Zelos Watches Review [In-Depth Microbrand Review]

Zelos Watches Review

If you’re a regular reader of Watch Ideas, you’ll know that I’ve been dipping my toes in microbrand watches. Whether it’s the over-fatigue from pricey luxury brands or just looking for something new, microbrand watches are worth checking out due to some very interesting timepieces.

Today, we’ll take a look at the Singaporean-based watch brand, Zelos. This brand has gotten my attention because unlike many microbrands, Zelos is not a brand that only knows how to make Submariner-inspired pieces that are dime a dozen these days.

For this Zelos watches review, we’ll talk about the brand’s origin, the pros and cons, and the best timepieces this brand has to offer.

About Zelos Watches

Zelos Watches Review

Like many humble beginnings of microbrands, Zelos Watches was made possible because of Kickstarter. Zelos launched 3 models on Kickstarter and each model comes with increasing success. The Zelos was founded in 2014 by a former mechanical engineer, Elshan Tang. He’s a watch collector himself and is always fascinated with watch movements and unique designs.

As mentioned, Zelos launched its first three models via Kickstarter. The first model, the Helmsman, has managed to get 273% of the goal funding. Next, the Zelos Chroma garnered 350% of the targeted funding. Lastly, the Abyss managed to acquire 650% of the funding which is nothing short of amazing.

One of the most notable things about Zelos is that it produces watches from non-standard materials such as bronze, titanium, meteorite discs, and more. Zelos also aims to provide timepieces with unique designs and construction with a price that won’t break a bank.

While the onslaught of microbrands might be sudden and prolific, Zelos is one of the few brands that really do stand out.

Zelos Watches Review: Pros and Cons

Are Zelos watches worth the investment? We enumerate the things that we love and we don’t love about this Singaporean-based microbrand.

What We Love

Remarkable Designs

Like I’ve said earlier, Zelos is not a brand that just tries to make Submariner-inspired timepieces. If that’s the case, I’m fairly certain that Zelos will remain a deeply obscured brand.

Zelos’ rise in popularity can be attributed to the brand’s non-traditional designs. For instance, despite the several conventions that a dive watch must adhere to, Zelos has found a way to stay unconventional. Sure, some Zelos watches that look conventional in design but for the most part, the brand did a good job of separating itself from the rest, design-wise.

Zelos’ use of non-traditional materials such as bronze, titanium, and Damascus has significantly cemented the brand’s design identity. For example, the use of a bezel crown made some of Zelos’ dive watches look like a vintage diving helmet. Another example is the Zelos Hammerhead which comes in five colorways that promote the 70’s-inspired diver aesthetic.

Another thing that stands out for me is Zelos’ attention to detail. Some of their models are brimming with intricate details, and a few to the point that it’s almost overdone. From here, you can really appreciate the watchmakers’ passion for horology.

Zelos has managed to shake up the world of microbrands due to its ever-evolving watch designs, and I’m in for the ride.

Diver Durability

When it comes to dive watches, durability comes with the territory. After, a dive watch is designed to withstand the harsh and grueling conditions of deep-sea diving. However, there are watch companies out there thinking that adding water resistance to their products automatically makes them a good dive watch.

Zelos is doing a great job of making dive watches that can actually be worn by professional divers. First, the brand uses high-quality materials for their watches. Thus, even if you’re not planning to dive anytime soon, you still have a watch that will serve you in a long time.

The level of construction in Zelos watches is worth mentioning as well. There are some models with some clunky components but in general, most Zelos watches offer the much-needed ruggedness and durability. The Zelos watches that I own feel weighty and secure. Overall, you just feel like they’re a reliable timekeeping tool.

Excellent Value

Initially, I was interested in Zelos due to their watches’ strong and unique designs. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that their watches are offered at reasonable prices. Many of their popular models are available for less than a grand and some lower-end models are available for about $300 or less.

Considering that many other independent watchmakers put out more expensive models with less quality, I believe that Zelos provides a great bang for any collector’s buck. To keep the price reasonable, Zelos had to cut some corners, most specifically with the watch movements. However, the actual quality of the materials and craftsmanship is definitely up there.

With the amount of quality that goes into Zelos watches, they can easily go into a few thousand when sold by a more prestigious brand. Even the accessories such as leather straps are cost-effective. With Zelos, you just know that you’re getting your money’s worth and more.

Great Selection

Unlike many indie watch brands these days, Zelos offers a healthy number of watch collections.

For the most part, Zelos specializes in making high-quality dive watches. Its dive watch collection is impressive, from the old Helmsman series to the bigger and badder Great White collection, you’ll have no shortage in terms of choices.

As of this writing, there are 12 different collections in Zelos’ active lineup of watches. Each of the collection offers about 7-8 watches on average, with many different colorways and bezel designs. The wide variety of Zelos watches is something all watch collectors can appreciate.

What We Don’t Love

Movements Could Be Better

Zelos mainly uses ETA or Miyota movements for their watches. This is hardly a surprise considering that Zelos watches are less expensive than similar models. If Zelos starts using complex mechanical movements for their watches, the prices will skyrocket.

This isn’t exactly a bad thing but if you’re looking for something intricate and complex, you won’t find it with Zelos watches. They do use some noteworthy ETA movements such as the ETA 6498 but they’re not exactly common.

Zelos Watches are Big

Zelos only makes big watches.

If you’re looking for a 40mm dive watch, Zelos is not the brand for you. The brand aims to provide heavy-duty tool watches and making them big and bulky comes with the territory. Customers with smaller wrists will find these watches too unwieldy.

Fortunately, there’s a smaller dive watch called the Zelos Mako Diver which comes at 40mm with a lug-to-lug length of 46mm. It’s still pretty big but it’s a good option for those who are looking for something smaller.

Availability Issues

Making this Zelos watches review has been a challenge, mainly because their watches are not exactly easily available. Even places like Amazon only sells a few Zelos models. If you like Zelos watches and you want to buy one, you might out of luck.

Aside from brick and mortar stores located in Singapore and Hong Kong, there are only a few dealership websites that sell Zelos watches. Even the official Zelos websites have very limited stocks and most models are sold out. If you’re in the U.S., you can try your luck in places like the TheMicrobrandStore.

Best Zelos Watches

1. Zelos Swordfish

Named as one of the fastest fishes in the ocean, the Zelos Swordfish is a great introductory watch for would-be Zelos enthusiasts. Like many Zelos dive watches, the Swordfish is an intriguing model with robust specs.

For your information, there are two different versions of Swordfish. One comes with the NH35 movement, a proven Seiko movement and the one that comes with the ETA 2892 movement. The only significant difference between the two is that the ETA variant features a date complication.

The Zelos Swordfish impresses with its solid feel, excellent dial details, and ease of wear. The Swordfish dial features amazing details and a brushed surface. It’s just an interesting diver with a high-level presentation.

Most Zelos Swordfish watches are available for around $300+ except for the meteorite versions that can go up to $800.

2. Zelos Abyss 2

Zelos Watches Review Abyss 2

The Zelos Abyss 2 is a tank of a diver. This timepiece is cased in bronze, features a twin-crown, and powered with a Swiss automatic movement. As its namesake implies, the Abyss 2 is a bronze sea-monster that’s capable of going down to 3,000 meters of pressure.

The Abyss 2’s water resistance is completely ridiculous and unnecessary, yet it’s an awesome flagship feature. Under 3,000 meters of depth, you’ll definitely find yourself in the ocean’s dark abyss. You are probably asking, why? Zelos watchmakers will probably answer, “why not?” Zelos engineered the Abyss 2 because they can and it’s a badass thing to do.

As you might expect, the Abyss 2 is a massive solid block of metal at 51.5mm lug to lug length and 19mm thickness. It uses marine-grade CUSN8 bronze and it generates a beautiful patina over time.

It’s a proper sea-monster of a watch.

3. Zelos Skyraider

Zelos Watches Review Skyraider

The Zelos Skyraider is one of the latest offerings from this microbrand. The Skyraider is interesting because it’s a highly legible Flieger watch and is a tribute to the A-1 Skyraider, a propeller plane by the U.S. Air Force during WW2.

