Watch Review Szanto 500m Dive Watch 5101

Company: Szanto
Link: http://szantotime.com/5100-series/

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From the company website:
Szanto (pronounced Sahn-tow) is a new collection of vintage inspired timepieces.
This American brand’s essence was conceived in California, where Szanto designers were captivated by the beauty and simplicity of old military watch designs from the early 20th century. These classic watches possess so much character but are too petite by contemporary standards.
Over the past few years, there has been a trend toward “vintage” that can be seen in all types of merchandise, and is very much present in the watch trade … particularly in the expensive luxury sector.
Szanto recognized an opportunity to update vintage designs of the past for today’s world, with larger sizes and the addition of quartz movements for improved accuracy and affordability, thereby making the collection accessible to a much wider audience.
Journey back in time with Szanto to the “Golden Age of Travel” – a time when craftsmen took pride in the quality of their workmanship, and a time when travel, whether by ocean liner, steam train or motor car was perceived as an adventure. Steamer trunks covered with stickers from exotic destinations like London, Cairo, Prague, Paris, Singapore, & Shanghai were common and iconic. In keeping with this tradition, each Szanto watch comes packed in its own mini travel trunk.

Model: 5101 500m Dive watch
SPECIFICATIONS
46mm Brushed Stainless Steel Case
Unidirectional Rotating Bezel
Hardened Mineral Crystal
Screw-down Locking Crown
SuperLuminova fill on hands and indices
Japanese Quartz 3 Hand + Date Movement
Water resistant Italian Leather Strap with Signature Szanto Buckle
500 Meters Water Resistant
Price: $325.00 usd

Packaging:

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The packaging is really unique and very cool especially for a watch at this price point. Usually you get a generic watch box and that’s it. The Szanto watch box looks like a vintage travel case from yesteryear. It goes along with their MO “time rediscovered”. The packaging definitely holds true to this. The top of the box is signed with Szanto and the logo. The box itself has the look of vintage leather with very nice corners that have great detail. Inside the box the inside of the box lid also features the Szanto name and logo. Normally I just throw my watch boxes in a closet, but this box I would actually keep out on display, that’s how cool it is.

The Case:

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The 46mm case features a combination of brushed steel and polished steel. The design of the case is a nice combo of vintage meeting modern. There are little details that I wouldn’t ordinarily expect at this price point. On the side of the bezel there are sections of high polished steel and with brushed sections in between. What I really like is that on the crown this alternating brushed/polished detailing is continued. Though it’s a small detail, it shows a great deal of thought into the overall design aestetics.

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The crown is a nice size and is very easy to grasp and screw/unscrew. A detail that I am very nit picky about if you have read my other reviews, is that when a crown is signed, I expect the logo to be straight once the crown is screwed all the way in the down position. Szanto has not disappointed me here. Kudos to Szanto for getting this right. The crown guards are quite small and are more of a detail than for real crown protection functionability. The 90 click unidirectional rotating bezel is easy to grab and rotates quite smoothly. At the 12 o’clock position is a faux pearl, which I personally think looks nice, but these typically fall out over time, even on watches that are in the $3000-$8000 price range. I prefer a painted lume triangle on my dive watches. The bezel has raised polished numbers 10-50, and the majority of the bezel is brushed. I really like that Szanto went with brushed vs polished on the bezel. Sometimes when a bezel is high polished it looks too bling bling for my tastes which takes away from that tool/rugged look I like about dive watches. On the non crown side of the case has a nice raised portion matching the crown guards on the other side of the case. The caseback features the Szanto name and logo with water resistant, 316l stainless steel, Japanese Quartz movement. The curved lugs have some great angling detail to them which allows the watch to sit nicley on the wrist. The watch has a good weight to it and wears really comfortably.

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The dial:

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The dial is my favorite part of this watch hands down. The raised applied markers just scream vintage diver. The hour markers are coated with lume and are bordered by brushed metal. At the 12, 6 and 9 hours are rectangles and at the other hour markers are circles. These look amazing set against the black dial. Absolutely beautiful. At the 3 marker is a nice bordered dste window which is the same size as the marker at 9. The dste is easy to read because it’s black numbers on white background. The hands are so cool on the Szanto 5101 dive watch. The minute hand is orange and features a killer pointed triangle tip. The hour hand has an arrow style shape. The second hand combines two elements of the hour/minute hands, the tip is orange and has a round lume circle, the shaft of the second hand is metal just like the hour hand. The dial is easy to read from all angles thanks to the flat sapphire crystal, though I prefer my dive watches to have domed crystal. Just a personal preference.

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The dial features the Szanto logo under the 12 hour markers and above the 6 logo is Szanto name and 500 METERS.

The Strap:

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The water resistant leather strap is nice and thick, with the overall feel of a custom made strap. It’s very soft and conforms to the wrist nicley right out of the box. Sometimes a new leather strap is stiff and hard which makes the breaking in period very uncomfortable, but that is not the case with this strap. The stitching is a grey in color and nicely matches the brushed aspects of the case and buckle. The buckle is brushed stainless steel and is signed with Szanto. There are two keepers on the strap, one is fixed and the other is free moving. The under side of the long portion of the strap is stamped with genuine leather and the short portion is stamped with Szanto. I really like this strap for a number of reasons, such as the thickness which is about 4mm, the grey stitching, and how soft it is. Nicely done Szanto.

