Borealis Seafarer II
Borealis Seafarer II Specifications:
- Case Size: 44mm x 53mm
- Screwed down crown with engraved B logo
- Slightly Domed Sapphire Crystal with A/R coating inside
- 120 clicks unidirectional sapphire lumed bezel with BGW9 lume applied to indexes and turbine style grip bezel finish
- Made in Japan Citizen Miyota 9015 Automatic Movement
- Automatic Helium Release Valve
- 316L Stainless Steel Case
- Lug Width: 24.00 mm
- Water Resistance: 4000 meters
- Case height: 15.70 mm
- Viton and tefzel gaskets
- 316L Stainless steel bracelet with precision adjustable buckle
- Swiss Made RC TRITEC BGW9 Superluminova applied to dial, watch hands and sapphire bezel
- Screwed Case Back with engraved mermaid
Price $450 USD
Borealis continues to impress me with each new model, and the Borealis Seafarer II is no different. I have handled their past few releases, but this if the first new model I have received for review in a year or so. About two years ago, actually it might be over two years ago now, I reviewed the original Seafarer. It was an homage of sorts to the Rolex DSSD and had snowflake hands, a la Tudor. This time around, they have reduced the size in both length and thickness, improved the bracelet, a Seiko inspired dial and the brushing/polishing and finishing overall is improved in my opinion.
Borealis makes no bones about it, that they are for the most part an homage company. While there are many out there in the watch community who do not care for homages, there are just as many who are. And many like the fact that these homages are affordable while still having many quality components we look for. They have been around for just about 4 years or so, maybe a little more, but are still a new company. Maria, the owner, decided to start her own company after seeing her husband’s success with Prometheus Watch Company. These days they work on many things together, but are somewhat separate companies still. Borealis has had their hiccups and not every watch I would consider stellar or a home run in terms of fit and finish. The Seafarer II is a good example of striving to improve and listening to their customers. Still, with all the Borealis Seafarer II offers at its price point, there is one somewhat minor issue I have and of course some things I would have personally liked, but let’s get right into it.
First things first, this watch is a bear to photograph. The double domed sapphire crystal makes it very difficult to get a good shot of the dial. I could have done a few and shown some glamour/magazine style shots, but what does that really do for a review? The whole point of our reviews here at Watchreport is to let you see the watch for what it really is. The reality is, this is what the watch will look like when you get it. So with that said, do I compare this watch to its predecessor or look at it on its own. Looking back at my review of version I, they really are two completely different watches, that just happen to share the same model name. The design, size, and components are different, and in my opinion that is a good thing.
Lets start with the dial, which is clearly inspired by a Seiko SKX007, though it is not a one of one copy. They went with the upside down triangle and thin line extender at the 12 o’clock position, but instead of elongated markers at the 6 and 9, they went with large circles. And of course it is a date only, not a day date. So, can you really look at the dial and hands and say Seiko knock off? Not really. It is inspired, not copied. This version is the grey dial with black sapphire bezel insert, but you can also get it with a black and orange bezel and there are 2 other dial colors available, (black and blue), that have a few different bezel color options.
At 44mm , the stainless steel case wears as listed, and at almost 16mm thick, on paper it sounds quite large. But because of the separation of the bezel and case and the how it is configured, I did not feel like I was wearing a massive, chunky diver. Speaking of the bezel, the turbine as they call it, some may have seen this from another micro brand in recent years. And while it is true that another micro brand uses this bezel style on one of their popular models, they got the idea from a model no longer made, the Japy diver. (Seriously, I am not being non-PC or using racist slang, that was the name. Google it). The bezel is easy to turn, ratchets nicely and is quite attractive as well. No sharp or unfinished edges either. The one thing I did notice on my example is that the bezel has some up and down play. Not when you turn it, but if you were to press down on it, it is somewhat springy. Take a look at the video review to see what I mean.
The bracelet is pretty standard when it comes to micro brand dive watches these days, oyster link, thick and with a ratchet extension clasp. I know, I just made it sound mundane. I don’t mean for it to come off that way, just stating a fact. It does fit perfectly to the case, and uses one sided screw bars to hold the links together. One word of caution though, use loctite in the screws when sizing. This will prevent any screws from backing out. I removed 4 links for my 7 1/2 inch wrist.
So, lets get to the things I would have rather seen, and then we will get to the one issue I have with the Borealis Seafarer II. While I know many guys still want a larger watch, and I think this watch overall does look great, I think this watch would be great in a 42 to 43mm with about 14mm thickness max. That’s just my wish though. Another thing would be the use of high polish on the case. I am just not a big fan of high polish on tool style diver such as this. All brushed or blasted would have been more to my liking. But again, these are all just my personal takes and should not detract from the watch at all.
Well, I think you know what part of the watch I usually discuss at this point, so you probably already know what my issue is. Yep, the lume. Simply stated the lume on the hands and bezel is great, but with such big dial markers I was hoping this watch would hurt my eyes. Unfortunately, they must have not put enough lume compound on the markers, and while they still glow, you can see they are not as bright as the rest. I do love the BGW9 used though, that icy blue glow is a nice change.
While it might sound like I was overly critical in this review, It is not intended to be that way. In actuality, I feel the Borealis Seafarer II is a very nice dive watch for a good price. It is still under the $500 mark, has a classic diver look with some nice upgrades and if you like the medium/large size watches you will definitely love it. I am still amazed with how well it wore on my wrist. And if you are not a bracelet fan, a strap looks great on the Seafarer, as you can see in the pic below. The best part is, there are two sets of lug holes. One for the bracelet and one for a strap, so you will not have any gap showing if you go the strap route. I currently have it on a Drunk Art Canvas, but I am sure it would look good on rubber, leather or whatever else you want to try it on.
As I said, Borealis continues to improve and from what I have seen online, this watch has proved to be quite popular for them. As far as the lume, as I have always stated, it could have just been my example. I have not looked online yet to see if others had dim lume on the markers. Borealis has quite a few other models planned for this year, and they all look great, and we will be reviewing some of them here on Watchreport, so stay tuned! Also, you maybe be wondering why I didn’t talk about movement. Simply, I think many that have read any review I have done in the last two years have read about the Miyota 9015 movement, as it has been covered over and over. At this time, I feel unless I notice anything out of the ordinary as far as accuracy or winding etc, I just do not mention it. It is a great movement, the standard in the micro brand world.
Thank you for reading and please leave your comments in the field below.