Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Review – The Full Guide To The Successor Of Seiko SARB065

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Review

Looking For An Affordable Stylish Automatic Dress Watch? The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Could Be The One You’re Looking For!

Seiko SSA343J1 Skydiving Cocktail Time
Above: Seiko SSA343J1 Skydiving

In this article, I would like to share about the latest Seiko Presage Cocktail Time review.

I’ve actually written before about the previous Cocktail Time watch (the great Seiko SARB065) and how I described it as one of the best affordable automatic dress watch currently.

The original Cocktail Time was nicely built with good quality all around and very beautiful to look at thanks to the gorgeous bluish sunburst dial and highly polished stainless steel case.

But unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2017. I remember thinking what the hell was Seiko doing? Why would they stop producing a very popular model?

It turns out Seiko had another plan in mind, a great plan I would say.

They then released the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time, a collection of watches with all the design elements from the SARB065, sunburst dials and all.

With the same name, this Presage line up is without a doubt the successor to the SARB065.

And not only that, they released these new Cocktail Time watches in various colors AND at cheaper prices!

I had the opportunity to handle these watches a few weeks ago and it’s a real pleasure to look and wear.

If you’re in the market looking for an affordable dress watch that has automatic movement and looks gorgeous, then the Presage Cocktail Time should definitely be in your shortlist.

So if you want to know more about these watches, continue reading this Seiko Presage Cocktail Time review!

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time vs Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time : What Are The Differences?

Seiko SRPB41J1 Bluemoon on hand
Above: Seiko SRPB41J1 Blue Moon

For a start, the new Presage Cocktail Time is cheaper than the SARB065. It retails around $350 to $500 online (the MSRP is more expensive) depending on the model.

This is cheaper than the SARB065 which usually retails around $500 online.

The reason for this is because of the use of cheaper 4R35 movement rather than the more expensive 6R15 movement.

It should be noted that production of the SARB065 has been discontinued so although you can still get one on the market depending on your luck, it can be more expensive.

From the exterior, there are not many differences between the two watches, though in my opinion Seiko did made the Presage Cocktail Time sleeker. For instance, the thickness of the watch had been slightly reduced from 13 mm to 11.8 mm.

The sunburst dial remains the same albeit with 7 new color options (Yeah!) in addition to the gorgeous original light blue sunburst dial (so 8 sunburst dials to choose from).

There are also 2 new non-sunburst dials to choose: the Gimlet with radial gold/yellow textured dial (SRPC99J1/SSA387J1) and the limited edition Fuyugeshiki with white textured dial (SSA385J1/SRPC97J1/SRP843J1).

It should be noted that this new collection also has power reserve models which brings the total number of watches in the Presage Cocktail Time lineup to 14 models – one of the biggest collection in Seiko.

Well, they really doubled down on the cocktail time and all I can say is I’m very happy with their decision =)

The biggest difference between the two watches is in the movement, which also contributed to the lower price of the newer watch. The new Presage Cocktail Time uses the 4R35 automatic movement instead of the 6R15 movement in the original Cocktail Time (Seiko SARB065).

Although it has the same frequency (6 beats per second), the 4R35 has lower power reserve at 41 hours compared to the 50 hours in the 6R15.

In summary, with the Presage Cocktail Time, you gained some (cheaper watch, more variations) and lose some (lower power reserve) over its predecessor.

But as someone who had owned an ETA 2824-2 with a low power reserve of 38 hours, I’d say it’s still very usable and would gladly take the cheaper watch LOL!

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Specifications And Variations

In general, there are 2 main variations of the current Seiko Presage Cocktail Time; i.e the normal watch (SRP series) and the date subdial + power reserve watch (SSA series).

(Do note that these model/series numbers are for the global version. In Japan, the Presage Cocktail Time has model/series numbers starting with SAR and SRR)

These 2 main variations are then made into various different colors (there are 10 colors to choose from!) and strap options which results into a huge 14 numbers of models (as of the time of writing this article. More on that later on).

So what’s the differences between these 2 variations? Below table summarizes the differences and specifications of Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRP vs SSA series:

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Specification
Element SRP Series (Normal 3-hands watch) SSA Series (Power reserve and date subdial watch)
Picture Example
Seiko SRPB44J1 Margarita
Seiko SRPB44J1 Margarita
Seiko SSA345J1 Espresso Martini
Seiko SSA345J1 Espresso Martini
Diameter 40.5 mm
Thickness 11.8 mm 14.4 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 48 mm
Case Stainless steel case with various colors
Strap Silver stainless steel bracelet (with butterfly clasp) or leather strap (in various colors, with deployant clasp)
Watch Crystal Domed box Hardlex crystal
Bezel NA
Dial Most of the models in the collection have sunburst dial in various colors except for SRPC99J1/SSA387J1 Gimlet (radial gold/yellow textured dial) and the limited edition Fuyugeshiki SSA385J1/SRPC97J1/SRP843J1 (white textured dial)
Hands Dauphine hands
Markers Triangle index markers
Style Dress watch
Movement Seiko Caliber 4R35 automatic self-winding movement Seiko Caliber 4R57 automatic self-winding movement
Movement Features 23 jewels, 21,600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second, hacking and manual winding features 29 jewels, 21,600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second, hacking and manual winding features
Accuracy -35/+45 seconds per day
Power Reserve 41 hours
Water Resistance 5 bar / 50 m / 160 ft
Other Features Exhibition caseback, Curved Hardlex crystal, Date display Exhibition caseback, Curved Hardlex crystal, Power reserve indicator, Date subdial
Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Quick Summary Definitely a worthy successor to the popular Cocktail Time watch (SARB065). The effort that Seiko put to improve the overall design of the watch shows and the watch looks sleeker now – not to mention it’s cheaper, albeit with sacrifices in the movement department. With various choices and addition of power reserve models, this Presage Cocktail Time collection is one of the best, if not the best, automatic dress watches in the entry level market right now.
Where To Buy? Amazon for around $300 to $500 (Click the link below for more info). The MSRP for the Seiko Samurai is around $400-$600 depending on the model and strap option (stainless steel bracelet & power reserve models are more expensive)

Beautiful Sunburst Dial Design Is Just Beautiful

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Dial

Just like the Seiko SARB065 before it, the Presage Cocktail Time also has a sunburst dial design which just looks very beautiful.

I’m a fan of simple white dress dials but there’s something about the sunburst dial that makes it look astonishingly stylish without being gaudy.

The countless numbers of vertical lines coming from the center to give the sunburst effect are immaculately placed.

When I was handling the watch, I can’t stop from tilting the watch back and forth just so I can catch glimpses of the sunburst effect changing on it.

Seiko knows this and that’s why they purposely make the dial design as simple as possible with small & minimal wordings so that there’s a lot of real estate for the sunburst dial.

And putting it on my wrist totally gave a different feeling. Taking a peek at the watch to tell time has never been so satisfying and pleasant.

In short, it’s one of the most beautiful dial out there in the affordable automatic watch category.

