This is probably a fixed point in our blog’s schedule, that when a new Aqautico brand model appears, we have the opportunity to test it and describe it in a review on this page. At the beginning of February, Calvin from Aqutico Watches sent me renders of another watch model in their offer. From the first look at the design, I ahd mixed feelings about this watch. I liked some things about it and some I didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of this model – after all, a smaller diver around 40mm, which is the way I like it. The second aspect was the available colors of the dials with which the watch was to be sold, in addition to the standard black, white and blue, there were also light blue, orange and light yellow.
Recently, I have observed a change in the trend when it comes to the colors of watches. Due to the fast approaching summer, I started to like watches with dials in brighter colors than before. Having the option to choose a color version for testing, without having to buy a watch, I decided to check how an exotic dial, bright yellow, would perform when worn on a male wrist. Recently, I also purchased a Squale Onda with a light blue dial and this is how (unheard of for me) I became the owner of 3 watches with light dials.
Is Aquatico Dolphi worth considering when choosing a summer watch? Let’s find out..
On the occasion of this model, there is a novelty when it comes to packaging – it is a wooden box lined with foam inside with cutouts for the watch, strap and warranty card. The box is light and made of rather light, thin wood. The quality resembles those in which Vratislavia supplied its watches some time ago, it is only a bit bigger. In short, it does not knock you down, which you probably already know does not really matter to me because more important is what’s inside it.
The design of the case is like a shrunken version of the case from the Aquatico Sea Star model, and due to the fact that the crown guard has been added to this model, it looks like… yes, the case of a Rolex Submariner. The width of the case is 39mm, height is 12mm and length is 46mm. Thanks to its dimensions, the watch can be successfully worn by owners of smaller wrists, and even by women. The smaller thickness also positively influences its reception – the watch is not as stocky as the Seastar model and, like it, it feels smaller on the hand. On my 18cm wrist it is already on the lower limit of the size of a diver watch is concerned – of course I’m only talking about my own feeling, a smaller one on my wrist would seem too small to me.
The side walls of the case with the crown guard are polished, the remaining surfaces are brushed. The cuts, as befits Aquatico, are very neat. For a week of quite intensive everyday wear my copy caught a few hairline scratches on the polished parts. This is a standard problem when it comes to steel watches – the polished surfaces look very nice, but they scratch easily, you have to accept it.
The crown is screwed down, quite densely serrated, it also strongly resembles the crown we can see in a Rolex Submariner. On the outer part it has an engraved logo of the manufacturer – a polished dolphin on a satin background. It unscrews easily and it is very pleasant to operate – I have no comments about its work.
We have the Classic Seiko NH35A here, Aqutico uses this movement in all its models. And no wonder – watches are supposed to be budgetary, and the movement is proven and very popular, generally it does not cause any major problems. In my copy it works with an accuracy of + 12s / day, which is a bit worse than the watches of this manufacturer reviewed by us.
Of all the elements of this watch, the dial on the renderings was the biggest surprise for me and at the same time aroused my greatest fear. It is worth adding that in the case of this model, the colors of the dials on the renderings very well represent what we get home in a cardboard box. This is probably due to the fact that the dial has a pastel color without any additional effects and it is easier to visualize it accurately.
So the dial in my model has a light yellow color, which I personally associate with the color of well-mixed scrambled eggs … In my mind, I often even called this watch like that. When, for example, when I put it on my hand in the morning, in my head I said to myself “okay, it’s time to put on scrambled eggs” 😉
Hourly indices were made with a thin layer of BGW9 white luminescent mass, resembling a lowercase “i”. There is a thin, black frame painted on the dial around each marker made of luminescent mass. The 12 o’clock index is an elongated triangle with the top pointing down. On the outermost side, additional minute indices are printed in the form of black lines. In the place of the index at 3 o’clock, the designer has placed a timestamp. It is a simple hole in the dial with a thin black frame. The date could be centered a little better vertically, because the date digit practically touches the upper edge of the rectangle with the date – it does not go under the dial, but one millimeter more and you would not be able to see the whole digit, but there is still some space at the bottom.
Above the axis of the hands there is a black inscription with the manufacturer’s logo and information about the automatic movement, and below the axis there is a place for the model name and information about the water resistance.
It is the hands in this watch that I like the least … Aquatico decided to use the so-called mercedes hands in this model. This is a hands set known from the Rolex Submariner. Half of cheap Chinese watches and all watches that pretend to be a Rolex Submariner have these hands + the Rolex Submariner itself, which is a total of about half of the watches available on the market. This design is so hackneyed that I literally got bored and seeing these hands even before the watch was officially on sale, I knew that they would sting my eyes. However, with the watch on my wrist, I found the design and the dial to be so simple that these hands are the only factor that adds a bit of madness to the dial, and a simple, straight hour hand would look even worse. The hands are brushed, and they are the only element under the glass that reacts to light in any way, slightly reflecting it.
The second hand was painted with orange paint, which contrasts nicely with the bright yellow background of the dial.
The dial is figuratively and literally flat, figuratively because there are no additional effects on it, it’s clean mat, no reflection of the sun, no color change, no reflections caused by indices. And it is literally flat due to the lack of applied indices or other elements, such as the manufacturer’s logo.
