Growing up I always heard my parents say “oh those were popular when I was growing up, styles always come back after so many years.” Some styles in my opinion should never come back, while other look just as good now as they did years ago. That is the case here today(pun intended) as the I will be looking at the Pantor Sea Lion, a watch that merges the past with the present.
First glance at the Sea Lion I get that 1970’s vintage dive watch feel and that in mainly due to the shape/style of the Sea Lion’s case which is very reminiscent of the vintage dive watches from that time period.
Even the pip on the dial screams vintage with it’s faux patina aged look which is a detail that I can really appreciate.
The 42mm stainless steal case has some nice details to it from the above mentioned case shape, to the automatic valve located on the case side at the 9 o’clock position. The screw down crown features an engraved sea lion logo that matches the solid caseback very nicely. The crown screws down and functions flawlessly. The ease of the crown operation is because of the good size of the crown and the edges of the crown. The crown side of the case is also has a very clean look to it which I believe is due to the fact there are no crown guards.
I am a fan of the Sea Lion’s bezel because of both it’s looks and it’s function. Sometimes faux patina can look cheesy but Pantor kept it simple and in this case simple is better as Pantor kept the faux patina limited to the pip alone. Something else that I believe Pantor got right is the larger/thicker numerals on the bezel itself which allows for easier legibility. The wide edges of the bezel makes it extremely easy to grip and operate with dry or wet hands which is an important detail when using this watch in the water.
The dial on the Sea Lion is very clean, balanced and has great legibility. No unnecessary BS here cluttering up this dial. The text is kept at a minimum here, you have Pantor under the 12 o’clock position and above the 6 o’clock 300m/990ft AUTOMATIC. The hour markers are nice and crisp, though I am a little disappointed that they are painted markers and weren’t applied markers. But that is just my personal preference and nit picking. The tooth shaped hour markers at 12, 6, 9 are a nice touch of detail, which look even cooler when the lume kicks in.
Pantor did a good job with the hands on the Sea Lion. Hands can really make or break a dial in my opinion. The squared hour hand here is a nice unique touch. There are a few things worth mentioning that Pantor also got right in terms of the hands. The length of the minute hand and second hand are perfect, reaching out touching the minute & second markers. This makes timing things so much easier to be more precise in measurements when precise measurements are truly needed out in the field, ocean, etc. Even in those dark settings or in the water the Sea Lion is very easy to read because of the generous C3 Super LumiNova treatment to the markers and to the hands. The part of the hands that aren’t coated with lume, are high polished. The hour and minute hands have a nice center crease which allows the polished portions to catch the light just right.
The case shape and short lugs lend themselves to the comfort of this watch while it is on the wrist. The rubber strap is also quite comfortable. The strap is armed with a tradition tang style buckle. The rubber strap has some great texturing to as you can see in the pics. The strap is also an attractor of dust and lint. If you aren’t a fan of rubber straps or if you like to switch things up like I do, Pantor includes nylon strap as well.
Inside the Sea Lion ticking away is the Japan Seiko NH35A, beating at 21,600 bph. The NH35A has a 41 hour power reserve and is a 24 jeweled hacking movement. During my review process this Sea Lion was keeping about +20 seconds per day.
The Sea Lion is a nice offering from Pantor, that has a nice touch of vintage flare and gives you a choice of something a bit different in the dive watch market of watches under $1000. In fact it is quite a value coming in at $499. It is a rugged little watch with a very legible bezel and dial. A clean watch, with no added BS. It has everything you need, while keeping it simple. It is a very comfortable watch as well, you will quickly forget it is on your wrist in terms of the comfort level.
What I really like about the Sea Lion is the dial and the hands. I think Pantor did a fantastic job of getting the dial right. It was well planned out and you can tell there was a thought process behind it. From the hand length and thickness, to the hour markers, right down to the black date wheel with the white printed numerals. Which I must say blends into the dial beautifully for those who don’t prefer having a date on the dial, it is hardly noticeable. The lume glows like a flashlight when charged up and will keep a glow throughout the night.
I would recommend the Sea Lion to someone looking for an affordable dive watch that has vintage appeal, a unique case and a clean, highly legibile dial. This watch has some nice charm about it.
I want to thank Pantor and you all for reading my review.
• Movement: Japan Seiko NH35A
• Date calendar
• 300m water resistant professional diver watches
• Sapphire crystal
• Automatic Valve at 9H
• Dial: 1-12H with Swiss C3 Super LumiNova
• Hands: Swiss C3 Super LumiNova
• Two straps: rubber and nylon
• Case Material: 316L stainless steelCase
• Case diameter: 42mm
• Case thickness: 12.6mm