I reviewed the quartz version of the Ocean Master in May 2017, which was a decent utility timepiece that you’d only really be interested in wearing whilst diving. Nearly a year later I’m pleased to be handling their automatic version of the same watch – but that’s not the only difference; it’s also sporting their new logo which is much more professional, rather than the plain ol’ “PHOIBOS” logo that preceded it. Let’s take a closer look to see if the automatic is as good value as it’s quartz brother.
- Dimensions: 44mm diameter x 15mm height x 48.5mm lug to lug
- Weight: 210g
- Water resistance rating: 100ATM / 1000m
- Movement: Seiko NH35A
- Accuracy: -6.3 sec/day
- Lug width: 22mm
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: $399 / £290 (currently on offer for $299 / £220)
- Buy here: http://phoiboswatch.com/products/phoibos-ocean-master-py005b-1000m-automatic-diver-watch-blue.html
Like the quartz, the Phoibos has a real Deep Blue Pro Sea Diver vibe due to the shape and linear detailing, with a light sand-blasted finish.
It’s rather chunky, mainly due to 44mm diameter, but also the height of 15mm doesn’t help it much in terms of wearability – I personally don’t think it’s a particularly easy watch to wear in anything other than casual (and diving of course).
The helium release valve at 2 is simple, with a knurled grip. The crown at 4 features large crown protectors. It is not signed, and due to the limited real estate available to use the crown it’s actually a little tricky to use.
Sitting on top of the case is a flat sapphire crystal, the anti-reflective coating is effective.
The bezel is very functional – simple and bold print on the insert, excellent grip, and a beautifully smooth action which provides solid clicks. A lume pip at 12 draws your eye and acts as another reference point in the dark.
The Ocean Master has a pretty epic water resistance of 1000m. I’m not going to test it, but I can confirm it is still ticking after being underwater in a sink.
The caseback is quite bulbous and is a key reason behind the height of the case. The Phoibos octopus motif is accurately engraved in the centre, surrounded by various specifics.
Available in 3 colours, the dark blue sunburst effect of the dial is subtle but catches the eye. It’s also available in green and black.
The Super-LumiNova C3 used on the hands and hour markers is very good indeed and provides great legibility against the dial base. It doesn’t take long to charge, and glows very bright.
The hands are a slightly unusual shape; quite aggressive and bold. Perfect for a diver as the legibility is very good, the orange minute hand certainly stands out.
The date wheel is white, with a gentle border around the window. Again, legibility is key here.
All printwork is fine and in a silvery colour, a nice differentiation to the usual white, making it all look a little classier.
The bracelet quality is exceptional for the price. The shape and design reminds me of the bracelet on the Omega Planet Ocean (within reason of course); the links are super think, all interlocked smoothly and with very tight tolerances. It’s fully brushed with standard pins so will be rather resilient to scratches.
The double locking buckle is simple and unexciting – with the standard Phoibos text logo lightly engraved across the top. With a top flap and side buttons to release it, it is very secure.
The Seiko NH35A is found in so many affordable watches now; it’s hard-wearing, reliable, can be regulated very well, and of course doesn’t cost the earth.
This one is coming in at -6.3 sec/day according to my Lepsi Watch Scope, so it’s certainly well regulated. Other specs include 24 jewels, 41 hour power reserve, hacking seconds and hand and automatic winding.
The Phoibos Ocean Master Automatic certainly packs a punch at its offer price of $299 / £220. At the full RRP of $399 / £290 there’s a few other diver options that are probably a better option (for instance Helm or Draken), but for £220 you are getting a hell of a lot of steel. It’s very well manufactured too; I’ve not spotted any flaws or improvements I’d like to see (which is unusual) so it passes that test.
I like how it looks too – the blue sunburst dial is pleasing to the eye, and the legibility is very good whilst being well designed. The lume is a pleasant surprise too. The only negative really is the size, in particular the 15mm height which seems a bit excessive for an automatic (although it’s likely to be required to be that thick for the 1000m water resistance.