The dive watch is a classic for good reason. It’s a simple highly functional design and can be worn in nearly any situation and look the part. It’s no surprise then that it is also the most popular type of watch in the micro brand category. Today we take a hands on look at the Grey Seal from Polish micro brand, Balticus.
Balticus don’t mess about with lots of fluff about their brand, they prefer to let their watches do the talking. They’re based in Poland and became active earlier this year promoting the Grey Seal. The Grey Seal is now available for purchase in seven dial colours (no crowdfunding campaign waits!).
So lets take a look at the Grey Seal.
First up the specs:
- Japanese automatic movement – Miyota 9015
- Stainless steel 316L case
- 44mm case diameter, 51mm lug to lug length, 22mm lug width
- WR300m water resistance
- Inner rotating bezel
- Screw down setting crown, (inner bezel crown is not screw down)
- Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating inside and sapphire glass caseback with printed Grey Seal logo
- Includes mesh and leather strap, buckle with engraved brand name – Balticus
- 24 months warranty
- 7 dial colours available
I was initially struck by the dial, the embossed wave pattern looks fantastic. The internal bezel has been a popular feature in micro brand divers over the years and this particular example is well executed in my opinion. Often micro designers make poor font choices when it comes to numbers and dial text, but in this case they look great.
The watch ships on the black leather strap and it is perfectly serviceable. The strap is branded on the underside and is also engraved on the buckle. I’ve gone off leather straps recently as I find them a little irritating on the wrist, especially thicker ones that are very noticeable and rub when using a mouse at a desk. This one with its large buckle got to that irritation point pretty quickly so it didn’t last long before I switched to the included shark mesh bracelet. To be honest, I was eyeing up that bracelet as soon as I saw it as I’d seen pictures of the watch on it and it looked way better than on the strap.
Changing to the bracelet was fairly straight forward but it is absolutely massive. If you have a large wrist you’ll have no trouble sizing the bracelet. I had to take out 3 extension pieces to get a comfortable fit. As a note though, if you want to change to the bracelet yourself, you’ll need a springbar tool and a couple of very small flat screwdrivers for the extension links. Otherwise you’ll have to take it to a local jewelers.
Click/touch and drag the image left or right for a 360 degree view
The bracelet was a huge improvement for me, it’s very comfortable and as a guy with fairly hairy arms, I didn’t find it gave me any problems with pulled hairs.
When it comes to the main function of telling the time, the Grey Seal does the job just fine. The dial and hands are lumed with the hands much brighter than the dial. It does the job but overall it’s not particularly bright.
The Miyota 9015 movement is very popular right now. So much so that the wholesale price of the movement has risen substantially. It’s little wonder given how good it is. For a little test I tried out the Hairspring app to get an accuracy reading. This was a dial up partially wound reading.
That’s pretty good for a stock unadjusted movement! The 9015 is rated by Miyota for -10～30 seconds/day so it’s got a massive leeway on accuracy but 2 seconds +or- a day is hardly uncommon for a watch out the box in my experience.
At 1,500PLN (about $390USD, €350EUR, £315GBP) the Grey Seal is in the same range as the Prometheus Piranha and Borealis Sea Dragon, two other well respected and established micro brands. I think this pricing level is much more sustainable than the cost pricing that has been going on with the crowdfunders lately. The trouble with cheaper options is that they tend to be one shot wonders that disappear after their first watch and good luck to you if you need servicing. Balticus are clearly signalling their intentions to stick around.
The final verdict? An attractive diver on the mesh bracelet which goes with a suit or a tshirt. It’s good value for the money and with the range of colours there’s sure to be one you like. 1,500PLN from Balticus Web Store.
To mark the one year anniversary of Microbrand Watch World, Balticus have kindly granted us the Grey Seal review piece as a giveaway prize. For your chance to win simply provide your name and email address in the box below.
By entering you agree to be added to both the MBWW and Balticus mailing lists. If you have already joined either of those lists you’ll still need to enter here to be included in the draw. The winner will be drawn on 7 November 2016 and contacted by email.