The Skyraider comes in two different models: CUSN8 bronze or GR5 titanium. The warm patina of the bronze model elicits a warm feeling while the titanium gives off a contemporary, lightweight feel. I love the Skyraider’s dial with its detailed engravements and beautiful, clean lines. You can also get a version with skeletonized dial that reveals the inner components and the handwound ETA 6498 movement.

Overall, the Skyraider is a fairly unique Flieger watch with a refreshing twist.

Zelos Watches Review: Are They Any Good?

Zelos Watches Review Helmsman

As per usual, we end this Zelos watches review with a verdict.

Are Zelos watches worth checking out? That’s a big yes! Zelos has done a great job of separating itself from other indie watch companies. The brand features some truly interesting and bold designs.

In particular, I love the dive watches from Zelos because they truly look and feel like diving tools but features impeccable style.

In terms of value, Zelos also doesn’t disappoint. The most expensive Zelos will only cost you around $2000 which is not bad at all, considering the actual quality of the watches.

If you’re looking to get into microbrands, Zelos watches are a great starting point.

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 Review: A Timeless Diving Tool

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 Review

The Rolex Submariner is perhaps one of my most favorite watches of all time. As a dive watch, it can’t go toe-to-toe with the most advanced dive models but it gets the job done and in no way an inadequate dive companion.

When the Rolex Sea-Dweller was released back in the late 1960s, the Swiss watch company has a single-minded mission in mind: to reach deeper depths than the Submariner and survive anything underwater. Again, the Submariner was not seen to have flaws, so the release of the Sea-Dweller is more for the extension of the former’s diving utility.

Today, we have an in-depth (pun intended) Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 review for you.

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 Review: At a Glance

With a water-resistance that can go to thousands of meters underwater, the Rolex Sea-Dweller is a niche offering and is geared towards saturation divers. Let’s first take a look at the key specs and features of the Rolex Sea Dweller 16600.

Model:

Rolex Sea-Dweller

Reference no.

16600

Model case:

Stainless steel w/ helium escape valve (40mm) w/ rotatable timing bezel

Oyster architecture:

Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown

Material:

Oystersteel

Bezel:

Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum

Winding crown:

Screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system

Crystal:

Scratch-resistant sapphire
Water-resistance: Waterproof to 1,220 m (4,000 ft)

Movement:

Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

Caliber:

3135, Manufacture Rolex

Precision:

-2/+2 sec/day, after casing

Winding:

Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor

Bracelet:

Stainless steel Oyster bracelet, original Rolex

Clasp:

Stainless steel fold-over clasp with divers extension, original Rolex

Dial:

Black w/ luminous hands and hour markers

Certification:

Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)

Reviewing the Rolex Sea Dweller 16600

First Impression

Just to be clear, the Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 is by no means a new Rolex model. In fact, its production run ended by 2008 and it became a well-sought model as the newer Sea-Dweller was released. This is also the main reason why I’ve taken interest to this particular Sea-Dweller iteration.

As for my first impressions, I’ve quickly warmed up to the Sea-Dweller because it’s the long-lost sibling of the classic Submariner. The Submariner’s black dial design is so iconic and pleasant that the excitement came almost immediately after opening the box many years ago. With that said, the Sea-Dweller looks good and you won’t mind wearing it on a daily basis.

Right out of the box, you can tell that the Sea-Dweller 16600 is a professional tool that can take a beating. The package itself is quite special. The package includes the infamous Rolex anchor, extra dive suit links, the link changing tool for the bracelet, and a Buehlmann diving chart. It’s worth noting that the link-changing tool was exclusive to the Sea-Dweller.

One of the first things I noticed about the Sea-Dweller 16600 is the Helium escape valve (HEV) which is the signature feature of the Sea Dweller series. Other watch manufacturers have copied this system but it’s only Rolex that has done it with great success.

Design

As mentioned, the Sea Dweller 16600’s design is very similar to the Submariner, specifically to the 16610 model. They’re so similar that they might as well be the same watch. The Sea Dweller was designed for diving professionals that need a timepiece that could go a lot deeper and withstand the harshness of saturation diving.

The derivative design of the Sea Dweller is exactly why I enjoyed it the first time. The venerable black dial of the Sea Dweller is one of the main design highlights for me. The Submariner 16610 has knocked it out of the park design-wise. However, I still find myself longing for the 5513 or 14060 because of the no-date dial. The pure, clean lines are just a beauty to behold.

Fortunately, the Sea Dweller 16600 features the best of both worlds. The lack of the Cyclops lens seem a bit strange but I imagine that the lens isn’t that essential for saturation divers. The thicker, bulkier profile of the 16600 gives it an extra wrist presence.

Unfortunately, the Sea Dweller 16600 has stopped its production and its the last of the “old-style” Sea Dweller before the release of the DeepSea 116660. The design of the 16600 is just classic and timeless, but never outdated.

Construction and Wearability

Both the case and bracelet of the 16600 is made of 904L stainless steel. It doesn’t get any simple than this but still delivers in functionality. While the Sea Dweller isn’t the most popular series by Rolex, it featured some innovative construction designs.

Deep sea divers use a helium/oxygen mix in their tanks when going for a dive. Helium pressure can penetrate the crystal of the watch and can accumulate pressure due to decompression. Early deep sea divers literally saw the crystals get blown out of their watches. Rolex has addressed this issue by adding a helium escape valve into the Sea Dweller. This mechanism lets out the helium pressure once it reaches a critical point.

Along with this deep-sea diving innovation, Rolex added more to the depth rating of the watch. This timepiece features a waterproof rating of 1,220 meters (4,000 ft) which should be more than enough for most professional divers. The addition of the Triplock crown adds another layer of water resistance.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Sea Dweller has an extra thickness and weight to it. While it does have a significant wrist presence, it’s noticeably heavier as well. With that said, wearing the Sea Dweller 16600 isn’t exactly comfortable. This is clearly designed to be a tool watch, so it’s not something that you’ll want to wear daily.

Similar to the Submariner, the 16600 also features the dive suit extension link in the Oyster bracelet clap. This allows divers to adjust the size of the bracelet to make way for the suit.

Timekeeping

Rolex submariner review

You can’t call this a Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 review without talking about its timekeeping capabilities.

At the heart of the Sea Dweller 16600 is the caliber 3135 self-winding movement. For some history, the movement was first introduced in 1988 and it quickly became the main workhorse of the Rolex brand. This venerable movement has been used to power Rolex classics like the Datejust and Submariner Date. Many experts believe that the 3135 is one of the best movements made by Rolex.

The 3135 is a high-beat movement with an oscillation at 28,800 beats per hour (BPH). The movement is based on 31 jewels and comes with a date aperture that immediately changes at exactly midnight. As far as accuracy goes, the 3135 movement is legendary for its accuracy. As expected, the 3135 is also COSC certified. Based on my experience, I didn’t have any accuracy issues with the 16600.

The quality of timekeeping is exactly what you can expect from a Rolex timepiece. There’s really nothing to complain about here.

Pricing

Because the production for the Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 has ceased, you can’t buy this piece anymore, at least not officially from Rolex. Due to the limited nature of the 16600’s availability, expect to pay a little bit higher for a used model. For reference, the Sea Dweller 126600 can be yours for around $11,000.

At this point, the Sea Dweller 16600 has become a well-sought piece for Rolex collectors. When this model was released, it was available for the $4400 retail price tag. These days, you’d be lucky to find a 16600 that doesn’t command a price of below $6000.

With that said, the Sea Dweller 16600 is a definite collector’s item and strikes a good balance between quality and value. The thing I enjoy the most about the 16600 is that it feels like a proper sequel to the Submariner 16610. From the design to overall utility of the watch, I am happy to have gotten the 16600 even at a fairly inflated price.

If you are looking to get the classic-looking Sea Dweller, the best time to act is now. There’s no telling if the price will continue to skyrocket.

Should You Get the Rolex Sea Dweller 16600?

Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 Review

So what’s our verdict for this Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 review?

While the Rolex Sea Dweller 16600 has made a strong first impression, it rarely makes my weekly rotation. However, that’s just me having too many watches to wear. For what it’s worth, the Sea Dweller 16600 is a strong showing for Rolex. It features a timeless, clean design that you can wear almost anywhere at any time. The watch itself is a bit on the bulkier side, so there were some compromises in terms of comfort.

