BACKGROUND PANTOR Watch Company are new Hong Kong based watch company that aim to offer affordable purpose-built dive watches built to a high enough standard that they should last you a life time! Their debut model is the Seahorse . . .
PRESENTATION The Seahorse came in a black leatherette dual watch travel case with the Pantor Seahorse logo embossed on its top side. Inside the case was the watch along with a black credit card type warranty card.
DIAL The Seahorse has a matt black dial with circular and shield shaped hour markers. A black chapter ring with white minute indications and Arabic numerals in 5 minute increments runs around its perimeter.
It is equipped with a set of polished sword minute and hour hands and a red second hand with a round luminous pointer. The dial and hands are absolutely bang on - dive watch design 101. Perhaps a little boring, but perfect for reading dive-time at a glance, and of the sober type that you won’t easily grow bored of.
CASE The case is constructed from 316L surgical grade Stainless steel with a brushed finish. It features an automatic HEV (helium escape valve) on its left lateral side making it suitable for SAT divers.
One of the nicer design features of the case is its recessed crown guard which extends from 3 o'clock and back down to the bottom of the right lower lug. The Girard-Perregaux Seahawk has a similar (more exaggerated design) design as does the phantom Rolex US MARINE watch.
BEZEL The Seahorse has 120 click type unidirectional rotational divers bezel with a black dive-time scale in 5-min increments. At 12 o’clock there is a large triangular marker with luminous material. The version shown here is solid steel but a black and red aluminum inlay is also available.
The bezel has a good height as well as nicely pronounced teeth allowing for good grip. However it has been slightly over-tightened. Rather than be accused of having a sloppy bezel some watch companies do tend to deliberately over-tighten their bezels.
BACK The screwdown caseback, which is domed with a flat bottom is engraved with the Seahorse logo. Some text with the watch's spec. runs around its outside. Twelve scoops can be seen on its outer edge; they are to accommodate a caseback removal tool.
CROWN The crown is located at 4 o'clock, some say it is more comfortable and is less likely to interfere with a divers movement. I just like the look. The crown is of a generous size with a coin-edged grip. The crown stem is a good and sturdy. Opening and closing was problem free. The face of the crown is signed with a Seahorse motif.
CRYSTAL The Seahorse is fitted with a thick flat Sapphire crystal with a clear anti-reflective coating on its inside.
WR The watch has been pressure tested to 100 ATM, the equivalent of 1000 meters of water-resistance.
LUME The dial markers as well as the hands and the 12hr bezel marker are coated with Swiss C3 SuperLuminova so that you can read the time even in very dark environments. The lume application is fairly generous for a sub 600 dollar diver. I would rate the lume at good.
MOVEMENT The Seahorse, is a mechanical dive watch fitted with the ubiquitous and ever reliable Japanese made Miyota 9015 automatic movement with a 28.800 beat rate and around 40 hours of power reserve.
BRACELET This is another really nice feature of the Seahorse. It is fitted with an unusual mesh link and solid link combination bracelet with a divers clasp with 6 step micro adjustments allowing you to adjust the comfort of the watch while it is on your wrist. The bracelet is attached to the case with pins, but the links are screwed.
BUILD I'm not sure if you are familiar the Essex Watches La Primera, but the Seahorse shares the exact same case as well as a number of its components including; the bezel, crown and bracelet. I own both watches so am certain they come from the same factory. The quality which is excellent is comparable; not rattles and everything nice and tight.
On the WRIST The diameter of the watch is 45mm with a thickness of 16mm. Its weight including full link bracelet is 286g. It’s a bit of bruiser, but aren’t they all. The watch sits up quite high on the wrist. It’s pretty heavy, but one plus is the adjustable clasp which can be easily repositioned if you feel the watch isn’t sit perfectly.
VALUE The Seahorse’s price which includes international shipping by DHL is 599USD. It’s a lot of watch for not a lot of money.
CONSIDER Apart the Essex version that I mentioned, not much compares looks-wise. However there are a number (too many to list) of big solid steel divers to chose from in the Seahorse’s price range; all should come with 9015 calibers and a WR of 500m – 2000m. Check out brands like Benarus, Helberg or Prometheus.
OVERAL / 5
The only real objection that Pantor have to overcome is them being such a new and unknown entity. Their website does the watch little justice; it is basic at best and could certainly do with a touch of finesse. However the price and product speaks itself.
The Seahorse is a solid and sober tool diver. Its crown guard design and combination solid and mesh-link bracelet give it a unique look. The Essex Watch Company has been deceased for a few years now. I’ve yet to see one for sale on the secondary market, so if you were ever put off buying one because of its high price, the Seahorse at a 3rd of the cost is a no brainer.