Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfire
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    Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfire

    Hi Guys,

    I know that the watch enthusiasts has been on the "Bronze" bandwagon for quite some time. However, I paid little or no attention to the bronze watch segment until I came across the Tudor Black Bay Bronze (especially the Bucherer Blue edition). As, at present, my budget doesn't permit me for an investment of this magnitude and was looking to satisfy my itch with something inexpensive compared to the Black Bay Bronze. Maybe sometime in the future I would surely like to invest in one.

    For the past few weeks I have been on the hunt for a budget bronze diver with an automatic movement, preferably under the $500 bracket. I have a small wrist and wanted to avoid something very chunky, so anything beyond 44 mm case diameter & 15 mm case height will be overkill for me. I was also slightly inclined to get a watch with bronze bezel (without any inserts) for the retro / steampunk look. Also wanted the watch to have original design cues and not an all out homage. Finally, I would have liked to have a bronze watch with meteorite dial (which Phoibos had) but seems like all of them are sold out. Other bronze watches with meteorite dials are well above my range.

    After doing a bit of research, I have been able to shortlist following 2 watches which ticks most of the boxes (not in any order).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    • Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze
      • Movement: Sellita SW200-1
      • Diameter: 41 mm
      • Height: 14 mm
      • Case Material: CuSn8
      • Case Back: Embossed
      • Glass: Double Domed Sapphire Crystal with AR Coating
      • Lume: 15 layers Super-LumiNova C3
      • Diving Depth: 500 m
      • Price: $420 (Shipping Included)
      • Warranty: 2 years

    Concerns: Doesn't have see-through case back. Reviews for the straps have not been very positive.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    • Vancouver Watch Co. Crossfire Bronze
      • Caliber: Miyota 9015
      • Diameter: 43 mm
      • Height: 13.5 mm
      • Case Material: CuSn8
      • Case Back: See-through
      • Glass: Sapphire Crystal with AR Coating
      • Lume: Super-LumiNova
      • Diving Depth: 200 m
      • Price: USD 399 + Shipping
      • Warranty: 1 year

    Concerns: How does the Miyota 9015 will hold up against the Sellita SW200-1. Doesn't have adequate reviews or feedback on the net.


    Apart from the above 2 watches, the following were also considered:


    • Steinhart Ocean 1 Bronze Green
    • Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600
    • Spinnaker Tesei SP-5060-03


    Any idea how any of them compares to the shortlisted watches? Both the Trident Bronze & Tesei are above the $500 mark. I have shortlisted the above 2 watches from microbrand manufactures and both the pieces are understandably limited editions. Will they will be good investments and hold their value in the future? Which watch do you guys think is better bang for the buck?

    Any other recommendations / suggestions will also be appreciated.

    Thanks for your time. Stay safe!
    Last edited by abanchii; 1 Week Ago at 12:48.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    I would have selected the "Steinhart Ocean 1 Bronze Green"

    For the look, the movement, the bezel change, German quality, etc... ;)

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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    Quote Originally Posted by rafy1 View Post
    I would have selected the "Steinhart Ocean 1 Bronze Green"

    For the look, the movement, the bezel change, German quality, etc... ;)
    Hey, Thanks for your feedback.

    The Ocean 1 does have Swiss movement (ETA 2824-2/SW 200 elabore grade), however, IMHO it looks quite similar to other diving watches.

    I have the Blue Orient Mako I which looks very similar to the Ocean 1 apart from the day & date window.

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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    This has just been released in 25 limited pieces per color:

    https://www.pontvswatch.com/products/pontvs-kraken

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    I know it sounds large on paper at 45mm and 52mm l2l but due to it's case shape it will wear rather small for a "chunkier" type watch. I might receive mine today if everything goes well with shipping/customs and I'll upload pics then. But I have a 46mm Ennebi Mictofo with a 60mm l2l as well as a 47mm Ennebi Fondale with a 58mm l2l - so especially length wise they are massively larger than the Pontvs, which is more or less an homage to these watches. I have a 6.5" wrist and while those Ennebis do wear large they are manageable even on my small wrist (and yet ironically I sold watches with a 41,5mm size that wore too big for me optically). Coincidentally I also own a Fondale 44mm with 50mm l2l and I think that watch wears too small on my wrist for this case shape. The Pontvs will wear nowhere near as large as the 46 and 47mm Ennebis but I hope it will at least wear noticably larger than the 44mm Ennebi.

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    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    If the Steinhart is not for you then go for the Phoibos.