In fact, I can’t remember any other watches sub-$500 that gives such detail and elaborate dial as this. If you do, please share the watch in the comments section below!

Highly Polished Case For A Very Dressy Watch

Seiko SRPB41J1 Bluemoon Sides
Above: Seiko SRPB41J1 Blue Moon

Accompanying the gorgeous sunburst dial is a highly polished case that really makes the watch looks very dressy, which I’d say is just a perfect case-dial combination.

Seriously, if you’re not comfortable wearing a watch that will attract attentions, then don’t get the Cocktail Time because it will DEFINITELY attract attentions!

However, the case is not as elaborate as the dial (unlike the curved SARB033 and Seiko Sumo SBDC033), which is not a bad thing considering the immaculate dial.

The sides of the case are straight with chamfered at the top making the bezel. The new Presage Cocktail Time also has a thinner profile at 11.8 mm, about 1.2 mm thinner than the previous generation.

Do note that the SSA series is thicker at 14.5 mm due to the additional power reserve and date subdial functions.

Another design element that sets this watch apart is the bigger sloping crown. As you can see, the crown is not a straight knob anymore but it’s a bit sloped making the ends bigger than the root (which is kinda like a cupcake shape don’t you think?).

This crown design makes the watch looks distinct and quite stylish in my opinion. The crown was also signed with “S” to symbolize Seiko.

Medium Sized Watch, Exhibition Caseback And Domed Hardlex Crystal

Seiko SSA346J1 Sidecar sides
Above: Seiko SSA346J1 Sidecar

The watch comes in an appropriate 40.5 mm diameter. In all honesty, I’d prefer if it’s a tad bit smaller (38-39 mm would be nice) but I’m just happy enough that Seiko didn’t go bigger than this.

It’s still perfectly usable even on my slim wrist without any unsightly gaps around the lugs.

With this kind of size, the watch will easily fit underneath your cuff just fine, although I think the thicker SSA series might have a bit of problem with that.

For women, unless you have a big enough wrist, the Cocktail Time might too big and too heavy for you. Seiko didn’t produce any women’s version for the Cocktail Time except for the beautiful Fuyugeshiki SRP843J1 model with white wintery dial (33.8 mm diameter).

Unfortunately, the Fuyugeshiki is a limited edition with only 5000 models available worldwide so you might want to hurry if you like it.

On the back there is an exhibition caseback from which you can see the movement and the weighted rotor. Surprisingly, Seiko made the rotor in gold plated finish, which is really cool.

This is something that they never did in their popular SARB lines before (which is even more expensive than this watch) and to me, this showed how they have grown as a company and continue to improve their products.

In addition to that, Seiko also equipped a stylish domed crystal on the watch. It’s raised up a bit and looks very cool.

Granted, it’s still a hardlex crystal and not the more scratch resistant sapphire, but looking at the price and the other things that they have put on the watch (like the gorgeous sunburst dial for example?), the Hardlex crystal is one trade-off that I’ll be happy to accept.

The Presage Cocktail Time Comes In Either Stainless Steel Bracelet Or Leather Strap

There are 2 strap options; silver stainless steel bracelet or leather strap. The leather strap comes in a few colors, depending on the model.

For the bracelet, the clasp is butterfly type clasp which is not something that I personally prefer. Yes, it’s modern looking but I still prefer the clasp on classic bracelet ala the SARB033 for the micro-adjustment capability, not to mention the cool Seiko signature on the clasp itself.

It’s quite thick and not flimsy on hand, although it did have hollow end links. I also like the intermittent polishing of the links on the bracelet.

Seriously, I can say that the Presage Cocktail Time’s case and bracelet is one of the best in this price range.

For the leather strap, it’s another story altogether. It’s not the nicest leather strap out there: the black strap is too glossy to my liking, and both black & brown variations feels too stiff. In typical Seiko fashion, cost-cutting was evidently performed on the straps.

I should highlight that the leather strap models typically have lower prices than the stainless steel bracelet models.

But with that being said, I will always advice to get the bracelet because it will last as long as the watch itself. With leather straps, you’ll have to change it every couple of years.

If you don’t like the bracelet, you can just buy a good aftermarket leather strap off amazon/ebay – with a higher quality than the Seiko’s leather straps too!

Very Functional Power Reserve Indicator On The SSA Series Watches

Seiko SSA385J1 Fuyugeshiki
Above: Seiko SSA385J1 Fuyugeshiki

I’ve frequently stated my love for power reserve indicator  in the past; Orient, in particular, have my respect for putting this feature even on their entry-level watches.

I found it to be one of the best features on an automatic watch. In fact, if I had to choose between day/date and power reserve indicator, I’d choose the latter.

The reason for this is our automatic watches have a small power reserve, typically 38 hours to 50 hours – and that’s from a full charge, mind you.

Having it will help us, as owners, to know when the watch will drop dead. What we should do then is to simply give it some manual winding to juice it up to full so that it will not stop.

That’s why I’m very happy to learn that my beloved Cocktail Time got this feature on its SSA series. It really makes the watch more useful and functional than ever.

Not to mention Seiko managed to designed it in such a way to still show the full glory of the sunburst dial as possible.

And with the small power reserve of 41 hours, the need for a power reserve indicator on this watch is more needed than ever.

Truthfully, if I’m pulling the trigger with the Cocktail Time, it will definitely be one of the power reserve indicator models =)


Watch the video above to see the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time on hand

Here Are The Current 14 Models In The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Collection

Yes, you read that right. There are a whopping 14 models in the collection! One thing to know is that for some reasons, the SRP and SSA series are not always present in the same color scheme.

Only 3 color schemes have both SRP and SSA models with the other colors having either SRP or SSA models.

One thing that Seiko tried to do is to introduce nicknames for their watches (you can read it from their global website here).

They managed to nailed a few of them (such as Blue Moon, Skydiving) but most of the names are just not that good in my opinion (Side car?? Gimlet?? Duh!).

So here are the list of watch models for the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Collection:

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Models
1. Seiko SRPB41J1 Blue Moon
2. Seiko SRPB43J1 Sky Diving (Normal)
3. Seiko SSA343J1 Sky Diving (Power Reserve)
4. Seiko SSA346J1 Side Car
5. Seiko SRPB44J1 Margarita
6. Seiko SSA341J1 Martini
7. Seiko SRPB46J1 Manhattan
8. Seiko SSA345J1 Espresso Martini
9. Seiko SRPC99J1 Gimlet (Normal)
10. Seiko SSA387J1 Gimlet (Power Reserve)
11. Seiko SRPB47J1 Spritzer
12. Seiko SRPC97J1 Fuyugeshiki (Normal)
13. Seiko SSA385J1 Fuyugeshiki (Power Reserve)
14. Seiko SRP843J1 Fuyugeshiki (Women’s)

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Beautiful sunburst dial
  • Exquisite craftsmanship on the case and bracelet
  • Lots of color options to choose from
  • New power reserve models are great for those that don’t wear their watch everyday
  • Distinctive overall design
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Low power reserve at just 41 hours
  • Leather strap on some of the models are of low quality

My Verdict : The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Is One Heck Of A Watch!

