I love a nice watch! Something simple, rugged and effective is all i want. As a freediver i also need something that will go deep enough and not flood at depth.
Last year i was on the hunt for an affordable automatic dive watch when a student rocked up with a Pantor Sealion. My interest was peaked and no less than a month later i was awaiting delivery of my very own!
Please note, that although i love a nice watch, im no watch expert!
So…. The nitty gritty. Whats it got?
Stainless steel case
Screw down crown
Helium release valve
Build quality, looks and size
The watch feels very solid in the hand and weighs as much as you may imagine a solid lump of steel of equivalent size to weigh! For me thats a good thing, but perhaps if you wanted a light weight dress watch this may be too much. Its not too big though, So many dive watches are enormous, and wearing them everyday ends up being a hassle as they knock in to things, tear chunks out of friends and family and catch on clothes. Everything feels solid and well put together, nothing rattles or squeaks, all you can hear if you shake it is the auto winding movement spinning in the case.
The glow in the dark markers, which i am told by the Internet are called ‘Lume’, are amazing. It lasts all night and is really bright after a few seconds under a light or direct sunlight.
Ive worn it everyday for 6 months without being overly careful with it, except for taking it off to do some slightly unnecessary pickaxeing in the garden and shoving my hand between a brick wall and a fence!
It looks really great. Very similar to many other classic dive watches but with a nice retro edge thanks to the ‘turtle’ shape case (thanks again Internet for that one) . I do love the little sealion on the crown and back, it’s a nice touch. Most of the metal is a rugged brushed steel with a few polished accents. You can choose between a rubber dive strap or a metal strap, both come in the package , which by the way is lovely, a nice leather zip box, which I can’t imagine I’ll use for anything but its cluttering up my shelf of random stuff in a classy way that I appreciate (of course it’s useful if you have lots of watches… I dont).
Pretty important i guess? Can it keep good time? The watch loses id say about 5-10 seconds over the course of a week or so, although I haven’t measured that. So at the end of a month you will be a bit behind schedule. From my experience this is about what to expect with an automatic . Obviously if you spend loads more (or a lot less and get a digital!) then you gain a bit more accuracy …. but you will never need a battery so quit your whining!
The ‘feature’ i use the most is one of its only ‘features’ , the bezel. I find this really easy to use for timing statics, although its never going to be as good as a stopwatch. Not bad though. The bezel could be a bit looser though, as when wet its hard to turn and i find myself digging my nails in to the grooves on the bezel to get purchase. With gloves it would be useless. So if you are listening Pantor, loosen it up a little and add some more grip please!
Depth wise its clearly enough, rated at 300m. Basically its enough for commercial divers and sat divers, who happen to be the only people in the world who would utilise the helium release valve! I always think its a weird one, having a helium release valve as genuinely the numbers of people who need one must be so ridiculously low, in the hundreds worldwide I’d imagine, that it’s kind if pointless . Its a ‘tough’ badge really, shouting… ‘im a real dive watch!’ Ive taken it to 30m so far, but im sure it will go deeper with no problems.
The great ‘lume’ and big hands and markers makes it very easy to read underwater, and above water!
This is where any slight faults fall by the wayside as you consider the price for a 300m, sapphire glass, stainless steel automatic dive watch! It retails full price for £599 which is already a bargain but can be found for less when its discounted on Amazon etc (at the moment its at £450!). Im not on the Pantor payroll so i wont add a link to buy it or anything, ill leave that to your expert Googling!
If you are on the hunt for an affordable-ish (sub £1000), tough, reliable, good looking dive watch that should last a lifetime then look no further, you will not be disappointed.
Ian Donald, AIDA instructor trainer