SEA HAWK II Pro : Titanium case, diameter 44mm, sapphire crystal 4.85mm thick with winding crown at 4 o’clock. It goes without saying, we were very curious to find out more about the super sportive watch when the renowned brand presented the completely new SEA HAWK II Pro in pre-première in 2004. Now Girard-Perrégaux has given us the opportunity to test this very exclusive timepiece in our professional capacity.
Built to be water resistant to 3,000 meters, the Sea Hawk II Pro includes all the cutting edge techniques developed by the brand. The case back of the watch is struck with a twisting porpoise on a trident anchor. This symbol is associated with a patent issued to Girard-Perregaux in 1898 and is associated to the motto: “Never do anything without advice”. A true diver’s tool, the Sea Hawk II PRO is a very sophisticated evolution of the sporting Sea Hawk line brought out in 2002. The case, in satin finish titanium, is remarkable for its robustness and weight, the two lateral decompression valves, the thickness of the case-back and the sapphire crystal (4.85mm), that enable the watch to be submerged to a depth of 3,000 meters. A watch destined for professional use, an instrument ready to follow you in all your adventures (the real ones). An object of brute force and out of the ordinary, hardened character, the GP Sea Hawk II Pro will give you your money’s worth. Strong reactions guaranteed.
• Movement : : Automatic mechanism, handless with date indicator, power reserve • Frequency: 28,800 alternations per hour– 4 Hz • Rubies: 26 • Power reserve: 46 hours • Case: Titanium • Water resistance: 3,000 meters • Depressurisation: 2 lateral valves • Diameter: 44 mm • Thickness: 20.11 mm • Crystal: Sapphire (4.85 mm) • Case-back: screw-in (5.9 mm) • Winding crown: Screw-in • Bracelet: Titanium or natural vulcanised rubber • Clasp: Folding, with safety catch on the rubber bracelet
* COMMENT *
If you like ‘tool’ watches, dive watches that can go to ridiculous death-defying depths or just a watch that you won’t see on every other WIS, the Girard Perregaux Sea Hawk is for you. The Sea Hawk line dates back to the 1940s (out of 220 years of watch-making experience from the house of Girard Perregaux-‘GP’ for short), when water resistance was something new to watches. According to GP’s web site, the Sea Hawk line evolved into a specific line of dive watches during the 60s and 70s and into the current iteration we have today, on market since 2002 in a variety of styles. The Sea Hawk is currently available in both 1000 meter and 3000 meter versions, with rubber or leather straps, stainless steel or titanium construction and slightly different dial configurations, with either a subdial seconds hand or center seconds hand, all depending on which model you choose. For this review, the ‘big daddy’ of the Sea Hawk line takes center stage, the 3000 meter, titanium cased monster. Since this watch is rated at an unbelievable 3000 meters of water resistance, the case is titanium, because if it was stainless steel, it would weigh too much for most people to tolerate strapped to their wrist, although GP does make one model of the 3000 meter Sea Hawk with a titanium case and pink gold bezel. The case is brushed and polished titanium (the look of polished titanium is nifty), measuring about 44mm without the crown and 50.3mm crown inclusive. GP defines the case shape as ‘generously sized’ which could be looked at as an understatement, but in reality, this watch is not as big, bulky or clown-sized as you might think. The crown guard is referred to as ‘ergonomic’ and gently flairs out from the case at the top of the crown and utilizes the lower right hand lug to protect the other side of the crown, a pretty slick setup. One thing that initially made me consider if I should even get this watch is its massive case thickness, which is an honest 20.1mm thick. But, and I emphasize this, it is not 20.1mm at all points on the case, as the case back is convex and the case lugs do turn down fairly sharply to hug the wrist, so the Sea Hawk is not the top-heavy beast you might think it is. The impressive thickness is of course a result of the Sea Hawk’s super deep water resistance rating, and the case back and crystal are each on the order of 5mm thick. The 5mm thick case back is screw down of course, convex as just mentioned and is brushed, with a polished embossed sea serpent logo in the center, just class all the way. The sapphire crystal is very slightly domed and anti-reflective treated but does not exhibit any distortion or weird bending of light due to its thickness. Quality through and through. The case on the Sea Hawk also has not one, but two automatic helium escape valves (HEV). The debate rages as to the actual functionality of an HEV, but since you’ve got one of the deepest diving watches around in the Sea Hawk, you’ve also got bragging rights on the most HEVs. One HEV is at the 9 o’clock position on the case side, the other is located between the 10 and 15 minute mark on the right hand case side. They both fit flush and are unobtrusive. The bezel is a heavily notched polished and brushed affair crafted of solid titanium, with polished raised numbers and a lume pip at the 12. A 120-click unidirectional unit, the bezel turns easily (almost too easy?) and compliments the lines of the case perfectly. The case lugs are 22mm, but due to the size and shape of the case, they appear smaller. The tops of the lugs are polished and set off the rest of the case beautifully. GP really got the style down on the Sea Hawk, as it’s a true diver rugged down to the last meter of water resistance but has style and showmanship as well. Nicely done. The crown is signed and screws down, with deep fluting for an easy grip. The crown itself is 8mm in diameter. Inside the Sea Hawk is GP’s in-house caliber GP033R0 automatic movement. Beating at 28,800 vph, this is either a 26 or 27-jewel movement (GP lists both for this caliber). Stated specs are a 46 hour minimum power reserve. In testing, my Sea Hawk achieved a fine 50.25 hour power reserve, running at +4 seconds over 24 hours. The power reserve indicator I am happy to report is also very accurate in showing the amount of running time remaining. GP uses this movement in a variety of its watches and it also appears in a number of Jean Richard models as well, as JR is a sub-brand of GP. The movement was designed to be a platform movement, which means it is used as a base that many complications can be added to in the form of micro-modules. The modules sit on the dial side of the main plate, which accounts for the deep date aperture, as the more modules, the deeper the opening. The neat thing about this design is that the movement has been designed from the start to accept these modules as opposed to a DD chrono module being added on top of an ETA movement. Thanks to my WIS friend Paul for this lucid description of the GP movement. The dial on the Sea Hawk is a deep black with sort of a matte slightly speckled finish. All the markers are screened on in Super Luminova. The hands are very legible, but not too big, with the hour hand an arrow type and the minute hand a broad sword style. The second hand has a rectangular end with a small red tip on it. All the hands are white and are generously applied with Super Luminova and needless to say, the lume is nuclear on this watch. Probably the best or in the top three of any watch on the market. Superb! Even the power reserve hand is lumed. The quickset date is located at a rather odd position between the 5 and 10 minute marks and due to its depth, is a bit hard to read at times. The date wheel is black on white. The power reserve meter is located in the lower half of the dial, with clear markings showing the reserve, ‘up’ being all the way to the right and ‘down’ in the red section on the left. I’ve always liked a power reserve indicator on an automatic as I think it is a very useful complication and when it’s as accurate as the one on the Sea Hawk, all the better. Now, you may be wondering, why in the hell GP would outfit this model of the Sea Hawk with a leather strap, a strap that is not marked ‘waterproof’ or ‘water resistant’ anywhere. I have my theories, but I look at it this way. How many people are really going to get this watch wet? Not me. If you were to get it wet, you’d switch to a rubber strap that GP equips other models of the Sea Hawk with. The leather strap is for everyday, landlubber wear and not for diving duty, which is fine with me, as I love the look of a big diver on a leather strap. The strap is smooth medium brown leather, not padded and reasonably thick with a single fixed keeper. It has slightly off white contrast stitching and measures 22mm at the lugs and tapering to about 18.5mm at the clasp. A fairly severe taper for a watch this size, it probably would have looked a bit better to taper to 20mm instead. The strap is nice, but not in keeping with the price point on this watch, it would be expected to have a more supple, smoother leather, but again, it is a tool watch. The clasp and deployant are satin finished stainless steel and they actually appear rather dainty compared to the rest of the watch. No pushbutton release, just a friction release (which doesn’t hold all that tight, either). The deployant is machined and signed, but is rather thin. Demerits from me here. You’ve got a big hefty case and a more finely crafted clasp. Doesn’t jive. Presentation is impressive, with a large cardboard outer box, faux suede/leather covered inner box with a GP medallion on the top and a separate folded cardboard document holder. A weighty package indeed. Overall, the GP Sea Hawk II Pro is arguably the ultimate dive watch. Deep, deep water resistance, true Swiss tradition in watchmaking, a look like none other and a price to match. Remember, I said arguably, so if you disagree, that’s fine. The Sea Hawk is a tool watch to be sure but one with style and a bit of panache, too. You certainly couldn’t go wrong with it. Pros: 3000 meter water resistance rating, titanium construction, power reserve indicator, in-house movement, great looks Cons: in-house movement (service can get expensive), dainty clasp compared to rest of watch, leather strap will bother some that expect rubber, price of entry, deep date window a bit hard to read Verdict: just for the bragging rights, this watch is worth it. Well executed, works both as a daily wearer or occasional watch, high quality with true Swiss heritage. The Sea Hawk is a winner. (Thanks to MCV for last text.)