Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-44: An affordable entry point into the stainless steel sports watch game

Value-driven proposition

To be honest, I had already heard of the name Spinnaker for some time, but it wasn’t until the recent launch of their limited-edition Piccard that I started to pay attention. As far as I was concerned, any brand that would make a spiritual homage of a dive watch as obscure as the Rolex that accompanied the Bathyscaphe Trieste down to the deepest depths of the ocean, would probably have something else in their collection that would appeal to watch geeks like myself. And true enough, the brand has a bunch of what seem to be vintage-inspired dive watches built to modern standards. And this is exactly what the Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-44 is.

You won’t find a lot of information on the Spinnaker brand on their website, but after some digging around on the internet, I managed to find a podcast from Worn & Wound where they speak to the brand’s founder Vishal Tolani. Basically, Tolani owns Spinnaker along with brands like AVI-8 and Dufa which are a part of the parent company Solar Time Ltd. based out of Hong Kong. Solar Time manufactures watches and was started by Tolani’s father which was then passed down to him. So unlike most new microbrands that started with an idea for a watch and then had to source for suppliers to make them, Tolani and in essence Spinnaker worked in reverse.

The watch that I had the pleasure to wear for an extended time was the Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-44, and I can tell you that it had quite the presence on my wrist. It is a 43mm giant and measures in at 50.8mm from lug tip to lug tip. Surprisingly, even though it had a thickness of 13mm, the watch didn’t feel like it wore too tall, maybe because the bezel was quite thin, and could also be due to the curved lugs. The bezel did feel nice and tactile as it rotates but I felt the thinner bezel combined with its shallow groves made it quite hard to do so. Another plus is that for its relatively affordable price, you will be getting a sapphire crystal with it.

I absolutely love the design of the Fleuss SP-5055. The indices on the dial look like it was inspired by the classic explorer with the 12, 6 and 9, and the bezel looks like it was plucked straight out of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Put both these classic elements together and it works well to create the Fleuss. Another thing I want to note is the visual balance of the watch; the indices are just big enough for the 43mm case size and I like the fact that there is symmetry between the placement of the date window and the 9 numeral so it doesn’t seem lopsided. The dial of the Fleuss is also textured, I don’t know if it was done of purpose, but I would have liked a touch more subtlety on the grains. The finishing on the hands are not the best but at this price, I really can’t complain.

By far, the thing that I liked the most on the Fleuss SP-5055 is the bracelet. They used an H-link style stainless steel bracelet with the H-links satin finished and the centre links with both satin and polished finishes. This play between a matte and glossy surface really comes alive when you wear the watch outside on a sunny day. The way it catches and reflects the light really makes the bracelet the right option if you’re planning to get a Fleuss, and you can always get an after-market leather strap in the future if you want a change.

The movement powering the watch is the Seiko calibre NH35, which is basically their 4R35 (or 4R36 with day-date function as seen in the new Seiko 5 Sports collection) sold to external customers. This means the Fleuss SP-5055 is both hackable and can be hand-wound, and with the reputation of these Seiko-made movements, you can rest assured that the watch is reliable.

For USD 350 (approx. MYR 1,500), the Spinnaker Fleuss SP-5055-44 is one hell of a watch. The design may not be too original, but the construction is well executed. And considering how much work it took to make the bracelet as beautiful as it is, it is a definite steal in my books. Now, if only they could shrink it down to 40mm so that it fits my wrists.

Case: Stainless steel
Case size: 43mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Thickness: 13mm
lug-to-lug: 50.8mm
Lug width: 21.4mm
Movement: Seiko NH35
Water Resistance: 150m
Price: USD 350 (Approx. MYR 1,555)

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