Pantor is a watch company based in Hong Kong and – up till now – they only had one model, the Sea Horse.Â After success with that model, they have released their next model, the Sea Lion. Â While not as “extreme” a name as some other brands may use,Â I personally love the “Sea Lion” name.Â In my early years of diving off the northern California Coast, sea lions were commonplace. Every morning when I would go to the Coast Guard Jetty in Monterey to dive I would always be greeted by the honking barks of the sea lions basking in the sun, and hear what sounded like laughter under water. New models mean prototypes, which we were able to get our hands on. Let’s take a look!
The Dial and Movement
This model is offered with black, blue,Â or green dials. Over those dials, you have large, easy-to-read handsets. The hour and minute hands, along with all the hour markers, are painted with C3 Swiss SuperLuminova, as is the tip of the seconds hand. Topping the dial, and helping to protect the movement (more on that in a moment), you have anÂ anti-reflective treated sapphire crystal. For the movement under the dial, you can choose the Japanese Seiko NH35A movement or the Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement. Both are familiar options forÂ dive watches, but it is totally not a common optionÂ to chose one or the other, within the same watch.
The case is a classic style made from 316L stainless steel, which helps to enable the WR ratingÂ ofÂ 300 meters, good forÂ just about any kind of diving.Â There is also a helium escape valve at the 9 o’clock position which is helpful for those few saturation divers that need it (editor’s note: in other words, no one).Â The lugsÂ curve downÂ so it fits very comfortable on the wrist.Â This hasÂ a standard screw down case back and screw down crown.
The Pantor Sea LionÂ comes with a uni-directional 120 click bezel with aluminum insert. Movement is tight, but not too tight, and there is very little play.Â Notched cutouts around the bezel provideÂ for easy grip, which means no problem with gloves on, dive or otherwise.
The Sea LionÂ comes with both a silicone strap and a nylon nato strap, which is where the only issue I have with the watch reared it’s head.Â Â As you can see in the picture, it is a lint magnet.Â The one nice thing about the silicone strap is that it is very comfortable on the wrist.Â If I was using this only as a diver I would not mind the strap at all. For daily wear, though?Â I’d have to change it out.
The Pantor Sea LionÂ is not a watch that sets itself apart from the crowdâ€“there are many others like it.Â At least we can say it is a true diver. I would not mind using it as a beater watch of sorts,Â becauseÂ tool watches like these can take the abuse. The option to get either the Seiko or ETA movement is great for those who are pickyÂ about the movement in their watch, though it does introduce a weird dichotomy in the watch. I’d be curious to see the sales figuresâ€“if “Swiss or bust” takes the upper hand, or if low cost wins out.Â Regardless of the movement selected, the price is right for this watch, especially atÂ pre-order pricing.Â Right now they areÂ offering aÂ pre-order price of $329 for Seiko movement and $549 for ETA movement. You can check them out at pantorwatches.com.
- Brand and model: Pantor Sea Lion
- Price: $329 preorder priceÂ for Seiko NH35A or $549 preorder price for ETA 2824-2
- Whoâ€™s it for: Divers
- Would I wear it: Absolutely
- What Iâ€™d change: the silicon strap
- The best thing about it: The classic cushion case.
Tech Specs from Pantor
- Materials: 316L Brushed stainless steel
- Movement: Seiko NH35A or ETA 2824-2
- Crystal: Sapphire Crystal
- Strap:Â 22mm silicone strap and nylon strap.
- Dial: 1-12H markers with Swiss C3 Super luminova
- Measurements: 42mm, Thickness:12.6mm,Lug to lug:45mm
- Water Resistance:Â Water Resistance: 300m/990ft
- Valves: Automatic He Valves at 9H