Best value Diver?

Seeing it’s just before Christmas I thought I’d have one last look to find a “best value Diver” watch, that was as good as the mainstream boys and hopefully considerably cheaper.  After a little bit of investigation I did manage to find one and it impressed me so much – I bought it!   It is the Apeks 200 AP0406 Mens Professional Diver, named and sold by the Apeks Diving Company and one of their best sellers – and if first impressions turn out to be true, I can see why!

Apeks AP0406 Mens 200m Professional Dive Watch

Apeks AP0406 Mens 200m Professional Dive Watch

For a Divers model straight out of the box it seems on first looks to tick all the boxes –

Easy to read analogue dial, large luminous markers and hands.
Tested to 200 metres Water Resistance.
Tough compact Stainless steel case with Screw Down bezel.
Large uni-directional bezel for dive timing.
Very reliable Seiko/Epson Quartz movement.
A readable day and date window @3 (not a requirement but nice if you have it).
Polyurethane PU strap fitted to standard lug strap fittings.

Sounds good doesn’t it AND available for under £70!  Too good to be true?

Solid case, uni-directional bezel and Screw Down Crown. Quality build.

Solid case, uni-directional bezel and Screw Down Crown. Quality build.

Well I have it here in my hands and first impressions are not only good – they are very good!

It is very well made with an excellent stainless steel case. The case finish is brushed on the top and shiny sides and nicely shaped too. The size is about perfect at 41mm diameter according to my micrometer and 44mm including the crown. Lug to lug is 47mm and only 10.8mm deep, so this is a very neatly made case.  Good crown protection and the well knurled crown is Screw Down and performs very well – no hint of any cross threading here. In short a very well made exterior. The crystal I believe to be mineral glass appears flat. (only on a dive will you tell if this causes a mirror effect).

41mm diameter x 13.8mm depth - makes for a compact fit.

41mm diameter x 10.8mm depth – makes for a compact fit.

The well defined uni-directional bezel has 60 clicks, which are smooth and definite and the large minute markers at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 including the zero align exactly with the internal dial minute track.  Another indicator of the quality of this watch.  And as to the question “Can I operate the bezel with gloves?” – the answer is yes. Oh there is also an effective luminous dot at Zero on the bezel.

The back has a stainless steel screw back with model details, model Number, 200m Water Resistance  etc.

Stainless Steel screw back and standard strap pins.

Stainless Steel screw back and standard strap pins.

The watch has a nice weight at 78gms, which is lighter than the Citizen at 88gms and the Seiko Monster at 113gms, so not heavy on the wrist at all.

The dial is matte black with large luminous markers. The broad hour and minute hands are good length and have luminous infills.  The centre seconds hand has a luminous arrow tip and also lines up accurately with the minute perimeter track.  In addition this model has an outlined day and date window @3, which is well proportioned and easy to read with a decent contrast and font.

The luminous quality is every bit as good as Seiko and betters my Citizen Diver and I can easily read the time after 6 hours in the dark.  The shape of and layout of the markers and hands makes for easy reading.  This is much better than I’d hoped even against models over 8 times the price and easily matches the Citizen Diver I featured earlier.

In summary this watch surpasses all my expectations by a considerable way – not only does it look good, it IS good, darned good. 🙂
The only question I have is “Why did it take me so long to find it!”

Good dial layout, broad decent length hands and good lume.

Good dial layout, broad decent length hands and good lume.

Forgive the repetition, but this is one good looking watch and it’s a delight to wear, even with it’s standard Polyurethane PU strap (and that’s unusual in my experience).   I was going to change it for one of my silicon deployment ones, but as I’d run out of them I wore it, as is, straight out of the box – and it’s very comfortable!  Probably the most comfortable of my three Divers. (update – I discovered why it was more comfortable.  Diver straps invariably have that “wave” in the rubber, three or four heavy “ripples” near the watch body.  Well this one has those as well BUT are flat on the wrist side, making for a very comfortable strap).

On the wrist in standard strap - best fit I have.

On the wrist in standard strap – best fit I have.

So a surprisingly good watch and terrific value in my opinion – and just what I was looking for.   In fact this is my Xmas present to me!

One point – the sales information by the seller states it’s a Seiko/Epson VX42 movement, that generic version is a date only @6.  This model has the day and the date @3 and this movement is actually the Epson VX43E
And as I’ve found in the past, it’s as smooth as silk and appears so far to keep very good time indeed.  I would also note that the font used on the Epson VX Date and Day wheel is one of the better ones I’ve come across – other brands should take note!

Note –

One small point is that whilst it comes well packed in a nice box – it doesn’t come with instructions.  Now a day, date quartz model isn’t rocket science I know, but if you don’t know watches too well – they would be handy.

The crown @3 of course sets everything on this watch – Unscrew the crown from it’s screw down position, let it pop out free, then pull out to first position, turn left or right to adjust the day or the date, pull out to position 2 to adjust the hands. This is a hacking movement, so the second hand stops when you adjust the hands, which is so useful for accurate setting.

Remember even with quartz watches if they’re analogue, it’s best when setting the day or the date, to first move the time to anywhere between 0300 and 0900.  You do this as setting the day and date within the change over period (roughly 2200 to 0200 +/-) it could cause damage to the mechanism.  So to make sure, you should move the hour to a time where no changeover occurs – as above.  The best and easiest way is to set the day and the date for yesterday’s date (this is important) – and once done you can in crown position 2, advance the hands until the day and the date change to today’s date – (the date will probably change first at around midnight to 01.30 ish, followed sometime later up to around 02.00 by the date).  Then set (advance) to your present time with the crown at position 2 (if a morning time, you won’t pass the 12, if an afternoon time make sure you pass the 12).
Sounds complicated (and maybe I’ve confused you) but it’s really quite easy really.

