Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pseudo-Ruhla ETA Automatic Diver

So here we have a bit of an oddball which is familiar to many people in the hobby. It is a reproduction of an East German diver's watch from the late 1980s called a "Ruhla" after its city of manufacture. This one comes from Hong Kong via eBay thanks to Ray Wong, who actually sells a bunch of interesting watches and accessories. I believe some of the models he sells are equipped with Japanese or Chinese automatic movements, but this one has a higher quality Swiss ETA 2824. It's 43mm wide with 24mm lugs and a chunky appearance all-around, from the squared-off teeth of the uniderectional bezel to the thick leather strap. It also has a military style dial (a MOD design that we've seen before) and large "plongeur*" hands. Although I don't have a picture of it, the crown you see in the pictures is actually just a screw-on cover for the actual setting and winding crown, much like the original Ruhla design seen here (with a non-Ruhla dial and movement.) Ray's more recent pseudo-Ruhlas (or Raylas as they're sometimes called) have an integrated screw-down crown which eliminates the risk of losing the cap (which I almost did the morning.) This watch is rated at 200m water resistance and it seems to live up to this claim so I will consider it a legitimate dive watch, unlike some of my other homage watches. I like this watch a lot because it combines tried-and-true Swiss technology with a mix of modern and classic miltary style to come up with something that is very unique. Now to check with Ray and see if he'll sell me the matching bracelet for this one (even though I just ordered a couple of straps that I think will look great on it.)

(*The word "plongeur" is simply French for "diver", but this style of hands was first used on the Omega "Plongeur Professionnel", so the name stuck. Not to be confused with the French kitchen helper of the same name.)

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