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.

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.

Xeric Watch Review: Unique and Affordable Timepiece

Xeric watch Review

We carried out thorough research on Xeric brand and came up with an in-depth Xeric watch review. After looking at the features of some of their watches we picked the Xeric Halo Graph Automatic as our favorite.

 

We choose this watch because it’s easier to read than most Xeric watches. The best part is that the watch is powered by the movement of your wrist, storing up to 36 hours of energy for daily use. Hence, you don’t have to worry about spending extra cash on battery replacement.

Xeric Watch Review

Currently, there are many watches with minimalistic designs. However, If you are bored with the usual watch designs, the Xeric watch comes as an exciting option because it breaks this trend.

Since 2013, Xeric has created nine pieces that have unique and interesting watch faces and designs. They also come with a durable and comfortable build. Fortunately, the watches are affordable, thereby making them a “must-haves.”

On this Xeric watch review, We’re going to talk about three popular watches from this brand. We will also share great insight into the features and price of the timepieces.

A Short History of Xeric Watch

The Xeric brand started in November 2013 by Mitch and Andrew. However, as far back as 1988, Mitch had begun to look into many unusual vintage designs since he collected his first watch. He blogged about them several times, and this made him a renowned watch blogger on modern horology.

In 2007, one of the French watch brands met Mitch to facilitate the business distribution of their Old popular models from the 70s in the US market. In order to make this business a success, Mitch had to associate with his brother Andrew who was running a productive business venture. However, the business never worked out as planned, but it led to the birth of Watchismo e-commerce business.

In 2013, after selling many unique watches on Watchismo e-commerce store, Mitch and Andrew then teamed up with Danny Hunsaker to create the Xeric brand. They made the Xeric watches to have unique design beyond the usual traditional timepiece designs of how time is displayed.

Although they started as a business distribution facilitator of watches, they have created many astonishing timepieces. Combined with many talented people on their team, Xeric brand has made great remarks as one of the leading microband watches.

Now Let’s talk about some of the popular models on this Xeric watch review.

Xeric Men’s Soloscope SQ

 

Xeric has been creating matchless watch design for years, but the Soloscope collection is far more than the usual Xeric conventions. It brings a mix of previous models and unique shape into play. Instead of Soloscope automatic watch review, we want to tell you about a similar elegant version named Soloscope SQ.

Unlike the other Xeric models with round watch face, the Soloscope SQ has a square shape watch face that allows you to read the time with just a single halo hand.

Quality Build

The Soloscope SQ is made of high-quality parts. From the case, dial, to the movement, this watch will last longer after numerous rigorous uses. Let’s give you great insight about its build.

Case

It has a square-shaped case of 41mm with 13mm thickness to make it comfortable enough on the wrist. The case is made of 316L stainless steel and has a PVD coating that gives it a sleeker look. The crown of the watch is situated at the base of the timepiece and very simple and easy to use.

Dial 

Xeric watch review

This watch comes with a distinctive dial with an eye-catching and elegant appearance, which gives it a luxurious look. It has a single Halo hand that allows you to read the hour and minutes by rotating the hour while the hand point at the minute. Soloscope SQ has sub-dial on the left-hand side which displays a 60 seconds stopwatch and the 24-hour indicator disc

To protect the dial from knocks and falls the watch face is covered with sturdy K1 mineral glass. What’s even better is that it is sapphire coated to help cut down reflections.

Strap

Xeric watch review - Xeric Soloscope SQ watch

If you’re looking for a Xeric watch with a comfortable strap, then it’s certain the Soloscope SQ is the perfect option for you. The watch has durable American-made Horween leather with elegant colors. With such material and color, it looks nice to wear for casual occasion and will stay secure to the wrist without pulling out easily. The strap also features built-in spring bars that allow you to take off the watch easily anytime and any day.

Movement

Xeric watch review

Unlike most watches on the market, the Soloscope SQ uses a unique vintage movement. It runs on Miyota Chrono JS55 movement to provide precise timekeeping. Base on accuracy and reliability, we’re yet to experience any issue. The best is that the movement controls the sub-dials perfectly.

Water-resistant

Not only is it good to own a watch that looks elegant and unique but also more exciting to have a water-resistant timepiece. This gives so much happiness since you don’t have to worry about splashes or bathing with the watch. However, you shouldn’t go beyond the 50 meters while swimming with this watch or wear it for long underwater.

Decent Warranty

When purchasing a watch, we often forget that the warranty is also essential. You won’t want a watch that stays dead after a short period of regular use. For this reason, the Xeric put their customer in mind to provide a decent 1-year warranty that covers any defects in both material and quality. Also, if you don’t love the watch, you can as well return it within 30 days starting from the purchase date.