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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    I'd also recommend you take a look at the new Glycine Combat Vintage 42 models for bronze. These are fantastic looking, and have the same thin case as the steel versions, with decent lume and a classic look. The blue in particular does it for me, and will likely be finding it's way on my wrist sooner than later.

    They make a green version as well that gives the Steinhart a run for its money

    Otherwise, I don't think you'd go wrong with any of the above options. All brands that have been around long enough to perfect their personalities and work out the bugs.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    Your can try finding a Ventus Mori Brass diver. I love mine. It has a miyota movement and Sapphire glass. There's one on the bay for $199 (not affiliated with the sale).

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk
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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    Quote Originally Posted by ChaseOne View Post
    Your can try finding a Ventus Mori Brass diver. I love mine. It has a miyota movement and Sapphire glass. There's one on the bay for $199 (not affiliated with the sale).

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk
    Hah I have that one as well! Cool piece for sure!
    ChaseOne likes this.

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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    Quote Originally Posted by abanchii View Post
    For the past few weeks I have been on the hunt for a budget bronze diver with an automatic movement, preferably under the $500 bracket. I have a small wrist and wanted to avoid something very chunky, so anything beyond 44 mm case diameter & 15 mm case height will be overkill for me. I was also slightly inclined to get a watch with bronze bezel (without any inserts) for the retro / steampunk look. Also wanted the watch to have original design cues and not an all out homage. Finally, I would have liked to have a bronze watch with meteorite dial (which Phoibos had) but seems like all of them are sold out. Other bronze watches with meteorite dials are well above my range.
    . . .
    Apart from the above 2 watches, the following were also considered:
    • . . .
    • Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600
    No meteorite dial, but I've been quite happy with my 38mm bronze Christopher Ward Trident, which was going to be my recommendation even before I saw you had considered it.

    Name:  christopher_ward_c60_trident_bronze_600_20190805.jpg
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Size:  95.6 KB

    This one was one of their 40% off "nearly new" watches last year. Given the currently very weak pound, I went to check prices and then see how the rupee was faring against the pound before recommending it, but I can't actually find the 38mm model on their site right now, so perhaps it's been discontinued in the past few days.

    Looking at used prices on watchrecon, it looks like asking prices on these used are on the order of $550 to $600, so it could be that actual selling prices are in the $500 range used.

    Quote Originally Posted by abanchii View Post
    How does the Miyota 9015 will hold up against the Sellita SW200-1.
    When a seller names the SW200 (or the ETA 2824) without a grade, it's nearly always a tacit admission of using a base grade movement. I would say that you have an 80% or better chance of ending up with a better running watch if you go with a Miyota 9015 over a base grade ETA or Sellita, It's also safer to handwind, and will also likely last longer between services, and will be far cheaper in the likely case that replacing it is cheaper than servicing. Miyota however spec the 9015 much looser than most examples they produce actually run. One might presume that's to avoid having to take the bad ones they make every now and then back, and that presumption would fit my experience. I have a fair number of excellently performing 9015s, and I have one which runs worse than the typical low-end Seiko, yet still within manufacturer specifications.

    Under $500, I'd take a gamble on the 9015 over a base or élaboré grade ETA or Sellita if the seller has a decent return policy.

    On the other hand If the grade in question is top or chronometer grade, I'd take the ETA/Sellita every time. (Not sure about STP. STP spec all of their movements close to what ETA and Sellita consider top grade, and reviews generally praise their accuracy, yet they have a mediocre reputation for reliability so far.)
    abanchii likes this.
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    Re: Recommendation for a Automatic Bronze Diver under $500 - Phoibos Eagle Ray vs Vancouver Crossfir

    Quote Originally Posted by MONVMENTVM View Post
    This has just been released in 25 limited pieces per color:

    https://www.pontvswatch.com/products/pontvs-kraken

    Name:  Kraken08_600x.jpg
Views: 45
Size:  44.3 KB

    I know it sounds large on paper at 45mm and 52mm l2l but due to it's case shape it will wear rather small for a "chunkier" type watch. I might receive mine today if everything goes well with shipping/customs and I'll upload pics then. But I have a 46mm Ennebi Mictofo with a 60mm l2l as well as a 47mm Ennebi Fondale with a 58mm l2l - so especially length wise they are massively larger than the Pontvs, which is more or less an homage to these watches. I have a 6.5" wrist and while those Ennebis do wear large they are manageable even on my small wrist (and yet ironically I sold watches with a 41,5mm size that wore too big for me optically). Coincidentally I also own a Fondale 44mm with 50mm l2l and I think that watch wears too small on my wrist for this case shape. The Pontvs will wear nowhere near as large as the 46 and 47mm Ennebis but I hope it will at least wear noticably larger than the 44mm Ennebi.
    Thanks for sharing your insight on Kraken. Still seem like a bigger watch. The website doesn't mention the case height of the watch. Would love to know your feedback & how the watch sits on your wrist. As for the movement, I think the SW200-1 / 9015 edges out the NH35. I am sure others may disagree.

