Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Saturday, I’m reviewing the 1972 Limited Edition from watch brand Eza.
The 1972 Limited Edition is Eza’s latest offering, which draws inspiration from an Eza diving watch from – you guessed it – 1972. This Limited Edition (100 pieces per dial colour) keeps true to the dimensions of the original Eza diving watch from 1972, though there is a regular 1972 with a more modern 40mm diameter.
Alright, let’s see if this vintage inspired diver is any good!
Eza – the Brand
Eza – as a brand – traces its roots back to a small watchmaking town called Pforzheim in Germany. Born in the 20th century, Eza carved a name for themselves by offering affordable mechanical watches to the masses. Many of the vintage Eza watches house movements from Hermann Becker, one of the more prominent movement manufacturers in Pforzheim. Interestingly, the brand has only ever produced mechanical watches and refused to utilize quartz movements. Unfortunately, that led to their demise during the quartz crisis of the 1970s.
After 37 years of absence, the brand was resurrected in 2016 by young Dutch watchmaker and entrepreneur Adriaan Trampe. Having worked at the Rolex servicing bench prior to helming Eza, Adriaan is a passionate aspiring watchmaker seeking to make his own mark in the industry. Currently, Eza watches are assembled in Pforzheim, Germany – just as they were in the 1900s – with parts and movements sourced from Switzerland. I must say, I find the story of Eza intriguing. It’s essentially a microbrand, but gifted with historical references to draw inspirations from. Unlike some of the other resurrected brands (for example, Le Jour), Eza isn’t managed by a big corporation, but rather an individual watchmaker. Interesting to say the least!
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review of the Eza 1972 Limited Edition!
Eza 1972 Limited Edition – Build Quality
I would say that the 1972 Limited Edition has satisfactory specifications for the price.
Unlike most modern watches, the Eza 1972 Limited Edition does not use a sapphire crystal. Instead, it comes with a plexiglass crystal. I’m a tad torn by this. On one hand, it’s definitely historically accurate, and for those that love the vintage charm of the divers from the 1970s, they will appreciate the use of plexiglass. On the other hand, plexiglass isn’t used in modern watches anymore simply because it isn’t very durable, especially when compared to sapphire. It’s prone to scratches, and even cracks. Yes, you can use Polywatch to buff out scratches, but that’s still additional work. Eza states that an additional plexiglass is included in case the crystal cracks, but in that scenario, you will still have to find a watchmaker to install it for you. Whether the vintage charm of a plexiglass crystal is worth the additional trouble is a trade-off is subjective, so you will have to ask yourself if form or function is more important to you.
The WR rating of the 1972 Limited Edition is stated at just 30M, which means that you can’t wear the 1972 Limited Edition into the pool, or even the shower. Eza has told me that this is deliberate, as its original 1972 diver was rated at 30M as well. In other words, the 1972 Limited Edition is a vintage-inspired desk diver that shouldn’t see water at all. For those that are looking for an everyday tool watch or a watch to actually dive in, the regular variant of the 1972 (with its 200M WR rating) is a better choice.
At the heart of the Eza 1972 Limited Edition is the workhorse ETA 2824-2 movement. This movement – commonly found in watches from Swiss luxury brands such as Longines, Oris, Omega, Tudor, etc – needs no introduction. The ETA 2824-2 is probably the most desired movement to be had in a microbrand watch, especially when compared to its Sellita/STP/Miyota counterparts. Some specifications: The ETA 2824-2 has 38 hours of power reserve, hacking feature, 4 Hz operating frequency, 25 Jewels and an ETACHRON regulator system. It is one of the most recognizable movements in the watchmaking industry, so getting it serviced should be no problem (aside from the cost, of course). I should highlight that the ETA movement here is personally adjusted by Adriaan to six positions, so in theory, it should be more accurate than brands that simply grabbed the movement off the shelf. In my experience with the watch, the 1972 Limited Edition kept impeccable time.
The 1972 Limited Edition comes standard on what Eza describes as a “vintage leather strap”, with an additional tropic rubber strap thrown in. Unfortunately, the quality of the leather strap is rather average. It’s genuine leather, so unlike top or full-grain leather it won’t patina over time. The lining has a cardboard-like texture too, and isn’t that comfortable on the wrist. It’s not the worst strap that I’ve ever come across, but honestly it doesn’t do the watch justice. Personally, I swapped out the strap on the 1972 Limited Edition almost immediately. As for the tropic rubber strap, it’s okay, but I never found the opportunity to use it given that I couldn’t bring the watch into the pool.
