On vacation in Fiji this spring, I took my XV on bracelet. While going through one of the resorts, there was a Ball AD and I tried on a Black. Long story short, the seed was planted, and finally the opportunity arose to trade the XV for a preowned Black at Topper. I've had the Black for a few weeks now, so thought I would jot some thoughts. I had to send in the XV before receiving the Black, so, sorry, no side by side photos.
Case: the cases are exactly the same, but the titanium case of the Black results in it being considerably more comfortable. I would call it a draw in this regard. The polished case and gloss bezel of the XV does look really sharp, and, like a Submariner, is acceptable to wear for any occasion these days.
Bezel: landslide win to the Black. While I prefer the gloss finish of the XV, the feel, lume, and 3D profile of the Black absolutely blow the XV away.
Strap: I'm realizing I'm maybe not a bracelet guy. The rubber strap is exactly the same. As a matter of fact, since it had punched another hole in the XV strap, I had Rob switch it over to the Black. The fit is the same. The rubber strap has a pretty potent vanilla smell. The holes are spaced quite far apart (therefore why I punched another one)
Dial: hmmm ... This is the tough one. I REALLY like the XV dial. Starburst finish, clean, classy layout - I think the XV is the best dial in the EHC line. By comparison, the Black is a flat dial with a very, um, sporty layout. Looking back, I kind of wish I had asked Rob about putting the XV dial in the. Black case. But then ...
Lume: the Black's lume is amazing. I can't believe this is a T25 watch. Absolutely blows the XV away, and I would say it's also brighter than my T100 diver Worldtime. (Probably due to color, with the green being perceived brighter than the blue). The Black also seems more reactive to being "charged" like regular lume.
Hands: I prefer the XV hands. With the triangular cutout at the end, it was really cool how the hand tube lined up perfectly with the minute markers.
Cyclops: OK, I gotta admit it makes it easier - by a lot - to read the date. Why, oh, why can't it be internal?
Net? I'm pretty happy with the Black. It is more comfortable to wear in the hot weather than the XV (I'm wondering if I have a slight Ni allergy) and the lume is absolutely astounding. It is not quite as versatile as the XV, but that's why I have more than one watch! ... And let's face it, with the RGM, I don't need much of an excuse to wear a real dress watch.
XV on rubber
XV on bracelet in Fiji
(All photos taken with iPad, sorry)