The Sea Star makes it as my third Aquatico, behind the Super Charger and Blue Angels. Both proved to be mightily impressive watches for the money, although the aviator themed Blue Angels was an unusual direction for a diving watch manufacturer.
The Sea Star 300 promises so much at a pretty incredible price: Seiko NH35 movement, durable build quality, and 300m water resistance; all under £200. Let’s take a closer look to see how it fares.
- Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 13mm height x 50mm lug to lug
- Weight: 164g
- Water resistance rating: 30ATM / 300m
- Movement: Seiko NH35
- Accuracy: +4.6 sec/day
- Lug width: 22mm
- Warranty: 1 year
- Price: $239 / ~£180
- Buy here: http://www.aquaticowatch.com/goods/9syu3u.html
Firstly, it’s good to recognise that the entire watch is very impressive, with a bulky, over-built ethos throughout. If you’re like me and love that kind of thing, then let me tell you: you’ll be impressed with how much steel you’re getting for your money.
The diameter is right on the sweet spot for a divers watch, although the height of 13mm means it sits on the tall side.
The case is fully brushed bar the polished top shoulders of the lugs, which are drilled-through meaning switching straps is much easier. The edges between the finishes are exceptionally sharp and crisp.
Sitting on top of the case is a very thick double domed sapphire crystal – you can tell this visually, and also when you tap it as it provides a deep thud. There is an anti-reflective coating on the underside which is perfectly sufficient for the price of the timepiece.
I really like the shape of the bezel; it flowers out which aids grip and also looks great when looking at the case flat-on. The bezel insert is printed aluminium, with a lumed pip at 12. Printing is good and it’s good to see the Pepsi colours used, which is much more eye-catching than a straight colour.
Although a helium release valve is not technically required for a watch rated at 300m, it’s still a cool thing to have. It’s located in the side of the case at 9.
The screw-in crown is really great to use – it has a decent grip, but also is very comfortably sized. It’s flat enough to look in place but wide enough to be able to be manipulated easily. It features the Aquatico logo accurately embossed on the end.
The screw-in caseback features a mermaid riding on a dolphin engraved within the centre, and the artwork of it is a little crude, so I’m not its greatest fan. But, it’s nice to see the effort here. Other details surround this central piece.
The dial itself is a simple design, but glad to see snowflake style hands used as they’re bold, eye-catching and very legible.
The hands have a brushed border, with a lumed centre.
The applied hour markers are constructed in the same way; the dull reflections from the brushed surround (rather than polished) is a gentle eye-catcher that is a little more relaxed and casual. The date window has a neatly applied steel style border which is surprisingly well manufactured.
There is no applied logo, but rather it’s printed. All print work is crisp and accurately done.
The lume is decent for the price; it doesn’t blow me away, but I’m not expecting it to.
The Sea Star 300 is loaded with an impressively think and chunky bracelet. It’s 22mm wide at the lugs reducing to 20mm at the buckle, being very weighty too signifying high quality.
It’s fully brushed, which is more resilient against scratches so it’ll look good a lot longer. All the links are accurately made with sharp, crisp edges. They also feature screw-in pins so resizing is pretty easy, just make sure they’re all nice and tight.
The buckle has a single locking flap on the top, with the Aquatico logo lightly etched in the centre – however, it could do with being engraved as it’s a little light. The buckle has a very secure fit and also features micro-adjustment so you can get the perfect fit.
The Seiko NH35A is used so much in affordable mechanical watches; with good reason too: it’s reliable, affordable and easy to regulate. It’s also cheap and easy to replace should something go wrong with it. It’s rather ugly, but with a closed caseback, no one will see it anyway.
Specs include: running at low beat of 21.6k bph (6 ticks a second), 24 jewels, 41-hour power reserve, hacking seconds, and hand and automatic winding.
The fact that it’s measuring at a staggering +4.6 seconds/day shows that it must have been regulated, as these movements don’t come out of the factory that accurate. Within COSC specs and under £200 is very impressive.
This is a serious amount of watch for $239 / ~£180, there’s no doubt about it. What has impressed me most is the overall “over-built” nature of every single aspect of the timepiece: the thick crystal, the solid crown, the fat bezel, the impressively thick bracelet.
Any negatives I can think are only minor; the artwork on the caseback is a little crude, the buckle could do with the logo being engraved rather than laser etched, perhaps the dial is a little plain with nothing unique setting it apart.
But, if you’re after a rock solid diving watch, with a great build quality and decent specs for an exceptionally reasonable price – then you need to seriously consider the Aquatico Sea Star 300.
5 November, 2018 at 6:09 am
Great review Josh. Pretty good spec at that price point. Bonus for me, is that there is no Date Magnifier. Workhorse movement NH35A won’t let you down either.
5 November, 2018 at 7:16 am
Thanks, glad you enjoyed the review!
9 December, 2018 at 8:49 am
Seems like a really good spec for the money, I’ve ordered the bronze version with ceramic bezel.