I was very sad when the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time was announced to be discontinued 2 years ago.

While I never own it, the watch was actually in my wish-list and something that I had planned to own.

And when the new line up of Cocktail Time was out, I received the news skeptically. Part of me didn’t like that the new watch is not part of the SARB family anymore but instead was “relegated” to the Presage SRP family.

Not to mention the lower power reserve in the 4R35 movement made the watch less appealing to me.

But that was back then, before I made this in-depth review of the watch.

Suffice to say, my thoughts of the watch was absolutely changed once I take a closer look at the watch’s overall package.

In this Presage Cocktail Time, lies my new favorite dress watch with everything that I could ask for.

There’s a lot of variations to choose from and you are not stuck with one color. Not only that, Seiko also improved the watch from the previous SARB065.

Cool crown and domed crystal make the watch more distinct, as if the sunburst dial is not distinctive enough. Gold plated rotor. Beautiful and thick bracelet. New power reserve indicator models.

And last but not least, a lower price tag making it one of the most affordable automatic dress watch that looks stunning. It’s just one of the best value for money watches out there!

Now seriously, with this kind of offering, who does not love the Presage Cocktail Time?

 

I hope this Seiko Presage Cocktail Time review is beneficial to you. Do let me know what you think about the watch.

Till next time.

Cheers!

The 15 Best Automatic Watches Under $500 In 2018

The 15 Best Automatic Watches Under $500

Want An Automatic Watch? Check Out This List Of The Best Automatic Watches Under $500

Automatic watches are notorious for being expensive. But, you can still get a high quality automatic watch for under $500!

In this post, I’ve compiled a list of 15 great watches that someone with $500 to spare can buy. I’d like to highlight that I intend for this list to help those that really wants to buy his/her best automatic watch within a $500 budget.

Which is why most of the watches in this list is around $300 to $500 tops. If you’re looking for something cheaper, you can check out my previous post on the best automatic watches under $200 here.

Alternatively, if you can also check my list of the best automatic watches under $1,000 where I’ve listed the best watch for every budget.

 

1.1 Isaac Scott small

Hi Guys!

My name is Isaac and I’ve always love automatic watches. They are quite a magnificent creation that have lasted the test of time – arguably one of the current invention from centuries ago that can still be purchased easily.

While other more advanced watches such as the quartz or smartwatches are very popular, automatic watches still remain steadfast and desirable especially among watch fans.

The main attraction of automatic watches is in its capability to run without electricity – entirely dependent on the laws of physics by using mechanical parts inside it.

Also, who can resist that ever moving balance wheel assembly and the smooth sweeping second hand? It’s truly a beautiful invention.

After a few years reading, shopping and owning automatic watches, I’ve decided to create this website to record my thoughts. Here, I’ve listed 15 of the best automatic watches under $500 that you can buy.

Hope you will have a blast reading this, just as I’ve had a blast researching and writing it! If there’s any other watches that you think should be on this list, just drop a comment below =)

p/s: I’ve taken the online prices of the watches for this list as a basis as it’s much easier to get than the MSRP (and also because I love shopping online for watches LOL!). So the price could fluctuate a bit and might go over $500 at some point of time. 

 

Best Automatic Watches Under $500
Watch Name Description and Rating Where To Buy?
1. Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer

1. Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer

  • One of the cheapest chronometer watch around
  • ETA Powermatic 80 Caliber C07.111 movement
  • 80 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
2. Seiko SARB033

2. Seiko SARB033

  • Dress watch
  • Seiko 6R15 movement
  • 50 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Exhibition caseback
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
3. Hamilton Khaki King

3. Hamilton Khaki King

  • Military style watch
  • ETA 2834-2 movement
  • 38 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Full day display
  • Exhibition caseback
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
4. Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical

4. Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical

  • Military style watch
  • ETA 2834-2 movement
  • 38 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Full lume on hands and markers
  • Exhibition caseback
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
5. Tissot Visodate

5 Tissot Visodate

  • Dress watch
  • ETA 2836-2 movement
  • 38 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Day and date display
  • Exhibition caseback
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
6. Seiko Alpinist SARB017

6. Seiko SARB017 Alpinist

  • Casual watch
  • Seiko 6R15 movement
  • 50 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Compass chapter ring
  • Exhibition caseback
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
7. Tissot Le Locle

7. Tissot Le Locle

  • Dress watch
  • ETA 2824-2 movement
  • 38 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Date display
  • Exhibition caseback
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
8. Orient Orient Star Retrograde

8. Orient Star Retrograde

  • Dress watch
  • Orient Cal. 40A50 automatic movement
  • 40 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Power reserve indicator, Retrograde day indicator, Subdial date display
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
9. Laco Aachen 861690

9. Laco Aachen 861690

  • Pilot/Aviator watch
  • Laco 21/ Miyota 821A
  • 42 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Aviator watch B-Uhr Type B dial, Superluminova lume
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
10. Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065

10. Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time

  • Dress watch
  • Seiko 6R15 movement
  • 50 hours power reserve
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Sunburst dial, Exhibition caseback
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
11. Orient President EV0J003WXL

11 Orient President EV0J003W

  • Dress watch
  • Orient 46E automatic movement
  • 40 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Day and date display
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
12. Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic

12. Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic

  • Dress watch
  • ETA 2824-2 automatic movement
  • 38 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Date display
  • Exhibition caseback
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
13. Seiko Sumo SBDC033

13. Seiko Sumo SBDC033

  • Dive watch
  • Seiko 6R15 movement
  • 50 hours power reserve
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Unidirectional rotating bezel, ISO 6425 compliance dive watch, Lume, Date, Magnetic resistance
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
14. Victorinox Maverick

14. Victorinox Maverick

  • Dive watch
  • ETA 2824-2 automatic movement
  • 38 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Date, Exhibition caseback, Lume, Unidirectional rotating bezel
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
15. Tissot PRC200 Powermatic80

15. Tissot PRC 200 Powermatic80

  • Casual watch
  • ETA Powermatic 80.121
  • 80 hours power reserve
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Day and date indicator, exhibition caseback, Lume on markers and hands
4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

 

 

1 – Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer (T0864081605100)

1. Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer

Style and Aesthetics:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Movement:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value For Money:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer
Style Dress
Diameter Size 41 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA Powermatic 80 Caliber C07.111, 80 hours power reserve
Extra Features COSC Certified Chronometer, Date display, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 50 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

Starting off this list is a watch that I still can’t believe exist: the Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer. Yup, you read that right. It’s a chronometer for around $500!

For those that don’t know about it, a chronometer is a term for a very accurate automatic watch. Generally, accuracy is not automatic watch’s strength as most of them can have up to +/-20 seconds of deviation per day.

A chronometer is at least able to guarantee an accuracy of maximum +/-6 seconds per day, which is huge if you ask me. And these kind of watches (the chronometers that is) are traditionally priced at $1,000 and above.