Price

On our end, the watch is affordable compared to other watches with distinctive design. At a price above $200, we believe it truly worth the price if we’re to consider its unique dial, elegant watch face, and a durable strap. The price might be high for many, but since it is water-resistant to 50M, it is a great timepiece to have on your wrist.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Soloscope SQ might not be like the regular timepieces on the market, but it is accurate and reliable. Also, adding the track record of the brand, this watch is a great timepiece to wear on the wrist.

However, for those that are used to the regular timepiece, you might find it difficult to read this watch at an earlier stage. This downside is common with most Xeric watches, but once you’re conversant with it, you won’t have a problem reading the time.

Xeric Men’s Halo Graph Automatic

 

Despite being a Kickstarter brand, Xeric has a timepiece that would interest the watch snob. This timepiece known as the Xeric Men’s Halo Graph Automatic combines elegance, durability, and accurate timekeeping all in one piece. It also falls within the  $500 range which makes it an affordable option.

Here are the main specs and features of the Xeric Men’s Halo Graph Automatic.

Construction and Wearability 

Xeric watch review- Xeric Halo graph

Like most products from the brand; the Xeric Men’s Halo Graph Automatic has an attractive design for a budget level item. It also has a build that that does not add extra pressure to your arm. Here are some parts of the watch that I observed closely.

Case

Xeric watch automatic watch review

This item has a stainless steel case that measures 48mm in diameter and a thickness of 13mm. Overall, its an ideal size for a wide selection of wrists, however, it might be considered bulky for women.

This part of the watch has a sturdy and durable look, thereby promising years of timekeeping. For one, tough screws held the caseback while sturdy-looking lugs attach it to its strap.

Dial

Xeric watch review

If you are a fan of watches with unconventional design, then you will love the silver dial that this Xeric watch has to offer. Features here include four, dimensional, hemicycle time display arcs where the inner ones show hours while outer ones display minutes. Although the setup looks different, it is easy to read the time with a glance.

Strap

Even if Xeric prefers the unconventional design, it adds a simple leather band to this automatic watch. This band is dark in color and measures 22mm in width, which fits most wrist sizes.

It also has a buckle which secures the wrist to your hand without adding any discomfort. Overall, it has a classic look that will fit any occasion or match any outfit.

Movement

Another thing I would like to consider in this Xeric watch review is the movement on the Halo Graph Automatic. It features a Swiss automatic mechanical movement which powers the watch as you move your arms. With the use of porthole on the case back, you can view how the rotor provides energy for this activity.

Dial Crystal

The dial of this item is covered by a tough domed crystal made from K1 mineral. The crystal is covered in the sapphire coating to make it resistant to scratches.

Power Reserve

As mentioned earlier, the watch is powered by arm movements or winding the crown. I would also like to add that the watch stores up energy that can last as long 36 hours. This keeps the timepiece going, especially when you take it off.

Price

Although it has several exciting features, the Xeric Men’s Halo Graph Automatic is an affordable item. It even has specs that can place it on any best watch under $500 list. For instance, its dial and crystal can rival similar specs found on high-end timepieces while its movements offer premium accuracy.

Opinion and Drawbacks 

If you are looking for a trendy watch that packs serious features, the Halo Graph Automatic should top your shopping list. It has a bold dial that is easily readable and movements that promise accuracy.

However, its high dome shatters on impact while its crown looks unsuitable for large fingers. Furthermore, the leather band might not last for long periods.

Xeric Trappist-1 Moonphase Gunmetal

 

Here comes another great model on our Xeric watch review known as the Trappist-1 moon phase. One of the interesting facts you will learn from this Trappist-1 watch review is that this timepiece was inspired by NASA’s discovery of the Trappist system. It shows this idea by featuring a futuristic dial with planets that resembles the newly discovered solar system.

The watch also has a space glove inspired bracelet and unique marker arrangement. It also uses a NASA tested crystal that offers robustness and readability at the same time. Surprisingly, the watch goes for less than $400.

There are other interesting things about this item but first, let’s see its key features and if the watch is worth your investment.

Construction and Wearability

Xeric watch Review - Trappist 1 moon phase

Although Trappist 1 has a playful design, it has a build that suits its affordable price. Moreover, it is not as bulky as the Halo Graph Automatic, but it offers the ideal level of durability. Finally, it is relatively light, which makes it comfortable enough to wear throughout the day.

Case 

It has a stainless steel case which gives it a robust look, but the watch maintains a slim profile. On top of the case lies a fixed steel bezel that secures the crystal. Overall, its build offers a water resistance of 50m as boldly printed on its back.

Dial

A subject of interest on any Xeric watch review is the incredible dial design on the Trappist 1 Moonphase. Protected by a crystal dome, the dial sports a blue cage with Roman numeral hour markers.

