Pancor P03 Diver
[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]here are a lot of watches in the microbrand world that are homages. Why do you ask? Well, there are plenty of reasons, but that topic is one that deserves its own article. In this case, some have debated if the Pancor is truly an homage to the Oris Sixty-Five diver, or simply just a nod to the watches of the 60s, where this style was very popular. Well, I would probably say it is a little bit of both, but in the video review, I do refer to this as the Poor Man’s Oris Sixty-Five Keep in mind that an homage watch does not have to look exactly like the inspiration, even though some brands do exactly that, like the San Martin watches as an example. The Pancor P03 is not a 1:1 copy but it absolutely is an alternative, especially for anyone on a budget, or if you just do not feel like plunking down the $1500-$2000 that the Oris will cost you.
Pancor P03 Diver Specifications
- 39MM Case
Lug to lug 47MM
- 12.7mm Thick
Domed sapphire crystal with inner AR coating
316L Stainless Steel
30ATM/300m/1000ft water resistance
- 3D applied indices with BGW9 or C3 SuperLuminova
Hands also with BGW9 or C3 SuperLuminova
Matt paint finish
- unidirectional with 120 clicks
ceramic dive bezel inlay
- Seiko NH38 – no date
- Tropic Rubber and Leather Strap
- Price $330 USD
I have reviewed the Oris Sixty-Five and at the time, I really enjoyed it. Over time though, the more I look at it and all the countless variations and limited editions, I feel for what it is, it should be cheaper. Now, that is not to say I do not like the design. The Pancor P03 evokes the design of the Oris and others from the 60s, but with materials, you would expect in 2020. As a dive watch, it is rated to 300 meters with a screw-down crown, it has a unidirectional 120 click rotating bezel, and that bezel has a scratch-resistant ceramic insert. It is a polished ceramic insert, and I would prefer a matte finished one like Oris does on some of the Aquis lines, but how picky can I be at this price? Two straps are included, a tropic rubber and a vintage style leather strap. Both straps are quick change-not my first choice, but I will say these are better than 90% of the quick change straps I have seen. No bracelet option is currently available, but Pancor being a young brand didn’t want to go that route just yet. Here’s hoping for a version 2 with a solid steel bracelet to complete the look.
With this being only the third model from Pancor, they are very much still a new brand. I do not know a lot about the owner Marc Schutten, except that he lives in the Netherlands and has a great eye for design. How can I say that you ask? The running theme of this review has been a budget Oris Sixty-five, but as I stated earlier, this is not a copy at all. The case design is quite different, with the Oris being slightly thinner in appearance with smooth case sides. The Pancor P03 is a little more slab-sided with the center of the case pushing outwards, giving dimension, and creating nice case lines. The Oris is more of what you have expected from a watch in the 60s, where the Pancor takes a more modern approach. Keeping with the vintage theme though, there are no crown guards and the bezel is very low profile, although still very easy to grip and turn. Another difference is the ever so slightly domed sapphire crystal instead of a very thick box-shaped crystal. I know many who love the box crystals and I will concede that it has its place on certain watches, but if I was always given a choice, I would go domed if flat was not an option.
If you like large, raised indices on a watch, then you are really going to like the dial of the Pancor. Not only are these applied indices filled with BGW9 lume (the black and green models use C3 SuperLumiNova) but along with the hour and minute hands are outlined in a blue color that very closely matches the matte blue dial. Speaking of blue, photography of watches is always tricky and I tried my best to capture this unique blue hue as accurately as possible.
This is not a navy blue nor a royal blue, but almost a purplish-blue, but in the best possible way. Think of the blue color Batman wore on his suit in the 60s television show. Another great thing about this dial is the lack of a date. I am not sure when it happened, but I was always a stickler for a date on a watch. These days, with an iPad Pro almost always in toe, an iPhone always in my pocket that I use to schedule almost every moment of my life, the date on a watch just isn’t as important as it once was. Ever since I embraced no date watches I started to admire the symmetry these dials employ. Even better, this no-date dial is possible because of the Seiko NH38 movement that is used, a specific dateless automatic movement, which means you will not have to deal with a phantom crown setting.
As I sit here writing this review, I seemingly forget that the Pancor P03 is a rather small watch, at least one paper. With a case of 39mm and a lug to lug of only 47mm, this is usually a watch that I would feel is too small for what I normally wear. Being under 40mm with a nice curve to the case, this is a watch that will be great for smaller wrists, but if you have a 7 ½ inch wrist such as mine and would prefer a 42mm version, just know this watch does not feel that small on the wrist. I can not remember every 40mm or under watch, I have reviewed, but I know it is not often I would want to wear a 39mm watch for more than a day, but I can easily see myself rocking this piece daily.
Marc and Pancor have proved you do not need to spend thousands to have a classic looking watch with quality materials and a solid design. Sure, in specific watch circles, the Oris or a Blancpain will give you more cred, for whatever that is worth, but if you just want a retro dive watch that won’t break the bank while He still looks like a much more expensive piece, the Pancor is a damn nice alternative. I also like that along with offering a 2-year warranty, they also offer free worldwide shipping and unlike a lot of companies are fully transparent that the watches are manufactured in the Far East. That kind of transparency is not common these days and is surely refreshing. This was my first time with a Pancor, but I can honestly say I am excited to see what the future holds for the brand.
If you liked this review or this watch, please let me know in the comment section below. Also, if you have any questions, drop them down there as well. I always like to hear from our viewers. If you want to stay up to date with Watchreport, you can follow us on Instagram as well as subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube channel.