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I recently reviewed my first Spinnaker, the Tavolara. It was a fairly unique looking watch at a sensible price. Here we have another one of their new releases: the Spence. A slightly more typical dive watch, to me it looks quite like a Seiko. Nothing too outrageous, just a solid, dependable timepiece.

Costing $280 / ~£175 it’s in a fairly reasonable price bracket for an automatic watch. Let’s see if it turns out to be worth it.

The specs

The dial

There’s something about the dial that shouts Seiko to me. That’s not a bad thing at all, but I get the feeling that at a glance it could be a slightly modded SKX007.

It’s nicely designed and assembled, especially the applied elements and hands.

The hour markers have two angled brushed edges to them, with a lume filled centre.

The hands are a cool shape – the hour hand being a baton with a rounded rectangular bulge and the minute hand being a slightly tapered baton. These hands have an interesting brushed steel appearance to them, working well with the case aesthetics.

The second hand is a stick with a round lume-filled disc near the end.

The lume is fairly average strength. It doesn’t particularly charge too fast or glow too brightly.

The date window has a polished steel border to it. A white date wheel offsets against the dark dial providing good legibility.

The dial has the Spinnaker logo applied at 12, although it’s really lightweight – I would have much preferred a deeper, thicker logo to signify greater quality.

The case

The case is a fairly straightforward barrel shape, which is completely brushed bar the side of the bezel and top of the crown, which are polished.

It’s a relatively short case – the lug to lug length isn’t as long as expected on a watch of this size. They take a quick downturn, which provides a comfortable hug of the wrist and a low profile.

The bezel has an aluminium inset with markings accurately printed in place and a lume pip at 12. The first 15 minutes is filled with a pleasant turquoise / aqua blue background. The action of the bezel is a little stiff and has some backwards play, so not silky smooth or perfectly accurate.

The screw-in crown is satisfying to use, thanks to the large size and effective grip. The Spinnaker logo is engraved on the end, which is deep and accurate considering the size and complexity of the logo.

The screw-in caseback’s main feature is the exhibition window to show off the movement. Surrounding this are various watch specifics engraved.

The strap

The Spence comes fitted with a fully waterproof leather strap. It has an interesting feel to it, with a slightly thicker and firmer texture to it compared to a regular leather strap. It’s nice and thick though, and is obvious that it’s good quality.

It has blue stitch details at the top corners and also the point at the base of the longer length, the stitching being in blue to match the colour theme of the watch.

The tang buckle is brushed to match the case and has the Spinnaker logo deeply engraved on the top bar, which is easy to use and well machined.

The Spence also comes with a blue and black striped NATO strap, which is fairly standard in construction. It has the same buckle as the leather strap, with a bold and attractive colour scheme.

The movement

The movement powering the Spinnaker Spence is the Seiko NH35A. This is a movement found in so many micro brands nowadays, and it’s certain to perform well and without hiccup. It even comes pretty accurate straight out the factory.

The Spence comes fitted with a custom rotor, but in reality it could be the stock rotor with a sticker on the top, accurately and effectively applied. Either way, it looks good and makes what’s usually a fairly dull movement a bit more visually appealing.

Final comments

The Spinnaker Spence is pretty solid but uninspiring. The design isn’t the most radical or beautiful, but it looks dependable and suitable for purpose.

At over £200 I’d say that it’s overpriced at RRP. The Seiko NH35A means you’ll get a faithful servant for a long time. However, it just makes me think why not get a Seiko SKX007? I suppose if you want something different – but not that different.

A decent effort; a well made watch – but I wonder if it’s different enough to catch the eye. Why do I say that? Because I’ve found it difficult to be excited about this timepiece, which doesn’t happen too often.


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