    I had also seen the Pontvs Hydra which seemed like a stunning watch. But could not get around the look of the crown as it's made of steel compared to the brass case which just seemed very odd to me.



    Quote Originally Posted by sticky View Post
    If the Steinhart is not for you then go for the Phoibos.
    Thanks man!



    Quote Originally Posted by Uberscreamer View Post
    I'd also recommend you take a look at the new Glycine Combat Vintage 42 models for bronze. These are fantastic looking, and have the same thin case as the steel versions, with decent lume and a classic look. The blue in particular does it for me, and will likely be finding it's way on my wrist sooner than later.

    They make a green version as well that gives the Steinhart a run for its money

    Otherwise, I don't think you'd go wrong with any of the above options. All brands that have been around long enough to perfect their personalities and work out the bugs.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
    Does seem like a nice watch. I also understand that Glycine modifies standard available movements and has "Swiss Made" tag also. But the watch doesn't seem to be available anywhere that ships to India. Even the ones on Chrono24 is much above the $500 price bracket. Also, looks very Tudorish, which can be both good & bad I guess.



    Quote Originally Posted by ChaseOne View Post
    Your can try finding a Ventus Mori Brass diver. I love mine. It has a miyota movement and Sapphire glass. There's one on the bay for $199 (not affiliated with the sale).

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk
    Yeah! Nice watch. Had already read the reviews & most of them are quite positive for the price point. Honestly, was really keen on getting a bronze one. That was also once of the reasons for not shortlisting the Pontvs Hydra along with the crown issue mentioned above.



    Quote Originally Posted by watchcrank_tx View Post
    No meteorite dial, but I've been quite happy with my 38mm bronze Christopher Ward Trident, which was going to be my recommendation even before I saw you had considered it.

    Name:  christopher_ward_c60_trident_bronze_600_20190805.jpg
Views: 21
Size:  95.6 KB

    This one was one of their 40% off "nearly new" watches last year. Given the currently very weak pound, I went to check prices and then see how the rupee was faring against the pound before recommending it, but I can't actually find the 38mm model on their site right now, so perhaps it's been discontinued in the past few days.

    Looking at used prices on watchrecon, it looks like asking prices on these used are on the order of $550 to $600, so it could be that actual selling prices are in the $500 range used.



    When a seller names the SW200 (or the ETA 2824) without a grade, it's nearly always a tacit admission of using a base grade movement. I would say that you have an 80% or better chance of ending up with a better running watch if you go with a Miyota 9015 over a base grade ETA or Sellita, It's also safer to handwind, and will also likely last longer between services, and will be far cheaper in the likely case that replacing it is cheaper than servicing. Miyota however spec the 9015 much looser than most examples they produce actually run. One might presume that's to avoid having to take the bad ones they make every now and then back, and that presumption would fit my experience. I have a fair number of excellently performing 9015s, and I have one which runs worse than the typical low-end Seiko, yet still within manufacturer specifications.

    Under $500, I'd take a gamble on the 9015 over a base or élaboré grade ETA or Sellita if the seller has a decent return policy.

    On the other hand If the grade in question is top or chronometer grade, I'd take the ETA/Sellita every time. (Not sure about STP. STP spec all of their movements close to what ETA and Sellita consider top grade, and reviews generally praise their accuracy, yet they have a mediocre reputation for reliability so far.)
    Presently, all the trident bronzes on watchrecon seems to be have been sold. I am sure the 38 mm trident would have been a beautiful watch, which is why none of them seems to be available.

    I also had a look at the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC Limited Edition which seemed like a very nice watch, but in converted currency (considering discount also) comes to twice the price of the Eagle Ray or Crossfire. It also does have a ceramic bezel though.

    Do agree with you that if they don't mention the grade on ETA / Sellita its usually the base grade and Miyotas are far easier & cheaper getting serviced. The biggest issues with crossfire bronze is that I can't find anyone that have seen the watch hands on.

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