The Lume:

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The lume is quite bright on the Szanto 5100 series dive watches as you can see by the photo. It is evenly applied to the hands, raised hour markers and faux pearl. It glows bright after being exposed to a light source for a short amount of time.

The Movement:

The movement is Japanese Quartz movement. Quartz movement is accurate and reliable. Since this is a non chronograph movement, the battery life is typically 36-48 month life span. I would have loved to seen a miyota auto movement inside this watch, which would have still kept the price lower and had an automatic movement which I prefer.

Conclusion and overall thoughts:

The Szanto 5101 is a nice dive watch with some really nice details for the price point. You get an awesome display box, 500m of water resistance, a nice screw down crown, great lume and a really nice leather strap. Is there anything I would change? There are a couple of things that I can mention with my nit pickiness. The second hand doesn’t quite line up with the second markers when it makes its journey around the dial. The bezel has a little too much play in it, I would like to see it a little tighter. This is a really nice offering for Szanto at $350.00 you do get a lot of watch for the price. I still believe that you can keep this watch at this price point and add an automatic movement.

I would recommend this watch to someone looking for a dive watch with some great features at a great price point.

A special thank you to Szanto for allowing me to review the watch, it was an absolute pleasure and an honor.

Additional pictures:

For reference my wrist is 7 1/2″

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Watch Review CX Military CONGER

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Company:

CX Swiss Military

Website: http://www.swiss-military.info/index.php

Company History:
CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™’s history goes back to 1963 and thousands of chronographs, chronometers and high precision watches have left their premises since. The quality of their timepieces is legendary and won CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™ worldwide acclaim.

The ruggedness and the legendary precision of the CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™ timepieces have become the benchmark for many a producer of professional chronographs and chronometers. Uncompromising functionality, innovative design and state-of-the-art technology secured CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™ a well-earned place in the hall of fame of military timepieces. Both professionals and collectors love the attention to detail displayed in the CX SWISS MILITARY WATCH™ timepieces and many a collector’s item saw its value spiralling over the years. 

Released at BASELWORLD 2014, the CX Swiss Military CONGER is a prime example of Swiss precision-craftsmanship. Few chronographs have been as rigorously tested as CX Swiss Military professional time-pieces which have proved to be withstand the extremest of conditions.

Conger is a genus of marine congrid eels. It includes some of the largest types of eels, ranging up to 3 m (10 ft) in length, in the case of the European conger. Large congers have often been observed by divers during the day in parts of the Mediterranean Sea, and both European and American congers are sometimes caught by fishermen along the European and North American coasts.

Model: CONGER
Price: $1590.00 usd

The amazing and awesome CX Military is offering my readers and followers a very special discount on the CONGER dive watch. TTB2015 You can use this code at http://www.charmexwatches.com checkout or can be mentioned when ordering over the phone by calling Charmex North America at 801-227-9909. A special thanks to Frank at CX Military for this generous offer.

Technical data:

Swiss Made® Ronda cal. 5030D quartz movement, 13 jewels battery life approximately 36 months.
Two-tone stainless steel case/bracelet
Helium relief valve
Screw-down crown & pushers
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
200atm / 2’000 meters water resistant
Case diameter 48mm, thickness 18.5mm, weight 305gr

Packaging:

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The packaging is extremely well done and clean. The outer most box is a CX Military labeled cardboard box which contains the inner backlite box which is labeled with the traditional and awesome swiss logo with the red shield and white cross. This has to be one of the most recognizable symbols around. Inside the inner box is the operating instructions, owners manual, magnetic strip warranty card, polishing cloth and of course the watch.

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The inner box is a beautiful yellow and the watch is attached to a matching yellow pillow. The dial and caseback have a protective clear plastic over them and so does the bracelet. The first thing I notice when I pick up the watch out of the box is how solid the watch feels. It has a nice weight to it and it feels like you are getting your money’s worth from the get go. First impressions are that this is a quality piece that is packed with extreme care and attention to detail.

The Dial:

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We all have our what we prefer on a watch and watch we don’t prefer it’s normal and completely natural. It would be pretty boring if we liked all the same things, if that were the case there would be one standard watch out there and that’s it. With that being said, I traditionally gravitate towards non Chrono, three hand dial watches. I didn’t know how I would feel about the CX Chrono. What I noticed first was the black dial, it is absolutely stunning. Everything on this dial was well planned out and is completely balanced. I personally prefer numersls for hour markers, but the raised applied round hour markers are beautiful and make perfect sense. If numerals were used for this dial, it would make the dial way too busy. The raised markers add a touch of dressy class to the overall ruggedness of the CONGER this is due in part to the hour markers being encircled with a high polished steel ring. Around the outer edge of the dial is “train track” style minute/seconds markers which I personally love that simple detail. At the 3, 6, 9, and 12 hour markers are triangles coated with lume and at the other hour markers are circles. Just under the 12 hour marker features the CX Military name and red shield with the white cross logo just below. The dial features just the right amount of text and logo to keep a nice clean balance with the sub dials and hour markers. This dial is very well balanced. Above the hour subdial is the model of the watch name CONGER and below the sub dial at the 6 o clock hour, reads ‘SWISS MADE’. The hour hand has a nice large triagle tip which makes it really easy to read the time in low lit or under murky water when the lume is charged. The large red seconds hand has a arrow shape almost like a harpoon and it has a nice lumed triangle at the point and it ticks as most Quartz movements do.

