Well, this one has been a long time coming. The idea of a Vertex diving watch has been doing the rounds for a few years now and likely would have come out a long while back if it weren’t for… you know, obvious global issues. That’s given me plenty of time to ponder what it might be. Historically, Vertex themselves never made a diver, so would this be a fresh new look for a brand that’s relied extremely heavily on their Dirty Dozen DNA? Not really, no.
The Vertex M60 Aqualion is… well, it’s very Vertex. I’m not saying that as a bad thing; far from it. It fits in with the rest of the collection – the M100 and MP45 – perfectly. It’s just perhaps a bit predictable or, to be a bit fairer, comfortable. Vertex managed to skirt the heritage issues quite neatly by paying homage to the Aqualion brand, which was actually the predecessor to what became Vertex. Hence the half-cat, half-fish engraved into the caseback. Otherwise, this is a Dirty Dozen riff fixed with a diving bezel, utilitarian military with a naval twist.
The dial uses the same numerals as other Vertex models, but drops all but the three, six, nine and 12 in favour of a diving-style minute track. The date version switches out the three for a date window, but I much prefer the cleaner, more symmetrical look of the non-date. Both versions also use an updated Submariner-esque handset perfect for low-light locales. It’s worth noting that the numerals themselves are moulded lume, so brightness is not an issue.
The bezel is a lot more interesting. The matte ceramic looks far better than it has any right to, with a pared-back, tool watch vibe. The diving scale itself helps, with only the bare minimum of info to go past the necessary 15-minute counter. This is also where the finishing is a cut above other Vertex pieces.
To provide grip to the bezel, its edges have been knurled, with a notched silhouette taken directly from the rangefinder on a vintage Bren gun. Fun fact: it’s the gun that you can usually find in Vertex founder Don Cochrane’s bathroom. Don’t ask how I know that.
The bezel knurling is mirrored on the crown, though obviously you shouldn’t be needing to wind this thing with diving gloves on. Unless you want its substantial 600m water resistance reduced to zero, that is.
Indeed, the Vertex M60 Aqualion’s specs are solid. It’s built to ISO 6425 standards, so it’s a professional piece of kit, and comes with a Sellita SW300-1 automatic movement. That means a 42-hour power reserve and COSC certification, par for the course for the brand.
Size-wise, it measures in at 40mm across, small for a diver of this calibre but again, not a surprise for a brand as rooted in wartime vintage as Vertex. It’s still a chunky bit of steel, but in the kind of way that it goes with more or less anything. You won’t be passing it off as a dress watch, but any other time sure, go for it.
The Aqualion comes with a trio of potential strap options: a stainless steel bracelet, a single-strand Zulu strap (made by the fantastic guys at Zulu Alpha Straps) and a rubber dive number. While the Zulu is cool and the rubber is practical, I’d always opt for the metal for one reason: iron sights. As Vertex fans may have noticed, the iron sights normally flanking the 12 o’clock index, a brand signature, are missing. Instead, they’ve been moved to the clasp, two bright dots of red against the steel. It’s a tiny detail, easily missed, but one I love.
As for price, the M60 Aqualion will set you back £2,850, slightly more than the M100 but a good deal less than the MP45. Given its specs, I reckon that makes it the best value of the bunch – and a decent value diver as a whole. It’s not going to set the world alight, but the bottom line is that if you like either previous Vertex model, then you’ll like this. For most fans of military timepieces, that’s more than enough.
Price & Specs:
Model: Vertex M60 Aqualion
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 14mm height, stainless steel case, matte black dial
Water resistance: 600m (60 bar)
Movement: Sellita SW300-1 calibre, automatic, 25 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes, hacking seconds, date at 3 o’clock (date version)
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet, single-strand Zulu strap (made by Zulu Alpha Straps) and rubber dive strap
More details at Vertex.