It also has a Super-lumiNova moonphase while a date window sits at the six o’clock position. Other parts of the watch like the planets and stars are coated in Super-lumiNova, thereby making it readable in low light condition.

Strap 

A 22m Horween leather strap extends from the lugs on this unique item and ends with a buckle. This band material can handle moisture and feels soft against the skin.

You will discover that the bracelet has ridges which remind us of space gloves. If you find this part of the watch too casual for your taste, you can swap this bracelet for other options.

Movement

Xeric watch review

Unlike the Halo Graph Automatic, this watch uses a Ronda Caliber 708 Swiss Quartz movement. Such feature promises a battery life of more than four years.

Dial Crystal

The watch has a crystal made from hesalite, similar to the material used by NASA space watches. Hesalite withstands stress better than sapphire glass. It even has a higher chance of surviving a fall than regular glass.

Numerous Styling options

If you love watches that come in several exciting options, this watch comes as the best option. After all, it is available in vibrant combinations such as Rose Gold Mesh, Blue IP Mesh, and Gunmetal Blue Mesh.

Price

Owning a Trappist 1 Moonphase does not require much cash. It falls below the $400 mark, which makes it affordable. This comes as a surprise especially as it has several high-end features like its hesalite crystal and rugged Horween leather strap.

Opinion and Drawbacks

The sellout features about this watch include the use of hesalite crystal and a movement that extends battery life. You will also love its water resistance rating that can handle a decent amount of moisture

However, the watch has some issues which might make you consider other options. First, the date window at the bottom of the dial is too small to read (even with the magnification glass). Also, its luminous dials are not as bright as expected and the minute hand falls off after some time.

Should You Get The Xeric Watch

This brings us to the end of the Xeric watch review. If you want a timepiece that looks unique and eye-catching then you’re to consider the Xeric watch. The reason is that Xeric watches has a design that is beyond expectations.

Looking at the Trappist-1 Moon phase model inspired by NASA, you will be marveled and wonder how it operates. This watch is an ideal option for buyers looking for a timepiece with optical illusion design. At a glance, it appears like a statement watch, but there are many things going inside it if you look closely.

For the Xeric Halo, you might find this timepiece super easy to read compared to the other Xeric watches mentioned above. Since we’re able to see some part of how the movement works, that’s a huge big bonus. The exciting part is that no battery needed, yet it can store up to 36 hours of energy as you move your wrist.

If you’re fed up with round shape timepiece and want something very distinctive and elegant, then you Soloscope SQ is the perfect option. With its square-shaped watch face, unique dials, and durable strap, you will surely be happy wearing this watch to any occasion.

 

Vincero Watch Review: The Chrono S is a Luxury Watch Sans the Luxury Price

Vincero Watch Review Chrono S Chronograph

While I am always excited to check out new watch brands, I tend to be quite wary when suddenly a brand is everywhere.

That’s how I feel with Vincero.

However, I’ve been checking out their website and it looks elegant and professional. I’ve decided to give this brand a chance since I’ve been eyeing a good chronograph that won’t break the bank. So I pulled the trigger on one of the most popular timepieces by Vincero – the Chrono S Chronograph.

 

For this Vincero watch review, I am going to take an in-depth look at the Vincero Chrono S Chronograph. Let’s get to it!

Vincero Watch Review: The Chrono S at a Glance

It’s worth noting that the Vincero Chrono S Chronograph comes in about 20 variant. I’ve opted for the Chrono S with brown leather straps and blue dial.

First, let’s check out the key specs and features of the Chrono S.

Model:

Vincero Chrono S Chronograph

Color:

Blue / Brown

Face diameter:

43 mm

Thickness:

11 mm (top of glass to bottom caseback)

Strap size:

22 mm

Case material:

Silver 316L Surgical Grade Stainless Steel

Dial:

Blue Sunray

Movement:

Citizen Miyota Quartz
Interchangeable strap: Top-Grain Italian Leather (Brown Croc)

Water resistance:

5 ATM

Glass:

Sapphire Coated Crystal (Scratch Resistant)

Caseback:

Italian Marble Showcase

First Impressions

To start this Vincero watch review, let’s first talk about the packaging.

The Chrono S shipped in a black rectangular box and cardboard sleeve. The packaging is fairly simplistic but still elegant. The box itself is quite sturdy and boasts a nice Vincero logo engraving on top. At the side of the sleeve, you’ll find a very noticeable barcode which, in my opinion, detracts from the elegance that they are going for.

Inside the box, you’ll be greeted with Vincero’s main tagline “Live Your Legacy” along with a small instruction booklet and the thank you card. The thank you card is a nice touch and the instruction booklet is very well-made.

I’ve seen higher quality packaging from other microbrands but it gets the job done.

