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!
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?
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).
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.
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!”
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.
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 Watchuseek.com 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.
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.