If you are looking for a true dive watch for deep-sea diving, you are probably better off getting a dive computer. But that’s not saying that the Sea Dweller 16600 is not a proper dive watch because it’s actually an amazing one. Its depth rating is very impressive and there are some great dive-related innovations that remains relevant up to this day.

However, the lack of availability means that you’ll be spending more than you have to and you still get a used piece.

Overall, the Sea Dweller 16600 is a hardcore Rolex for the hardcore deep-divers. Yes, the newer version is even more hardcore but visually, I think the 16600 is the superior choice here. I am in no way a diver but there’s a lot to love here even for non-dive watch fans.

Deep Blue Watches Review [In-Depth Brand Review]

As you may know, microbrands are making a big splash in the watch industry. Microbrands are usually small watch companies that are fairly new in the business. However, our featured brand review for today is not exactly a new-ish company but still qualifies as a microbrand.

Today, we’re going to do a brand review of Deep Blue.

Deep Blue is a brand that’s usually referred to as the “indie diver.” This is because this microbrand is solely devoted to selling diver watches – the only one of its kind in the industry. They have been around since 2007, so they’re not exactly a new company.

For this Deep Blue watches review, we take a plunge and find out if this microbrand is a hit or miss.

History of Deep Blue Watches

Deep Blue Watches Review History

Founded in 2007, Deep Blue Watches is an American company that’s based in New York. As mentioned, Deep Blue not only specializes in dive watches but it’s the only type of watch that they manufacture.

In the past, true dive watches have strict applications – either for military or deep sea explorations. These dive watches are referred to as “tool watches.” However, these dive watches aren’t exactly the best-looking tools out there.

Although there were so-called dive watches that graced the market, many of them can’t be used by members of the armed forces or professional divers. Deep Blue Watches has presented a solution by pioneering a collection of true diver watches – looks stylish on land but can go deep in the sea.

The company motto is “Precision Diver” which basically refers to robust and dependable timepieces that can be used by professional divers and military personnel. Deep Blue watches are designed with value and dependability in mind. They have dive models that can travel to depths of up to 3000 meters, without sacrificing accuracy and durability.

To some extent, Deep Blue Watches has helped revitalized the dive watch industry. The brand may not have the same prestige and legacy as other dive brands, it’s still a well-respected brand among collectors.

Deep Blue Watches Review: Pros and Cons

Deep Blue Watches Review_1

Should you go to the deep end by buying Deep Blue watches? We highlight the things that we love and we don’t love about this dive watch microbrand.

What We Love

High-Performance Timepieces

Deep Blue is exclusively manufacturing dive watches and they know exactly how to put out a well-designed piece. The best thing about Deep Blue dive watches is that they don’t just look the part but with the performance as well.

The best dive watch is durable and of course, can handle the great depths of the ocean. Due to their solid construction and design, some of the best Deep Blue divers can handle depths of 3,000 meters. That is a mighty impressive performance for a dive watch.

Now, I am not a professional diver myself and won’t be coming near the ocean anytime soon. However, I have been looking around and it seems that professional divers have taken a liking to Deep Blue watches. It’s feedback like this that will let you know that Deep Blue is the real deal as far as dive watches go.

Based on my experience, Deep Blue watches are yet to disappoint when it comes to durability and dependability.

Thoughtful Design Decisions

While Deep Blue didn’t exactly set the world of dive watches on fire, I do appreciate some of the design decisions that this company has made.

For instance, some of the Deep Blue models have ceramic or sapphire bezels that are comparable with some high-end luxury watches. The thing is, Deep Blue divers aren’t exactly high-end, so it’s certainly nice to see high-end features from a mid-range brand.

Another thing I love about their dive watches is the adjustable wetsuit extensions on bracelets. This goes to show that Deep Blue is truly catering to professional divers. Many watchmakers can get away with simply jacking up a timepiece’s water resistance and call it a dive watch.

These thoughtful design decisions by Deep Blue deserves a lot of respect.

Good Value

If you are looking for a robust and dependable tool watch, it’s hard to go wrong with what Deep Blue has to offer. One of Deep Blue’s core values is to provide top-notch value to customers who are willing to give them a chance.

This means providing timepieces that are accurate, durable, and have good designs. However, they are also adamant in keeping the costs of their watches on the affordable side. True enough, even the highest end model will remain below $1,000, except for the Master 2000 series.

For a dive watch, this is simply unheard of, especially considering the quality of Deep Blue watches.

Excellent Customer Support

The folks at Deep Blue stands by their products 110%. This really shows once you get in touch with their customer support.

Just for this Deep Blue watches review, I’ve contacted their support to ask some questions. I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive and helpful the support team is. I was expecting some canned response from the representative but instead, I was treated to some great solutions to my issues.

They gave me the impression that they will always tend to my needs. For lesser-known brands like Deep Blue, excellent customer service can go a long way in bolstering their reputation.

What We Don’t Love

Derivative Aesthetic

If you are in the market for a one-of-a-kind dive watch with a unique design, you won’t find it in Deep Blue.

While most Deep Blue watches feature a solid design, it’s clear that the company took some inspirations from other popular dive watches such as the Citizen’s Blue Promaster or Seiko Prospex SRP775. Deep Blue dive watches aren’t exactly a pinnacle of originality.

However, Deep Blue does offer watches that look unique such as the Deep Blue Abyss. Also, for some reason, some models can be quite difficult to read at a glance.

Just Dive Watches?

This is more of a nitpick than anything.

Deep Blue knows what they are doing and can put out quality timepieces. Thus, I was hoping that they would branch out to other types of watches. If you don’t like dive watches, Deep Blue has nothing for you.

However, this company has plenty of good-looking watches that you can avail of. You don’t have to be a professional diver or military to appreciate their collection. I know for a fact that I’ll wear my Deep Blue watches casually, and that’s fine.

Just a wishful thinking on my part.

Best Deep Blue Watches

1. Deep Blue Master 1000 Automatic Diver

You can’t have a good Deep Blue watches review without mentioning one of its most popular models, the Deep Blue Master 1000 Automatic Diver.

Solid Diver with Great Value

The Deep Blue Master 1000 Automatic Diver caught my eye because it has fairly decent specs and it’s available for less than $300 (depending on the color options).

This being a dive watch, can go to 300 meters which is already a lot if you’re planning to use it casually. However, it’s just good to know that this watch can go deep.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that the Master 1,000 is a massive watch with a 44mm case and 15mm in height. It features a helium release valve at 10 o’clock and a unidirectional bezel. You just know right off the bat that this diver is not messing around.

The watch is powered by a Seiko NH 35 automatic movement which is quite pedestrian as far as automatic watches go. There’s also a date window that is not often seen with dive models. The bezel is ceramic and the lume offers incredible visibility in low-light situations.

Overall, the Deep Blue Master 1000 Automatic Diver can go deep without digging deep within your pockets.

2. Deep Blue Diver 1000 Automatic

The Deep Blue Diver 1000 Automatic is also another great recommendation for dive watches under $1,000. This model can go even deeper than the Master 1000 but not by much.

A Sporty, Stylish Diver

One thing that you’ll appreciate about this diver is that it’s available in many different colorways and bracelet types. I have the Diver 1000 Black/Red Bezel and it’s a great looking watch that I can wear daily and dressier events. Some of the unique ones are the Abalone Shell and Orange Sunray.

Again, this is a fairly large watch at a 44mm case and 15mm thickness. It comes in a 316L stainless steel case which provides a good deal of durability. While the watch is a bit on the bulky side, it surprisingly doesn’t feel larger when worn. The bulky profile does give off the impression that it’s a tool watch.

For the movement, the Diver 1000 comes with a 21.6k bph Seiko NH35. It’s stable, accurate, and helps keep the price down.

Overall, it’s a perfectly capable dive watch with a stylish flair.

3. Deep Blue Pro Sea Diver

If you’re a professional diver who’s looking for a dive watch but doesn’t want to spend too much, the Deep Blue Pro Sea Diver is worth checking out.

