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 so very evident.
If depth rating 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. They fulfil the basic criteria – great value, are clear to read in the water, neat 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 almost silly! Some are very expensive, I’ve seen cluttered dials, thin hands, not that easy to read, date windows that are simply too small. Some are 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 what they actually deliver. And that should be very simple – water resistance as specified, real dial clarity (not based on massaged photos or art pictures) plus a sensible value price. And every time I come up with my Apeks, which I bought in 2013 I think – and here we are –
Original Post 2013 –
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!
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 large, readable day and date window @3 (not a requirement but nice if you have it).
Polyurethane PU strap with flat inner surface, fitted to standard lug strap fittings.
Sounds good doesn’t it AND available for under £70! (now around £90) Too good to be true?
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 really neatly made case. Good crown protection and the well knurled crown is a decent 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.
The well defined uni-directional bezel has 60 clicks, which has excellent feedback, 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 a very effective luminous dot at Zero on the bezel.
The back is clean and smooth, has a stainless steel screw back with model details, model Number, 200m Water Resistance etc.
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 very luminous markers. The broad hour and minute hands are good length and have excellent luminous infills. The centre seconds hand has a bright 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 easy read 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 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!”
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).
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!
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.
Another small niggle – I would prefer the Logo to be fainter, so total concentration or quick glance immediately sees the hand and markers and nothing else. But that’s me.
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.
And finally – Here is an image of three of my value Divers – (I have probably a dozen or so now (2022) – and for the money I believe they are about as good as you’ll get today – but the 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 with a slightly small diameter.
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 sleek and compact and now very comfortable in it’s silicon strap. But practically my pick is 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 so-called professional (read expensive) 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 simple 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.