My friends at explain it far better than I and you can find analogue watch settings information HERE.

And finally – Here is an image of my three Divers – and for the money I believe they are about as good as you’ll get today – but this Apeks is really something – at under £70?  Brilliant and I wished I’d found it sooner.  Certainly on first acquaintance I have to recommend it.  And I note that it is available in a Ladies version – Model AP0406-2 Ladies 200m Professional Diver.

My Divers - value for money and great quality.

My Divers – value for money and great quality.

These watches and others can be seen HERE.

So that question again – Which do I like the best – now?  Well, I like them all and that’s the truth.  I love the “Monster” because it’s got that “something” and I like the Citizen, as it’s 300m and very compact and now very comfortable in it’s silicon strap and then there’s this amazing non mainstream gem, the Apeks at under £70.00 – I mean what’s not to like!

Lume wise – the Seiko and the Apeks are both excellent and better than the Citizen which doesn’t last as long in the dark  it’s OK but not as good as the others.

From a practical point of view I’m leaning towards the Apeks I have to admit – I mean it’s just so good and at an amazing price.  I think Christmas is here already!

Have a nice one everybody!

Note – When it comes to getting yourself a watch for everyday use, it’s worth considering a “divers” watch.  Not the huge professional style ones, but ones similar to those featured here.  You may not need one of those large ribbed straps and even if the watch you like has one, more often than not they are easily changed to a simpler silicon deployment strap or even a leather one.  But there’s no doubt that you can get yourself a VERY good watch at a VERY good price when looking at the Divers.  Great strength, very easy to read and they usually look great.

Have fun.

2022 – UPDATE –

Been looking at today’s Divers and there are an so many out there, it’s become a crowded category. The above Apeks is still my favourite even at just 200m water resistance, so for normal everyday use and occasional swimming and so on, it’s virtually impossible to beat – period! The price is now around £90, so gone up a fraction, but the value and quality is still very evident.
If depth is a worry, then Apeks also have a 500m model at just £103 and a 1000m model at £120 and both are of the same quality standard as the 200m – so for me these are still the best value out there. For me they fulfil the basic criteria – great value, are clear to read in the water, not too big on the wrist and simply put – they do the job!

To then go and look at the seemingly endless parade of Divers watches available now, is to go nuts! Some are very expensive, some feature cluttered dials, thin hands, not that easy to read, some automatic (OK) some quartz (also OK) – I have no preference – digital models too and some with debatable clarity in the water etc etc.
But, so many have issues for me, mostly to do with price and practicality – and I definitely prefer a sensible price and really good practicality – so I invariably end up once again with my Apeks, which I bought in 2013 I think – and here we are

Categories: Watch reviews

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6 replies

  1. Hey Bosartis / WatchSpace, I am several years late, but thanks for posting your thoughts and all the great photos on this Apeks model.

    Most of the other info and interest I can find online is all about the 500m, but this one appeals to me for all the reasons you listed. I am actually eyeing the 200m chronograph version of this one, with similar sizes to this. It’s sad how rare a solid 40-41mm quartz diver actually is — anything out there is usually a lot larger and flashier. I have the same Citizen BN0000-04h that you wrote about a while ago too, and love it, so hoping the future Apeks chrono will basically be a chrono equivalent to that.

    Anyway, again, thanks for the good reading and I’ll have to catch up on the rest of your posts!

    • Hi Robbielroy,
      Many thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. For the money the Apeks 200m model is tough to beat and probably still my favourite. I wear it every every second week. As to the Citizen BN0000-04H – it’s one of the sleekest little Divers and I still have it – again a great watch. The other model I like is the Citizen Promaster Automatic 200m Diver NY0400-17LE, which I also Posted about and the difference here is that it’s one of the best non quartz models for the price out there. Being an Automatic – it relies on nothing but you to run and that is REALLY difficult to beat AND is a sensible size too.
      The problem for me is that – with a bit of looking – there are quite a few Divers out there that ARE good – very good – and I’m usually ridiculously pleased with each one I buy – so why is it that I keep buying more?
      Did I just hear my Wife echo that???

      • I am glad you are still enjoying the Apeks! I’ve definitely seen and admired the NY0400 too, the styling and size of that one are great. I had a couple Seiko autos before getting into these quartzes, and for some reason have a hard time getting back into them. But I’m sure I will miss them and re-evaluate my taste 😉

        You are definitely right about how we can be pleased with these things … and yet keep wanting to get more. It doesn’t help that these are so affordable too! Your wife seems very understanding – I may or may not have hidden a couple cheap watch purchases from my girlfriend, but since they all look the same to her, we may be in the clear …

      • Ha!
        I did that many years ago. Played Organ and had one in what we used to call the library/Dining room. Replaced it with a very large Wurlitzer Organ, unbeknown to my Wife. And that required some planning – removing a house window (and frames) and having 4 guys and a lift/van attachment, manhandle it into the room, then replace and re-finish the window to look as it was. Having married a keen lady golfer – she was off playing for around 4 hours, which was my available time slot. I Don’t recommend it though – I still shudder to think what could have gone wrong!
        However, later that week she said she was very impressed with my playing and whilst leaning over my shoulder at the organ, said, “That’s nice Dear” and then said “Tea’s ready”.
        What can I say? 😉


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