As for the watch itself, it had a plastic covering for protection. Out of the box, I must say that the Chrono S has surpassed my expectation. The dial looks vibrant and crisp through the sapphire crystal. The timepiece also has a nice weight to it while the leather strap feels middle of the road. Additionally, the watch is 43 mm which is substantial.

Interestingly, the caseback has an engraving of the famous Italian quote “Veni. Vidi. Vici” which means “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Another interesting addition to the caseback is the inclusion of the Italian marble. It doesn’t serve any worthwhile purpose but it does give the watch a unique look.

Overall, my first impression is a huge positive.

Design

 

The dial is certainly one of the most standout qualities of the Chrono S. The dial offers just the right amount of elegance but it’s quite leaning to the casual side as well. The clean, sunray blue color just pulls your eyes in. Sure, there’s nothing groundbreaking here but you’ll be hard-pressed to say the dial doesn’t look good.

Nothing about the Chrono S’ dial is subtle but the design elements are not overdone at all. As a chronograph, the watch features three sub-dials for the seconds, hours, and minutes. The sub-dials are appropriately textured so they don’t look flat. The date window is located between the 4 and 5 hour markers. I found myself liking the playful placement of the date aperture as it gives the watch a good deal of personality.

 

At the 3 o’clock location, you can find the Vincero logo that looks rather average. A more textured and high-quality logo would have vastly improved the overall look of the dial. Despite these elements, the dial doesn’t feel too crowded and I must commend Vincero for their placement.

In terms of legibility, the Chrono S is a mixed bag.

Under the sun, the dial reads very easily. However, under dark conditions, the dial brought in the disappointment. Supposedly, there’s a lume to the hands and indices but it’s quite poor. Overall, the watch performs quite poorly in low-light conditions which is a shame.

If the blue dial doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, Vincero offers more than 20 different color options for

Construction and Wearability

 

For starters, the case is made from silver 316L surgical grade stainless steel which provides the much-needed solid feel to the watch. Keep in mind that this is quite a sizable watch with a good deal of thickness. On a small wrist, the Chrono S will look very out of place. However, for medium to large wrists, wearing the watch feels just right.

The chunkiness adds a bit of character in combination with the well-designed dial.

 

Another point that’s worth discussing is the lugs. The lugs are fairly large and often press against my wrist but it’s not too severe that it becomes uncomfortable. The face is protected by a sapphire coated crystal and does a great job of keeping dents and scratches at bay.

Next, we move on to the Chrono S’ leather strap.

The quality of the leather strap is pretty much what you can expect from a sub $200 watch. With that said, the leather strap is textured, attractive, and will likely develop a good-looking patina over time. However, just don’t expect full-grain leather here.

On a negative note, the leather strap seems to be quite short which is a problem if you have a larger wrist. In mt case, it fits rather well and comfortable enough but I won’t be surprised if it fits short for other people. The watch offers 5 ATM of water resistance which should be good enough to withstand the occasional splash and a quick shower.

In case the strap breaks down, you always have the option of getting a Vincero replacement strap.

Timekeeping

 

For starters, the watch features the ever-reliable Citizen Miyota Quartz. Now, the quartz movement will likely turn up the collective noses of watch snobs but this movement is accurate and reliable. I’ve yet to experience any issues with timekeeping and I believe that it will stay that way long into the future.

Additionally, the sub-dials are all working as designed and resetting the watch is oddly satisfying. I’ve used the subdials as timers and they work wonderfully. On the other hand, the date aperture takes a bit of getting used due to the playful angle placement but there’s no issue with it as well.

The Chrono S doesn’t offer much to the table in terms of timekeeping features. With that said, the Vincero Chrono S is not exactly a timekeeping marvel but it works, and it works well. Sometimes, for a watch like this, that’s all that matters.

Pricing

This Vincero watch review was inspired by the company itself.

Vincero aims to marry luxury with a bang for your buck value. It’s not exactly a novel idea but I must say that the company has succeeded – to some extent.

The main goal of Vincero is to focus on quality by sourcing the components themselves and producing timepieces in small batches. Also, the company refrains from outsourcing their processes which means everything happens in-house.

This gives Vincero the freedom to control the quality of their watches across the board.

With the Vincero Chrono S Chronograph, the company has certainly met its goal. Out of the box, the Chrono S looks and feels like a luxury watch. It feels solid and the comfort level is certainly there. However, with a closer look, I found some blemishes in quality.

For instance, the markers, hands, and indices are not properly lumed. This translates to poor readability during low-light conditions. Moreover, some design elements on the dial could certainly be improved such as the logo. The strap, also, can be quite short for those who have larger wrists.

However, that’s just me nitpicking.

The Vincero Chrono S Chronograph is priced under $200 which is an excellent price point. For your money, you get a good-looking, versatile watch that’s sure to garner compliments – I know I did. I’ve worn it during weekend getaways and business meetings, and it never felt out of place.

