Athaya Vintage Lamafa Watch Review

Athaya Vintage Dive Hands on Watch Reviews

Now, while this is a homage to the Seiko, instead of trying to compare it to its inspiration, I am instead going to concentrate on the Lamafa itself. As I said, with exception to the dial and hands, and the case back, they did a pretty damn good job replicating it, even down to the machined screw down crown, at least from what I can tell from photos of the Seiko.

Athaya Vintage Lamafa watch review

The stainless steel case is all brushed. I will say that possibly the brushing could have been a little bit finer, as it looks a little rough. This could have been intentional, but I would have preferred it to be a smoother brushed finish without the pronounced machine lines. The curved case is smooth all around with no rough edges, and the way the case is machined to create the crown guards and protect the crown at the 4 o’clock position, is what always made this style of watch unique. The crown on my example is a little hard to get at though, and I feel that is just the design. It does a great job of protecting the crown when screwed in, but is not the easiest to unscrew, especially when on the wrist. Once pulled out, the date and time set with ease, and I did not find any wobble to the crown, or grind noises while adjusting the time. The bezel is stainless steel, with a blue aluminum dive insert, very reminiscent of the original Seiko.

Athaya Vintage Lamafa watch review

When it comes to the blue sunburst dial, I will admit that both the bezel and dial really only show up as blue in certain lighting. It is a very dark blue, which comes off as black, especially when in the house or a building with regular lighting. You will see this in some of my photos, though I tried to capture the blue the best I could. Chrome applied markers, chrome outlined hands, which are different hands than I have personally seen before, and the date at the 4 position (which replaces the 4 marker) round out the dial. The dial is not overly branded, with just the Athaya logo, and its model name and water resistance on the dial. It definitely gives off the vintage vibe, and matches the rest of the case.

Athaya Vintage Lamafa watch review

The outer portion of the case back is all brushed, and again, very smooth to the touch, no rough edges anywhere. The removable part of the case back is a screw down cap, with a depiction of a person with a harpoon jumping in the air. This is a variation of their other case back, as the blue and black versions have slightly different engravings. The black dial version shows the man harpooning some type of sea creature. The Seiko NH35 movement on my example was about a minute and a half slow after about 7 days, and while that is not the most accurate timekeeping, it is on par with other NH35 powered watches I have had. I love the Miyota 9015 movement, but at a price of $350, and with the packaging offered, the NH35 suits this watch well, and being a Seiko homage, it made sense to go with a Seiko Instruments movement.

Athaya Vintage Lamafa watch review

On the wrist, it is not extremely comfortable with the supplied waffle rubber strap. It is more of a plastic than a rubber. I wore it loose on my wrist, because it did not really wrap around like a natural rubber would, and if worn too tight, it became sticky and made my wrist sweat. Looking at the vintage Seiko, it is a very similar type of strap, but I would have liked to seen a natural rubber instead. As far as the look of the strap, I dig the waffle pattern, just not the material used to make it.

Athaya Vintage Lamafa watch review

The lume is C1 superluminova, and it is at best average. It lights up bright for a few minutes but then starts to dim, and is not the brightest lume out there to begin with. My photos shown are not doctored or filtered and show a true representation of what the lume is. C3 superluminova is king to me, and it might have been a better option to go with over the C1.

Athaya Vintage Lamafa watch review

Overall I was impressed with the Lamafa Diver, especially with its price point and all that it offers. If you like the look of the vintage Seiko, but can not afford what they are going for on the secondary market (over $1000 usually), this might be a suitable replacement. And it is a nice watch in its own right as well. The leather travel packaging is a nice touch, and the use of a domed sapphire crystal vs trying to stay vintage and using an acrylic are nice attributes. I would have liked a lighter blue dial, as I feel it’s hard to truly see that it is blue, but some people might like the more subdued midnight blue. While I do not care for the material of the strap, that is always easily rectified with an isofrane or cuda, or even a nice leather or nato.

It is a modern version of a classic that is no longer made, and with that, one of the nicer homages to this style I have seen. If you want to learn more about Athaya and their models, please visit their website HERE . Thank you to Athaya for providing for review and please leave your comments below.

 

 

I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.

3 Comments

  1. I like that grumpo gamma, Don. Thanks for the excellent review.

    Reply
  2. Thks for the write up.

    Reply
  3. thanks for your review and video. i did a review on the athaya website, which i’ll post here, hopefully you can let it all post, tho a bit long:

    so happy to review this watch, especially since it’s the first review. am a writer so this may be long.

    i had developed a love of the Apocalypse Now watch, the seiko 6105‑8110. there are some really nice homage watches being made and i bought the most popular one, but upon receiving it i became aware that the top crown guard on these, and almost all others out there, was way too big compared with the original. so, i just wouldn’t wear it and still have it.

    i began a search on the internet to see if anyone had got the original case correct, being a fan of these early seiko divers, and almost to a manufacturer, none had. except…

    finally i came across this watch, the Athaya Vintage AV002. i was blown away, there it was, a top crown guard that was correct! i had a cup of coffee and spent the next hour comparing photos online of the original and this piece, and they were as alike as 2 watches could be. i began scouring reviews, and found that all agree about the remarkable accuracy, which is not ‘replica watch’ accuracy, but a tremendous love and appreciation of the original by this maker. even the dimensions differ slightly. this is quite an amazing feat, so i had to have one.

    i went for as spare and clean as possible, getting the strap without date. in photos the dial is somewhat like the original, but didn’t really nail the seiko look, BUT upon receiving it in person, i must say it very much has the seiko vibe and to a large extent the 6105‑8110 dial look. some real frosting on the cake.

    in person this thing is very big, which is great as i love big divers of that period. but on my wrist it looks like i stepped back in time to the Mekong Delta. i was a few years too young to have gone to Vietnam and, not a fan of war, but am a collector of vintage milwatches. so, to get such a beautiful piece true to the original was a real treat, myself not expecting this to be so much of a reincarnation.

    as for all the other stuff having to do with watches that we all care about, the QC (quality control) and build, i can say this is certainly better than seiko (for those who know their alignment issues). but saying something is better than the often misaligned seiko divers is not saying much, so i will add that this piece is a perfectly made in all respects as any Swiss diver in the $1000 and up category.

    some particular loves of mine are the accuracy of the crown to the original (tho this has an athaya signature), the beauty and very 60s vibe of the dial, bezel, hands. also the lume is superb. of course, what we all adore most is the perfection and accuracy of the watch case. this is an homage in the best sense of the word, made with clear love and respect for the original.

    as some early reviews of the watch said, the rubber straps were not all that much. since i had to have this on a rubber strap as i don’t wear bracelets, Adrian notified me that the original straps were brittle and cracking now as of 5 yrs past the original manufacture, and he’d at no cost send me one with a bracelet. i said absolutely not, send me one on the cracked/brittle rubber and i’ll put on my own strap, which i often do anyway. so that may be something new buyers will be made aware of.

    the pouch this came in is a beautiful microbrand style leather. it came very quickly when shipped. but most of all, this is one of my dream watches, sitting on my wrist as i type this, and i thank Athaya for making it. especially with such love and respect for the original!

    Reply

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