The 1972 Limited Edition comes equipped with Swiss Superluminova, which as expected shines brightly in the dark. It’s rather long-lasting as well. Interestingly, Eza doesn’t state exactly what variant is used, though judging from the green hue I assume it is C3. To be faithful to the original 1972 Eza dive watch, the brand has decided to omit any lume on the indices and bezel here. Again, I’m torn on this as it simply makes the watch less practical.
Overall, I would say that the Eza 1972 Limited Edition is very much a vintage watch (with the specifications to boot) with a modern price tag. To be historically accurate, Eza has made several deliberate choices here, such as the use of plexiglass instead of sapphire, the 30M WR rating, and the lack of lume elsewhere on the watch. I should highlight that the regular variant of the 1972 (priced identically) solves these issues with the usage of a domed sapphire crystal, 200M WR rating, and lume present on the bezel. If you’re concerned about durability and practicality, and are looking for a robust tool watch, I’ll highly suggest checking out the regular 40mm 1972 instead. In contrast, the 1972 Limited Edition is very much catered to lovers of vintage watches who will appreciate its historical accuracy to the original 1972 Eza dive watch.
Eza 1972 Limited Edition – Design
Ultimately though, I would say that the main draw of the Eza 1972 Limited Edition is its vintage styling.
I really like the royal blue dial of the 1972 Limited Edition. Blue dials are a dime a dozen these days, but this shade of royal blue is decidedly rarer. There’s also a black dial variant, but I much prefer the blue as it provides a nice contrast to the black bezel. In addition, I also found the applied horseshoe indices intriguing. It’s a design that I’ve personally not encountered before, and given that I’ve reviewed almost 100 watches till date that’s saying something! The indices definitely has a vintage vibe to it, with the horseshoe design language in line with watches of the 1970s. I also find the dashes of red emanating from the indices refreshingly sporty, especially when contrasted against the blue dial. Furthermore, I also found the syringe second hand to add an old-school charm to the 1972 Limited Edition. Finally, I must applaud Eza for integrating the date wheel superbly well, and managing to maintain the overall symmetry of the dial – it’s a little detail that goes a long way.
The 1972 Limited Edition comes with what is described as a “synthetic bezel” – I’ll be honest, I’m not quite sure what that means. Eza doesn’t mention any further details on their website too. Whatever material it is made of, it’s a 60 click unidirectional bezel. Rotating the bezel feels satisfying, though there’s a tad too much play for my liking. That being said, given the watch’s 30M of WR rating, you’re probably not going to use the bezel anyway. What I do like about it is its vintage charm. Unlike the modern 40mm 1972, the bezel on the 1972 Limited Edition is devoid of lume. Instead, the bezel is painted in with white paint. I quite like the aesthetic, as it is something that is rarely seen on the modern watches of today. Elsewhere, there’s also a polished cushion case, which further reinforces the vintage charm of the 1972 Limited Edition. Cushion cases were the rage back in the 1970s, and tended to be either simply brushed or polished throughout as watch brands lacked the machinery required for the subtle finishing that we see today. There’s a rustic charm to the bezel and case that will certainly appeal to vintage watch lovers.
One of the best aspects of the 1972 Limited Edition is its thin case profile. Just look at the photo above! I can easily say that this is the most svelte dive watch that I’ve reviewed till date. Both the case and the crown has a high gloss finish, which gives the watch a dressier look. In particular, Eza made the conscious decision to have an unsigned crown, so as to be historically accurate to the original Eza diver from 1972 that was their inspiration. Again, if you appreciate the simplicity that watches of bygone eras possessed, this will be right up your alley.
The 1972 Limited Edition comes with a closed caseback. Honestly, the polished caseback is nothing much to shout about, featuring some relevant specifications and a depiction of a diver. It’s definitely not one of the more memorable casebacks that I’ve seen, though again if you’re into the simplistic charm of vintage watches you might actually appreciate its simplicity.
The 35.8mm case diameter of the Eza 1972 Limited Edition may be a tad small by today’s standards, but it is still very wearable on my 7 inch wrists. However, if you have never worn an actual vintage watch before, this might take some getting use too. Alternatively, if you have a smaller wrist, then the smaller dimensions of the 1972 Limited Edition is perfect for you! Furthermore, I also really liked how slim this Eza watch felt on my wrist. On paper, its 11.3mm thickness is already pretty slim by dive watch standards. When you factor in that a chunk of that 11.3mm thickness actually goes towards the domed plexiglass crystal, the watch itself feels like a vintage dress watch on the wrist. If you have always despised dive watches for being big and bulky, this might be the solution.
