I’ve known Ross from Hamtun Watches for many years – even before he set up his popular watch brand.
Hamtun is now rightfully in a slightly more expensive price bracket than Ross originally intended; something that is unavoidable when you consider the specs and build quality each watch boasts. However, Ross has also realised that the sub-£200 diver market is a key spot, as that where he himself likes to shop. Therefore, he’s become a part of Phantom; a British brand doing just that: offering the best watch possible for under £200.
Their first model, the Caleuche, is coming to Kickstarter on 11th February 2020, and ticks all the right boxes. It even has a cool Breitling SuperOcean vibe to it, which I love. Let’s check it out to see if it’s worth backing. Please note this is a pre-production model.
- Dimensions: 40mm diameter x 13.2mm height x 47mm lug to lug
- Weight: 100g
- Water resistance rating: 20ATM / 200m
- Movement: Seiko NH35
- Accuracy: +18 sec/day
- Lug width: 20mm
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: pledges start from £169
- Buy here: https://phantomwatchco.com/
The video review
The case is primarily available in steel; but if the stretch goal is unlocked, they’ll open up a black DLC version like this one. I’m not usually a big fan of DLC cases, but this model looks pretty great if you ask me.
The 40mm size is a real sweet spot for my 7” wrist; it’s not too overbearing, but large enough to look impressive.
The overall build quality is very good – including a steel bezel insert (more hardy / scratch resistant than aluminium) and pleasant bezel action.
The finishing is completely brushed on this model, however, the steel alternatives feature a polished top shoulder.
The screw-in crown has an effective grip and is easy to use. It features the Phantom logo accurately engraved considering the level of detail required.
The screw-in caseback is on the plain side, with a circular brush and various details around the outer edge. The fact that it’s a steel caseback on a DLC case may bug some, but it’s something you see a lot (as the DLC causes issues with the screw thread) and you can’t see the colour difference anyway.
The dial is a pleasant alternative to the droves of homages we see nowadays. I like the nod to the Breitling SuperOcean in the form of the bold hour markers, in particular the numerals.
The hour markers are seriously beasty – I love seeing thick and deep indices as it displays the level of quality of the dial. These are like nothing else I’ve ever seen on a watch costing this much. They feature a brushed border and a lumed centre.
The hands are pleasantly idiosyncratic. They have a taste of individuality to them which is very welcome, and as per the hour markers, they feature a brushed finish and luted centre.
The lume is blue-glowing Swiss-made Super-LumiNova, which is fairly average. It’s not mind-blowing but behaves as you’d expect for the price.
The default strap you get isn’t a cheap and tacky one; it’s impressively constructed using American Horween Leather. Very thick, neatly made, and very soft and comfortable. The black works well with the DLC case, creating a very ninja appearance.
The buckle on this strap is unsigned, however, it obviously will have the logo engraved on the production model.
The leather strap isn’t the only option you have though; at the checkout, you can optionally add on any of the FKM rubber, stainless steel or elastic straps. Watch the video review to see these in closer detail.
The movement selected is a classic; the Seiko NH35. We see it a lot, but with good reason – it’s solid, dependable, and cheap. Specs include 24 jewels, a beat rate of 21.6k bph, ~41h power reserve, and hacking plus hand-wind capabilities.
For £169, it ticks all the right boxes. Seiko NH35 movement, 200m water resistance, unique styling, Horween leather strap, and great build quality.
The price is great for what you’re getting and I’ve enjoyed my time with it. For those who pledge can be safe in the knowledge that they’re getting a solid watch from someone who knows what they’re doing.