Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vostok Amphibia Tonneau Diver Reissue Review

The watch you see pictured here is the second factory reissue of the classic 1970's Vostok Tonneau cased diver. The first such reissue from a few years ago was pretty expensive in my opinion and reportedly had some issues with crystal durability. This second reissue uses Vostok's tried and true acrylic crystal and, at $100 shipped, is easy on the wallet.

The original 1970's Tonneau Amphibia measured 40 mm in width (44mm with the crown), 45 mm lug to lug, 14mm in thickness and had an 18mm band lug width. The new version has been upsized slightly. It measures 48mm lug to lug, 43mm in width (47mm with the crown), 15mm in thickness and uses a 22mm band lug width.

Another significant change from the original model is the movement. The original used a hand wound 2214 movement. It's successor now sports a 2415d automatic movement. From a water resistance standpoint, this is a good change as the crown need not be opened very often for winding purposes.

Visually, Vostok did a good job of updating things without giving up the watch's old style charm. Like the original, there is no date window. The dial design is similar to the old 300 meter version of the original Tonneau Diver and the bezel is similarly designed as well. The case actually resembles that of the now hard to find 300 meter version so much that I am wondering if that was the inspiration here. (Note-The new reissue here is rated at 200 meters water resistance, just like all other modern Amphibias) Like all Amphibias, the case back and crown screw down and the case back relies on the traditional Vostok two part screw down system.

Like most Vostoks, the watch does have two trademark quirks. First off, the stock bracelet (see picture above) is of so so quality and should be replaced with a higher quality band or bracelet. Don't get me wrong, it can be sized by a jeweler and used, but it is not up to the quality of the watch otherwise in my opinion. It should be noted that the clearance beneath this model's hooded lugs is pretty tight. A thick replacement rubber band or bracelet will likely not fit. Substituting thinner spring bars for the stock models (which are quite thick) frees up enough room for a nato or leather band like the Hirsch Trapper pictured here. The other subpar feature of all Vostoks, this one included, is crummy lume. Expect no more than one hour of visibility in darkness.

For $100, the Vostok Tonneau Reissue is a very good deal. It a solidly made automatic diver that should give many years of good service. Vostoks are renowned for their durability and this example with its heavy stainless steel case and acrylic crystal (whose scratches can be easily polished away with a little toothpaste and a cotton ball) should be no exception. As readers of this blog know, I have always been interested in this company's offerings. While not perfect by any means, they reflect an engineering perspective that places maximum emphasis on low cost and long term durability.
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