All in all, the Eza 1972 Limited Edition is full of vintage charm. It has a gorgeous royal blue dial, intriguing indices, a rustic high gloss case, and is tremendously sleek on the wrist. If you’re after more details on the watch, consider the regular 1972 model, which features a signed crown and a mix of brushed and polished finishing. However, if you’re after a modern watch that is historically accurate in its design language to the dive watches of the 1970s, then the 1972 Limited Edition is made for you.
Shootout: Eza 1972 Limited Edition vs Oris Divers Sixty-Five 36mm
If you’re looking for a small, vintage-inspired dive watch, one of the best choices at this price point would be the Oris Divers Sixty-Five 36mm.
In terms of specifications, the Oris Divers Sixty-Five trumps the Eza 1972 Limited Edition. While both watches uses what is essentially the identical movement – the Divers Sixty-Five uses the Sellita SW200-1, which is a clone of the ETA 2824-2 found in the 1972 Limited Edition – the Diver Sixty-Five utilises a domed sapphire crystal, which is significantly more durable than the plexiglass used on the 1972 Limited Edition. It also has a significantly higher WR rating of 100M, as compared to the mere 30M of the 1972 Limited Edition. However, it must be noted that the “vintage specifications” of the 1972 Limited Edition is deliberate – for those that are looking for more modern specifications, the regular variant of the 1972 actually has specifications that edges out the Oris Divers Sixty-Five.
From an aesthetic standpoint, both watches are similar with their blue dials and black bezels. Given that both watches are inspired by dive watches from the 1960/70s, they possess a strong vintage vibe. Ultimately, which watch appeals better to you depends on your personal taste. I would say that the Divers Sixty-Five has the more universal appeal, though some may be turned off its faux patina indices. In comparison, the 1972 Limited Edition is more historically accurate to the dive watches of the 1970s, especially in its simple case design and finishing. Furthermore, it also has the more intriguing indices, though I suppose it is a hate it or love it design.
Where the 1972 Limited Edition trumps the Divers Sixty-Five is in its value. At just $679 USD (after promo code below), its price is about a third of the Divers Sixty-Five. Given that both watches share the same movement – in fact, some enthusiast might argue that the ETA 2824 found in the 1972 Limited Edition is superior to the Sellita SW200-1 of the Divers Sixty-Five – I think paying more than thrice the price for the Divers Sixty-Five is pretty unjustified. As such, while I’ll say that the Divers Sixty-Five is the better watch, but the 1972 Limited Edition is the better buy.
Conclusion: so the Eza 1972 Limited Edition “shiok” or not?
That really depends. If you’re looking for a dive watch that can withstand the trials and tribulations of everyday life, this is not it. For those looking for a regular tool watch, you will be much better off with the regular 1972. However, if you’re a fan of vintage watches – specifically dive watches – then I think the Eza 1972 Limited Edition is for you. It captures the essence of the era through its rustic design, simplistic finishing and 36mm case size. It also wears fantastically thin on the wrist. Sure, you can’t dive with it nor bang it around as you would with a regular dive watch, but if you’re a fan of vintage watches you are unlikely to do so anyway. Given that alternatives such as the Oris Divers Sixty-Five 36mm are significantly more expensive, I would say that the 1972 Limited Edition is also pretty good value at $600+ USD.
For those who are interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy $80 USD off the Eza 1972 Diver (both the regular edition and the Limited Edition) on their web-store! After the discount, the Eza 1972 Limited Edition can be had for just $679 USD/~S$930, which I think is a fair price. For those searching for a neo-vintage dive watch, do check out the 1972 Limited Edition!
View the Eza 1972 collection here.
Update: The promo code is no longer valid, and Eza has increased the pricing of the 1972 Limited Edition to US$995.
Swiss Calibre ETA 2824 Automatic, Ligne 11-1/2’”, 25 jewels, 28.800bph, 38-40 hour power reserve, adjusted by Eza Watches to six positions.
Automatic & manual winding, Display by means of hands: hour, minute, second. Stop second device, Shock-absorber for balance staff.
316L Stainless steel case with mixed brushed and high gloss finish. Case diameter 35.8mm, lug width 18.0mm, case thickness 113 mm, lug to lug 44.3 mm.
High gloss 316L stainless steel engraved caseback.
Hands filled with SuperLuminova™
Custom made for Eza plexiglass. You will receive an extra plexiglass in the package.
Water resistant to 3 ATM, 30 meters.
Vintage leather and topic style rubber strap.
Adjusted to six positions and tested.
You can check out other reviews of the Eza 1972 below!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.