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Watch Case:



The watch case is a very ergonomic, rounded, pillow-style case with a well-recessed screw-down crown, appropriately protected by two crown guards in such a way that provides continuity of design on that side of the watch. The case is made out of high quality 316L stainless steel, and if previous experience with NFW watches is any indication, it is not going to rust, even when used in salt water. [Note: The 7th Special Forces Group is located in the panhandle of Florida (near Eglin Air Force Base). My home is but 2 minutes from the ocean. So, I have dunked all my NFW watches into the sea, at one time or another, and I have come to trust NFW materials as a result.] The watch case, and bracelet have a nice bead blasted finish in black DLC, which is generally much more durable than PVD.



The bezel on the Shumate Diver is made of ceramic. Ceramic is tremendously scratch resistant, and gives the watch a great, clean look. The bezel is well designed with minute markers throughout. The bezel markings are treated with Superluminova, as are the watch indices as well as the orange second hand. For those among you that have experienced “lume” falling off of bezels from watches made by another watch company do not worry; the Superluminova on this bezel is underneath a translucent sheet that keep it all where it is supposed to stay. The bezel is easy to grasp with gloved hands. The clicks are solid, and the bezel turns with little effort. The bezel does not turn too easily, but I’d prefer if it were a bit stiffer to turn than what it is presently. However, the turning resistance compares to my Omega Seamaster Pro’s bezel with the difference that the NFW bezel is actually easier to grasp and operate as a result of the texture that George designed onto it.



The exhibition caseback is nicely decorated in a minimalist manner that is to my liking. I think that certain symbols on other watches are nice to look at, but they are generally unnecessary. Through the caseback, one can observe the Precision Miyota Caliber 9015. If anyone remembers, NFW was the first watch company on the planet to use the movement (it was the driving mechanism within the two Limited Edition NFW Autopilot models released in 2010).

At 15.4mm, the case is slightly thicker than the Autopilot (14.8mm), and significantly thinner than the Viperfish (18.5mm). Thus, the Shumate Diver is in the proverbial “Goldilocks Zone” of watch case thickness.


Case Dimensions:

Lug-to-lug from 12 to 6 o’clock: Slightly over 2”
Lug opening: 24mm
Case width from 3 to 9 o’clock: 44mm
Weight: 260 grams / 9 oz. (on steel bracelet)
Case thickness: 15.4mm


Dial:



The dial of the 10913 Model Shumate Diver gains tremendous points for its legibility, pragmatic design, and contrast (leading to the legibility). The matte black background allows for the hour markers to stand out easily, making this watch one of those that you can read at a glance. Personally, I abhor gimmicks and designs that do nothing to aid you in telling the time, and only serve to sell the watch on its “pretty looks”. The 12 and 6 o’clock markers are done in Arabic numbers, making them great reference points, and the orange second hand stands out so as to not be confused with any other mechanism on the dial. The date font is large enough to be read without the need for a magnifying area on the synthetic sapphire domed crystal. I think that it was a wise call for George Fox to decide not to include a magnifying glass on the crystal after initial consideration. Minute/second markers are found on the inner rehaut. The impressive lume on the watch is due, in no small part, to the amount of Superluminova that stacked on the watch markers. When one looks at the watch at an angle, the markers look like tiny three-dimensional buildings; it’s actually pretty cool to look at.


Leather Band:

Overall, this is a high quality leather strap worthy of such a watch. I happen to prefer leather, or NATO straps to metal bracelets. In the case of a leather strap, it begins to adjust to the wearer and further personalizes a watch. Quality leather ages in such a way as to complement, rather than detract from a watch’s appearance.





The NFW leather band is stitched “Genuine Italian Leather”, embossed with the NFW logo and symbol on the buckle-side of the strap. The longer half of the strap is approximately 5 ¼” long, 24mm wide, and 1/8” thick. The buckle-side of the strap is 3 1/8” long, not including the buckle. The buckle is 35.4mm wide and 24mm long.



The buckle is coated in black DLC throughout and it is signed with the NFW acronym on the upper right hand-side, furthest away from the leather band. The white stitching is well done. The cross-stitching at the top, nearest the lug bar openings indicates that the strap was hand-finished, as a machine does not do this step.

The two screws towards the ends are DLC coated and are rounded. Normally, these screws are flat on such straps. But, the rounded shape flows better with the overall design of the watch.



The lug bar openings are internally supported by a stainless steel tube which facilitates a quick strap change as the openings will not be deformed by being stored, or otherwise handled. The buckle-side strap has two tab keepers that aid in managing excess strap for those of us with smaller wrists.


Steel Bracelet:

The metal bracelet is composed of five interlocking links held together by a robust hex-bolt system that perforates each links in two places. The bracelet’s links are flattened on the wrist-side, and rounded on the outside. The shape of the bracelet links provides a very comfortable and ergonomic design that does not pinch the skin, nor does it pull on your arm hair.





