A new watch from Traser that is super in every sense of the word...
According to the US National Oceanographic Service underwater pressure at a depth of 500m is 743 psi. To put this in some perspective the average car tyre pressure is a mere 35psi. Sunlight struggles to penetrate the ocean and at 200m where the Dysphotic Zone begins there is insufficient light for photosynthesis. By 500m there is total darkness. Solar energy is also reflected in the upper ocean so at 500m depth the temperature is biting cold. Even on a warm day of 25ºC by 500m the water temperature is 4ºC.
These aquatic facts are undeniably interesting but not hugely relevant to most of us in daily life, however if you decide to add a 500m water-resistant professional diver watch to your portfolio they become important. And this is exactly what Traser have done with the newly released P67 Super-Sub.
Traser first came to note when they won a 1989 US Special Forces contract, against technical specification MIL-W-46374F, with their legendary P6500 Type 6. This military requirement demanded the introduction of watches with sealed tritium vials in the dial and hands, and a strict 25 millicuries radiation emission level. The successful model also had to be highly legible, light, and display Explosive Ordnance Disposal operational capability. In other words, have as little metal as possible to avoid triggering magnetically operated explosives. The resulting developments in polyamide case material produced a new breed of ultra-light and strong watches which are still the benchmark for Traser and parallel manufacturers such as Luminox and Marathon.
Most current Traser models max out at 200m water resistance so the capability increase to 500m was a technical leap that required the development of a fundamentally new watch. In July 2020 we shared the news and first images of the new P67 Super-Sub and late last year the watch became commercially available. It is now March 2021 and we finally have hands-on.
The Traser Super-Sub P67 - What it does
The watch is a bold 46mm statement. Although watch trends are moving away from such large dimensions the P67 works well given its intended function and accepting it will most likely be worn over a wetsuit. The environment a P67 will inhabit is extreme, and unambiguous legibility is critical. You also need a significant amount of metal to withstand the pressure at 500m.
The dial is uncluttered, but with this much real estate that is unsurprising. White batons (which contain the Tritium) are supported by bold 12-hour numerals and faint 24-hour marks. There is a black-backed date window at the 3 mark. It is good that Traser has resisted the temptation to emboss a virtual book of information on the dial and utilized the extra space to print the numerals at the cardinal points in a larger font. This gives the watch almost a military feel which is a nice nod to Traser’s origins. The sword hands are powered by a standard-issue Ronda 715 which is what we would expect for a watch in this price brand. With this movement you will get a longer battery life than the 515 and the valuable tool of a low battery indicator.
In low light any Traser comes into its own as it deploys patented Trigalight tritium vials in the hands and indices. This intense material glows with a bright light for 20+ years and makes the Super-Sub highly visible as natural light fades in the ocean depths. Traser offers blue, orange, and black dials with the commonly accepted T25 millicurie radiation level and the more intense T100 level if your country permits the import of such radioactive devices (the UK does).
As with the very latest Trasers, there is a healthy addition of Super-Luminova on critical parts to further enhance low light legibility. Tritium vials are at their most effective in complete darkness. Prior to plunging to a depth where there is no light, the standard luminescence on the Arabic numerals adds to the practical use of this tool. There is a purely aesthetic Super-Luminova ring around the sapphire crystal which is a clever use of the material used to seal the lens. It looks very striking and successfully illustrates the fine attention to detail on new Trasers.
The P67 also is equipped with a manual helium escape valve. Not a feature most of us will use but critical for professional divers. Operating at extreme depths, divers live in a pressurized habitat containing both helium and hydrogen. Helium gas atoms can penetrate the seals of a watch. Provided the watch remains under pressure this is not a problem. However, once decompression begins, the trapped gas in the watch causes a build-up of pressure which can force the sapphire crystal off. An automatic or manually operated Helium escape value alleviates this problem.
Surrounding the lume-equipped crystal is a slim ceramic bezel in a gunmetal colour. There is noticeably less bezel that you would find on contemporary dive watches, so it is refreshing to see a perfectly functional bezel not dominating the watch.
Flip the watch over and the case back is well engraved with lots of technical data regarding the watch and a highly polished 3D image of a Lophiiformes Anglerfish. This is a great choice of emblem as the female of this species is famous for the luminous appendage in front of its jaws which attracts prey. These incredible creatures were filmed in 2005 by an ROV at a crushing depth of 1474m so it is a perfect logo for a Tritium diver’s watch.
