at some point.
- Vanity. I feel like I lucked into this one by being in the market at just the right time.
- Emotion. I got the serial number I want. That creates an attachment for me.
- It’s a goddamned nice watch. It’s better than any MKII I’ve seen (in pictures) — and I’ve pined for a red-triangle MKII Nassau* forever! If a Kemmner Oyster bracelet tapered to 16mm, I’d lose my mind while scrambling for my credit card. I’d pay $200 for the right Oyster-style bracelet for this watch if it were also 16mm at the clasp.
- Scarcity. There will only be one hundred made. And only one with my chosen serial number.
* But I despise the sticking-out side plates and screws on the Nassau bracelet.
This post is inherently subjective. If you love something on your own Kemmner 007-Stingray which I very mildly have criticized on mine, I hope you enjoy your watch for the same reasons I have said I think it could be improved for me. No worries, friends.
I’m just popping this review off. I may add to it later. I welcome questions.
Postscript: I first posted this here, but decided to put it on my blog since I’m not loving a specific aspect of the moderation approach at WUS: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f67/kemmner-007-stingray-39mm-vintage-dive-watch-impressions-4566839.html#post44478907