For the Hardcore Underwater Explorers

The Pro Sea Diver is available in many different bezel colors such as black and blue, orange, and black and green. The rotating bezel is a thing of beauty with its 120 oddly satisfying clicks. The bezel and case give the watch a gear-like look.

The plain blue dial nails the typical dive watch element and I must say that it looks even better in person. At 3 o’clock sits the date window and all the hands and markers are generously lumed.

Again, this watch is powered by the respectable 24-jewel Seiko NH36 movement with an accuracy of -20 to +40 seconds per day. It’s not the best movement but it offers consistency and accuracy with a solid power reserve.

Of course, you can’t review this watch without mentioning the 1,000-meter depth rating. That’s right, it’s a professional dive watch by all means.

Deep Blue Watches Review: Are They Any Good?

Deep Blue Watches Review Featured

To end this Deep Blue watches review, we now put down our verdict.

Should you check out what Deep Blue has to offer? Only if you’re looking for a high-performance boutique dive watch that won’t break the bank. For the money, you get a lot of watch that will serve you well, even if you’re not a professional diver. If for some reason that you don’t like dive watches, Deep Blue might just not be the brand for you.

Stuhrling Watch Review: An In-Depth Look at the Stuhrling Regatta Champion

Stuhrling Watch Review_Featured

Stuhrling is a brand that I have always been interested in. The brand offers a wide range of timepieces and many of them are unique or interesting to look at, to say the least. However, I tend to gravitate towards traditional-looking timepieces which is why for this Stuhrling watch review, I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at the Regatta Champion.

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion is a marine-themed dive watch which is something that I tend to like. Many dive watches just try too hard so they end up having too many elements with their designs.

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion begs to differ which is a breath of fresh air. Is this dive watch worth adding to your collection?

Let’s find out!

Stuhrling Watch Review: The Regatta Champion at a Glance

Model:

Regatta Champion 395 Quartz 42mm Diver

Reference #:

395.33U16

Collection:

Aquadiver

Case material:

316L Surgical Grade Steel Case

Case diameter:

42 mm

Case height:

11.47 mm

Crystal:

Krysterna Crystal

Crown:

Screw Down Fluted Crown

Water resistance:

20 ATM Water Resistant (200 meters/660 feet)

Dial:

Deep-Sea Royal Blue Dial

Movement:

Swiss Quartz Movement, Ronda 515

Bracelet:

Stainless Steel Link Bracelet

Bracelet width:

22 mm

Features:

Skeletonized Luminous Sword Hands

Individually Applied Luminous Arabic Numerals – 3,6,9, and 12; and Stick

Indices at All Other Points

Stainless Steel Unidirectional Ratcheting Bezel

Screw Down Case Back with Stührling Wings Logo

Push Button Deployant with Safety Clasp

First Impressions

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion came in a glossy white box with a printed Stuhrling logo in gold. This is not exactly a luxury watch, so I was expecting the packaging to be in the so-so category but its surprisingly well-done.

Inside the packaging box is the actual watch box in orange. The orange box contains the watch, manual, certificate card, and an orange micro-fiber cloth. The micro-fiber cloth is a nice touch for cleaning the watch. As for the watch, it was covered with a shrink-wrapped clear plastic.

As for the look of the actual watch, the Regatta Champion certainly looks better than the pictures. The blue dial looks great with a couple of noteworthy high-quality design elements. One of the first things I’ve noticed about the dial is that the Arabic numerals are a bit too large.

The polished steel case looks fairly standard but the reflective polish does throw me off. The shape of the case is simple but with a highly angular shape. Despite the good-looking design, it’s fairly obvious that the manufacturers had to cut some corners with materials and construction.

Overall, my first impressions of the Regatta Champion lean on the positive side.

The Case

As mentioned, the case of the Regatta Champion looks decent enough. However, the almost mirror-like polish is something that I don’t enjoy. But it’s worth noting that other parts of the case such as the top of the lugs are less reflective.

On the right side of the case, you’ll see two short crown guard. The guards slope slightly downwards and the ends are smoothly rounded. The lugs from the top and bottom of the case also slope downwards, with some sharp corners. This enables the Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion to provide a comfortable fit even on smaller wrists.

The bracelet bars that hold the bracelet feels a bit flimsy and frankly, low-quality. I was worried that they might break while trying to change the bracelet. I thought about changing the bars but there’s not enough clearance between the case and the bar which makes it difficult to install thick bars.

The case back is also disappointing. The case back design looks to be printed instead of being engraved. It feels like the design will come off with continued use. So far, the case back design holds up but my confidence for it to last is low.

The actual design is also uninspired and needlessly busy.

The Crown

As far as watch operation goes, you only have the stainless steel screw-down crown.

The crown is just the right size and it’s easy to grip. The crown guards are positioned just right and it makes it easier to grasp and operate the crown. The engraved coin edge also provides good friction for the fingers. The end of the crown has a small “S” engraving which adds a much-needed detail to the watch.

The crown has two positions of operation. The first pull is used to set the date of the watch. The second pull is used for adjusting the hands.

The Dial

The main selling point of the watch for me is the marine dial. With how the dial looks alone, it’s easy to think that the Regatta Champion costs more than it is.

The minimalistic design of the dial certainly does the watch plenty of favors. At the 12 o’clock position is the “STUHRLING ORIGINAL” text while at the center button, you’ll see the ‘PROFESSIONAL DIVER 200 METERS’ text. I have always been a fan of watches with minimal texts, so plus points for the Regatta Champion.

The markers are applied which adds a good deal of texture to the dial. The markers are also outlined with chrome around the edges. The 12, 3, 6, and 9 hour markers are printed in Arabic numbers while the other markers are represented by trapezoids.

The hands are lumed which comes in handy if you’re going to use this watch for diving. But the seconds hand is not lumed which is a weird design flaw for a dive watch. The lumed hands are decent but I just wish the illumination is brighter.

There’s also the date window located between the 4 and 5 markers. However, the date window is very small which makes it hard to read the numbers inside.

Overall, the dial’s design is very impressive (with the exception of the date window) and does a great job of making the watch look high-end.

The Bracelet

The next stop for this Stuhrling watch review is the bracelet.

The bracelet is also polished stainless steel in the center link which I don’t really care for. It looks like your standard three-link bracelet in most watches. Unfortunately, I gave up trying to make the bracelet fit since I was unable to find the right tools to adjust it.

Therefore, I opted to swap the three-link steel bracelet with NATO and leather straps. And oh boy, it made the Regatta Champion experience a lot better for me.

By swapping the bracelet with something else, the Regatta Champion gained a whole lot more personality. The quality of the steel bracelet is really not that great which is acceptable for a budget timepiece. Luckily, I decided to change things up by swapping the bracelet.

On a side note, swapping the bracelet was not easy especially when there’s not much space between the bars and the case. My advice, choose a thinner strap like the AUTULET NATO Watch Band.

The Movement

Stuhrling Watch Review Ronda 515 Movement

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion is powered by the Swiss Quartz Movement Ronda 515. Being a cost-effective dive watch, Stuhrling would have just slapped a generic quartz movement here and I would have been fine.

It’s a good thing that Stuhrling opted to include a fairly reliable movement, the Ronda 515. The 515 is truly a workhorse movement and based on past experiences, I have nothing to worry about. In addition, on top of being reliable, the Ronda 515 also boasts decent accuracy for daily timekeeping.

The only downside is that the durability and battery life of the 515 is lesser when compared to a newer movement like the 715.

The Regatta Champion’s timekeeping is solid and reliable, thanks to the Ronda 515 movement.

Pricing

One can argue that the best part about the Stuhrling Regatta Champion is the price. By all accounts, the Regatta Champion is a slightly above average dive watch that excels in design more than anything.

Performance-wise, I haven’t tested the Regatta Champion for diving so I can’t really comment on that. However, it does offer a 20 ATM Water Resistant rating which should be more than enough for most divers. As for the timekeeping aspect, the watch delivers the accuracy and reliability aspect which all I ever need for a budget watch such as this.

For less than $100, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dive watch this good-looking. On the flip side, if you’re going to use this for diving, even the sub-$100 price might not be worth it.

There are plenty of durability, construction, and quality issues with this watch, making it hard to recommend for heavy-duty activities such as diving. Plus, the lume is lacking in brightness which is a problem when you’re underwater.