So you’ll definitely understand how excited I am with this Tissot. The value for money they give with this watch is absolutely outrageous!

Apart from that, only those chronometers that are certified by COSC or (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Swiss testing center) is allowed to use the term “Chronometer” on its dial face. So another plus point for the Tissot in getting them certified!

In addition to its higher than ordinary accuracy, the ETA Powermatic 80 Caliber C07.111 automatic movement also comes with a generous 80 hours power reserve, a huge improvement over the typical 38-50 hours power reserve that most automatic watches have (as you’ll see in this list).

How about its looks?

The Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer features a simpler black dial on a stainless steel case – simple, understated and elegantly done. As it’s not too dressy, it scores lots of points in the versatility department. I can easily foresee myself wearing this to office and also to parties in the evenings.

For a watch that looks good as well as having the best that an automatic watch can offer, the Tissot Powermatic80 Chronometer is definitely one watch that you have to seriously consider.

 

2 – Seiko SARB033

2. Seiko SARB033

Style and Aesthetics:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value For Money:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Seiko SARB033
Style Dress
Diameter Size 38 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement Seiko Cal. 6R15, 50 hours power reserve
Extra Features Lume, Date display, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 50 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

The next watch on this list is a very popular watch: Seiko SARB033. It’s one of Seiko’s popular automatic watches due to its elegant design and good specifications – all in one cheap package of usually less than $400 online!

I’ve had the pleasure of owning one (read my personal review of the Seiko SARB033 here for more pictures) and all I can say is this is one great watch to own.

I’ve always had a preference for smaller 38-40 mm-ish watches due to my small wrist size, and this watch delivers it perfectly.

The case construction is one of the best in this price range as Seiko seemed to not hold any punches in this regard. The SARB033 case definitely brings to shame other more expensive watches especially from the Swiss/Western companies.

I just love how the case has a natural sweep and curves down to hug my wrist. It’s finishing is also quite good with some polishing streaks amidst a predominantly brushed surface.

And the best part of this watch?

It’s versatility. I’ve worn this to the office, to dates, casual parties, even to black tie events. Perhaps the only place where the watch feels out of place is outdoor (beaches, etc.).

Apart from that, the watch fits in perfectly with anything that I wore! It’s definitely a versatile piece and a watch that you should consider if you want a fit-for-all watch.

By the way, there’s also a white face model of the watch (the Seiko SARB035) which is more dressy in my opinion.

 

3 – Hamilton Khaki King (H64455533)

3. Hamilton Khaki King

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Hamilton Khaki King
Style Military
Diameter Size 40 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA 2834-2 automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve
Extra Features Full day display, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 50 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

The Khaki King watches are the face of the Hamilton brand, and it’s rightfully so for the Hamilton Khaki King to be included in this list.

Apart from being one of the cheapest automatic watch of western made these days, the Khaki King watch is also an iconic watch.

With only a glimpse of the military style dial and the unique full day display, we can easily spot the Khaki King watch even from afar.

The ruggedness of the design makes the watch a very good choice for casual use, with the brown leather strap looks to be well fit to be worn with jeans!

I also like the full day display: no more guessing about what day it is from the shortened day version in most other watches. This makes the watch very useful even for daily use.

One small issue that I have with the watch is the low water resistance at 50 m. It’s a bit weird that a military watch can only has a mere 50 m water resistance… In my opinion, a 100 m water resistance is the bare minimum for utility type of watches.

With that being said, the Hamilton Khaki King is still one of the most gorgeous and rugged military watch out there.

 

4 – Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical (241507)

4. Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Versatility:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical 241507
Style Military
Diameter Size 42 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve
Extra Features Full lume on hands and markers, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 100 m

Continuing with military watch, the next watch in the list is from Victorinox Swiss Army, the AirBoss Mechanical.

Originally, I didn’t want to include this watch in this list as its price is usually above $500 (though most of the times it’s lower than $600). But looking at the watch, it’s impossible for me to pass on it just because it’s a few dollars above the $500 mark!

I mean, just look at this beauty. While the Khaki King before it is grittier, the AirBoss Mechanical looks more refined and beautiful, even for a military watch.

I also love the full numeral markers – which by the way, is lumed too!

Having a full numeral dial makes the watch a breeze to read time with compared to the more usual index markers. Its also moderately sized, further helping with legibility. And with full lume on it, there’s definitely no issue in telling time with this watch in the dark!

In addition, the slight green shade of the hands/markers due to the SuperLuminova lume paints contrasts nicely with the gray dial face.

It does lack a day display (compared to the Hamilton Khaki King above) but honestly, I seriously feel that Victorinox made a good decision to left that out as it won’t mesh well with the dial.

For a beautiful military watch (or you just love a full lumed watch), this Victorinox AirBoss Mechanical is the one to get!

 

5 – Tissot Visodate (TIST0194301603101)

5 Tissot Visodate

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Tissot Visodate
Style Dress
Diameter Size 40 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA 2836-2 automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve
Extra Features Day and date display, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 30 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

One of the best Swiss automatic watch under $500 is the Tissot Visodate. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a dress watch, with automatic movement, made in Swiss, and still affordable ($500 is considered entry level in the Swiss automatic watch world), the Tissot Visodate is my number one pick.

For a start, it is from one of the most respected brand in watchmaking. Tissot has been around for a long time, and is currently one of the biggest brands. It even withstand the quartz era when many automatic watch brands gone bust! That speak volumes about the brand.

The Tissot Visodate is actually a re-production of Tissot’s vintage model of the same name but with great modernization in terms of the looks and movement.

You can see that the Tissot logo on the watch face is an older version of the logo – marking how this model is a “Classic” model in their lineup. A ode to their rich and colorful history.

The white creamy dial looks stunning, especially when coupled with the silver hands and markers. The highly polished stainless steel casing is beautifully done with slight sloping on its side

(Read my hands-on review of the Tissot Visodate here to see more pictures of it)

Then, there’s the trusted ETA 2836-2 automatic movement inside it. Dated as it is, the movement works like a charm as many ETA owners can attest.

As with many dress watches, there’s also an open caseback on the watch for us to peek at the ETA movement inside.

If you’re looking for a beautiful dress watch with great specifications, this Tissot Visodate should be inside your shortlist =).

 

6 – Seiko Alpinist SARB017

6. Seiko SARB017 Alpinist

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Seiko Alpinist SARB017
Style Casual
Diameter Size 38 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Movement Seiko 6R15 automatic movement, 50 hours power reserve
Extra Features Date display, Compass chapter ring, Diashock absorber, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 200 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

The next Seiko in this list is the Seiko SARB017 or more fondly known as the Alpinist watch. One interesting history about the watch is the Alpinist line up was conceived as a reference to Japan’s mountaineering community.

Which is why you can see that the technical specification of the watch is higher than normal Seikos despite it having a charming green-gold dial.

