The Master Diver 1000 is Neminus’ sophomore attempt, with their first line being the Spaceman collection. The Master Diver 1000 however, is half the price that the Spacemen collection was on Kickstarter – let’s see if it’s any good at that price point!
Neminus – the Brand
Neminus was founded by Singaporean Perry Khor in 2017, with their maiden Spaceman collection launched via Kickstarter in 2018. The brand describes themselves as “a new generation micro-brand”, and “aims to provide the market with fresh ideas, innovative concepts and unique materials with modernized manufacturing processes”. Ultimately, Neminus strives to “design and craft well-made watches that are affordable and readily accessible”.
With the Master Diver 1000, Neminus states that they designed the watch to pay tribute to “elite divers around the world — cave divers, deep divers, military divers, treasure hunters and so forth”. The Master Diver 1000 is billed as a watch that can withstand the harshest of conditions, but is also accessible in price – encapsulating the microbrand ethos of offering more for less.
Alright, without further ado let’s dive (pun intended) into this review!
Neminus Master Diver 1000 – Build Quality
I have to say – the Master Diver 1000 is a rock solid watch.
Firstly, the Neminus Master Diver 1000 utilises a double domed sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. Furthermore, there’s also 4 layers of internal AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent unwanted reflections from occurring! Elsewhere, the WR rating for the Master Diver 1000 is stated at 1000M, which means that you can actually wear the watch out while diving for sunken treasure in the Pacific Ocean!
The Seiko NH35A movement serves as the beating heart of the Neminus Master Diver 1000. Some quick specs: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking. I’m a fan of the Seiko NH35A movement, and greatly prefer it to the Miyota 8 series movement (which is the alternative movement commonly seen at this price point). This is due to the fact that unlike the NH35A, the Miyota 8 series movements are non-hacking, suffer from a stuttering second hand (some models), and in my own experience with the Miyota movements, are also more prone to accuracy problems. Last but not least, the usage of the Seiko NH35A movement helps keep the price down to a very palatable $339 USD!
The case of the Neminus Master Diver 1000 is forged out of bronze. Personally, I enjoy the natural patina that bronze develops with age, and the unique character that it brings. As the patination of bronze depends on a variety of factors (exposure to air, water, etc), no two bronze watch patina in the exact same way. Starting as a shiny, rose-gold case, the watch will eventually patina into a rustic brown. I love the transformative effect of bronze, and personally I find a bronze case much more interesting than plain old stainless steel. Furthermore, bronze looks great on dive watches as well – the popularity of the Tudor Black Bay Bronze is a testament to that – with the watch looking like a treasure found at the bottom of the sea after some use! In addition, the 120 click unidirectional bezel (1500 vickers) of the Master Diver 1000 is made of ceramic for an added exotic touch, as well as added scratch resistance.
The Master Diver 1000 comes on a Kevlar strap, with a leather lining. I like the strap stylistically – I think the red accents are cool, and I especially love the contrasting strap loops! I also love the striking bronze buckle, which will patina alongside the bronze case. However, I did find the Kelvar strap is be a tad too thin to support the Master Diver 1000. The watch is a monstrous 16.4mm thick – the default Kevlar strap simply lacks the bulk to complement the watch. I personally swapped the default Kelvar strap for a thicker Isofrane strap, which felt substantially more comfortable on the wrist. Update: As of publication, Neminus has reached their stretch goal of 30K, which means that they will now ship an additional rubber strap (with a bronze buckle) for backers. I’ll definitely use that over the default Kevlar strap!
The Neminus Master Diver 1000 utilises Swiss BGW9 Superluminova, and the result is incredibly strong lume. I would confidently say that the lume on the Master Diver 1000 is perhaps one of the strongest and longest lasting I’ve seen, even by dive watch standards! In addition, I love that Neminus has chosen to lume the bezel as well – if you do indeed strap on the Master Diver 1000 for a diving trip, you should have no issues telling the elapsed time even in the depths of the sea!
Overall, I think the Neminus Master Diver 1000 presents incredibly strong specifications for the price. It has a doubled domed sapphire crystal with multiple layers of AR coating, a workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, a bronze case coupled with a ceramic bezel, and strong lume.
Neminus Master Diver 1000 – Design
Kickstarter is flooded with dive watches at the moment, but the Neminus Master Diver 1000 features some neat aesthetic touches to differentiate themselves from the crowd.
The main draw of the Master Diver 1000 is its unique dial. Unlike most other affordable divers – which usually feature a sterile, Submariner inspired dial – the Master Diver 1000’s dial is simply stunning. Inspired by the seabed of the ocean, the brass dial is layered with multiple layers of paint and stamped to produce a cracked texture. In addition, the dial is coloured in a blue-green (teal?) hue which Neminus states is based upon the actual colour of the seabed. Personally, the dial conjures up the scales of a Kraken to me (I’ve a more imaginative mind) but in any case, it is certainly one of the most distinctive dials I’ve encountered thus far! The dial also plays with the light beautifully – under different light conditions and angle, one gets different colour tones from the dial. Elsewhere, the indices are nicely applied for greater depth, and the red-tipped seconds hand – with its trident counterweight – is stylistically interesting as well. Lastly, the hands are bold and masculine, even if they look a tad phallic in nature.