For a beater watch, on the other hand, I highly recommend it for the price.

Should You Get the Stuhrling Regatta Champion Dive Watch?

Stuhrling Watch Review_Featured

As per usual, we conclude this Stuhrling watch review with our verdict. Is the Stuhrling Regatta Champion Dive Watch worth buying?

Well, it really depends on you.

If you are planning to dive with this watch, then I struggle to recommend this diving watch. Although it has the waterproof factor, it has some issues that could affect your diving experience. For instance, the quality of the watch is not that great. Second, the lumed hands and markers are not bright enough for underwater excursions.

On the flip side, I highly recommend the Stuhrling Regatta Champion Dive Watch for casual use. The dial is bold, clean, and minimalistic – just the way I like my watches. The blue dial is stunning and is joined with some very exciting design elements.

If you can get past the quality issues, the Stuhrling Regatta Champion is worth looking into.

Best Women’s Dive Watch

Best Womens Dive Watch

We’ve researched for hours on end to provide you with a few recommendations for the best womens dive watch. When diving, it’s crucial to have information at the tip of your finger.

If you’re wondering whether a womens dive watch is necessary or not, we may be able to give you some insight. Overall, the best women’s dive watch is the Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch. Why? Mostly because the price-point is very affordable and isn’t as expensive as other brands. Plus, the company ensures you’re not skipping on quality. Although it is the “mini” version, which may not be suitable for all divers.

As a water sports enthusiast, it’s essential to have a stylish yet reliable wristwatch on hand. Each of the watches on this list are beautiful watches. Not only do they work while you’re diving but can quickly transfer into the workplace or everyday life — no need to purchase a separate dive watch, as you can use it as your everyday wristwatch.

Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a men’s dive watches, then check out this article.

Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch

The Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch is the best womens dive watch. The attractive and detailed watch face is incredible to look at and is specially designed to fit women’s wrists. It includes a slim  31 mm diameter outer case, which is perfect for diving and other daily activities. Even though it’s a “mini” version, you’re still getting all the enhanced features you’d find in a full-sized watch. Plus, there’s a large variety of colors to choose from, ensuring you’ll find one to your liking.

Elegant Design

The M1 Mini features one of the thinnest watch-faces on the market. The thickness is approximately 31mm and includes various features. Some of the features included is a rotary bezel, date window, luminous dial, and buckle closure. Each element is based on classic diver watch designs, ensuring you’re getting a stylish product. Lastly, the analog display includes marks for minutes, seconds, and the date.

Long-Lasting Precision

As for other features, the long-lasting precision ensures that the watch never lags behind in time. The main watch face includes Japanese quartz movement that’s been powered by a non-standard battery. Each clock consists of a battery length of at least two years at minimum and three at max.

Water-Resistant

All dive watches are waterproof, but this one includes a few enhancements. The dive watch has been rigorously tested to ensure that the device will still work even submerged at 200 m/660 ft. This makes it ideal for scuba diving, boating, or other types of watersports.

This not only makes it suitable for recreational diving but also everyday life. It doesn’t matter if you’re washing your hands, taking a dunk in the pool, or just walking in the rain – this watch can handle it all.

Comfortable

What makes this watch a step above the rest is the unique natural mini rubber band. It’s much smoother and softer than other materials, plus the size is suitable for women’s wrists. The rubber ensures that the watch stays on your wrist at all times, which is designed for all day use.

What Do We Think?

Overall, the dive watch includes many features any diver would be happy with. The watertight sealing helps prevent any accidents by keeping water out of the working parts. Plus, the battery replacements happen every 2-3 years. This helps avoid tinkering with the case to replace the battery and loosening the casing.

As for the watch face, there’s more information than other dive watches including a rotary bezel, luminous dial, and a date window. Plus, the multiple color and design options are what make this version stand out amongst many others. We’d say it’s well worth the investment and would even go as far to say that it’s the best womens dive watch of 2019.

Invicta Mako Pro Diver Women’s Dive Watch

 

The next choice on our womens dive watch list is the Invicta Mako Pro Diver Women’s Dive Watch. If you’re looking for a stunningly detailed watch with all the features you need to succeed it in your dive, you won’t have to look far. The slim band is perfect for dainty wrists, and the case features a small 24.5mm design. These features make it lightweight, manageable and enable you to use it in everyday life.

Classic Nautical Design

When thinking about dive watches,  you don’t exactly imagine a stunning silver and gold peice. Instead, you think of dark bland colors. However, the Invicta Mako Pro is designed to give classic nostalgia to the signature colors you’d find on any diver’s gear. The case itself is only the size of a quarter, or roughly 24.5 mm, which works well for small wrists. Plus, the long bracelet band is around 170 mm, but you can remove and adjust the band as needed.

Sturdy & Stunning Watchface

The watch face features Japanese quartz movements while also boasting an analog display. Beyond that, the screen is coated with an anti-reflective mineral crystal dial window to make it easy to read in all forms of lighting. Plus, the anti-reflective properties ensure that you’ll be able to read it above or below water.

Water Resistance

As with any excellent dive watch, the case must be fully waterproof. Each clock includes different levels of submersible, which can be useful depending on what watersports you’re doing.

The Mako Procan resist water levels of 330 ft, or approximately 100 m. This makes it suitable for recreational scuba diving, watersports, etc. Although, the company does suggest that you tighten the crown every time you set the watch, ensuring water won’t leak in.

What Do We Think?

It’s a stunning womens dive watch that can be used for watersports or other daily activities. When compared to others, it features higher quality materials such as stainless steel and a blue bezel. If you’re looking for a diving watch that’s not only accurate but also stunning, then this is for you.

Orient Automatic Women’s Dive Watch

 

The next on our list is the Orient Automatic Women’s Dive Watch. It’s an affordable priced automatic watch which has been specially crafted for female divers. With the affordable price range, you’re getting a steal with all the beautiful features, inducing the luxurious and stunning design. Plus, the textured wristband is crafted from sturdy urethane rubber, which is goth sporty yet comfortable.

Extremely Durable Case

The case is crafted using sapphire crystal, which is known to have high durability and scratch-resistant properties. Plus, the 32 mm thick stainless steel case can be put through rigorous everyday tasks and still hold its delicate design. If you’re looking for an all-around, watch that not only is water-resistant but can also last through daily life, you can’t go wrong with the Orient.

Automatic Movement

The watch is powered through automatic movement, which uses a self- winding Orient caliber 55742. This means that instead of relying on batteries or other energy sources, your movement will keep it functioning.

Why is this a huge benefit? Other cases require you to replace the battery, which can lead to water leaking in if it’s not placed correctly back together. Plus, the Orient also includes a clear backing, allowing you to watch the intricate mechanical movements.

Beautiful Design

With the fact that it’s been designed for women’s wrists, the watch face includes a beautiful design. Displayed is a luminous dial which includes contrasting hands. Each of these consists of both hour and day markers, along with an easy to read screen. The casing is made using anti-reflective sapphire crystals, which ensures you’ll be able to read it in any lighting conditions.

What Do We Think?

Compared to the others on the list, we believe that the Orient Automatic is an excellent choice for those looking for a more reasonably priced watch. Just because the price point is dropped doesn’t mean you’re skipping out on quality. It includes a very sturdy stainless steel casing. Plus, the rotating bezel is beautiful and provides you with more information than just the time.

Other than that the automatic movement can come in handy for those who don’t want to replace the battery. It ensures that the watch will always be working, plus you won’t have to pay for an excerpt to replace batteries or risk doing it on your own. This ensures that the case stays intact and that no leak ever happens.

What is the Best Womens Dive Watch?

Overall, the best women’s dive watch is the Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch.

Purchasing a womens dive watch can be a difficult task, as you want to make sure that the quality is superior. Picking a bad dive watch can not only ruin your scuba diving experience, but also lead to the watch becoming damaged. 

To ensure that you’re getting a reliable watch, we’ve research hours on end to give you the top pics for womens dive watches for 2019. However, if you find that you didn’t find a watch that you like, we recommend checking out our review for the Breitling Superocean 44 or the Seiko Dive Watch.

