Uncage Your Fears & Dive Free With The New Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding
Editor’s note: After recently reviewing the new Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3, today we are looking at the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding. Here’s our preview and a quick Gut Reaction Review (Grr…). For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Last night I was watching a Jason Statham starrer named ‘The Meg’. It’s about this prehistoric giant shark that’s wreaking havoc. And in the midst of whatever’s happening, the protagonists use a shark cage to protect themselves from the dangers lurking under the waters.
As most watch enthusiasts do, I was trying to focus on the wrist shots, trying to figure out the watch worn by the female protagonist, played by Li Bingbing. And even though it was a Carl F. Bucherer diver, just seeing a watch inside the shark cage reminded me of the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding.
To me, this latest AS offering — their first watch with 100m water-resistance — for all intents and purposes appears to be a watch that would call those shark infested waters with debris flying home. In a market full of dive watches mostly clones of each other, it’s design is not only welcome but also appears to be what the brand calls, unbreakable.
Before watching this movie, when I had first received the press release of the new AS Deep Ding diver, my first reaction was to recall the trench watches from World War 1.
These trench watches used a metal grill or mesh that covered the crystal, allowing for time to be read, but also ensuring that shrapnel doesn’t destroy the dial.
At the turn of the 20th century, Registered Designs and patents such as 656724 / 105694 were made by companies like Hirst Bros. These were essentially Shrapnel Guards for watches to be subjected to war conditions. But with the advent of sapphire crystal and other materials, the need for this subsided.
The new AS Deep Ding design is essentially taking the concept of these trench watches from over-the-land to under-the-water, and ensuring that they come back unbroken.
There is a Garth Brooks quote that reads: “The human spirit: Unbreakable. Relentless. Free”.
The new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding epitomises this ideology: it is designed to be ‘unbreakable’, relentless in its approach to always be avant-garde, and free from the conventional thoughts of what makes a dive watch.
Beauty and the Beast
The genesis of the watch design stemmed from an interest by Alexander Shorokhoff’s friend Mr Michael Gebre Ab, who was in need of a reliable and sturdy timepiece that could handle the effects of a sea voyage.
The watch is not supposed to be a ‘fashion diver’, but rather a practical watch that can accompany Mr Shorokhoff’s friend on his yacht named “Lucy”.
And so was born this unbreakable case design with a lattice or the grille and screwed closed back along with an internal rotating deer’s bezel and two crowns with double seals and 100m water-resistance.
Just like a shark cage that could be made from polycarbonate with protective steel grills, here is a dive watch mimicking that concept.
Come to think of it, the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding is like the classic beauty and the beast, but integrated to form one new object (or Ding in German): the watch case is a beast that’s designed to overpower whatever the waters throw at it, and the mesmerising mother-of-pearl dials are the beauty that it protects.
Like a spider’s web, this grille is designed to make the watch take a beating and yet emerge victorious. It is constructed from six — 3 vertical, 3 horizontal — separate and 90° bent stainless steel rods and 12 fixing screws. Think of trellises on top of each other, creating a sturdy structural cage.
As an architect I know a thing or two about the importance of solid structural foundations. And am glad to note that AS hasn’t incorporated these six rods only for the sake of creating unique aesthetics; I mean truth be told, how many divers these days actually feature a design like this?
AS makes sure these rods hold the watch case, crystal, bezel and back all securely, kind of creating a no-nonsense spider web-isque bond. The stainless steel rods are screwed in place as they pass through the upper bezel and the middle case, and are then fastened from below with screws.
Talking about the timepiece itself, the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding is a rather large 45mm diameter — coincidently same as the iconic Doxa Sub300t from 1967 — and 13.75 mm (14.3 mm with steel mesh) thick watch that comes in two variations:
- ref. AS.DD1 (my preference) featuring a white mother-of-pearl dial encased inside a stainless steel case with the case middle coated in a PVD red gold colour, and outer bezel and crowns in PVD black colouring
- ref. AS.DD2 featuring a blue mother-of-pearl dial encased inside an all PVD coated stainless steel case
Retailing for 1’994 Euro or 3’200 AUD — this year’s price, next year it’s meant to increase to 2’340 Euro — both these versions are 30-pieces only and feature a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on top and 22mm lug interhorn spacing and come on a high quality rubber strap with folding clasp.
In regards to the engine powering these beauties cased inside beasts, the new AS Deep Ding chooses to feature the bread-n-butter movement for entry-level watches these days, the tried-and-tested Swiss Sellita SW200-1 (or 2824.ETA), and here the brand has left its own stamp to it by including blued screws and a hand-engraved and refined oscillating weight.
I kind of appreciated more that in the recent Alexander Shorokhoff Karo 3 the brand chose to use the Russian Poljot 3133 movement, a calibre we found in that review to be rather rare in today’s market.
But I do understand the use of generic ETA or Sellita movements here; it’s more practical given they are pretty common movements, being used in lots of other watches such as the Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire, CW C60 Trident Pro 600, and by other brands such as Baume & Mercier, Oris, Eterna and Bell & Ross to name a few.
So rest assured, it’s meant to tick to satisfaction.
The generic calibre SW200-1 is a 25.60mm diameter and 4.6mm thick movement that beats at the standard frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h), comprises 26 jewels, offers a 38-hour power reserve, and should have a timing tolerance of +20/-20 seconds per day. It also offers a central hacking seconds mechanism along with an anti-shock system.
There is a certain rugged handsomeness about these pieces; like I said, they really are the melting pot of beauty and the beast. If you look beyond the grills, it is the distinctive beauty of the dials that shines through.
Just like the night and day, darkness and light, these two dials present distinctive personalities, providing something for everyone.
If you have ever played with a mother-of-pearl object, you will attest that these dials can encompass a vast range of textures and hues, and in the case of the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding, they represent the vast depth of the sea in which they are destined to reign supreme.
Besides the cage and the dials, there are a number of other elements that give this 3’000 AUD offering an edge over others.
The shrapnel guards style grid-cage means that legibility could be limited. I appreciate how AS has countered that, by incorporating over-sized and lume filled hour and minute black lacquered hands, and given the 45mm diameter, these should have ample space to reveal the dance of time in varied lighting conditions.
Another feature I like is the inclusion of a globe with cardinal points indications at 6’o clock; it adds to the tool-watch, real-world-use vibe of the watch.
Given it’s a practical dive watch, it comes on a rubber strap with a polished and brushed folding clasp. The strap’s underside features an embossed wave-like pattern. But most impressively, this pattern is also reflected on the embossed solid steel case-back, amidst which a pair of three-dimensional turtles roam free.
Last but not the least I like the special box it comes in; a navy blue watch box with a steel-framed “peephole” welcomes the admirers to have a gander at the new AS Deep Ding as it sits cosily nestled by a light blue wavy fabric interior.
There is lot of welcome irony in these watches: bars mean being caged-up; but the avant-garde design means liberation; and then there are the two turtles that swim free.
I reckon just like those turtles, watch collectors and aquatic enthusiasts get an opportunity to swim free, without worrying that their watch may get damaged or a mark or a ding.
It is time to uncage your fears and dive free with the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding.
To find out more about the new Alexander Shorokhoff Deep Ding and other AS timepieces, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are ©2021 Copyright Alexander Shorokhoff Uhrenmanufaktur GmbH. Make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.