Bronze cased watches have become increasingly popular recently and many brands and microbrands are offering models made of this wonderful alloy. It is primarily made of copper, tin and other metals (typically zinc, nickel, manganese and aluminum) along with some non metals or metalloids. Bronze (CuSn8) has many uses and is a welcome alternative to stainless steel in watches because the patina that develops on the metal surface actually adds to its character.
For this review I have a Aquatico bronze Sea Star diver watch. This watch is offered with various ceramic or bronze bezel inserts as well as face colors. For this review I have the watch with the bronze bezel and matt green face. The case finish and the signed, sculpted strap buckle is completely bronze while the screw down case back is stainless steel. Case lugs are drilled to make strap changes easy. Bronze watches must have a stainless steel case back or it will make the contact skin green. The dimensions of this watch are textbook perfect to me. The watch has nicely curved down lugs which work perfectly on my 7 inch wrist and at 120 grams, it is very comfortable. It is just right at 42mm in diameter, just under 50mm lug to lug, 14mm thick and has a 22mm lug width. The bronze coin edge crown turns smoothly and feels very solid. It measures 7mm across and it is about 4.5mm thick. It is signed with the same dolphin logo that is also machined into the nicely marked and machined caseback. The six o’clock side of the case is engraved and shows that each model of this watch is numbered with 88 pieces built of each version.
The Sea Star face and attractive dive watch design with slightly oversized indices and a single track bronze color chapter ring. Indices have a polished brass edge finished while the snowflake handset uses a brushed brass finish. The 3 o’clock black on white date window also has a polished brass frame. All indices and the hands are lumed with Superluminova BGW9; the lume is decent but not spectacular. The 120 click unidirectional bronze bezel also has a lume pip in the triangle. For serious divers I recommend buying this watch with one of the ceramic bezel inserts. All of the bronze bezel indices are beautifully raised and the moderately coarse coin edge is easy to grip. The bezel has some play but it doesn’t interfere with it’s operation. Branding on the face is discretely marked in the bronze color as the chapter ring with the Aquatico name on the upper half, 1000ft/300m on the lower half with “Automatic” in red directly above it. Covering the matt green face of the Sea Star is a raised flat sapphire crystal. It has an internal blue double anti reflective coating and is domed on the inside, which creates an interesting visual effect from different angles and lighting. Combined with a substantial bronze rehaut between the face and the sapphire crystal, I find the design in total to be very attractive.
The strap of choice for this watch is made from high quality American Horween leather, manufactured in China. The nicely stitched strap has six rectangular holes and one fixed and one loose strap loop which work perfectly with the sculpted bronze buckle and tang. Wearers will get a little bronze green on their wrist from the buckle, but it’s a small price to pay for what I feel is the perfect strap for this watch. For water activities or diving, I would want to use a silicone rubber dive strap. Aquatico includes an additional black milanese bracelet with this watch.
Powering the Sea Star is the universally popular NH35A movement from Seiko. This 24 jewel, 40 hour reserve, 21,600 bph, hand winding and hacking movement and my example is less than 3 seconds a day fast. Other than longer power reserve and maybe a quieter rotor, I do not know what more expensive movements offer as an advantage. The watch is very well made and bronze will develop a wonderful patina over time. If you are looking for a bronze dive watch, I highly recommend you consider the Aquatico Sea Star. $299. aquaticowatch.com