Ratio Freediver X – the microbrand diver with an X-factor

The Singapore-based microbrand Ratio have just recently dropped their newest dive watch, the Freediver X, without much fanfare, as they tend to do. And while Ratio as a brand are not heavy on marketing and hence – not as well-known in the community – precisely because of this, they’ve been able to spend more money on building quality products and offer them at a very competitive price. In fact, from the moment I learned about the brand a few years back, they’ve managed to release new watches at a steady pace, with increasingly more interesting and original designs.

And the Freediver X is their most interesting and original piece yet – and I’m gonna tell you why it’s worth considering having in your collection.

Let’s start with the design – a mix of quite a few iconic design elements, the Freediver X has some of the best visual features found on dive watches, put together in a very coherent and original manner. The case shape is reminiscent of the Omega Seamaster 300 from 1967 – on steroids. Unlike the vintage Seamaster, with it’s wire lugs and polished surfaces, the Freediver X has a tool-like, all-brushed finish, with beefed-up lugs.

Taking a cue from another iconic mil-spec watch for the crown guards, the case adopts an asymmetrical design, where the crown is safely nestled – not unlike the Benrus Type 1. Even the snake-shaped minute hand can be traced back to the military-issued Precista.

Now, this is not to say the Freediver X isn’t an original design – it very much is, but this is, in my opinion, the right way to pay tribute to iconic pieces, as opposed to just blatantly copying something and calling it a homage – as is the microbrand way.

The watch comes either with a black or, in my case, a blue dial, and the sunburst is one of the more interesting I’ve experienced – the dial changes color from vivid, electric blue, to very dark – depending on the lighting. The dial, covered with a sapphire crystal, also features applied markers filled with Japanese luminova, chapter ring with minute markings, as well as a fully graduated ceramic bezel. The lume is on par with Seiko’s dive watches, as is the movement – the Freediver X is powered by the NH35.

But enough about the design and the looks, let’s talk specs – and the Freediver X surprises pleasantly here as well. The case is 42mm, but the bezel is 40, offering the best of both worlds – the heft and presence of a 42, but the appearance and looks of a 40mm watch on your wrist. Coupled with a lug-to-lug of only 45mm, the Freediver X will fit great on just about any wrist.

The offered rubber strap is of a surprisingly good quality – it’s very soft and supple and it doesn’t attract dust. But with 20mm lug width, this one looks great on just about any type of strap. Which brings me to the only negative about the Freediver X – the thickness. The case is 15mm thick and while a couple of those mils can be forgiven on the account of the domed sapphire crystal, I think it’ll be too thick for some – especially people who like their watches on NATO straps.

And while double-pass straps can be a bit too much for the Freediver X, a single-pass or an elastic strap feel right at home on it (which, incidentally, is my preferred way of wearing it).

The Freediver X is water resistant to 200m and, according to some shots on Ratio’s website, they seem to be individually pressure-tested – another standout feature differentiating them from other microbrand divers.

The Freediver X is, in my opinion, the best dive watch from Ratio yet – great looks, solid specs and a very competitive price, even in the microbrand realm. If you’re on the lookout for an affordable diver that stands out from the crowd, be sure to check it out.

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