How does it wear?
The P67 is available on two 22mm strap options. A stainless-steel ‘Oyster’ style or a branded flush-fitting rubber. A special edition Peli-boxed version of the watch is sold with both straps. The test model supplied came on the stainless bracelet which was comfortable and well-made if a little non-descript. The deployment clasp was robust and came additionally with an integrated sliding wet-suit extension feature which is extremely easy to use.
The watch wears well but it will dwarf a small wrist. With a sensible choice of strap, the bulk of the case is well distributed, and it is relatively easy to live with. Of course, as a professional tool, it will be perfectly sized for optimal legibility in deep water. The aforementioned slim ceramic bezel creates an optical illusion of shrinking the visual diameter of the watch. Had the P67 been equipped with a chunky bezel it would appear much larger on the wrist.
Possible Strap Alternatives
The Super-Sub comes with strap options fully fit for purpose, but should you feel like a change here are some carefully chosen alternatives.
ZULUDIVER Cordura® Premium Divers Watch Strap
Made from genuine CORDURA® fabric and lined with Lorica which is breathable, lightweight, pliable, and comfortable against the skin. This strap makes a great alternative to a leather strap, but still maintains the advantage of a water resistance for your Super-Sub. CORDURA® brand fabrics are recognized for their long-lasting durability and resistance to abrasions, tears, and scuffs. Lorica is synthetic leather and is a hi-tech material created from a remarkable combination of extremely thin microfibres.
Falmouth Sailcloth Padded Water-Resistant Leather Watch Strap
The leather used for these straps has been through a patented finishing process during tanning to make it water-resistant. They are padded for a comfortable wear. Made in Germany, the top leather is embossed with a sailcloth pattern and it is lined with anti-allergic leather. Check them out here.
ZULUDIVER Classic Bond Military Nylon Watch Band
On any diver watch, there must be a nylon choice. As the name suggests, the Classic Bond is a truly classic watch strap from our range offering the practicality of a military strap with the stylish simplicity of a black and grey colour scheme.
It is a versatile strap in the best tradition of a design that has its origins during WW2 and was formalised by British Ministry of Defence Standard (DefStan) 66-15 in 1973 so it sits well on any Traser.
Things we would change.
No question the P67 appears to be a well-conceived, highly capable machine, so any proposed changes are personal taste.
The hands on all P67 models stand out well. On the orange dial variant, they are black and highly visible. On the T-100 models the minute hand is enhanced with orange. The silver hands on our blue version were a sophisticated silver sword design but one could argue that all the hand options on the P67 look a little small, like they have been lifted from a standard 40m diver. With a generous 46mm to play with, these could have been made bigger or bolder.
Conclusion and personal perspective
When the P67 Super Sub arrived by courier for evaluation I was wearing a titanium Omega Seamaster which was photographed by WatchGecko many years ago. This Omega is a well-used tool and has accompanied me on many exciting trips above and below the water. When I unboxed the P67 my first reaction was how it dwarfed the Omega. Of course, I accept the Traser has 200m of depth capability beyond the Omega, but it did seem big.
Yet, a few days later, deploying the watch on a green ZULUDIVER Cordura strap, the size was almost forgotten. For a big watch, it was easy to live with and sat exceptionally well on my wrist. Soon I came to appreciate the strong functionality and legibility that came with the large dial. For sure, it will be too big for many users, but if you can handle a 46mm this is a sophisticated and relatively subtle model. From £500 for the T-25 and £635 for the T-100 rated model, it is not a hugely expensive watch for the technical capability it gives. But keep in mind that for a hundred less you can secure a good 200m Traser which more than meets the needs of most of us. The P67 is a specialist tool.
I hope this watch hails the beginning of a new era for Traser and takes them away from the safe zone of polymer case military watches. The Super-Sub sits outside their comfort zone and even dares to cross into the accepted territory of other die-hard brands. It is a solid purposeful dive into the manufacture of deep ocean equipment, and it excites me to imagine how Traser will go further in this world.
The Traser P67 Super-Sub is now available starting from CHF 595. We'd like to thank Traser for sending the watch in on loan. To find out more be sure to click here.