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CX did something here that you rarely see and I completely appreciate it. Instead of simply removing the marker at the hour 4 marker for the date window, CX left the marker in place and also included the date window right below it. And it completely works here keeping a nice balance to the dial. There are 3 subdials one for seconds, minutes and hours used for timing purposes which come in handy when traveling or more importantly for measuring time for oxygen when using this watch when diving. The dial is really easy to read thanks to the AR coated sapphire crystal sits slightly above the case and is flat not domed.

The Case:
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The case is built like a tank on the CONGER with no compromise in terms of design. The 48mm x 18mm case was designed to endure some harsh environments and outdoor activities with the idea that the wearer wouldn’t have to worry if the watch can handle it. The short slightly curved lugs let the watch sit comfortably upon the wrist. This watch is a large watch, but with the shorter curved lugs, it wears smaller than what it actually is. All three crown are screw down to ensure a tight water resistance when the watch and it’s wearer are submerged within the depths of the water. The crowns are easy to grab and unscrew/screw. The middle crown sets the date, time and is signed with the swiss cross logo. The watch comes with very easy to follow operating instructions. Each function works flawlessly here thanks in part to the Ronda swiss Quartz movement cal.5530 D. More about the movement later.

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The non crown side features an automatic helium release valve that basically protects the case from exploding when submerged in depths of the water and when returning to the surface. The case is mostly brushed stainless steel with thin lines of polished steel along the edges to give it a touch a dressyness. I’ve owned some all high polished diver/tool watches which never quite made sense to me, because these style of watches are designed for “sports” yet the high polishing shows every little scratch. I buy watches to wear them, not to baby them in a display case.

The bezel is a smooth operating 60 click unilateral rotating bezel. There is a little play in the bezel with is pretty normal with a 60 click vs. 120 click which is more precise. The bezel though does glide very smooth and is very addicting to want to turn it all the time. The bezel has hex screws on the sides which matches the bracelet set bars which adds to the watches overall tool feel, it’s a nice little attention to detail. The bezel is a combination of steel and hardened rubber which matches the bracelet beautifully.

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The dial and bezel features some really nice lume which glows like a flashlight for hours after only being exposed to a light source for a few minutes. The lume is evenly coated with a precise eye which is something I am nit picky about on my watches. The lume must be evenly coated, the triangle on the bezel at the 12 o clock position must perfectly align with the 12 and 6 on the dial and the signed crown logo must be straight when the crown is in the fully closed position. The CONGER meets all but the crown criteria which is only off by a little bit. The lume photo is not enhanced, this is how bright this bad boy glows.

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The bracelet is brushed stainless steel with hardened rubber down the middle of the bracelet. I’m not sure how I feel about this, this will be something I address after wearing the watch for awhile to see how this holds up against long wear time. The clasp is very easy to operate with nothing spectacular but extremely functional. There is a micro adjustment which comes in handy for people who have that in between wrist size. The bracelet appears to be very solid and well made just like the case of the watch.
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The movement:
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The movement is the very precise and accurate swiss made Ronda 5530 D 13 jewel movement. The pictures above give the technical breakdown for the movement which is a far better job explaining the breakdown than I could do writing it. I personally prefer automatic or manual wind movements in my watches, but the Quartz watches I have owned never disappointed me in terms of accuracy and percision and the CONGER so far fits in with my past Quartz watches.

Conclusion:
The CONGER is the perfect watch that can transition from weekends to the workplace very easily. I wouldn’t neccessarily wear it with a suit, though you could and get away with it. Style is what you make it and its personal just like creating artwork. I would definitely recommend the CONGER to someone looking for a well made, Quartz movement, dive/tool watch. It’s not too pricey, it’s very solid and made from a company that knows how to make watches that can handle deep ocean depths. They hold the world record by the way. Is there anything I would change on the watch? I would make the bezel a 120 click vs its 60 click and I would make the bracelet all brushed stainless steel without the rubber middle. Those are just my being nit picky, in terms of build quality and design, CX Military nails it on every portion. I have the feeling this is my new daily wearer. This watch easily ranks up there some of the “big names” in the watch industry in terms of quality and design but at a much lower price. A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO FRANK FROM CX MILITARY, I TRULY APPRECIATE THE OPPURTUNITY TO DO THIS REVIEW. IT WAS AN HONOR🙏🙏🙏

Additional pictures. Click on image to enlarge:
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