Just remember, when searching for womens dive watch it’s important to keep a note of two factors. The first factor is that is has a wristband that is designed for dainty wrists. If its a multi-gender or men’s dive watch, it will likely not fit and may fall off.

The second factor to keep in mind the different water-resistant levels. Some watches are suitable for deeper dives, while others are only good for diving on the water’s surface. Check what meter/feet the watch can withstand water to ensure it fits your needs.

Best Automatic Watch Under 300: Affordable Watches with Impressive Features

Best Automatic watch under 300

We carried out a lot of research on a large selection of budget-friendly watches and picked the Invicta 89280B as the best automatic watch under 300.

We recommend this unique timepiece because it has a high level of water resistance and elegant dial. The Invicta 89280B also boasts of luminous hands and markers that allow you to read the watch in low-light condition. It also comes with a durable stainless steel bracelet.

 

Best Automatic Watch under 300

Many people find automatic watches attractive as they bring more than basic timekeeping. Yes, it offers accuracy, elegance, water-resistance, and extra features. It also reduces the stress that comes with using battery-powered timepieces.

Unfortunately, most automatic watches might exceed the budget of the average consumer. As a result, you might have to manage with a cheap knockoff that will probably last for a short period.

The good news is that you can grab a high-quality timepiece for a budget as low as $300. Also, these affordable watches offer features that can rival most flagship timepieces on the market. Now, let’s reveal to you the best automatic watch under $300.

Orient Ray II 

 

If you consider durability and elegance in an automatic watch, then the Orient Ray II is just the right option for you. This classic looking watch has been upgraded to rival many durable watches on the market. Also, it stands out as one of the best luminous watches due to its fantastic lume features on its indices.

Benefit

Easy to Read

Many might find it hard to read a watch in low light condition, but that’s quite different for Orient II. It has a classy blue dial which is well-designed for easy read off. The best part is that it offers luminous hands and markers, thus making it easy to read in low-light condition.

Magnified Calendar window

Unlike other watches, this watch does not only display the date, but it also shows the exact day of the week. Having said this, it an ideal watch for casual workers that needs a watch to enable them to plan the week. You can adjust the day and date by moving the crown clockwise and anti-clockwise, respectively.

Highly Waterproofed

Orient II is a decent dive watch with an attractive design that meets the need of pro-divers, casual workers, and other marine activities. From its case, bracelet, and to the watch face, it maintains a highly waterproofed standard that can withstand up to 200m underwater.

Robust Bezel

Unlike other timepieces on our list of the best automatic watch under 300, the orient II feature a more robust 120-click bezel. The bezel blends in a classy manner with the dial, thus adding a more appealing look to the watch.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Admittedly, this watch is no doubt attractive and made of high quality. However, one annoying part is that you have to unscrew the timepiece more often to wind and adjust the time. Another downside is that the rotating bezel and crown is very stiff, thus making it hard to operate.

Seiko SNZG15

 

Are you planning to invest in an automatic watch under $300? If this is the case, you should consider Seiko SNZG15. Even if it stands as simple and affordable timepiece, it sports a cutting edge design that complements your outfit for any big occasion.

Benefits

Classic Design

This men’s watch sports a design that fits most wrist sizes. It also has offered comfort and easy readability for regular use.

It’s boasts of Hardlex crystal that protect its dial from knocks or impact from elements such as stone. The glass is surrounded by a stationary bezel that offers added security.

A 42mm stainless steel case protects its internal parts while a 22mm nylon strap secures the timepiece to your wrist. Overall, the watch promises resistance against wear and tear that comes with repeated use.

Water Resistance

When it comes to the best automatic watch under 300 in 2019, the Seiko SNZG15 can compete against flagship brands because of its water resistance rating. There is no need to take it off when you want to swim or snorkel because it is water-resistant to a depth of 100m. However, do not use this watch for scuba diving.

Simple Dial

Arabic numeral indices surround the black dial while luminous hands sweep on top of this setup. With such features, you can read the watch in either direct sunlight or dark environments. What’s even better is that you can check the current date via its bold date and day windows.

Automatic Movement

Since this is an automatic watch, it depends on your arm movements for power. Having said this, it helps you save money which you would have used to get battery replacements.

Opinion and Drawbacks

This Seiko watch has features that make it a worthy investment on a low budget. However, its Hardlex display window cannot handle scratches and knocks as well as sapphire crystal.

Bulova 96A135 BVA-SERIES 120

 

Another ideal watch that claims the spot of the best automatic watch under 300 is the Bulova 96A135 timepiece. It deserves a place on our list because it combines elegance and precise timekeeping.’

Benefits

 Water Resistance

This item boasts of the 30m water resistance. Such rating allows you to use the timepiece in the rain without damage, but it cannot endure prolonged exposure to water.

Self-Winding Movements

If you have issues with replacing batteries, this timepiece is an ideal option because it offers a 21 jewel automatic movements. This feature enables the watch to run continuously due to your arm movement.

Fashionable Dial

Most dials on this list are simple without extra features. However, the Bulova offers a skeleton dial that allows you to see its movements. It also has luminous hands and markers that point at its markers while sweeping across its black and gray dial. There are also a sub-dials on this part of the watch.

Opinion and Drawbacks

This watch offers features which are found on more expensive models. However, it has some downsides which include its cheap materials and weak display window. Another drawback is that it is more expensive than the others on our list.

Orient Bambino 2nd Gen Ver. 2

 

Unlike its military-inspired sibling on this list, the Orient Bambino Ver 2 was designed as a simple dress watch for special occasions. It also comes as a successor to the first Bambino.

Benefits

Ideal Water Resistance

Compared to the best automatic dive watches under $300, this timepiece has a low capacity for handling exposure to water. However, it can withstand raindrops or splashes from a tap but not bathing and swimming.

Slim and Lightweight Profile

If you need a watch that will fit perfectly with your cuffs, you should try the Orient Bambino Ver 2 because it has portable and slim built. This watch features a 40.5mm stainless steel case with polished lugs that hold a leather strap.

Unique Crystal Design with Vintage Dial

One of the striking features of this product is its domed crystal design that covers its equally domed dial. It is made from mineral crystal which can hold its own against scratches and knock linked with everyday use.

The glass covers a dial that boasts of a polished hour and second hands that do not contain luminous paint. A date window lies at the 3 o’clock position while the Orient logo remains at the 12 o’ clock marker.

Japanese Automatic Movement

The watch delivers a Japanese Automatic movement which allows it to run without bothering about manual winding. It even offers a high degree of accuracy that is not common with timepieces that fall within this price range.

Opinion and Drawbacks

There are many reasons to love this watch. For instance, it has an elegant vintage look that combines precise movement and an acceptable degree of water resistance. But if you are fond of using watches in poorly lit areas, especially at night, it’s best to consider other options.

Invicta Men’s 8928OB Pro Diver Automatic Watch

 

Since the release of Invicta Men 89280B, it has continued to rank as one of the best affordable automatic watches. This is because of its impressive features, high-quality, and low price.

The Invicta 89280B combines classic styling, high performance, and durability all in one timepiece. It is a reliable option for casual workers and pro-divers looking for a budget-friendly automatic dive watch under $300.

Benefits

Elegant Case

The Invicta 89280B has a well-designed built with a beautiful case that can complement your casual outfit. It features a 40mm gold plated stainless steel case that looks great, and comfortable enough on the wrist. The case houses a beautiful mineral dial window that catches the eye from afar glance.

Attractive Dial and Bezel

One thing you will love about this watch is its dial and bezel. Unlike the other watches on our list with a fixed bezel, the Invicta 89280B features a blue unidirectional rotating steel bezel. This bezel is significant for divers as it helps account for an elapsed time underwater.

As for the dial, this makes the watch look more attractive. This timepiece features a blue dial window which houses a luminous gold-tone hand and markers — the gold-tone Invicta logo at the 12 o’clock position adds more beauty to the dial. There is also a date window at the three o’clock position to keep you informed on the current day of the month.

Water Resistance

When it comes to the best automatic dive watch under 300, the Invicta 8928OB is a perfect choice for professional marine activities. This Invicta Pro-diver automatic watch can go a depth of 200 meters underwater without it getting damaged.

Having said this, you don’t need to take it off when bathing or swimming. But not suitable for scuba diving.