From the first look, we can see that the Seiko Alpinist is not your normal watch. I mean, where have you ever seen a watch with green dial, gold accents on the hands/markers, silver stainless steel case and brown leather band?

It’s not really a good idea to put many colors on a watch, but somehow, Seiko managed to pull it off very well with this watch.

I really like the green-gold combo as well as the classical type of hands. It shows a lot of character that is sorely missing in the current crop of watches.

Speaking of its technical specification, there’s a compass chapter ring on the watch that can be operated by turning the knob on the 4 o’clock position, which I’m sure will be very handy for those going outdoor.

In addition, the watch also has Diashock absorber to protect the watch and its Cal. 6R15 automatic movement from damage should it sustain any impact.

Last but not least, Seiko also put a huge 20 bar or 200 m water resistance rating on the watch. This puts it on par and even beat some dive watches out there! Just be sure to change the leather strap to Nato or rubber or metal before going into water LOL!

If you’re looking for something different with your next watch, the Seiko Alpinist SARB017 is definitely something that will worth your time to look into.

 

7 – Tissot Le Locle (TIST41142333)

7. Tissot Le Locle

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Tissot Le Locle
Style Dress
Diameter Size 39 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve
Extra Features Date display, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 30 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

Next on the list is the Tissot Le Locle. Just like the Visodate, it’s also part of the vintage collection of the brand. But this watch is a bit more special as the “Le Locle” is actually the name of the town where Tissot started some 150+ years ago.

So to be putting the sacred name of its inception place surely means a lot to the watch. And we can easily see it from the classical styling put on it.

For a start, there’s the roman numeral markers on the watch which gives it a special character to it. Then there’s also the guilloche pattern on the dial that, frankly speaking, looks astounding.

I’ve handled the watch in person, and it’s truly a magnificent timepiece that you have to see for yourselves to make an accurate assessment. Everything about the watch design looks delicate and very very elegant.

In terms of technical specification, the 39 mm stainless steel case houses an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement with 30 m water resistance.

Suffice to say, the Tissot Le Locle is definitely one of the best dress watch in this price range.

 

8 – Orient Star Retrograde

8. Orient Star Retrograde

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Orient Star Retrograde
Style Dress
Diameter Size 40 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement Orient Cal. 40A50 automatic movement, 40 hours power reserve
Extra Features Power reserve indicator, Retrograde day indicator, Subdial date display
Water Resistance 100 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

Most watch fans know that Orient is one of the most undervalued brands currently. Their watches are of high quality at a much lower price than what their Swiss or Japan (Seiko especially) would charge. The only thing holding them back is perhaps their lesser known branding.

This Orient Star Retrograde is one watch that seeks to reinforce that. At just around $500, it has so much to offer. Again, it’s usually over the $500 mark but I feel that I really need to include this watch in this list as it’s such a good value for money!

For start, the Orient Star is Orient’s premium lineup of watches and differs from their normal watches in terms of movement, aesthetic and finishing.

This particular Orient Star Retrograde is definitely one gorgeous watch and not like any other Orient you have seen. It’s elegantly designed even with the busyness/complicated dial with power reserve indicator, day display and date display.

I really like the white creamy dial combo with silver stainless steel elements on the watch. It gives the watch a very beautiful and wholesome look. Everything about the watch is on point, without anything out of place.

It has a power reserve indicator, about the most useful feature one could get in any automatic watch – since most watches only has 38-40 hours power reserve it’s very important to know when the watch will drop dead to avoid it from happening.

Besides, there’s a feeling of satisfaction when you see the needle move up when you manual wind it LOL!

The use of a dedicated subdial for date is something that I really love. It’s different than the normal date display and make the watch looks more classical and elegant.

And last but not the least, the retrograde day indicator.

What does Retrograde means?

It literally means moving backwards, but retrograde has a kind of different meaning in watchmaking to describe the movement that automatically moves backward instead of running in full circle.

You can see that Orient put this retrograde feature on the day indicator at the bottom of the watch: after Sunday, the needle will go backwards to Monday.

With all of the above features, without a doubt the Orient Cal. 40A50 automatic movement inside it is one hell of a beast and definitely scores a lot of points in the movement department.

If you’re in for a dress watch that also has a multitude of features (especially the very useful power reserve indicator), then the Orient Star Retrograde is a good choice.

 

9 – Laco Aachen 861690

9. Laco Aachen 861690

Style and Aesthetics:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Laco Aachen 861690
Style Pilot/Aviator
Diameter Size 42 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement Laco 21/ Miyota 821A automatic movement, 42 hours power reserve
Extra Features Aviator watch B-Uhr Type B dial, Superluminova lume
Water Resistance 50 m

I’ve always like a good ol’ aviator watch – especially the ones with the B-Uhr Type B dial. It looks super awesome with the inverted minutes and hours markers (the minutes are way bigger than the hours, opposite of what a normal watch has).

Which is why the Laco Aachen 861690 is one of the best bang for buck that you can get. It has the traditional Type-B dial with automatic movement inside it – all for just around $300 to $400 a piece!

With those big markers and hands, there’s no question that this watch is perfectly legible and easy to tell time with. In fact, those markers and hands are filled with Superluminova lume making them usable even in the night.

One trade offs that Laco made in this model is the use of the Laco 21 movement which was based on the Miyota 821A automatic movement instead of the usual ETA movements as their competitors.

But for all intent and purposes, I don’t think that this is a big deal as the Miyota movements are widely used in many low-end automatic watches. They have made a good decision by using it in this watch, and helped make the watch affordable to many fans.

If you’re looking for a real aviator watch with automatic movement, the Laco Aachen 861690 is one of the best value for money watch you can get.

 

10 – Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065

10. Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065
Style Dress
Diameter Size 40 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Movement Seiko 6R15 automatic movement, 50 hours power reserve
Extra Features Date display, Exhibition caseback, Sunburst dial
Water Resistance 50 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

As far as dial aesthetic is concerned, the Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 gets full mark based on its dial design alone. It’s another popular Seiko automatic watch model that is frequently sought after by fans.

What makes the watch unique is the blue sunburst dial that changes depending on the angle of light and where you see it from. It’s a kind of metallic dial but the Cocktail Time uses many strips of dial to make it more unique.

By the way, the reason why the watch is called Cocktail Time is because it was a collaboration with Japan’s top bartender, Shinobu Ishigaki. That’s another reason why the watch looks gorgeous as it is!

In terms of technical specification, the watch has a moderate diameter of 40 mm, which is perfect for those with smaller wrists. Inside it there’s Seiko own Cal. 6R15 automatic movement with a good 50 hours power reserve.

Perhaps one flaw of this watch is the use of hardlex crystal (a type of mineral crystal) instead of using the more scratch resistant sapphire crystal.

But other than that, the Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 is a great watch and has one of the most beautiful dial at this price range.

