Pantor is a watch company based in Hong Kong and – up till now – they only had one model, the Sea Horse. After success with that model, they have released their next model, the Sea Lion. While not as “extreme” a name as some other brands may use, I personally love the “Sea Lion” name. In my early years of diving off the northern California Coast, sea lions were commonplace. Every morning when I would go to the Coast Guard Jetty in Monterey to dive I would always be greeted by the honking barks of the sea lions basking in the sun, and hear what sounded like laughter under water. New models mean prototypes, which we were able to get our hands on. Let’s take a look!
The Dial and Movement
This model is offered with black, blue, or green dials. Over those dials, you have large, easy-to-read handsets. The hour and minute hands, along with all the hour markers, are painted with C3 Swiss SuperLuminova, as is the tip of the seconds hand. Topping the dial, and helping to protect the movement (more on that in a moment), you have an anti-reflective treated sapphire crystal. For the movement under the dial, you can choose the Japanese Seiko NH35A movement or the Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement. Both are familiar options for dive watches, but it is totally not a common option to chose one or the other, within the same watch.
The case is a classic style made from 316L stainless steel, which helps to enable the WR rating of 300 meters, good for just about any kind of diving. There is also a helium escape valve at the 9 o’clock position which is helpful for those few saturation divers that need it (editor’s note: in other words, no one). The lugs curve down so it fits very comfortable on the wrist. This has a standard screw down case back and screw down crown.
The Pantor Sea Lion comes with a uni-directional 120 click bezel with aluminum insert. Movement is tight, but not too tight, and there is very little play. Notched cutouts around the bezel provide for easy grip, which means no problem with gloves on, dive or otherwise.
The Sea Lion comes with both a silicone strap and a nylon nato strap, which is where the only issue I have with the watch reared it’s head. As you can see in the picture, it is a lint magnet. The one nice thing about the silicone strap is that it is very comfortable on the wrist. If I was using this only as a diver I would not mind the strap at all. For daily wear, though? I’d have to change it out.
The Pantor Sea Lion is not a watch that sets itself apart from the crowd–there are many others like it. At least we can say it is a true diver. I would not mind using it as a beater watch of sorts, because tool watches like these can take the abuse. The option to get either the Seiko or ETA movement is great for those who are picky about the movement in their watch, though it does introduce a weird dichotomy in the watch. I’d be curious to see the sales figures–if “Swiss or bust” takes the upper hand, or if low cost wins out. Regardless of the movement selected, the price is right for this watch, especially at pre-order pricing. Right now they are offering a pre-order price of $329 for Seiko movement and $549 for ETA movement. You can check them out at pantorwatches.com.
Brand and model: Pantor Sea Lion
Price: $329 preorder price for Seiko NH35A or $549 preorder price for ETA 2824-2
Who’s it for: Divers
Would I wear it: Absolutely
What I’d change: the silicon strap
The best thing about it: The classic cushion case.
Tech Specs from Pantor
Materials: 316L Brushed stainless steel
Movement: Seiko NH35A or ETA 2824-2
Crystal: Sapphire Crystal
Strap: 22mm silicone strap and nylon strap.
Dial: 1-12H markers with Swiss C3 Super luminova
Measurements: 42mm, Thickness:12.6mm,Lug to lug:45mm
Water Resistance: Water Resistance: 300m/990ft
Valves: Automatic He Valves at 9H