Review: MKII Paradive Gen 3 (FAT BAR)

The MKII Paradive Gen 3 (FAT BAR) is part of MKII’s Ready-to-Wear series of watches. In operation since 2002, MKII is a contemporary watch brand that references and reinterprets vintage military watch designs. The Paradive is a watch that pays homage to the renowned Benrus Type 1. The Benrus Type 1 & Type 2 were dive watches produced for US Special Forces and CIA operatives from the 1960’s to the 80’s, and proved to be hardwearing and capable timepieces. You can still find some examples of these watches on the market today, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find one in satisfactory condition. Given their history and limited number, these watches command a hefty price tag, often exceeding $2000.

The MKII Paradive is more than just a recreation of the timeless Benrus Type 1, it also improves upon its design. It has a larger 41.25mm bezel diameter, a double domed sapphire crystal with an anti reflective coating, SuperLumiNova BGW9, and it comes with a bead blasted 316L stainless steel casement. It has a Made in Japan SII NE15 movement. And, it comes with a screw down crown, with water resistance up to 200 meters. The “FAT BAR” designation simply means the watch accepts both 1.8mm and the heavier 2.5mm diameter spring bars. Like its predecessor, this watch is designed to take a beating. I’m very hard on my watches, so we’ll see how it holds up.

With its durability aside, what I love about this watch is the utter simplicity of it. For once, this is minimalism done right. Note the large white indices on the black dial, the plain and yet gorgeous bead blasted steel case, and the aluminum GMT bezel insert. You can also get the Paradive with an acrylic bezel, which would be truer to the original, however, I feel the aluminum bezel is far more appealing.

Although, I have only worn the watch for about a week, wearing it has been immensely satisfying. At first sight, the watch appears to be very large. However, the convex design slightly elevates the watch off the wrist, and it wears very comfortably. The crown guard also prevents the crown from pressing into your wrist which only adds to the comfort.

My watch was purchased at Worn & Wound’s WindUp Watch Fair. Luckily, I scored a deal, as my Paradive came with a tool kit, and both a rubber and nato strap included. However, the price tag of $895 is more than fair for what you get in the Paradive. Not only is it a beautiful timepiece, it comes with no shortage of history and I’ve found it to be a great conversation starter. Trust me, people will take notice. This is a watch I plan to keep in my collection, to live with and enjoy for years to come. I look forward to writing an additional review once I’ve worn it for some time.

At the fair, I also had the pleasure of trying on MKII’s new model, the Cruxible. If the Paradive doesn’t fit your style, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s modeled after the American A-11 tool watch of World War II. It’s a lovely timepiece.