Ok, so I won't have time to do a thorough initial review on the sports diver tonight, but here's some teaser shots and a few initial impressions. For the sake of brevity, I'll just touch on the things that surprised me about the watch thus far (both good and bad).
Also please keep in mind that the watch isn't sized yet, so the wrist shots may look a bit off for that reason.
First for some pics:
Side-by-side with my new Black Monster (can't imagine why I ever sold my orange one...) FYI the unsized Monster comes in at 182 grams vs. the unsized Orient at 194 grams.
I just couldn't seem to get a very good wrist shot...
Another comparison with the Monster:
Ok, so some abbreviated initial impressions:
The bezel is very functional, as it turns 60 clicks counter-clockwise with absolutely no difficulties. I know that this has been a knock on the Mako, so for that reason alone I was pleasantly surprised by the bezel. The lack of the lume pip has been long debated, but this bezel is a plus in my book.
The crown, while not as large as found on many true divers, is still quite easy to use. Because of it's size, I find it rather unobtrusive, as it does not dig into the wrist as many 3:00 crowns are known to do.
The bracelet is nice and solid, and has quite a heft to it. One plus for me was the non-tapering bracelet, which I find to be a nice change of pace from what I'm used to. It seems to offer a better amount of support for a watch this size.
The dial is, of course, awesome. If you've seen and admired the Blue Mako's dial before, then this one would be a great choice if you're looking for something a bit larger. The blue shimmers with a glossy effect under different lighting. This is easily my favorite feature of this watch. The hour markers are nice and simple, and look good against the dial.
The finish is quite nice (actually nicer than I expected). The top of the case has a brushed finish, which alternated with a polished finish on sides. I guess you could say that it is similar to the Sumo in this regard, but the lines on this watch are far less striking due to the lesser fit and finish (which is to be expected at this price point).
Now for the bad:
The lume (or should I say lack thereof) is a rather egregious oversight on a watch labeled as a diver. This is easily the most disappointing feature of the watch, and while it does not bother me (for me, this is a sports watch, not a diver), it would surely disappoint someone that wanted to take this watch for a dive. I'll do some experiments so that I can quantify what I mean when I say that it's bad...all I can say for now is that the lume did not compare favorably to that of my "Planet Orient." Truly a head-scratcher if you ask me.
The bracelet is attached to the watch case via hollow end links, which is usually seen as a negative to most folks. On my example they appear quite sturdy, and to be honest I find no real fault with them. I will, however, still llist them as a negative because of the majority opinion that they are weaker than solid end links. For me, the only thing I wasn't thrilled with is that there is a little bit of play where the bracelet connects to the clasp, and if I play with it enough it can make a slight squeaky noise. This is something I'll have to pay attention to, as often times this goes away with a little bit of wear.
Overall, I can say that I'm quite hapy with this purchase. I would say that it might be a good idea to pick one up from the grey market, only because there's so many great (real) divers at this price point. If you're willing, however, to overlook the few things that keep this from being a true diver and see this as a sports watch, then I think this one will make a lot of people happy. On a scale scale from 1-10, I'd feel confident giving it about an 8, depending on how the light's striking the blue dial. After all, that's really what sold me on this piece to begin with.