Despite several issues, Vincero has nailed the balance between luxurious elegance and value with the Chrono S.

Should You Get the Vincero Chrono S Chronograph?

To end this Vincero Watch review, we have some final words if the Chrono S is worth your money or not.

Is the Vincero Chrono S Chronograph worth the purchase? The short answer is yes!

The main selling point of the Chrono S is its price point. For a watch that costs less than $200, there’s just a good deal of watch to be had here.

Right off the bat, the Chrono S impresses with its overall quality. The dial is very well-done and that can be said about many of its variations. In my case, the blue dial delivers in terms of looks and readability. However, the watch did suffer in performance under low-light conditions. The strap could also use some improvements.

The Chrono S is a budget luxury watch but it certainly doesn’t look and feel like a “budget” timepiece. Vincero did a great job of putting out an elegant timepiece with minimal compromises.

The Vincero Chrono S Chronograph is quiet and confident – an excellent daily beater of a watch.

Best Microbrand Watches: Fantastic Timepieces from Smaller Brands

These days, you’ll see a lot of smaller brands or “microbrands” put out by people who are passionate about the art of watchmaking.

These brands are not run by massive companies but instead by a single individual or a small team. If you want to learn more about microbrands, it’s highly recommended to check out our previous writeup about the best microbrand dive watches.

For today’s post, we take a look at the best microbrand watches that you can find in the market today.

Best Microbrand Watches

Key Features

Our Rating

Halios Seaforth 41mm steel-cased watch, 200m water resistance, Domed sapphire crystal, C3 SuperLuminova, GMT bezel, Miyota 90S5 movement, Beveled lugs ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Aevig Corvid Bauhaus influence, Bold mono spaced numbers, Swiss STP 1-11 movement, Water resistance up to 200 meters, Swiss Luminova, Pullup oiled leather strap ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Pantor Seahorse Miyota 9015 Japanese automatic movement, 316L stainless steel with brushed finish, Sapphire crystal, Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova, 24mm with 15pcs links separately and 6 step micro adjustment, 40 hours power reserve ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Farer Cobb 316L high grade stainless steel, Brushed bezel with polished edge, Matte night-sky blue dial, Super-LumiNova infill, Solid bronze straight crown, Anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal, 10ATM water resistance ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Marchand Legacy High quality Japan Miyota 9015 movement, Carbon fiber dial, High grade stainless steel, 42mm diameter, 10 ATM (100M) water resistant ★ ★ ★ ★
Oak & Oscar Humboldt 40mm diameter, Stainless steel, Super-LumiNova BGW9 lume, Multiple bracelet options, Double-domed sapphire crystal with AR coating, Comes with a waxed canvas travel wallet ★ ★ ★ ★

Best Microbrand Watches

1. Halios Seaforth

Best Microbrand Watches Halios Seaforth

Halios is a brand that I have recently discovered and I must say that I am very impressed. This microbrand is known for its dive watches and its most famous offering is the Halios Seaforth.

Big Value Dive Watch

Halios and its flagship Seaforth diver watch have risen to fame on the internet. The brand is basically a one-man operation of Jason Lim out of Vancouver, Canada. It’s a passion project that attracted a lot of attention from the watch community.

It’s a good thing that Lim had an impeccable taste.

The Seaforth is a 41mm steel-cased watch that offers 200m of water resistance and protected with a domed sapphire crystal. If you are a fan of svelte minimal aesthetic, the Halios Seaforth warrants a well-deserved look from you.

Most of the heavy lifting is done by the dial and bezel. The combination of the brushed finish and expanding polished bevel on the lug adds up to an elegant but somehow still casual timepiece. The dial is a bit on the low-key side but that depends on your choice of dial.

The baton indices and matching hands are fitted with C3 SuperLuminova and are outlined in bold black. The dial really does have an undeniable charm that just puts a smile on my face.

The Halios Seaforth is an excellent dive watch that’s under $1,000. It’s a big value proposition that dive watch fans can’t afford to miss.

2. Aevig Corvid

Best Microbrand Watches Aevig Corvid

Aevig Corvid is another brand that recently came to my attention. If you are looking for a rugged field watch that offers no fuss, the Aevig Corvid comes highly recommended.

A Field Watch for Urban Warriors

Aevig has plenty of eye-catching timepieces in their stable but it’s the Aevig Corvid that really drawn my attention. Aevig describes the Corvid as a “no nonsense easy to read field watch” and I can only nod in agreement.

The Corvid is housed in a 40mm case which can be quite small by current standards. However, the watch has plenty of heft and its combined dimensions give the watch a substantial feel. The case is made from 316L stainless steel and it gets the job done of providing a solid feel to the watch.

I was not expecting much from the caseback but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a basic caseback but it has a block design which adds a great deal of character to the piece.

