Manufacturer: ZENEA Watches | Price: from $659 USD (£489 GBP, €550 EUR)
For the life of me, I can’t actually remember where I first saw this Ula Diver from ZENEA Watches. I do remember however, reaching out to them, as the images I had seen of this snowcap white dial, really jumped out at me! I’ve never actually heard of ZENEA Watches before, so I was a little sceptical if the watch would be any good. The specs looked great, but then I’ve experienced that before, where a watch looks fantastic on paper, but in reality, once you get to handle it in real life, it’s turns out to be rather shit. So, how does this ZENEA Ula Diver fair, now that it’s sat on my desk? Let’s see…
- Dimensions: Case Diameter – 40.7mm, Thickness – 12.4mm, Lug to Lug – 47.8mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Swiss ETA 2824-2, 28,800vph, 4Hz Automatic, Hackable, Self Winding, 38hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel with Polished Accents
- Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Ceramic Insert, Fully Lumed
- Bracelet: Brushed & Polished 316L Stainless Steel, H-Link, Screw Pins, Milled Clasp, Divers Extension
- Dial & Hands: Applied Markers, Sword Hands, Date Complication @ 3
- Crystal: Flat Sapphire, Underside Anti-Reflective Coatings
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9
- Water Resistance: 300m / 30ATM / 990ft
- Caseback: Screw Down, Embossed Artwork
- Crown: 5mm, Screw Down, Signed
- Weight: 161g (Sized up for my 6¾″ wrist)
- Where to Buy: ZENEA Watches
- Warranty: 2 Years International
ZENEA Ula Diver Colour Options
ZENEA - A Brief History
“Founded by Jason Hutton in early 2019 in Toronto, Canada, ZENEA Watches was created with the goal of creating beautiful, yet highly functional Swiss timepieces, that any owner would be proud to wear on their wrist. As an avid watch collector and enthusiast for over 15 years, Jason founded the company with a clear end vision of creating outstanding watches, that were of exceptional quality with a well thought out design. From this vision and end goal, he worked backwards to set up the needed foundation and partnerships to build every ZENEA watch to the high quality standard that he desired and ZENEA customers would love. This is foundation of the ZENEA name, starting with the end vision and putting everything in place to support the end goal of exceptional timepieces and customer experience, from Z – A, ZENEA.“
Case & Crown
The case of the ZENEA Ula Diver has a diameter of 40.7mm. The lug to lug is 47.8mm and the overall thickness, including the sapphire crystal, I measured in at a very nice 12.4mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel, crown and bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the watch is mostly brushed, with polished sides as well as a rather gorgeous chamfered polished edge, that runs along the side of the case and down over the end of the lugs. You should be able to see in the images, a small polished lip around the edge of the bezel too and I have to say, I really like these little attention to details a lot, as not only does it look fantastic, but also gives the watch a very premium look. The Ula Diver has a water resistance rating of 300m, which is rather impressive, considering that the watch is just a little over 12mm in thickness.
The proportions of the watch are absolutely bang on, with it’s slightly compact lug to lug length of just over 47mm. Any bigger though, and I feel it’d be too long, especially for an (almost) 41mm watch. The Ula Diver does wear very well on wrist though and is very comfortable indeed. The signed crown is lovely too, looks great with it’s stamped logo and there is absolutely zero wobble when the crown is unscrewed and pulled out to any position. You’ll also feel a nice wee pop as you unscrew it and you’ll clearly see (and feel) the amount of work that has gone into it. The caseback is absolutely gorgeous, with it’s lovely artwork design and of course, there’s the usual specs etched around the edge.
The Ula Diver comes fitted as standard with an excellent 20mm, brushed, H-link, 316L stainless steel bracelet, that I’d most certainly class as premium. It is leagues above the usual microbrand shizel and it has all the bells & whistles you’d expect to find from a bracelet of this overall quality. Solid links throughout, screw pins for sizing, as well as a nice fully milled & signed clasp. When adjusting the bracelet, even the screws used are of exceptional quality. Praise aside though, could this bracelet be improved? Well yeah, of course! I would have preferred to see female end links, although it’s not a total deal breaker as the male end links on this one do slope downwards following the curvature of your wrist.
The clasp itself has chamfered edges along the sides, which is an appreciated little extra touch of pazzaz and it does match the overall aesthetic very nicely, without going down that “way too blingy” aesthetic. Adjustment wise, there are only a total of 3x micro-adjustment holes and there’s also a neatly integrated divers extension for on the fly adjustability. The bracelet does also have a very nice little taper to it, going from 20mm at the lugs, down to around 18mm at the thinnest most part, before heading back up to approximately 20mm at the fully milled clasp.
Movement / Accuracy
The chosen movement for the ZENEA Ula Diver is the Swiss made ETA 2824-2. The ETA 2824 is self-winding, has 25 jewels and the oscillating weight spins up giving a 38hr power reserve. The balance runs at 28,800vph (4Hz) and the movement is also hackable. Checking the accuracy after running the Ula Diver for around two weeks, both on wrist as well as in my watch winder, I was very happy with the results, with this ZENEA showing an average of just +6.8 seconds per day.
Dial & Bezel
The version of the Ula Diver that I have here, sports a very clean white dial, with subtle orange accents. In my opinion, it looks great and really suits the overall aesthetic. Additionally, the hour markers are all applied and do have a fair amount of lume applied to them. The sword hour and minute hands have also been executed very well, finished in dark silver with a strong lume application running the full length of the hands. The matching orange seconds hand is lovely too, with a nicely done lumed lollipop marker, with its extended tip that reaches right out to the minute track. ZENEA also chose a date complication at the 3 o’clock position, which looks fantastic with just chamfered edges and no border.
The lume on the ZENEA Ula Diver is very good indeed. The actual formula that’s been applied to the Ula Diver, is Swiss Super-LumiNova® BGW9. It has not only been applied rather thickly and executed 100% perfectly, it’s also initially rather potent and although it does fade a little over time, it is still very legible hours later during dark and low light conditions.
The ZENEA Ula Diver is one of the best microbrand watches that I’ve experienced this year. The build quality really is truly outstanding! The price may be a little more expensive than most microbrands, but it’s certainly justified, given the overall build quality and full specification that you’re getting for just under 500 quid. Is the Ula Diver perfect? No, not in my opinion. The dial itself, I would remove the brand name and just have the applied logo. Further below, I’d also remove the Ula Diver text. With these alterations I reckon it would give the dial a much cleaner look. “Less is more”, as they say.
Sure, I am kind of nitpicking, but I’m just giving my feedback as to what I’d change to the overall design. Unfortunately, there’s more… I would have loved to have seen female end links on the bracelet, rather than these male links that sort of extend the effective lug to lug length. The last point I’d like to make is with regards to the clasp. I think a less substantial clasp would suit this watch much better. Something along the lines of the clasp that you’d find on the new range of Zelos watches (Blacktip etc), or even the clasp that’s fitted to the Mk3 C60 Trident Pro 600 from Christopher Ward. As it stands though, the Ula Diver is still a beautiful watch, yet with just a few small tweaks it could be phenomenal.