Durable and Comfortable Strap

The Invicta never fails to keep durability in mind as it features a gold stainless steel stone bracelet on this watch. One exciting part is that the bracelet comes with a foldable clasp which allows you to wear or take it off easily. Furthermore, the clasp features a safety closure, which makes the timepiece stay secure and comfortable on the wrist.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Considering its features and benefits, it is certain the Invicta is undoubtedly a top choice for automatic watch lovers. It is also one of the best choices for professionals who engage in marine activities. However, one thing we don’t like is that it needs regular winding to make it stay up and running.

Final Word on The Best Automatic Watch 

In this article, we have listed some of the best automatic watches under $300. So if you don’t want to break the bank to get a top-quality automatic watch, you should consider the models mentioned above.

However, to make your decision a lot easier, we will like to offer you some great tip.

Well, if you feel we missed some superior quality models from other brands, kindly leave a comment below.

IWC Aquatimer Review: Does This Diver Live Up To Its Iconic Reputation?

IWC Aquatimer Review_Feat

Despite being an iconic brand, it was not until recently that I’ve come to appreciate what IWC has to offer. To remedy that, I will be doing an IWC Aquatimer review.

The Aquatimer Ref. 812AD was the very first dive watch released by IWC. The watch debuted with a bang and featured a timeless design – which is why it’s still being made today.

Is the Aquatimer Automatic still a worthy purchase today? Let’s find out!

IWC Aquatimer Review: At a Glance

IWC Aquatimer Review_0

For this IWC Aquatimer review, we will focus on the IWC Aquatimer Automatic Ref. 3290 which is the base model. As with most of my watch reviews, let’s first take a look at the key specs and features of the IWC Aquatimer:

Model:

IWC Aquatimer Automatic

Reference #:

392001

Case material:

Stainless Steel

Case diameter:

42 mm

Case height:

14.2 mm

Crown:

Screw In
Water resistance: 30 bar

Dial:

Black dial with luminescence

Movement:

30120 Calibre, Automatic, self-winding
Power reserve: 42 hours

Frequency:

Frequency 28800.0 vph (4.0 hz)

Strap:

Black rubber strap with IWC-patented quick-change system

Strap width:

22 mm

Features:

Mechanical external/internal rotating bezel with SafeDive system

Date display

Sapphire glass, convex, antireflective coating on both sides

IWC bracelet quick-change system

Central hacking seconds

It’s worth mentioning that there’s another model of this watch which is the IWC Aquatimer 329002. It’s virtually the same watch but with a stainless steel bracelet.

First Impressions

I’ve been interested in IWC as a brand for quite some time now. The best IWC watches are some of the most beautiful and functional timepieces available. So I didn’t pass up the chance to check out the iconic IWC Aquatimer.

When the watch arrived, I was pleased that it’s so much better than expected. The dial features a simple design but you can tell that a great deal of craftsmanship has gone into it. The black matte dial just screams elegance.

I am not a diver myself but I appreciate just how legible the dial is. Many people seem to have a problem with the minimal seconds hand but it doesn’t bother me that much.

One of my initial concerns about the Aquatimer is its rubber strap. However, I shortly realized that my concerns were unfounded. I opted for the rubber strap because I intend to add the Aquatimer to my casual day-to-day rotation, so the rubber strap is the obvious choice for its lightness. Fortunately, the quality of the strap is on-point.

The Aquatimer seems to have a bit of heft to it but it’s far from a bulky profile. My first impression is that I made the right choice with the Aquatimer, despite my initial concerns.

The Case

My Aquatimer Automatic came in a 42 mm stainless steel case and it’s about 14 mm tall. While the watch is marketed towards men, I do believe that the Aquatimer has the style and size that would look great when worn by some ladies.

After all, this Aquatimer model is the smallest watch in the IWC dive watch lineup.

Moving on, there’s not much to say about the stainless steel case except that it feels solid and robust. This is a fairly high-end dive watch and the case very well represents the luxury feel of IWC watches. One interesting design element of the case is the notched bezel (more on that later). These subtle notches are a plus for me and show IWC’s attention to detail.

The crown, crystal, and caseback are properly secured with gaskets – hardly a surprise when it’s a dive watch. The screw-in crown ensures that the watch can provide reliable water resistance. The Aquatimer has a water resistance rating of 300 meters (approx. 1,000 feet) which is nothing short of impressive.

The domed sapphire crystal protects the dial and has an anti-reflective coating on both sides. This ensures that the watch is legible at all times.

The Dial

I have always been a big fan of black dials, so opting for the black dial Aquatimer is a no-brainer. However, there are other variants of the 392001 such as the limited edition, Aquatimer Automatic Edition “Expedition Jacques-Yves Cousteau”.

The Aquatimer’s dial can only be described as clean and elegant. It still pretty much looks like the early IWC divers and you know what they say about things that aren’t broke.

Perhaps one of the first things you’ll notice about the dial are the oversized hour and minute baton hands. This gives an interesting contrast against the thin and minimal seconds hand. The markers for every 5 minutes are applied which gives an almost 3D-like effect. The date aperture is found at the 3 o’clock marker – pretty standard stuff.

The hour markers, bezel, and the hands are all coated with luminescent coating. I’ve tested the lume and I must say that it looks great even under total darkness. The glow of the dial is simply mesmerizing. I only hope that the glow lasts for a long while.

The Bezel

IWC Aquatimer Review_Bezel

Undoubtedly, the most interesting part of the Aquatimer for me is the bezel.

All the Aquatimer timepieces are fitted with the patented “SafeDive” rotating bezel. As mentioned, the Aquatimer’s bezel is subtly notched which is a deliberate design decision. The notched design makes it easier to rotate the external bezel which works like a standard dive watch.

However, there’s another internal bezel or flange which showcases the diving scale. The internal bezel can only be rotated in counterclockwise direction. According to IWC, this ensures that even when the outer bezel is inadvertently rotated, the dive time will not be adjusted.

The 60-click bezel operation is utterly satisfying. Moreover, the clicky rotation adds a great deal to the adjustment accuracy. IWC has nailed its proprietary bezel design – very functional and easy to use.

The Movement

IWC Aquatimer Review_Movement

You can’t have an IWC Aquatimer review without talking about its movement.

The IWC Aquatimer Automatic is powered by the caliber 30120, a self-winding movement. It features 21-jewels, a date display, a central hacking feature, 28,800 vph (4Hz) frequency, and a 42-hour power reserve.

I must admit that I was slightly disappointed to find out that the Aquatimer doesn’t come with an in-house movement. Interestingly, the caliber 30120 is derived from ETA 2892. IWC gets the 2892 in kit form and performs the assembly themselves with some modifications/additions of their own.

However, I am not one to complain especially when the 2892 is a durable and easily serviceable movement. SO far, I have no problems with the accuracy but I intend to test it some more. Other than that, there’s not much to talk about as far as the movement goes.

Overall, despite the lack of an in-house movement, the Aquatimer has more than earned its worth through its other components.

The Strap

First and foremost, don’t knock the Aquatimer just because it comes with a rubber strap. The quality and design of the Aquatimer strap is about what you can expect from a luxury dive watch.

For starters, the rubber strap didn’t have any vanilla or rubber smell. The strap was manufactured to smell neutral which is something that I can get behind. This means that the rubber strap was well manufactured.

Furthermore, the strap features seven buckle holes and finding the right fit was a breeze. Once strapped i, the watch feels very comfortable and the rubber strap didn’t cause any irritation which I can’t say with other rubber straps.

Perhaps the best part of the strap is the quick change system. The interior end of the strap is outfitted with custom steel that snaps into the case. Attaching and re-attaching the strap is quick and convenient. However, this also means that you can only use IWC brand rubber straps.

Pricing

The price of the Aquatimer Automatic dive watch is just about right for the base model. If you choose to get the version with a steel bracelet, expect to pay about $1,000 more.

This IWC dive watch also comes in many other variants like the Aquatimer Chronograph and the super luxurious Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month Edition “50 Years Aquatimer”.

The lack of a real in-house movement is disappointing at first but after wearing it for weeks, it felt like the asking price is more than justified. Other aspects of the Aquatimer is just so well done that you can easily forget its other flaws.