 

11 – Orient President (EV0J003W)

11 Orient President EV0J003W

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Orient President EV0J003W
Style Dress
Diameter Size 36 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement Orient 46E automatic movement, 40 hours power reserve
Extra Features Day and date display
Water Resistance 100 m

If you think that the Orient President EV0J003W looks familiar, you’re actually on to something. In fact, the watch is a homage to the popular Rolex Day Date.

It’s an elegant timepiece made to be a dress watch. What I love about the watch is the fluted or grooved pattern on its bezel that adds a lot of character to it. It meshes well with the stock jubilee bracelet that the watch comes with too.

The use of white-silver color combination on the dial is another thing that I love about it. While I’d prefer that Orient uses a different markers (the crystal markers looks very similar to the diamonds on the Rolex), it looks very nice and compatible with the watch overall design.

There’s also a full day display at the top of the dial and a date display with cyclops on the right for extra functionality.

If you’re a Rolex fan but can’t bring yourself to pay thousands of dollars for a watch, the Orient President EV0J003W might be the one that you need. At a fraction of its price, the Orient brings you a closeness to the iconic Day Date watch without making a huge hole in your wallet =)

 

12 – Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic

12. Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Versatility:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic
Style Dress
Diameter Size 40 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve
Extra Features Date display, Exhibition caseback
Water Resistance 50 m

While the Khaki King watches is the face of Hamilton, the brand also have other lesser known but great designs. An example of that is this Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic.

Why the watch is named as such? Frankly, I’m don’t know. But one thing that is certain is that the watch is a beautiful dress watch.

While it looks like the dial is a normal dial, upon closer inspection we can see that the center of the dial actually have a guilloche pattern on it. It’s a nice touch that added extra flair to the watch.

The guilloche in this black dial version might be harder to see than the white version of the watch. I also like how the sides of the watch has a bit of edges around it instead of a boring straight line.

We cannot see it from here but if you look at the pictures of the watch from different angles, you’ll see that the edges have intermittent polished and brushed finishing – sign of exquisite craftsmanship in watchmaking.

Powering the watch is the tried-and-tested ETA 2824-2 automatic movement that has 38 hours power reserve in it.

Want a nice dress watch? This Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic should be on your shortlist!

 

13 – Seiko Sumo SBDC033

13. Seiko Sumo SBDC033

Style and Aesthetics:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value For Money:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Seiko Sumo SBDC033
Style Dive
Diameter Size 44 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Movement Seiko 6R15 automatic movement, 50 hours power reserve
Extra Features Unidirectional rotating bezel, ISO 6425 compliance dive watch, Lume, Date, Magnetic resistance
Water Resistance 200 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

If you’re thinking of getting a real automatic dive watch, then this Seiko Sumo SBDC033 is definitely the one for you, as agreed by thousands of Seiko fans all over the world.

(p/s: I’m also one of its proud owners. Check out my personal review of the watch here).

But what did I mean by “real” dive watch? Aren’t those watches with rotating bezel on it dive watches too?

Well, you’re not wrong there. Unidirectional rotating bezel is one of the main characteristic of a dive watch. And so does a good water resistance rating.

But what most other watches lack is compliance to ISO 6425, the international standard for dive watches.

It tables out a list of items that a watch need to comply to before can be certified a “dive watch” such as reliability under water, condensation test, the crown toughness to external force, shock resistance and other myriad physical attributes.

Only watches that passes those requirements can put the “Diver’s XXXm” on its dial. And this beauty is one of them!

In addition to the high technical specification, the Seiko Sumo also has very functional – and yet beautiful construction and design.

It’s dial is simple with over-sized markers and hands making it a pleasant thing to look at in the dark thanks to the huge lume real estate. The rotating bezel glides smoothly with satisfying clicks – so much so I’ve made a habit of mindlessly rotating the bezel at any chance that I get LOL!

Coming into it’s case, it will definitely command some wrist presence due to the 44 mm diameter. And with that size, it has a bit of heft to it – something that I really look forward when wearing it. The closest thing that I can describe about this is a heavy watch just gives you that manly feeling when wearing it.

Not to mention the case is a work of art by itself. It has multiple surfaces on it with intermittent brushed and polished surfaces finely executed by watchmakers at Seiko.

Without a doubt, the Seiko Sumo is one of the best watches you can get if you want a real dive watch with automatic engine =)

 

14 – Victorinox Maverick

14. Victorinox Maverick

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Victorinox Maverick
Style Dive
Diameter Size 43 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, 38 hours power reserve
Extra Features Date, Exhibition caseback, Lume, Unidirectional rotating bezel
Water Resistance 100 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

At the other side of dive watch, there’s the Victorinox Maverick. While the Seiko Sumo above is geared towards diving functionality, this Maverick (you gotta admit that this name is so cool for a watch!) is designed more towards aesthetic rather than “real dive watch” function.

But of course, that’s not entirely a bad thing. I mean, almost 99% of those buying dive watches never bring it even close to water. So then, why bother with full dive watch functionality right?

There’s only 100 m water resistance, low amount of lume, no screw down crown and there’s also an open caseback. Without a doubt, the Victorinox Maverick is design for desk divers rather than for real divers.

Let us look at the watch design then. It has the rotating bezel which is one of dive watch’s main characteristic. The blue colors make the watch look very beautiful (there’s also a gray color version too).

It might not shown in this picture but the bezel and the dial are actually having metallic sunburst effect on it, causing it to shine beautifully! A beautiful watch? You bet!

I also like the explorer style markers as the “3” and “9” makes telling time much easier than a full index markers. From the looks department, it is evident that Victorinox Swiss Army had a winner here.

Not to mention the build quality that is associated with the brand – it makes the watch so much more desirable than others.

If you would like to get a beautiful dive watch – but don’t necessary need the full functionality of a real dive watch – then this Victorinox Maverick is a very good choice.

 

15 – Tissot PRC200 Powermatic80 (T0554301601700)

15. Tissot PRC 200 Powermatic80

Style and Aesthetics:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Movement:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Brand Name and History:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Versatility:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Value For Money:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Unique Factor:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Tissot PRC200 Powermatic80
Style Dive
Diameter Size 39 mm
Case Stainless Steel
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Movement ETA Powermatic 80.121 automatic movement, 80 hours power reserve
Extra Features Day and date indicator, exhibition caseback, Lume on markers and hands
Water Resistance 200 m
Full Review Click here to read my full review of this watch

The last watch in this list is the Tissot PRC200 Powermatic80. It’s a casual/sporty watch but with a sort of elegance that is not present with any other Tissot’s sports watch.

There are a few color variations of the model (black and blue as far as I know) but I love this white-silver color scheme the most as it’s so much more beautiful. I mean, a beautiful sports watch is definitely a good thing to have right?

The dial is simple with the usual 3-hands and day date display (courtesy of the ETA 2824-2 automatic movement inside) but it’s perfectly executed.

You can see the white dial meshes with the silver stainless steel of the hands, markers and the bezel/case with little to no effort. And that brown leather strap just completes this watch!