However, I noticed that due to its bland colors and very modest appearance, it fits perfectly with a casual outfit, such as a shirt or a jacket. In such an arrangement, this watch is presented on the manufacturer’s website and it will really match perfectly with such an outfit. Unlike other Aquatico models, this watch does not attract with the dial, it becomes almost invisible in it. In this model, the case, bezel and bracelet draw more attention. This is the first time I have come into contact with a watch where the first fiddle is played by steel around the dial and I must admit that I even like it. The bracelet is the best possible fastening for this watch, i doesn’t even try to put it on something else.
The dial is covered from the top with a flat sapphire glass with an anti-reflective coating on the inside, which from time to time makes itself felt, creating a blue glow when we look at the right angle.
In terms of the luma, the watch shines exactly as I expected, i.e. decently.
The very use of the BGW9 luma condemns the watch to a worse glow, and here, in addition, the indices are small, so there was no where to stuff this luma enough. The readability of the watch remains at a decent level after dark for several hours, while in the morning, to read the time, you would have to take a good look. Of all the Aquatico watches I have had, this one shines the worst.
Looking from the side, you can see that the bezel has been divided into 2 parts – its upper half is wider and has indentations thanks to which it is better held with your fingers, and the lower part is narrower and smooth. The upper part has been polished and the lower part brushed. Is it an accidental treatment? By no means … the case was finished in the same way – it gives an eye-catching effect of the consistency of the whole design, the bezel looks as if it was one with the bottom of the case and passed through the side wall to exit the bottom.
The bezel insert in this model is made of steel. This is the only option available for selection. The insert is circularly brushed and, due to the aforementioned intensive use (the watch on my wrist has collided with household items several times), it already has a small scratch around the 40 minute mark. By the way, I can only be glad that I did not have a watch with a ceramic or sapphire insert because the effect of the impact that caused the scratching of the steel could be a break in the ceramics or sapphire …
At 12 o’clock there is a white triangle filled with BGW9 superluminova i.e. glowing white. The remaining indices on the insert, dashes every 5 minutes, digits every 10 and dots every minute for the first 15 minutes are engraved in steel and filled with black paint. The quality of these elements is flawless, the indices are sharp and evenly filled with paint.
The bezel itself works very well, the resistance is perfect – not too strong and not too light, there is also no play. Of all the Aquatico models I have had the pleasure to associate with, the bezel in this model works best. The bezel has 120 clicks and is rotated only to the left as standard.
It’s been a long time since I had any watch that I could admire with its case back. It is no different this time. The case back is screwed on and fully steel. It has a shallowly engraved image of a mermaid sitting on a dolphin jumping out of the water. Standard information about the watch has been engraved on the edges of the caseback.
At first I thought it would be a scaled-down version of the Seastar bracelet; however, there are more differences than I expected.
The oyster bracelet is 20mm wide by the lugs and fits very well. The end links and all links are full, connected with each other by means of pressed sleeves and pins.
When caught in the hand, it gives the impression of being empty inside – it rustles in a specific way that is associated with poor quality metal. In addition, it seemed to be too light, which surprised me, because the bracelets in Aquatico were always made solidly and visually in no way differs from its predecessors. Then I realized that the lightness of the bracelet is most likely due to the fact that it narrows from 20mm at the lugs to 16mm at the clasp – half of the links in the bracelet are only 16mm wide, so it has the right to be light 😊 For me, this is an undeniable plus. It is the tightly tapered bracelets that I like the most. Visually, the bracelet in this watch looks great.
The clasp, which is perfect, also deserves praise. The clasp is only 1mm wider than the bracelet. It is only approx. 3 cm long, yet has 4 micro-adjustment eyelets.
The clasp, just like the bracelet, is completely brushed, and its mechanism is a classic clasp with double security. The fastening mechanism works flawlessly.
If it weren’t for the rustle the bracelet makes when we move our hands, I could say it’s perfect. So … the bracelet is almost perfect, it looks great, wears very comfortably and fits well with the whole watch. It does not spoil its image as a smaller diver. Ba! It even highlights this image and complements it perfectly.
A black NATO strap is also included. As mentioned before, I can’t imagine wearing this watch on anything other than a bracelet, so I didn’t change the bracelet to a strap. The strap feels a little stiff to the touch. Qualitatively it looks okay, it is solid and well made.
I am glad that Aquatico has finally decided to launch a diver in a smaller case. its style does not quite suit me, but after all, it is unique in its own way. How many diver watches are available on the market with a pastel colored dial – light blue and light yellow? While light blue dials can still be found, I haven’t seen any diver with a dial in such a shade of yellow. The watch felt great during the test and I hope that Aquatico will take this model further and will also add options for a different design of the dial and hands in this case with this bracelet (applied indices and glass as in the Seastar model are welcome 😊).
On the Aquatico website there are promotions from time to time -15%, sometimes – 20%. Even at this moment for Father’s Day, you can buy this watch for $ 254 with Free Shipping. In this budget, it is not as great quality / price as in the case of Seastar models, but it’s still a watch worth buying. And personally, I would not feel guilty paying that amount for it. The more so because it is a better thought-out design than it looks at first glance and the watch has no element to which you could clearly complain that it was done wrong.