For professional divers, the Aquatimer might just be one of the best diving timepieces around. It doesn’t offer a whole lot when it comes to diving features, like a dive computer, but it does very well with what it can offer. Ease of use and legibility are top-notch. The luminescent coating should also serve you well when underwater.

Ultimately, the Aquatimer is more than worth it for the price.

Should You Get the IWC Aquatimer Automatic?

IWC Aquatimer Review_Feat

We wrap up this IWC Aquatimer review with my verdict. Is the IWC Aquatimer worth the investment?

Whether it’s for everyday wear or diving, the Aquatimer should serve you well. The watch boasts high-quality construction and excellent durability, making it ideal even for regular rotations. Also, numerous unique design elements make the Aquatimer stand out from other divers. The bezel and strap are my favorite parts.

It’s also a great-looking watch despite the fairly simplistic appearance. The overall look is clean, elegant, and iconic. The IWC Aquatimer Automatic is a worthy addition to any dive watch collection.

Breitling Superocean II (44) Vs. Rolex Submariner: Dive Watch Review

breitling superocean 44 vs rolex submariner

Dive Watch Faceoff

Today I will be reviewing two of the top dive watches known to man, and every celestial being.  In the left corner, we have a classic in the dive watch game, The Rolex Submariner. And in the right corner, radiating all of the light in the arena, a dive watch that is surely one of the greatest, The Breitling Superocean II 44! Both of these are fantastic timepieces! However, I am going to have to give the belt to the Superocean II on this one. This is hard to say for a Rolex fanatic who is literally a cheerleader for the brand (Gooooo Rolex)! The Submariner is a classic; but the Superocean is an extremely advanced piece, beautifully designed and built for pure durability.

 

Listen up, I will give the Submariner a chance in the ring. You will hear the pros and cons of each watch in this article. Eventually, the reasons why the Superocean is the inevitable winner will be quite clear; just continue reading on.

Major Similarities and Differences

It is easy to notice differences at first glance. Look at the pristine polish of the Superocean. The watch shines bright, blinding everyone who dares to stare at this beauty. As for the Submariner, it does have a sleek polish, yet does not stand out when compared to the Superocean.

Rolex Submariner Breitling Superocean II 
Rolex Swiss 3130 Movement Cailber 17 ETA 2824 Self-winding Movement
Flat Sapphire Crystal Cambered Sapphire Crystal
Stainless steel Oyster Bracelet Stainless steel Bracelet
40mm Case 44mm Case
Unidirectional 60-minute Bezel Bidirectional Bezel
2.5 Magnifying Cyclops No Cyclops
Black dial w/ luminescent hands Blue/black dial w/ luminescent numbers
300m water resistance 1000m water resistance

Breitling Superocean II 44

History

Breitling was originally founded back in 1884;  known for their avian style watches before the 1950’s.  In the early 50’s  dive watches began to gain popularity. Breitling caught onto this trend as fast as it came. In 1957, Breitling released the Superocean, with a water resistance of 200m, which beat out competitors like Rolex and Omega. The design of the watch, with bold Arabic numerals, invented a look that was clean and practical in the realm of dive watches. Breitling continues to release Superoceans every year. Advancing their look and technology as each year passes by.

Unique Style and Design 

Amidst a generation full of dive watches, saturating the watch market, Breitling releases models that are able to attract watch connoisseurs as well as dive watch critics all over.

I would not call the design of the superocean II classic at all. It is a game changer when it comes to style. The large numerals take over the colorful dial. The steel Breitling name attracts the eyes of everyone around. And the bright, glossy stainless steel bracelet shines like no other watch! This is simply a beautiful watch. Whether you decide to purchase the bold black dial or the bright sunburst blue dial, you will not be disappointed!

If you are one who changes your bands often, no problem! You can easily switch out the steel bracelet for a rubber one at any time. The rubber bracelet does not make this watch look cheap. It gives the watch a traditional dive watch look. The large Arabic numerals and numbers give this watch a great look as well. You do not see large numbers on luxury watches often, but Breitling made it work for this watch. The 44mm case, offers a large, but not to large, face that just pulls in the attention of everyone around.

A Watch to wear for ANY occasion

You are not tied down to any one occasion when wearing this beauty. It looks just as great in the ocean as it does in the office, with a sleek suit. Why I love the Superocean II design is because it takes a different approach than all of the other dive watches. It is alluring and handsome, while simultaneously featuring an original and modern look. I give this watch a whopping 5/5 for design!

Durability

Very important for dive watches, well any watch really. You don’t want a watch that will fall apart after a few years. The Superocean is designed to basically deplete the meaning of wear and tear. One of the main aspects of this watch that make it so durable is the screwed down bezel. The bezel is stuck to the case like glue, you can be sure your bezel will be intact at all times. Another great factor is the rubber insert in the bezel. It is a great cobalt blue color.

A rubber insert makes it so that scratches are a thing of the past! The cambered dial is great as well because it is a scratch-proof material. The case is literally meant for durability. Good size, good weight, you can guarantee the case will stay pristine if you take good care of it. A rating of 4.8/5 is my opinion when it comes to durability.

Value

Most dive watches you find from big watch brands hold their value. The same goes for the Breitling Superocean. This is a watch that retails at a great price! Much lower than the Submariner, or any other luxury watch retailer. As time passes the value and demand stay pretty consistent. Just take good care of the watch and you will have nothing to worry about. Know that every penny you spend on this watch is well worth it. 4/5 for VALUE.

 Rolex Submariner

Personally, I am not a huge dive watch collector. Surprising, huh.. But I have always had a love for the Rolex Sea Dweller and the Submariner. The history of the Submariner models is vast dating back to 1954. Honestly, almost ever dive watch you see today has probably been influenced by the Submariner’s design. Vintage Submariner timepieces cost serious dough, and for a reason. When purchasing a Submariner, you get a classic, handsome and durable watch.

The Rolex name has more history when compared to Breitling. So there is also this to account for. Rolex is one of those brands who has remained a TOP DOG in the watch game since their inception.

Classic style and design

 

Picture a painting by the legendary artist Picasso. Now pretend that painting is basically a watch; the product is the Submariner to dive watch enthusiasts. You can’t go wrong when it comes to the design of a Submariner. It is a nice size watch at 40mm, with a bold, black dial. The face is plain but maintains the professional, classic look. The 2.5 magnifying cyclops assists in bringing the date to life, and in my opinion, just a great addition to have on a Rolex.

A fully stainless steel bezel nicely compliments the steel bracelet, giving the watch a uniform look. When you decide to wear this classy timepiece you do not have to fret over your outfit. It goes with ANYTHING. From casual to business, to your wedding day and even suited up in scuba gear. I give the design 4.6/5 stars!

Durability

You break it, you buy it. Luckily this is not easily applied to the Submariner. The case is built for underwater activity and can definitely take a decent fall. Now usually when I review the Submariner, it is going up against a watch of lesser quality. When comparing the Submariner to the Superocean, the Superocean prevails. Rolex added a strong stainless steel bracelet, a scratch-resistant sapphire case and water resistance up to 300m.

Breitling took all of those qualities and strengthened them immensely. At the end of the day, the Submariner is still a durable watch. It is great for swimming, hiking, and similar activities. Sadly, and I hate to say it, but the Superocean just exceeds all of the above-mentioned qualities. The Submariner gets a 4.5/5.

Value

I think it is safe to say that almost all Rolex pieces hold their value over time. Unless you are a terrible watch owner, who just lives to destroy lives of watch lovers around the world and damage your piece. Besides that, the value of Submariners actually can grow DRASTICALLY over time. Like I mentioned earlier, Vintage Submariners are worth money today! Although the price is much higher than the Superocean; the Rolex Submariner is still worth the price point! Value of the Submariner is a respectable 4.8/5 stars.

The Deeper Diver

Both The Rolex Submariner and the Breitling Superocean II are fantastic watches. What set the Superocean apart from the Rolex in this review, is all of the special features that can not be found on many other dive watches. The Superocean is a bright, beautiful, original and durable timepiece that should be on every watch lovers “buy list.”

Because of these features, The Breitling Superocean II is the diving champion of the day!