Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude: The Rugged Russian Military Diver

Jun 06, 2022
Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude: The Rugged Russian Military Diver

With the ever-growing entries of dive watches in the market, it can be a little challenging to pick out the one model that best suits all your needs. Many outstanding Swiss and Japanese brands have offered their own high-end dive watch entries, with expansive collections such as the Rolex Sea-Dweller and Omega Seamaster growing every other year. And given the prestigious reputations of these brands, it is no surprise that most of the time, watch fans would check out dive watches from them first.


Nevertheless, there are numerous underrated brands out there that also deserve our recognition. Take, for instance, a Russian brand that offers a wide catalogue of budget-friendly, quirky, and reliable dive watches: Vostok. This brand has been in the market for quite some time and it has developed a number of hardy, robust dive pieces.


One of these is its famous Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude, which can be instantly recognised thanks to its cult-classic appearance and one-of-a-kind bezel design. In today’s article, we will be taking a look at the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 and everything it has to offer.

A Closer Look at the Vostok Amphibian Scuba Dude

Case, Crown, and Caseback

front view of Vostok Amphibia “Scuba Dude” Ref. 420059 watch
Image by: Amazon

As a dive watch, the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 shows off a very robust exterior, with a classic round stainless steel case that is highly resistant to scratches and impacts. This case measures 39mm in diameter and 18mm in lug width, making it quite a slender dive piece that fits well on smaller wrists.


This case is coupled with slim, straight lugs that are lightly bevelled, which adds to the watch’s lean appearance. Both the lugs and case bear a glossy, polished finish, giving it a lustre that gleams brilliantly in the light. On the right side of the case, you can also find a thick crown with no crown guards. This chunky crown has bottlecap-like edges, which provide wearers with an easier grip, so they can grasp and turn the crown more easily.


Flipping the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude over, you can find a solid caseback made of stainless steel. It features an embossed “Amphibia” logo in Russian. Details on the watch’s specifications are also engraved in Russian around the case. This gives the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude a more exotic, distinctive feel, especially compared to the standard Swiss dive watches, which typically bear engravings in English.

Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Caseback

The most unique thing about the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude’s case design, however, is probably the caseback’s attachment engine. Unlike other dive watches that utilise a simple screw-down caseback with a slim gasket at the entry point, Vostok applied a different system to seal the Scuba Dude’s caseback. The stainless steel caseback of the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude is placed directly into the case. These two components are then sealed together using a locking ring, which is kept firmly in place with two keys, ensuring that the caseback does not come loose. 


This unusual design means that there is enough space in the case to fit a large, flat rubber gasket. This gasket has a larger seal surface than that of traditional dive watches with screwed-down casebacks. This contributes to the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude’s improved, excellent 200-metre water resistance rating.

Dial and Bezel

side view of Vostok Amphibia “Scuba Dude” Ref. 420059 watch
Image by: Amazon

One thing to note about modern dive watches is that many of them tend to showcase very similar dial layouts, as they were largely inspired by the trailblazing Rolex Submariner. These dive watches typically showed off luminous hour markers in various geometric shapes, an inverted triangle marker at 12 o’clock, and a date window, sometimes magnified, at 3 o’clock. The Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059, however, goes for something quite different. 


The dial of the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude radiates a quirky, nostalgic charm that easily captures the attention of anyone. Many Amphibia dials are embellished with striking symbols of abyssal exploration, such as submarines, ship wheels, and many more. On the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude, as its name suggests, you can find a charming, playful image of a swimming scuba diver positioned on the upper right side of the dial.


This dial also showcases a handsome matte teal finish, with subdued tints of green, much like the soothing waves of the ocean. As a dive watch, the dial of the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude also follows a very simple layout that prioritises legibility. It comprises metallic hour indices in thick rectangular shapes, pronounced arrow-headed hands, and a compact date display at 3 o’clock, outlined in white. A slender seconds hand in red sweeps around a dial, adding a more vibrant touch to this watch face.


One downside to the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude’s dial, however, is its lume quality. Lume is applied quite sparingly on this watch and can only be found on the watch’s hands, as well as the small dot indices placed next to the hour markers. As such, it might be a little challenging for wearers to read this watch face clearly in poor lighting conditions. For fans who prefer dive watches capable of glowing like a torch in the dark, we highly recommend checking out some of Seiko’s best entry-level divers instead.


Another standout feature of the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude is its striking bezel. It shows off a bi-directional, non-ratcheting steel bezel that is unusually thick and flat, spinning in both directions with minimal resistance. Unlike traditional dive bezels, which come with inserts made of aluminium or ceramic, the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude’s bezel is made entirely from stainless steel. It is engraved with red and black dot indices in five-minute intervals, wonderfully reflecting the watch’s retro, vintage style. The bezel also has coin-like edges, which makes it easier for wearers to grip the bezel, even if they are wearing a diver suit.


The Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 is driven by a robust Calibre 2416B. Although this hand-wound movement was originally designed by Raketa, Vostok took over mass production of this calibre in the early 1970s. It is held together by 31 jewels and beats at 19,800 vibrations per hour. In addition, it has a solid power reserve of 31 hours. Wearers have reported that the Calibre 2416B has an accuracy rate of +25/-30 seconds per day, comparable to that of Seiko’s entry-level mechanical movements. 


The Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 is offered with a comfortable nylon strap which is available in the following colours: black, blue, beige, black and orange, black resin, red, black and red, and multicolour. With so much variety, wearers are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking a strap that best represents them. 