Of course, you can’t talk about this watch without mentioning the face. The dial reminds me of a vintage instrument panel found in early fighter planes. The dial features a metallic champagne color which adds more to the vintage look.

Moreover, the indices are all straight lines and topped with yellow orange circles for the hour hands. The dial looks clean and legible, and reminds me the best pilot watches out there. However, I was really thrown off with how the numbers are oriented.

Overall, the Aevig Corvid is elegant, simple, and offers good functionality.

3. Pantor Seahorse

Pantor is perhaps the oldest microbrand in this list. However, their track record continues to impress. The Pantor Seahorse is one of the best microband watches for the savvy diver.

A Dive Watch That Won’t Break the Bank

The Seahorse was released back in 2013 by the Hong Kong-based Pantor brand.

Just by looking at it, it’s quite clear that the Seahorse looks are inspired by the legendary Rolex Submariner. The watch’s face is in matte and is populated with circular and shield-shaped hour markers. The dial stands out for its simplicity and legibility. The overall design looks like it’s the illegitimate child of the Seiko Turtle.

The case is made from 316L surgical grade stainless steel with a brushed finish. One of the best design elements of the Seahorse is the recessed crown. This reminds me of the Girard-Perregaux Seahawk but with a less exaggerated approach.

Pro divers who are looking for an affordable dive watch that simply works will have a lot to like about the Seahorse. It is waterproof up to 1,000 meters and it even has extras like the automatic helium valve at 9H. The dial markers are lumed and they are sufficiently illuminated even when you are underwater.

The watch is powered by the reliable Miyota 9015 automatic movement which also helps in keeping the cost down. It’s hard to go wrong with a dive watch that offers great value and functionality.

4. Farer Cobb

Best Microbrand Watches Farer Cobb

Farer is a British microbrand company that offers Swiss-made timepieces. Even the most jaded watch snob has found it difficult to ignore what Farer has to offer. When it comes to the Farer lineup, the Farer Cobb mechanical watch is one of the standouts.

Microbrand Watch Luxury

Without a doubt, the Farer Cobb caught my eye because of its colorful aesthetic. When it comes to luxury watches, a healthy dose of colors would be viewed as experimental or avant-garde. It’s really not the case with Farer – a brand that doesn’t shy away from colors.

The Cobb is a watch with a striking blue dial. The shade is somewhat of a midnight blue which simply looks elegant. Then, your eyes move on to the subdials which are now aqua. Afterward, you notice the other colors like the yellow, red, and burnt orange.

Initially, this sounds like a mess on paper but Farer managed to nail all the design elements and colors without looking too garish. The execution is simply on-point.

The Cobb is a mechanical timepiece which happens to be a big step for the brand. The watch is powered with the ETA caliber 2894-2 movement which is more than a competent addition.

Lately, Farer has been knocking it out of the park with their offerings and the Cobb might just be my absolute favorite.

5. Marchand Legacy

Previously, microbrands mostly turned to crowdfunding platforms in order to have the money to get their passion project going. Most microbrands were funded via Kickstarter and that applies to the Marchand Watch Company. The Marchand Legacy is one of the many babies of crowdfunding.

Designed by Racers for Racers

Just by looking at the Marchand Legacy, you’ll know that it’s a racing-inspired watch. As if the iconic racing checkered flag on its face is not the biggest tell.

For starters, the case is made from high-grade stainless steel and the bezel is knurled but can’t be adjusted. It comes with a screw-down crown which is quite a surprise. The Legacy has a waterproof rating of 10ATM – not exactly a dive watch but it should be fine against the occasional splash.

The watch is powered by the Miyota 9015 movement which provides reliable timekeeping. In addition, the strap is also very high-quality and reminds me of a svelte leather racing car seat.

Last but not the least, the dial is obviously the star here and it’s interesting to note that it’s constructed with layers. The skeletonized minute hand is one of the most unique design elements of the Legacy. Of course, you can see that the center of the dial features a checkered flag in various colors.

To put it simply, the Marchand Legacy will have your hearts racing.

6. Oak & Oscar Humboldt

Best Microbrand Watches Oak & Oscar Humboldt

During the explosion of the microbrands, Chicago-based Oak & Oscar is one of the companies that made the watch folks stop and notice. The Oak & Oscar Humboldt is perhaps the best timepiece from the company and is worth including in this list of the best microbrand watches.

A Daily-Driver With a Story to Tell

Firstly, the Oak & Oscar Humboldt is a 40mm millimeter piece which means that it has medium thickness. I prefer to go with 42mm but for some reason, the Humboldt felt just right on the wrist.

The watch has a 20ATM water resistance rating which is a nice touch considering that it’s not even a dive watch. The rotating bezel is bi-directional and comes in handy for tracking an additional timezone. The dial is protected by a double-domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.