Some sporty elements can also be spotted on this watch. For example, the big crown is definitely there to give a sporty vibe. In addition, there are lumes on the hands and markers – even the explorer (12, 6 & 9) markers have lumes! I’m pretty sure the watch is a breeze to tell time with, during the day and nighttime.

In addition to the beautiful and sporty exterior, the watch is run by an ETA Powermatic 80.121 automatic movement. It’s a latest movement by the ETA/Swatch group (of which Tissot is one of its brands) with a huge 80 hours power reserve!

If you’ve owned an automatic watch before, you’ll know the struggle to keep that watch running continuously. A normal automatic will only run for about 40 hours before you need to wear or manual wind it again.

And yet this new movement extends its power reserve to 80 hours, or 3 and 1/3 days! You can just left it in your drawer over the weekend and it will still ticking comes Monday =)

So if you want to get a sports/casual watch with gorgeous design and huge power reserve? This Tissot PRC200 Powermatic80 is the one you should get.

 

1.1 Isaac Scott small

I hope that you love this list of the best automatic watches under $500 and enjoy reading it, as much as I’ve enjoyed researching and writing it!

If there’s any other automatic watches out there that you think should be in this list, do let me know by commenting below. I’d love to hear your suggestions (and to lengthen this list longer LOL!).

Hope to see you again.

Cheers!
Isaac.

 

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 Review – The Big Diver’s Watch From Invicta

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 Review

 

In this post, I’m going to write about Invicta Grand Diver review, specifically the two-tone version with reference number 3049.

The Grand Diver is part of the family of Invicta’s diver’s watch. I’m pretty sure most of you already know about the Submariner-like 8928/8926 diver’s watches right?

 

Invicta Grand Diver 3049

 

Those are inside the Pro Diver lineup and in fact, I’ve featured both of them in my list of the best automatic watches under $200 (which you can read HERE).

The watches just have so much value for money, especially if you love that Rolex Submariner look but won’t or can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars on a watch.

So what’s the difference between the Grand Diver and the Pro Diver?

For a start, the Grand Diver is bigger at 47 mm diameter vs the Pro Diver’s 40 mm. There are also other differences which I’ll elaborate more later on.

 

Now, let’s check out the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 review shall we.

 

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 Specification
Diameter 47 mm
Thickness 17 mm
Lug Width 22 mm
Case Two-tone (blue and gold) stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel bracelet with double lock clasp
Watch Crystal Mineral crystal
Dial Blue dial with gold accent
Hands Triangle hands with gold outline
Markers Index markers
Style Diver
Movement Seiko NH35A Automatic Self Winding Movement
Movement Features 21 Jewels, 6 beats per second, Hacking and manual winding
Accuracy +-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 36 hours
NH35A User Manual Click HERE for the user manual of the NH35A movement
Water Resistance 300 m
Other Features Exhibition caseback, Lume on hands and markers, Cyclops on date window, Unidirectional rotating diver bezel, Screw down crown
Best Place To Buy Amazon, MSRP is $595

Beautiful Blue Dial With Gold Accent

The dial of the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 is blue in color, with gold accents that’s just very nice to look at.

The dial is unmistakably diver’s watch style with index markers and hands filled with lume.

At the top, we can see the signatures “Invicta” and “Grand Diver” below Invicta’s logo in gold.

The bottom part of the dial has the water resistant marking (300 m) and the diver suit logo which looks nice and unique, to be honest.

The right side of the dial has the date display with cyclops, which everyone knows was taken from Submariner design.

Uniquely Invicta, Less Of Submariner

What’s surprising about the dial of the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 is how Invicta added their own styling to the watch.

If you look at their Pro Diver watches, such as the popular 8928 and 8926, they really look a lot like Rolex Submariner – even to the details such as mercedes hands, dial placement, font etc.

The Grand Diver watch, on the other hand, is designed to be a different watch or should I say Invicta’s own design.

 

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 front

 

They only retained some of the elements of the Submariner such as the overall look, cyclops and bezel design.

But details such as the hands and dial signatures are undoubtedly Invicta’s.

With this small but important changes, the Grand Diver is not just a Submariner copy-cat anymore but a watch on its own – which is very important for some watch enthusiasts =)

 

A Huge 47 mm Case

One of the “biggest” trait (pun intended) of the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 is how big the watch is – it’s close to 47 mm diameter! And with a thickness of 17 mm (it has a very domed caseback btw), this is one very big watch.

For some, bigger watch is better since the added heft makes it feel to be of higher quality and more sturdy.

Actually that’s not really true as there are many diver’s watches out there that’s smaller than 40 mm (especially the older generations of watches) and yet can withstand lots of punishment.

Some also loves the feel of a big and heavy watch as it feels cool and what’s better than the feel of having a huge mass of steel on your wrist?

 

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 on hand

The Invicta Grand Diver 3049 is a huge watch that’s only suited for bigger wrists

 

It’s indeed a satisfying feeling – only if your wrist is big (and strong) enough to wield this huge 47 mm watch.

To accompany this huge watch, the stainless steel bracelet has 22 mm width with the higher quality solid end links instead of the hollow links in the Pro Diver watches.

The claps is double locked with plate steel connectors giving that premium feeling as compared to thin sheet connectors.

Invicta also brilliantly designed the lugs to be heavily curving down so that its bracelet or strap will conform nicely to the wearer’s wrist. To some extent, this makes the watch easier to be worn by smaller wrists.

But still, I’d recommend for you to measure your wrist first before attempting to buy the Grand Diver 3049. It won’t look nice if you’re wearing a watch a few sizes too big for you LOL!

 

Gold Plated Case And Bracelet

The Invicta Grand Diver 3049 has a gold plated case and bezel to achieve that coveted two-tone style with its blue dial.

Without a doubt, this is a watch to get if you want it to be noticeable by people.

It’s such a head turner! The gold plated is strategically placed at the middle links of the bracelet, edge of the bezel and the screw down crown.

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 side 22

Just like its dial, Invicta tried very hard to make sure the case is far from being a Submariner knock off.

There are diving suit logo engraved at the end links of the bracelets as well as the top of the crown.

“Invicta” and “Grand Diver” signatures are featured at the sides of the case, left and right sides respectively.

For some, this added elements might seem tacky but I quite like it because it’s something that no one has ever done before.

It might deter those that want to buy it and pose the watch as a Submariner but that’s the whole purpose of it – Invicta don’t want this watch to be another Submariner look alike.

They want the watch to be their own, which is a good effort by the company.

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 back

 

Mineral Crystal And Scallop Bezel

On top of the watch is a mineral crystal which is nothing fancy to write about. It gets the job done, which is to avoid any damage to the internal of the watch as well as keep water away from the insides.

But I need to warn you that mineral crystal is far from being a scratch resistant material.

It can and will easily get scratches, though we can always try to avoid the deep ones from happening.

For that we will need to take care of the watch as good as we can e.g don’t throw your watch into a pocket full of coins or keys, don’t slam it into a wall or pavement, and others.

While deep scratches can be avoided, I found it hard to keep the crystal free from hairline scratches.