Even if you are not a fan of nylon straps, you have nothing to fear. The brand also designed the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude with a robust stainless steel bracelet. This steel bracelet is a great choice for those who want to wear the Scuba Dude in more formal or professional settings. 


On top of being extremely underrated, reliable watches Vostok timepieces are also known for their affordable prices. Indeed, the same also applies to the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude. Selling at around $60 to $90, it is impossible to look for another dive watch that can compete with the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude in this price range. If you want a robust dive watch with a distinctive, cult classic design, then the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 is certainly worthy of consideration. 

Alternatives to the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude 

If you are not a fan of Russian watches, or if you are unable to get your hands on them, we have also curated some of the best watch alternatives to the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 that you may consider checking out.

1. Seiko Prospex Ref. SBEC003front view of Seiko Prospex Ref. SBEC003 watch

First up, we have the masterfully-crafted Seiko Prospex Ref. SBEC003, which is a lovely Seiko dive piece. Boasting a more upscale, luxurious look, this watch is housed in a bulky 46.5mm stainless steel case and matching steel bracelet, making it much larger than the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude. Fixed on top of its bezel is a bidirectional rotating dive watch bezel with a zirconia ceramic insert in metallic black. Unlike other Seiko watches which tend to use Hardlex crystal, this watch is equipped with a layer of luxurious, scratch-resistant sapphire glass instead. 


Standing out against the watch’s all-silver look is a handsome blue dial with a sunburst finish. It consists of luminous hour indices and thick arrow-headed hands, along with a circular date aperture between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. As a highly-practical chronograph watch, the dial also bears three sub-dials for the 30-minutes, 12-hours, and small seconds counters.


This Seiko Prospex watch runs on a robust Calibre 8R49. Held together by 34 jewels, this is an automatic movement with a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It possesses a substantial 45-hour power supply and a reliable accuracy rate of +25/-15 seconds per day. Finally, this watch also has a depth resistance of 200 metres, rivalling the water resistance capacity of the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude. 


The Seiko Prospex Ref. SBEC003 retails at $2,239 USD. 

2. Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32127162

front view of Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32127162 watch

Sought-after for its luxurious, high-quality materials and avant-garde design, the Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32127162 is one of the most sophisticated dive watches you will ever see. This dive watch is the culmination of years of extensive and continuous research by the brand, featuring some of Rado’s greatest achievements. These include a revolutionary, high-tech ceramic monoblock case construction and ceramic bezel. Today, it is one of the best, most in-demand timekeepers under the company’s belt. 


This Rado Captain Cook watch comes in a black-tone case and bracelet, both crafted using ceramic and stainless steel. Along with the black elapsed time scale bezel, the case is both extremely light and hypoallergenic, thanks to its ceramic build. As a result, this watch is perfect for those with sensitive skin. The bezel also comes with jagged, gear-like edges in a lovely gold tone, which adds to the luxurious look of this timepiece.


Another striking element of this Rado watch is its sophisticated black skeleton dial, which blends well with the watch’s whole refined presentation. It comprises bold arrow-headed hands in rose gold along with applique hour markers in different shapes around the rim of the dial. The hands and hour indices are all coated with luminous material for better visibility in the dark.


Underneath this complicated watch face, you can find a first-class Rado Calibre R734. This robust movement is held together by 25 jewels and has an extended 80-hour power supply. It beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has been reported to deliver an outstanding accuracy rate of +10/-0 seconds per day.


Retailing at $3,540 USD, the Rado Captain Cook Ref. R32127162 is an exceptional dive watch for its price range, with its gorgeous aesthetics and powerful specifications. 

3. Breitling Superocean Ref. M73310B7/BB73

front view of Breitling Superocean Ref. M73310B7/BB73 watch

Finally, we have the Breitling Superocean Ref. M73310B7/BB73. Standing out with its all-black appearance, this Breitling piece is easily one of the best divers in the market today. It is presented in a 46mm black-tone stainless steel case, coupled with a matching black leather strap and a black elapsed time scale bezel.


Blending in with the rest of the watch is the captivating black dial. This dial is quite busy and packed full of complications. It consists of sweeping sword-shaped hands, rectangular hour indices, and a date display between 4 and 5 o’clock. It also has three chronograph sub-dials, which are used for the 12-hour, 60-second, and 1/10th-second counters.


Driving this Breitling Superocean watch is an in-house Calibre 73. According to the brand, this superquartz movement delivers an impressive accuracy rate 10 times that of a standard quartz movement. Held together by 27 jewels, it has a solid battery life that is guaranteed to last up to six years. The main highlight of this top-tier movement, however, is its depth rating, which can go up to an incredible 2,000 metres, allowing it to survive all kinds of harsh underwater environments.


This Breitling Superocean Ref. M73310B7/BB73 is available at $4,849 USD, which is quite a fair price considering its excellent features.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude Ref. 420059 is a very underrated dive watch equipped with surprisingly impressive specifications. This Russian watch showcases a unique design, allowing it to truly stand out from the ocean of Japanese and Swiss dive watches offered by the rest of the market. If you are tired of more classic dive pieces and want something truly alternative, then the Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude is a great choice. 


All images are credited to TheWatchCompany.com unless otherwise stated.

Featured image courtesy of Imgur.com.


For a more classic, luxury diver watch, consider the iconic Rolex Bluesy Ref. 126613 and read our review on it here.

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