Are you like me? Seriously intrigued in modding watches but are far too scared to try it?
Let me introduce you to the Mint Evolutive Divemaster modding kit. It comes with 3 bezels, 3 straps, and a removable end link – plus all tools required to switch them around. They’ve done a great job in terms of design too; as you really can get a wide range of looking timepieces from this one kit. Think the following; a watch in the style of a Submariner, Yachtmaster, and Explorer all bundled into one – just by altering the bezel which takes less than a minute.
Sound intriguing? Read on…
Please note that this is a pre-production model. Since I received this timepiece, it seems that one of the bezel inserts has changed and the leather strap has moved away from suede construction (thankfully).
- Dimensions: 40mm diameter x 13mm height x 49mm lug to lug
- Weight: 94g
- Water resistance rating: 20ATM / 200m
- Movement: Seiko NH35A
- Accuracy: +10.1 sec/day
- Lug width: 20mm
- Warranty: 1 year
- Price: $639 / ~£500
- Buy here: https://mintevolutive.com/divemaster/98-divemaster-premium-modding-kit-black-9-in-1.html
The case is an ideal size, 40mm is perfect for a vintage-inspired dive watch; which the Divemaster is at its core.
The overall finishing is excellent, with polished sides and a brushed top. Neat, sharp shoulders impress alongside drilled-through lugs.
The crown is a great size – it’s large enough to be a feature (or even statement), but it does not protrude too much to be a nuisance. The logo is accurately engraved on the end.
Sitting on top of the case is a beautifully flat sapphire crystal, with a very good anti-reflective crystal offering striking clarity and a flash of blue hue at certain angles.
At the rear, an exhibition caseback that shows off the movement and an intriguing slogan: “This watch has been designed to be modified”. Very true!
The three bezels are removed using the supplied bezel removal blades. The first time I used one, it chipped slightly (the blade, not the bezel), but since then I’ve been able to use the same one without damaging it – so it’s likely that the first removal is just a bit tight.
The three bezels all offer something different: the flat polished bezel is a much smarter affair, with a clean look and mirror-like finish. The bezel with the black aluminium insert is a more traditional diver / Submariner style. It’s certainly eye-catching and frames the dial well. The third option is also well thought-through: with a steel insert utilising raised numerals and markings.
The dial is simple; vintage with a modern vibe; it’s also very flat with no applied elements, texture or depth.
Design-wise, I appreciate the oversized minute track and small printed numeral hour markers. There’s no date window to be seen, which keeps it clean and symmetrical.
The logo is printed within the centre of the top half, accurately done so and small enough to not be out of proportion. It’s well balanced in general with the printwork in the centre of the bottom half.
The hands are strong, bold sword shapes providing excellent legibility. In terms of construction, I feel they’re a little on the thin side; however, the polished border catches the eye nicely when the light hits it.
I’ve noticed a couple of marks on the dial which is a shame, but as I mentioned at the offset this is a pre-production model so I’m not expecting production quality.
The lume is rather good, a pleasant, bright green that charges quickly and glows strongly.
The modding kit comes with three straps which is great, plus a spring bar removal tool that fits snugly within the holes on the drilled-through lugs for easy changing.
The suede strap is a bit of a disappointment, but thankfully it looks like this no longer is supplied. The coating rubs off with minimal wear and doesn’t look the best.
The perlon strap isn’t my personal choice; it’s quite an acquired taste. However, it is easy to use and feels reassuringly strong, whilst being lightweight and thin.
The rubber tropic strap (tropic refers to the braided weave pattern on the top) is the choice for me; it is comfortable, appealing to the eye, and suits the dial perfectly.
You can also fit or remove the supplied end links which are a great addition. It works well with the two-piece straps, but you won’t be able to have them along with the perlon strap. They’re fitted by a couple of screws into the case between the lugs. The good thing is that you get a screwdriver in the box and a pair of tweezers to manipulate the screws when installing them.
The Seiko NH35A is one of those movements that I’m fairly bored of – but in a good way. It’s used so much it seems that it’s in every other watch I review at the moment. With good reason, of course: it’s affordable (most importantly), but it’s also very well built – with a stellar workhorse reputation. It’s not much to look at, but we can’t have it all.
There’s some customisation on the rotor; the logo lightly etched in the centre. Whilst it’s not the most impressive, it’s still good to see the effort that’s been put into place. It also could have been regulated as this one is coming in at a fairly impressive +10.1 seconds a day.
Specs include: a beat rate of 21.6k bph (6 ticks a second), 24 jewels, 41-hour power reserve, hacking seconds hand and hand and automatic winding capabilities.
The RRP of $639 / ~£500 is a fair whack of money, but in this instance, I feel it’s justified. You’re certainly getting a lot: the extra tools are great to have, let alone the trio of bezels and straps.
Mint Evolutive have also successfully managed to create 3 very different looking watches by just replacing the bezel and adding a removable end link. When you think of that, 3 watches for $639 / ~£500 isn’t so bad. The only negative for me was the suede strap, but that’s already been seen to.
So if it has caught your eye, then it’s certainly a good proposition that I’d recommend.