There will always be one of those no matter how careful you are LOL!

 

(Read my introduction to watch crystals HERE to find out more about them)

 

Around the crystal is also the unidirectional rotating diver bezel that has a blue fill with gold markings and edge. Unidirectional means the bezel can only rotate counter-clockwise.

This is one of the pre-requisite of any diver’s watch as the bezel will be used to time diving duration.

It’s quite lengthy to describe so I’ll just post a link to my previous post below for those that want to learn more about how to use diver’s bezel.

 

(Click HERE for my guide on how to use diver’s bezel)

 

What I want to focus here is how the edge of the bezel has that “scallop” pattern usually associated with Omega Seamaster watches. Normal diver’s watches have the Submariner-like coin edge bezels.

I like how these scallop edges look as it’s more subtle and sublime but then it’s not the best in terms of using the bezel.

You see, the bezel for watches are not easy to be rotated. It has to be sturdy not to be rotated by accident.

Thus, we need a good grip on it to be able to rotate it easily, which the scallop bezel is lacking. The coin edge is easier to operate as we can grip it better even with wet hands.

The scallop edge, on the other hand, can be a challenge to rotate if your hand is wet, and for a diver’s watch that’s not really a good fit don’t you think?

By the way, Invicta also produces their watch with coin edge with the extension OB (for Old Bezel) on the watch’s serial number.

So if you are thinking of using the bezel for diving, it’s definitely a better choice.

 

Watch the video above to see the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 up close

 

Seiko NH35A Automatic Movement

One of the similarities of the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 and the Pro Diver watches is the use of Seiko’s Cal. NH35A automatic self-winding movement.

This is a lower grade movement by the Japanese watchmaker with 21 jewels and beats 6 times per second (means the second hand will tick 6 times in a second for the fluid sweeping action).

But what’s nice about this movement is it can be hacked (the second hand will stop when setting the time) and can be manual wind – both features prevalent in modern automatic movements.

While I don’t think the hacking is that much of importance, the manual winding feature is a big deal to me.

 

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 caseback

There’s an exhibition caseback at the backside of the Invicta Grand Diver 3049 so that its owners can peek into the automatic movement inside it

 

What it’ll do is instead of relying completely on wearing the watch to recharge its 36 hours power reserve, we can just rotate its crown to charge it.

As someone that is lucky to be in a possession of many automatic watches, you can’t believe how convenient this is.

With this feature, I can keep my watches running even though I’m not using them for 2 or 3 days.

That way, I can just take it off the shelves when it’s their turn to be worn without needing to have to start it from dead and reset the time, date and day again. Manual winidng is truly a convenient thing to have.

 

(Click HERE to download the user manual of the NH35A automatic movement for info on time setting instructions, etc.)

 

Many Variations Of The Invicta Grand Diver

So you don’t like the gold and blue version? Well, you’re in for a luck as Invicta also produces quite a number of variations for this watch.

As far as I know, there are 4 other versions that might appeal to you (do let me know if there are others that I missed)

Above: Invicta Grand Diver 3044 – The traditional black and silver/white diver’s watch

Above: Invicta Grand Diver 3045 – Fancy a blue diver’s watch?

Above: Invicta Grand Diver 3046 – The more unique white dial with blue bezel

Above: Invicta Grand Diver 3047 – Black dial with green bezel

 

Invicta Pro Diver vs. Grand Diver

One thing that most people always confuse at is the difference between Invicta Grand Diver and Pro Diver watches.

Above is the Invicta Grand Diver 3049

 

And above picture is the Invicta Pro Diver 8928. Can you spot the differences?

 

In summary, below is the list of what’s the difference between these two watches:

 

  1. The Grand Diver is bigger at 47 mm vs. 40 mm diameter
  2. Grand Diver retails for a higher price
  3. With its larger size, the Grand Diver is more suited towards casual use. The Pro Diver is more sublime and can be used in a professional setting
  4. The Grand Diver has higher water resistance at 300 m vs. the 200 m that the Pro Diver has
  5. Solid end links on the Grand Diver bracelet is better than the hollow links of the Pro Diver. Hollow links has that annoyingly faint metal touching sound….
  6. While the Pro Diver is almost an exact copy of Rolex Submariner, the Grand Diver has its own design details (diving suit logo, signature design, hands, etc) which makes it a watch on its own.

 

Above video shows the size comparison between the pro diver and the grand diver watch series

Who Is This Invicta Grand Diver 3049 For?

Without a doubt, the Grand Diver 3049 is an upgraded version of the Pro Diver. 300 m water resistance, solid end links with Invicta’s own styling on the watch – all of these are something that the Pro Diver lacks.

It has the timeless styling of Rolex Submariner, while also being a watch on its own.

So if you’re looking for something extra from the Pro Diver but don’t want to spend top dollars, then this is the watch for you.

Furthermore, the oversized 47 mm diameter with the huge mass would also appeal to those looking for a true manly diver’s watch.

If you think you have what it takes to pull this huge watch off nicely, then please do so =)

 

Who Should Not Get It?

Likewise, anyone with a smaller or more normal wrist size should refrain from buying it.

It does look very handsome but there’s nothing more off-putting than a too big of a watch on a small wrist. Tread carefully guys…

(also, check out my list of the best diver’s watch under $500 for other alternatives to the Grand Diver)

Invicta Grand Diver 3049 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Big 47 mm diameter case for superb wrist presence
  • 300 m water resistance with screw down crown
  • Exhibition caseback showing its automatic movement
  • NH35A automatic movement is equipped with hacking and manual winding features
  • Handsome two-tone style on timeless Submariner diver’s watch design

Cons:

  • Oversized case is too big for smaller wrists
  • Mineral crystal is not a scratch resistant material

 

Like The Invicta Grand Diver 3049? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!

On Invicta’s website, the 3049 is listed for a staggering $595! It’s not a bad watch but everyone will agree that’s an insane price for an Invicta, considering you can get a true Swiss automatic watch with that kind of money.

Consider shopping online as the price of the Grand Diver can drop up to 80% from the MSRP.

I’d suggest for you to check out Amazon as it always has the best deals on Invicta watches with great return policy. Click the link below to go to Amazon for more info.

 

->Click Here To Check Out The Best Deals Of Invicta Grand Diver 3049 On Amazon<-

Final Thoughts

The Invicta Grand Diver 3049 is a good value for money diver’s watch. It’s widely considered as an upgrade over the Pro Diver watches due to increased water resistance rating and build quality.

It’s two-tone style and over-sized case caused it to have such a huge wrist presence that grabs everyone’s attention.

Not only that, it also was instilled with Invicta’s own styling and is no longer the Rolex Submariner copy-cat the Pro Diver is often associated with.

If you’re looking for a good diver’s watch that gives you the best bang for your buck, the Grand Diver 3049 is really worth considering.

I hope you enjoy this Invicta Grand Diver 3049 review. Do let me know any questions or comments that you have on the watch.

I’d love to hear what you think about it =)

Cheers!
Isaac.