The ceramic bezel is nicely brushed, and employs an interesting dodecagonal (12 sided) shape. I like the choice of numerals throughout, making the bezel less Submariner like. In addition, I find the SKX-like case shape – with its faceted edges – a nice touch! There’s also a helium escape valve at 10 o’clock. In traditional dive watches, divers unscrew the valve to release the helium trapped inside the watch after ascending back to the surface. If not released, the pressure of the helium inside would break the watch crystal! Of course, the helium escape valve has long been made redundant in today’s age, but Neminus decided to include a physical helium escape valve as a novelty, to pay homage to serious diving. That’s quite cool, for a lack of a better adjective – I can’t recall another microbrand dive watch that feature a physical helium escape valve!
The bronze case looks magnificent once it has acquired patina, giving the case an aged, textured look. We also get a nicely sized and signed crown, with a grooved texture for enhanced grip. Lastly, there’s also a line that runs through the center of the bezel, what Neminus calls a “bezel trench”. Neminus states that the “bezel trench” pays homage to the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench – the deepest depths of the ocean.
While most casebacks of affordable watches look like an afterthought, the screw-down caseback of the Master Diver 1000 is actually rather nicely executed! Firstly, key specifications of the watch is engraved on the outer ring, though the “1000 meters” specification is stylised – a nice touch! In the center, we get an embossed artwork of a helium helmet set against a wavy pattern. I would say that this is probably one of the best caseback designs I’ve seen in a sub-S$500 watch till date! As per the usual for bronze watches, the caseback is made of PVD plated stainless steel instead of bronze. This is because bronze leaves a green residue when it oxidises, which would be undesirable on the skin.
On the wrist, the Neminus Master Diver 1000 is a bulky watch. It’s 44mm case diameter is on the larger slice of life, and tested the limits of my 7 inch wrist. However, it’s the watch’s hulking 16.4mm height (when worn) that makes it a beast on the wrist. You will be cognizant of its presence on your wrist most of the time – this is one that won’t slide underneath a shirt cuff! Personally, it’s just too bulky for me. I prefer slimmer divers, such as the Tudor Black Bay 58, or the Oris Diver 65. However, I know of many who love bigger watches – if that’s you, the Neminus Master Diver 1000 will be right up your alley!
Shootout – Neminus Master Diver 1000 vs Nethuns Lava Bronze
If chunky bronze divers are your sort of thing, the main alternative to the Neminus Master Diver 1000 (at this price point) would likely be the Nethuns Lava Bronze!
In terms of specifications, both watches are pretty even. Both watches uses sapphire crystal with AR coating, the workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, bronze case with ceramic bezel, Swiss Superluminova, as well as featuring helium escape valves. The Neminus Master Diver 1000 does boast a higher WR rating of 1000m to the Lava Bronze’s 500m, though unless you’re planning on searching for Atlantis in your free time it’s not really going to make a difference in everyday usage.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Master Diver 1000 is the clear winner for me. There’s nothing much wrong with the design of the Nethuns Lava Bronze – it’s just a little plain Jane. In contrast, the two tone “cracked” dial of the Master Diver 1000 comes across as much more unique, and it plays with the light beautifully. The watch packs other interesting design features as well, such as the “bezel trench”, a lovely embossed artwork on the caseback, and a physical helium escape valve crown at 10 o’clock. As such, I’ll have to say that I preferred the design of the Master Diver 1000, though the sandwich dial of the Nethuns Lava Bronze is compelling too!
Where the Neminus Master Diver 1000 scores a clear win is in its value. At ~S$462, it’s more than S$200 – almost 50% – cheaper than the Nethuns Lava Bronze! Given that the Master Diver 1000 shares similar specifications with the Lava Bronze, and packs a more interesting design, I have to crown the Neminus watch as the winner of this shootout due to its stronger value proposition.
Conclusion – so the Neminus Master Diver 1000 “shiok” or not?
If you like big, chunky dive watches, the Neminus Master Diver 1000 is for you. Despite its affordable price tag, it packs a punch in its specifications – sapphire crystal with multiple layers of AR coating, a bulletproof Seiko NH35A movement, bronze case with ceramic bezel, a helium escape valve, strong Swiss BGW9 Superluminova, as well as a whooping 1000M of WR rating! The design of the watch is no slouch either, with several intriguing aesthetics features such as the two tone cracked dial, “bezel trench”, dodecagonal bezel, and a nice embossed caseback artwork separating the Master Diver 1000 from the plethora of dive watches in the market today.
For those interested, you can still pre-order the Neminus Master Diver 1000 here. The price is slightly higher now that the Kickstarter campaign has ended, but you can still use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off! After the discount, the Master Diver 1000 can be had for $399 USD. A strong sophomore effort from yet another shiok Singaporean brand!
Shop the Neminus Master Diver 1000 here.
Case – 44mm
Lug – 22mm
Center Lug to Lug – 46mm
Case Height – 18.4mm (wears 16.4mm when on the wrist)
Weight – 162g
Casing & Bezel:
Ceramic Insert with BGW9
120 Uni-directional Click
Screwed-In Back Case
Textual BGW9 on Hands & Indexes
5mm Double Domed Sapphire Crystal with 4 Layers of Anti-Reflective Coating
Screwed-In CuSn8 Bronze
1000m / 3280 ft
Japan Made Seiko SII NH35A Automatic
Customized Kevlar Leather Strap
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: Neminus is one of the rare few watch brands that actually thanked us reviewers for covering the Master Diver 1000 on their Kickstarter Page – class act.