Pantor Sealion Watch Review

I have to say, when I first saw the Pantor Sealion go up for preorder, I was a little befuddled. Not because I thought the watch was unattractive or overpriced, but because I felt the design has been done many times before. Let’s face it, this case design or very similar has been used by iconic brands such as Eterna, Aquadive and many microbrands the past few years. It is that cushion style case with short lugs and a thick, easy to grip dive bezel. So why would Pantor come out with what many say is an overused design? Well, we can say the same about Rolex sub homages as well, which never seem to stop. ( I currently have one in the air on its way for review). Putting all that aside, I do feel the Pantor Sealion is worth grabbing, even if it is not something new, provided you like the style that is.

Pantor Sealion Specifications:

Case Material: 316L stainless steel
Diameter: 42mm, Thickness: 12.6mm, Lug to lug: 45mm
Movement: Japan Seiko NH35A or Swiss ETA 2824-2
Water Resistance: 300m/990ft
Bezel: 12H triangle with Swiss C3 Super luminova
Glass: Sapphire crystal with inside AR coating
Crown: Screw down crown
Valves: Automatic He Valves at 9H.
Dial: 1-12H markers with Swiss C3 Super luminova
Hand: three hands with Swiss C3 Swiss Super luminova.
Strap: 22mm silicone strap and nylon strap.
Three color versions watches: black version, blue version and green version.

 As you may have surmised, the model I have in hand is a prototype, and after having the Pantor Sealion in hand and looking at the website renders, the biggest difference I can see is that this prototype has a black date wheel to match the dial, where the renderings show white date wheels on all colors. I am hoping that the date wheels match the color of the dials, at least for the black as it just looks so much better in my opinion. One other thing of note is that I have the Seiko NH35 variant, but it is not marked as such on the case back. I am told the production versions will have it engraved on the back which movement you have.

The dial is listed as black, but as you can see in my photos it is more of dark grey, and this is exaggerated because it is a sunray dial which will appear lighter or darker depending on the light. Personally, I prefer the dark grey dial as it is one of my favorites when it comes to dial colors. The issue with it though is if you order expecting black and this color arrives, you might be disappointed, or even angry, depending on your temperament. With this being a prototype I am guessing the dial did not get produced in the right shade and that it will be corrected come production.

As I have already touched on, the value here is really in the ETA 2824 variant. Not that there is anything wrong with the NH35, but to grab a dive watch with the ETA movement for $549 is a good deal, and well worth it. It helps that the watch itself is aesthetically pleasing as well, as I am not saying to buy a watch just for the movement. I normally say the absolute opposite of that. There are a few reasons I feel this way. The Pantor Sealion comes with an aluminium bezel insert. Now, companies have been using aluminium for decades and nothing wrong with it, but we also know many microbrands use ceramic or sapphire covered bezel inserts these days providing much more scratch resistance.

The other notable issue is the use of the silicone rubber strap, which I discuss in the video. Visually the strap is appealing, and is also very comfortable, especially with how the buckle is made to fit into the strap sections. It allows the buckle to lay flush and somewhat lock into place. As most know, the problem with silicone is that it looks like crap within 10 minutes of wearing it. It catches every bit of lint, dirt, fuzz from your shirt etc. It annoys me greatly, especially when the case head is so nice looking and well built. I did not want to take it off the strap in the time I had it, as I said I found it attractive and comfortable. I did find myself using compressed air on it every few hours to clean it off though.

Getting back to why I think the ETA version is the better value, it comes down to what you are getting for the price. Of course, if you are on a budget, $329 is a lot more appealing. Or maybe you have a set limit of what you will spend on a micro and $549 is over that. If these things do not apply to you, even with the aluminium bezel and the silicone strap, the ETA version of the Sealion gives you that “Swissness” that so many desire. Now, I am not necessarily speaking for myself, but in more of a generalisation of what I see said countless times on Facebook groups, watch forums, Reddit and elsewhere. The Swiss ETA 2824 while not the end all be all watch movement, is still highly regarded and some people still want a Swiss movement in their watch regardless. So, coming from that perspective and the $549 price, the ETA version is where it is at.

Overall: The Pantor Sealion is an attractive, well-recognised dive watch design with a price tag that makes it even more appealing, especially for the Swiss ETA version. If you like this design, I don’t think you would be disappointed if you picked one up.

Price Tag: $329 NH35, $549 ETA 2824

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