The dial is actually a two-layer sandwich design which is an Oak & Oscar thing. Whether you get the watch in a blue or grey dial, you’ll end up with great-looking watch that you can wear almost everywhere. Night time use becomes possible with the Super-LumiNova BGW9 illumination. Also, the date window is located at the 6H which is another signature design element by the company.

Overall, the Humboldt is a distinct yet familiar effort from Oak & Oscar.

Microbrands Are Here to Stay

Thus, we’ve come to the end of our roundup of the best microbrand watches in the market.

Ultimately, the rise of microbrands excites many watch lovers.

As you can see, even independent companies can put out timepieces that are mind-blowingly good. Now, we’re not stuck with popular brands for our watch-collecting needs. After all, having more options is always a good thing.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches: Lesser Known Divers That You Need to Know

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Featured

When most people think about dive watches or just watches in general, they usually think of large, popular brands such as Rolex, Omega, Casio, Seiko, and many others.

We have already made several guides and reviews about the best dive watches available, so for today, we’ll do something a little bit different.

Today, we’re going to set out eyes on the best microbrand dive watches. Before we start with the round-up, I think it’s best that we first define what exactly is a microbrand watch.

What is a Microbrand Watch?

By definition, a microbrand is basically a small, independent brand. For microbrand watches, they are tiny-fledgling businesses that are generally run by watchmakers and craftsmen.

There are “larger” microbrands out there but they are mostly small-person companies that work with third-party manufacturers to bring their creations to life. There are microbrands that actually create their in-house movements but those are quite rare in the scene.

Microbrand designs are not exactly commercial but most of them are quite creative and can spark the interest of collectors who are looking for something exclusive and rare. The growth of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter has made it possible for small companies to get their designs and ideas funded.

Some examples of early microbrand watches are the Timefactor’s Dreadnought or the OCEAN7 LM-1. However, it’s worth noting that most of the brands included in this list have expressed some distaste at the “microbrand” terminology.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches

Best Microbrand Dive Watches

Key Features

Our Rating

Farer Aqua Compressor Leven 316L high grade stainless steel, Satin sunray brushed top, Silver sunray dial, Oversized polished black steel hour hand, off-white Super-LumiNova, Natural black rubber strap, 30ATM water resistant, 2.2mm double curved sapphire crystal glass front, Solid bronze tapered crown for movement ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Pantor Seahorse Miyota 9015 Japanese automatic movement, 316L stainless steel with brushed finish, Sapphire crystal, Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova, 24mm with 15pcs links separately and 6 step micro adjustment, 40 hours power reserve ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Spinnaker Bradner Japan NH35 Automatic Movement with 3 Hands with Date, Stainless Steel, Waterproof Genuine Leather Strap, Tang Buckle, 18 ATM Water Resistance, 41 hours of power reserve, Swiss Super-LumiNova ★ ★ ★ ★
Vostok Amphibia 200 m (20 Bar) Water Resistant, Luminous hands and dots, Official supplier of watches for the Defense Department of the Soviet Union ★ ★ ★ ★
Unimatic U1-EM Aluminium black bezel, Super-luminova lumed dot, Black matte stealth outline dial, Horween Cordovan Shell strap, Unimatic two piece design, NH35A automatic movement tuned to 21600bph, 41h power reserve, Brushed SS signed custom buckle ★ ★ ★ ★

1. Farer Aqua Compressor Leven

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Farer Leven

Farer is a British company that has unveiled its first few models back in 2015. All of Farer’s timepieces and are notable for their 60’s inspired designs with a touch of the tropical. The Farer Aqua Compressor Leven is one of the three dive watches that the brand offers.

Modern Classic with a Colorful Touch

The 60’s aesthetic of the Leven is very apparent with its super-smooth silver sunray dial that adds a timeless elegance to the watch. The Leven features a steel cushion case with both brushed and polished elements. The polished ring is quite subtle but it looks great and is a testament to Farer’s attention to detail.

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the Leven is its dial. From the burnt orange minute hands to the baton’s square color blocks teal edge, there’s a surprising pop of colors present in the dial. At the same time, the watch looks like a mature, classic dive model and will only look out of place for dressier formal outfits.

As for many dive watches, the legibility on this watch is top notch. The minute markings and hands are treated with the Super-LumiNova illumination which not only looks great but functional as well. The split color bezel is a nice touch with a 20-minute detailed scale for decompression times.

This dive watch boasts a 30ATM water resistance. The Leven provides a great balance of sophistication and playfulness.

2. Pantor Seahorse

The Pantor Seahorse is one of the more affordable dive watches in this list. Pantor is a microbrand that somehow went under my radar, and I’m sure on many people’s radar as well. Pantor is a company based from Hong Kong and it has a pretty solid dive watch under its belt.

