It seems that there is quite the boom in dive watches coming from smaller manufacturers. This is especially true when you focus in on the more affordable end of the spectrum. These watches are manufactured primarily in Asia – though sometimes they try to hide that fact, for whatever reason.
With Pantor, however, and their new watch the Seahorse, there’s no hiding going on – they’re up front about being from Hong Kong.. There’s also no mistaking that this is at least inspired by current dive watch trends, if not also being up to the task of heading below the waves with you. This is first and foremost displayed in the chunky 45mm steel case (16mm thick).
Set on top of that case you have a uni-directional bezel as you’d expect, with a lumed triangle at the 12 o’clock mark. The generous lume continues on the dial, with large filled indices, including triangles at the compass points (the one at 12 is larger so you can tell which way is up).
The sword-style hands, while not fully lumed, have enough that the time is quite readable, day or night. Interestingly, there’s also a small lume pip on the seconds hand – while not something that you’d necessarily need that often (if at all), it’s a nice little detail that many watches don’t have.
Rounding out the glossier black dial, you’ve got a date display near the 4 o’clock mark. And, unfortunately, it’s a white window. While it’s not completely jarring given the amount of white on the dial due to the lume, it would be nice to see this changed out to be a black date wheel, just for a cleaner appearance to the dial.
Inside the case, we have the ever-present Miyota 9015 automatic movement keeping things running. Once you’ve got the crown screwed down, the case and mineral sapphire crystal will keep the movement safe with a water resistance rating of 1000m (here’s more info on WR ratings); of course, with a WR rating like that, the HEV at 9 o’clock is practically a given..
And now we come to what I felt was the best (or most differentiating) part of this watch – the bracelet. The funny thing is, I’m quite sure what to call it. The closest I can come to describe it would be the “grains of rice”, but this isn’t quite that style, as those commonly have more rounded links. Regardless of what you call it, this was an extremely comfortable bracelet, as all the small links conform nicely to your wrist, and allow for some airflow. You can also utilize the built-in ratcheting divers extension as a sort of “on the go” size adjustment, should the watch get too tight during the day. Or, you know, use it to fit over the sleeve of a wetsuit.
Coming in at a price of $599 (which includes the international shipping), this is another intriguing entry to the sub-$600 diver segment. If you’d like to pick one up, head on over here (link), and get ready to head for the water. I’ll say this – we are definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to picking up a watch that’s ready for some summertime adventures.
On that note, I’m toying with the idea of doing a roundup of the various divers we’ve looked at over the last year or so, to get them all into a single spot for easy reference. Let me know in the comments (or send an email) if you think there’s a watch we’ve left out or have missed. pantorwatches.com