Just a few months ago we reviewed the Artego 300m Diver and came away very impressed with its vintage tool-diver style and excellent price point. The guys at Artego have been pretty busy as they recently launched a new watch, the Sea King. The Sea King is named after the famous Navy helicopter that has been in service since the 1960’s and has been used as a multi-purpose workhorse developed and proven to take on any challenge. The Artego Sea King is a fitting follow up to 300m Diver, as it was an opportunity for Artego to flex some muscle. Boasting 2000m water resistance, a swiss automatic movement, and Artego’s proven attention to detail the Sea King looks like an exciting modern tool-diver. The question is, in a segment that has become increasingly crowded with both new entries and old favorites, can the Sea King stand out?
ETA 2824-2 auto movement
44 x 17.5mm
Auto HeV on left side of the case
Sapphire double domed crystal with inside AR
120 click unidirectional bezel
2000m WR (6600 ft)
Solid stainless bracelet (w/ SEL)
Black, white, teal, yellow, orange, or light blue dials are available
Limited to 200 units per dial color
As with most modern dive watches, this one is quite large, not so much in width but in height as the Sea King towers 17.5mm above your wrist. This height can be attributed to its extreme water resistance of 2000m, which requires a more robust case and a much thicker crystal. Luckily Artego has not cut any corners with the crystal, its a double domed sapphire with an anti-reflective coating on the inside of the crystal. Having the coating on the inside prevents surface scratches and finger prints from marring the crystal.
The case is also very nice, its lugs are wide but nicely curved, carrying the overall shape of the case in a similar fashion to many dress watches. You get chunky crown guards and an auto HeV (helium escape valve) along with an excellent uni-directional bezel. The grip on the bezel is sharp and notchy, much like the jimping on the back of a good pocket knife. Both the bezel and the screw-down crown are excellent, they are light to use but are communicative in their action. The included bracelet is a thick, five-part style with screwed links, a hidden wetsuit extension and solid end links.
It definitely seems as though Artego took the success of the 300m Diver but wanted to expand into something to build a brand on, something divers might actually use. Many divers prefer the simplicity of a G-Shock Frogman, a Seiko SKX, and some even wear their Rolex Submariners. The Sea King is part of the new crop of indie sport divers, small brands making serious watches that thumb their noses at the contention that watches have to be expensive to be capable, or digital to be available to the average buyer. Many of these indie or “boutique” brands are making high quality watches that are actually powered by very similar automatic movements to those found in far more expensive high end brands. That is not to say that the well known brands aren’t worth the money, it simply addresses the fact that many of us want a nice watch, but don’t have $5000 to spend.
Thankfully, you now have yet another option in the highly competitive sub $1000 range as the Sea King is a very good option for anyone who likes a large dive watch. Artego knows that there is a lot to prove and doesn’t scrimp in any way on the Sea King – you get a fantastic crystal, excellent detail in the dial (see the video), and near perfect crown action. As an overall package you get a chunky steel bracelet, an awesome Panerai style leather strap, and an equally awesome tropic style rubber dive strap and can pack it all in an included zippered travel case. Artego has given you every excuse you could need to wear a tool diver all the time, in or out of the water.The Sea King is on sale from Artego for $690 for a limited time. While that is a considerable premium over the 300m Diver, its also a much more considerable piece of kit. Beautifully made, well equipped and ready to go far deeper than most of us will ever require. Yes, it is too large to fit beneath a cuff and it might compliment a wetsuit better than a regular suit, but that is the point with tool divers. Artego has succeeded in making a true enthusiasts tool-dive watch, which is reasonably priced, features a work-horse Swiss automatic movement, and has the build quality to make it a keeper.
We would like to thank Artego Watches for providing us with a review sample.
By James Stacey