Earned Its Place in the Microbrand Dive Watch World

The Pantor Seahorse is one of the first models that was released by this microbrand, way back in 2013. However, it’s good to know that Pantor is still in the business of manufacturing watches.

Anyway, the Pantor Seahorse is not exactly an original design and it’s clearly inspired by the Rolex Submariner. With that said, the Seahorse is a good-looking watch with a simple and clean dial. The large markers are popping out and great for legibility. The case reminds me a bit of the Seiko Turtle case design but it still looks unique on its own.

The Seahorse is waterproof to 1000 meters which means that even pro divers can use this watch underwater. The automatic helium valve at 9H is also a nice touch. The watch is powered by the ever-present Miyota 9015 automatic movement. It’s not the most superior movement out there but it gets the job done.

Best of all, the Pantor Seahorse is offered at a fairly affordable price.

3. Spinnaker Bradner

 

 

When it comes to quirky microbrands, Spinnaker definitely comes to mind. It’s a budget-friendly brand but it still manages to churn out timepieces with out-of-the-box designs. The Spinnaker Bradner is one of the best microbrand dive watches when it comes to sheer quirkiness and whimsy.

Wetsuit-Inspired Dive Watch

While researching the Spinnaker Bradner, I found out that the inspiration for the watch is a wetsuit – then it all suddenly made sense. The watch was named after Hugh Bradner, the inventor of the neoprene wetsuit.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Spinnaker Bradner_1

This 42mm dive watch comes with a stainless steel case with a 20mm strap. Despite the size and build of the Bradner, it’s a fairly light watch. However, the comfort level could definitely use some improvement. With that out of the way, the case itself looks aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Bradner without mentioning its dial. The dial just oozes with personality, thanks to the wetsuit-inspired bi-directional rotating inner-bezel. Adjusting the bezel is quite the delight as it doesn’t jump or click, just smooth all the way through. However, I think the hour indicators and hands are not matching up to the bezel, stylistically speaking.

The Bradner is far from perfect but for the sub $500 tag price, I am more than willing to forgive its gripes.

Click here to access to our exclusive article for the Spinnaker Bradner Review.

4. Vostok Amphibia

Vostok is a lesser-known brand that’s hailed from Russia. While Vostok is not the biggest brand out there, it has managed to create several iconic timepieces. The Vostok Amphibia offers cheap thrills outside the traditional charms of the Swiss cantons.

A Lesser-Known Classic

The Vostok Amphibia is currently available in many different case styles and bracelets. The watch is named “Amphibia” because it looks like a watch that is both suitable for land and water.

The Amphibia’s design for water resistance is quite interesting because the resistance is improved as the surrounding pressure increases. Central to this interesting design is the caseback system. The watch uses a bayonet style caseback. At increased pressure, the case back is pushed towards the rubber gasket which improves the resistance of the watch.

Truly a watch that’s worthy of the Soviet defense department.

The quirky design of the dial is another feature that attracted me to the Amphibia. The off-beat, retro-infused charm is certainly hard to deny. The lume of the watch is not really that special but it functions as intended. With that said, the legibility of the watch is not that great which can be polarizing for many collectors.

The Vostok Amphibia is crude and simple, and can be yours at a ridiculously low price.

5. Unimatic U1-EM

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Unimatic U1-EM

Unimatic is an Italian watchmaker that’s known for their beautiful, minimalist dive watches. Most of their designs are limited edition runs, so you’d better be fast on your feet. If you are looking for something stealthy and minimalistic, the Unimatic U1-EM should be right down your alley.

Stealthy, Minimalistic Dive Watch

The Unimatic U1-EM is a thing of beauty and its minimalistic design just adds a great deal to its overall look. The black matte stealth outline dial with thick indices look simple but packs a lot of character. However you look at it, the Unimatic U1-EM looks unique and it seems like a deconstructed dive watch.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Featured

The case is also a standout with the brand’s signature minimal aluminium black bezel. The sharpness is definitely there and the brushing looks absolutely well done. The domed crystal sapphire with interior AR coating is simply eye-catching and offers a sleek vintage touch.

On the other hand, the luxurious Made in Italy Horween Cordovan Shell strap certainly helps in making the watch feel premium. I can wear it all day and I have experienced no discomfort while using the watch. The watch houses the Automatic calibre Seiko NH35A 21600bph which is a decent movement and very cost-efficient.

The Unimatic U1-EM offers a very compelling package in terms of design, function, and value.

The Rise of Microbrand Watches

This wraps up our buyer’s guide of the best microbrand dive watches.

The microbrand scene is definitely catching on and it’s becoming a wild west as more companies join in on the fun. Overall, this list should be a good starting point for collectors who are looking to start a microbrand watch collection.