Dive watches are one of my favorite watch types. They can be worn almost anywhere and they have always had an adventurous persona about them. Even if you barely get these watches wet, they generally give the wearer the feeling that they won’t let you down under harsh conditions. For this review, I have a watch from SEATEK Gear LLC, a Boynton Beach, Florida based company specializing in high grade and high value polarized sunglasses and “offshore” watches. The company was started by Paul Dudley, a Florida native with a background in quality eyewear, which usually is sourced from Italy. The SEATEK ARGO, the company’s first watch, came about as an offshoot to the eyewear category with the same business model of offering a better quality product for less money.
For a company’s first dive watch, the ARGO really stands out as; it isn’t a homage. The watch uses a Swiss made Ronda 505 quartz movement, a one jewel workhorse that has a 45 month rated battery life. In the few weeks that I have had the watch, it has gained less than 2 seconds, which I consider outstanding. It is interesting to note that Ronda says the movement accuracy is -10/+20 seconds per month. The watch case is 316L stainless steel with a black PVD finish. I measure the case at 44 mm in diameter, 14 3/4 mm thick, 8 mm across the crown, 21 mm between the lugs and 52 mm lug to lug. These measurements differ from what SEATEK says they are, but regardless it is a very comfortable size for me and my 7 inch wrist. The lugs curve down to the same level as the case back, giving the watch a fairly low profile on the wrist.
The standard dive watch shaped case takes advantage of gloss black and satin black PVD finishing. Only the top and inner sides of the lugs and the case back are in a satin finish. The rest of the case, including the crown guard, the gear edged sides of the screw down crown and the case area between the lugs are gloss black. A brushed circular pattern of 316L stainless steel finishes the screw down portion of the back with the company logo and brand name etched in the center. The outer edge of the screw down back is etched only with the words “STAINLESS STEEL”, “200 METER”, AND “SWISS MOVT” while the top of the gloss black crown is satin finished with the etched SEATEK company logo.
Satin finishing on the edge of the flat side of the bezel works well with the gloss finish in the 60 or so bezel edge grooves. The bezel has some play, but it moves counter clockwise with just the right amount of force and has a nice metallic click to it. The dive watch bezel numbers and markings are done in an almost irreverent shade of blue with a glossy black background. One raised white silver edge lume dot sits in the middle of the zero point triangle on the bezel. It all works together well, in my opinion.
The sapphire or royal blue (or as SEATEK calls it “Sea Blue”) face looks a bit smaller than most dive watches in relationship to the width of the bezel. This is due to a matching satin black ring circling the outer edge of the face, underneath the crystal. There are eleven raised white with silver edged indices on the dial. Eight are trapezoid, two located at 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock respectively are elongated (beaver toothed?) and the 12 o’clock induce is an equilateral downward pointing triangle. The 3 o’clock point is a black on white date window and there are 56 white minute/second markers. I prefer a 4:30 date window so the 3 o’clock induce remains in place. The upper portion of the face has a nicely polished finished logo and “SEATEK” name, while the lower portion of the face has three light gray lines of text spelling from top to bottom “ARGO“, “WR 200M” and “SAPPHIRE” in two relatively small fonts. Personally, I would leave the word “SAPPHIRE” off of a watch face and engrave it on the brushed, stainless steel screw down case back. Regardless, it is great to find a dive watch with a sapphire crystal and an anti-reflective coating at this price point!
The hour and minute hands are unique, being a variation of the plongeur style. All outlines and inner lines in these hands are in a polished silver finish with the rest of the hands surfaces in white lume; it is a different look that I find refreshing. The polished lollipop second hand has a red tip and a chrome rectangular tail; I prefer to see this type of second hand done in red, except for the lume lollipop, but this look is unique and subtle. Like the surface of the indices, the lume used is described by SEATEK as “High Velocity Superluminova Technology”. The lume is quite good.
The smooth, soft, satin finish “hydro-ballistic” rubber strap tapers from 21 mm to approximately 19.5 mm. The comfortable strap has nine rectangular adjustment holes, two movable strap loops and a substantial solid satin finished signed stainless steel black PVD buckle and tang. The strap has enough size range to fit most wrists.
SEATEK makes a point that the ARGO uses a Swiss quartz movement and components and it is built in the state of Florida, USA. Not too many dive watches can make this claim. It comes with a long two year limited warranty packaged in a cool rugged pelican type of foam lined case. The watch is currently being offered on their website for $289, more than 25% off of the watches $395 suggested list price and it comes with free priority shipping in the Continental US. This is an excellent first dive watch for SEATEK. I hope I see additional watch designs from SEATEK in the future! seatekgear.com.
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.