The full length of the steel bracelet is 7 5/8”; it is 24mm wide and slightly thicker than the leather band (I measured just over 5mm at the thickest portion of the bracelet links). The full bracelet length measurement or 7 5/8” includes the length of the center clasp.



The clasp displays the NFW acronym and insignia etched in the center. This NFW bracelet has a very clever incremental bracelet extension system at the buckle that gives an additional ½” of length in roughly 3mm increments.



One can extend the buckle by pulling on two tabs near the bracelet release buttons. This can be done while the bracelet is being worn. I tried the watch with the metal bracelet for a few hours on the first day and it was a very solid design. There is nothing “flimsy” about this bracelet.


First impressions:

I will post a “performance-based” review in about a month. Until then, I will wear this watch continuously for 30 days. Yes, that will include running, at the gym, at work, in the shower, while sleeping, etc. Until then, here are my first impressions.



The watch presentation was in keeping with NFW’s excellence in this area. The watch came in a box that is significantly larger (5 ½” x 5 ½” x 3 5/8”) than the “normal” NFW boxes. The watch arrived with the steel bracelet attached, an additional leather strap on one side, and two sets of quality strap change tools on the other side.



The tools are even color-coded to denote that they are different sizes, respective to the lugs, as well as the bracelet hex bolts.



Underneath the watch, additional strap, and the tools, one finds illustrated instructions as to how to re-size the steel bracelet, instructions as to the operation of the watch, George Fox’s warranty card (red), and a fold-out booklet educating us as to the significance of the memorialization of Sergeant Major Walt Shumate in naming this new line of watches. If any new Shumate Diver owners care about legacy – and I’m betting nearly all of them do – I suggest that they read this booklet. It tells a history of service to nation that is exceptional. Very importantly, without SGM Shumate, there would not be a Special Forces underwater operations program, as it exists today.

I did re-size the bracelet, but I changed it to a heavy duty NATO strap some time later. When it comes to “work” watches, I prefer the lightness, and comfort of a quality NATO strap. Luckily, I had one laying around that fit the bill quite effortlessly. The watch has a healthy degree of heft to it. But, it is the kind of heft, or weight, that one easily forgets after a while. This is mainly due to the great ergonomics of the watch. The domed synthetic sapphire crystal is AR coated on the inside, and this helps with stray reflection during the daylight. A slight purple/blue hue is sometimes visible against the sun. But, you really have to look for it to see it. The same goes for my Panerai, my Rolex, and my Omega. AR coating is really helpful, in my opinion.

The heavy-duty lug bar is one of my favorite features in NFW watches. I’ve had a few watches fly of the wrist as a result of a flimsy spring bar; it happens to the best among us. But, this scenario is nearly impossible with the NFW Shumate Diver.

The crown is really easy to access, turn and operate. When one looks at it, he/she may believe the opposite to be the case. However, George was smart to balance the size of the crown guards so that they did not impede the handling of the crown. Plus, the crown has the requisite texture for operation.

I did not mention the Helium release valve earlier. I guess that we can all debate the practicality of having one. Except for my Rolex Submariner, nearly any diver I’ve had has exhibited some sort of He valve.



As a feature, I do not find it particularly necessary, except in conditions where a diver would venture far deeper than most divers ever dare go. Certainly, Army Special Forces combat divers that I’ve spoken to rarely exceed 50-foot depths, especially when using re-breather systems (for reasons that are essentially just diving physics, but are also specifically classified – regarding operation parameters – and I can’t discuss them). But, the He valve feature does not get in the way, and thus, it does not affect me in any negative way. Besides, one has to admit, the think looks pretty “bad a**” on there.

Below are pictures of the lume - un-altered - after the watch was exposed to 60 seconds of high intensity light. I timed it at 3, 5, 7 and 10 minutes. The pictures of are those time frames (give or take a few seconds).











Relative Size Comparison:

Below are some pictures alongside some other of my watches for comparison in size. The Rolex Yachtmaster is 40mm, the Panerai Pam 000111 is 44mm, the Diesel "Little Daddy" is 51mm, and the Android is 50mm.







The last picture has no reason for being here. But, alas, fellow Puerto Rican, Jackie Guerrido:

 

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Great review so far, I enjoyed you pics and look forward to the rest of your reviews and I especially enjoyed your last picture lol.
 

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I love the review so far JP. I know that if anyone can put this through a thorough test it will be you bro. I really look forward to your comments after you have put it through the rigors of day-to-day operations.


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I appreciate your review and pictures. The last picture is a bonus for sure. I was stationed at Eglin AFB, Tyndall AFB and Hurlburt Field many moons ago. Those places are paradise, never leaving the mainland. PS my mom was from Utuado.
 

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Excellent preliminary review. I very much like the look of this watch.
 

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Great Review!! I'll be receiving my Shumate DLC today and your review has gotten me very fired up


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