Pantor Seahorse | Hands On Watch Review
Normally, I review the newest release from a brand, but every now and again, I request to review an older piece, and that is the case today. Yes, Pantor Watches does have a new model out, but this is not it. In fact this is their first model ever released, way back in 2013-2014. The Pantor Seahorse somehow went under my radar or for whatever reason I did not review it until now, but the good news is it is still in production. Unlike a lot of microbrands that do a 1 or 2 runs of a specific model, Pantor continues to produce the this one and has added newer versions throughout the years. I am not sure when this blue bezel/black dial combo released, but it is the one that caught my eye the most, so I asked for it to be sent along. The Pantor Seahorse is a big, chunky watch at 45mm and almost 17mm thick, unlike a lot of divers being released today. Running a Miyota 9015 automatic and having a killer bracelet, it sells for $679.
Pantor Seahorse Specifications:
45mm Stainless Steel Case
54mm Lug to Lug
24mm Lug Width
Miyota 9015 Automatic Movement
1000 Meters Water Resistant
Price $679 USD
These days, most microbrands are making smaller watches. Actually, many brands have reverted to smaller sizes. We are seeing more 39-40mm dive watches than we have in years. Yet, Pantor keeps producing the Seahorse, which tells me it is selling. There is obviously a market for it. I wont beat around the bush, this would never be a daily wear watch for me. It is just too big and heavy at 288 grams, and if it were 42-43mm, I would be all over it. That said, it is a beautiful watch, with a simple and clean dial, large markers, and a case design that is reminiscent of a Seiko Turtle or Zodiac, yet still its own. Well, nowadays, it is its own. Going back about 7-8 years ago, there was a brand called Essex, which is now long defunct. They had a watch, the La Primera, that was the exact same case, bracelet, bezel and crown, but the dial was different and it was a GMT. I am not sure what happened to that company, but they only released one watch, and have been gone for years. As far as I know, if you want this case and bracelet, Pantor is the only one selling it.
I have to say that despite its size and weight, it really does feel nice on the wrist. The lug to lug is 54, which is nearing my limit, but it does fit comfortably and the bracelet just wraps around the wrist. This bracelet really is a thing of beauty. Check out the individual pieces in each link (15 separate pieces).
I removed 4 links for my 7 1/2 inch wrist, and had to let the extension out just a little bit, as it is too tight otherwise. That is an added benefit of the ratcheting diver extension clasp. It is also good for putting the watch over a wet-suit, you know, if you do those types of things with your dive watch. For the saturation divers, it also has my favorite feature, the Helium Escape Valve. (Those who read regularly will get my sarcasm there). All kidding aside, while the bracelet is comfortable and easy to size, I feel the links are very large and you end up with a lot of clasp vs bracelet links, if you have to remove a couple like I did. It is just one of those things that happens with large links an a large clasp.
The aluminum bezel insert on the Pantor Seahorse is more of a blue green than a stark blue color. I was surprised when I it arrived, as the pictures on the Pantor website show it as more blue, as do some of my photos you see here. It is just how it photographs, but hopefully you can see in the video and some of my pictures that it is a slightly green hue to it, almost like aquamarine or ocean color. Speaking of the bezel, it is what I call on the tight side. Doing some research on this, I have found that I am not the only one to experience this issue. Pantor tells me it will loosen up some over time. I am one that will always complain about a loose or sloppy bezel, so tight is good, it definitely will not get knocked out of place, but it is somewhat a pain to turn at the present moment. The crown on the other hand is a joy. Large, easy to grasp and turn and screws back down with a precise feel.
Because this is marketed as a real diver, the Pantor Seahorse has a solid case back and is adorned with the Seahorse logo (the logo is also on the crown and clasp). Under the case back we find the Miyota 9015. Writing this, I am thinking of 2 things. 1. It does not have a Seiko NH35. 2. I cant believe how long the Miyota 9015 movement has been around already. It seems like it was yesterday that the new series of movement were being announced and what a big deal it was in the watch world. Today, it is still a great movement, and still in wide use, but I will say this is one of the loudest examples of the rotor noise. It is just very audible when you give it a shake and that rotor starts going, and you can definitely feel the wobble, similar to a Valjoux 7750.
There are two things I noticed about the lume on the Pantor Seahorse. It is very bright initialy, but this is not what I would call Seiko Diver lume. I say that because it will dim noticeably after about 3 hours or so. I conduct this very scientific test by setting my alarm at intervals throughout the night. At 4 hours after I went to sleep, it was pretty dim. In the morning, under the covers, I was not really able to see any noticeable lume. This was after a 7 hour slumber. I would say the lume is better than average, but do not expect it to be a flashlight all night long. The other thing I noticed is that the lume pip does not glow brightly at all.
What are the negatives? Well, the lume, as I said, could be a tad better, but again, it is no slouch. For me personally, I would love to see a new version in a smaller size. Other than that, I think the Pantor Seahorse still has its place in the microbrand dive watch world. It is made just as well if not better than most microrands in the same category and the bracelet is just so unique and comfortable. If you like a bigger watch, with some heft, this one is good choice. The price is reasonable; it may not the cheapest out there, but again, it is a quality built watch with a look you will not see every day.