Since Seiko made the NH34 movement available for general sale, which in practice is a very popular NH35 movement modified with a GMT function, it has started to appear on the watch market like mushrooms, mainly among the so-called microbrand watch models with an additional hand indicating a second time zone.
Aquatico also followed this trend by offering new variations of its most popular models: Steel Man, which was recently reviewed by Tomek, Super Charger and Sea Star, available for a few days now, which I am pleased to present to you today.This is the 4th version of the Seastar model that I have used, and so far it has been my favorite model of this brand. I still remember how positively surprised I was 4.5 years ago by the first Aquatico watch I ever had in my hands, which was the Bronze Seastar model.
Has the Seastar GMT Aquatico managed to maintain or even improve its quality since then?
Since the appearance of the Dolphin model, Aquatico boxes have been wooden boxes lined with black velvet material with cutouts for the watch, strap and warranty card. The box is very light considering its size, but there’s really nothing to complain about in terms of quality.
The first Seastar came to me in a cardboard box, here we have a wooden box, so I consider it an improvement in quality compared to the first model.
This is the element that has basically not changed compared to the first version, and is identical to the V2 version. The case is 42mm wide and 50mm long and is fully brushed. The cuts are made very carefully, something this manufacturer has already accustomed us to. I was afraid that due to the use of an additional GMT hand, the watch would be even thicker than the previous version. Did my fears come true?
Not at all. The entire case, case back, and glass are 14.5 mm thick, which is exactly the same as the V2 version. This is a considerable value, but due to the thickness of the Seiko movement, the use of very thick glass and the water resistance of 300 m, it would probably be difficult to make this watch thinner.
The case does not have a crown cover, and the crown itself is large and remains the only element unchanged since the Bronze Seastar model. The crown is screwed down, operating it is easy and gives the impression of being solid.
Despite its large size on paper, the watch is very comfortable to wear and visually appears smaller than 42mm on the wrist. Like the previous versions, it fits perfectly on my 18 cm wrist, but it could also be worn by people with smaller or larger wrists than mine.
And again, the biggest change compared to the first version took place under the glass. The first novelty is the available dial variants. In addition to classic painted dials, we can choose from dials made of unusual materials such as carbon fiber or blue aventurine.
What caught my eye the most was the aventurine dial because I had already dealt with this stone and I know how beautifully it can shimmer in the sun. It’s no different in this case, the dial shows off even in low light and shimmers amazingly with every movement of the hand with the watch on the wrist.The effect is exactly what I remember from the Balticus Stardust I once owned, except that the Aquatico is a much cheaper watch. Basically, it’s probably the cheapest watch with an aventurine dial available on the market at the moment, and certainly the cheapest I know.
The indices have also been changed compared to the previous version – they now have the shape of strongly extended trapezoids with the shorter side directed towards the center of the dial. This time the indices are silver in color and are filled with superluminova BGW9, which in the dark reflects the previously collected blue light.
The hour and minute hands in the same style also have a trapezoidal shape, with the shorter side in this case pointing outwards, which fits perfectly with the indices and looks very aesthetic. The second hand is normally much thinner, about 4/6 of its length there is an elongated pentagon with a lume in the middle, and behind the pentagon, the last section of the hand has been slimmed down even more and painted red. The GMT hand is a straight arrow with a red-painted arrowhead and a lume in the middle.
All hands have been brushed, which contrasts nicely with the polished indices. Generally, I really like these hands, the minute hand reaches to the small minute indices, the hour hand to the large hour indices, and the second hand to the very end of the dial, but the pentagon with the lume perfectly reaches to the larger hour indices. I really like it when it is well thought out with attention to such details, and here it is perfect in this respect.
There is a printed manufacturer’s logo under the 12 o’clock index and information with the model name and waterproof class above the 6 o’clock index. Between indices 4 and 5 there is a small, round date window with a white frame. The window is so small that during two-digit days of the month, the date barely fits in the window. This is of course a matter of taste, but I don’t like this solution, I don’t know what bothers me more – that the date display is round or that these are black numbers on a white background when we are dealing with a dark dial.
From the top, the watch is closed with a sapphire glass with internal anti-reflection. The glass creates an interesting effect because it is flat from the top and concave from the bottom, which when viewed from a certain angle looks as if there was a glass dome inside the watch and the image of the dial itself is slightly curved 😊 The dial and hands undergo a positive change with each subsequent version of the watch. In this case, we already have an individual design, without copying well-known brands, and at the same time a very aesthetic and coherent design. For me, a big plus compared to the first and second versions.
No major surprise here. The steel, full caseback has an engraved image of part of the globe with continents around which basic information about the watch and the limited number are engraved.
This is an element that, at first glance, is new for this brand. So far, all the bezels in Aquatico watches that I have dealt with have had an insert made of metal or ceramics. In the case of the new GMT models, the manufacturer decided to use a bezel insert made of sapphire glass. The insert is two-color, black and blue, with indices painted on it on a 24-hour scale. The bezel rotates to the left and has 120 clicks. This is an element that has probably been unchanged from the regular version of the watch with a diving bezel because all other 24-hour bezels I know rotate in both directions. The bezel is well centered and perfectly aligns with the indices on the dial.
Seiko NH35 is the so-called workhorse. The NH34 with which this watch is equipped is practically the same movement, the only difference is the possibility of adding a GMT hand. The movement has a 41-hour power reserve and operates at a frequency of 21,600 beats per hour. Personally, I have not yet encountered this movement causing any problems. My unit has an accuracy of approximately +4 seconds/day, which is a very good result for such a budget machine.
This is another novelty introduced by the manufacturer in this model. Instead of the Oyster bracelet that is standard for all Aquatico models, the watch comes with a bracelet consisting of 5 parts per link. The design is essentially similar except that narrow, polished elements have been added on each side between the center and outer brushed parts of the link. The bracelet is 22mm wide between the lugs and narrows to 20mm at the clasp.
The clasp itself is also different than what the manufacturer is accustomed to. This time we are dealing with a large clasp equipped with 3 micro-adjustment holes and the possibility of opening the clasp by a few centimeters so that you can put the watch on the wetsuit. The clasp opens only by pressing the buttons on both sides of the clasp, there is no need to additionally latch the clasp with a clip.
The entire bracelet is made very well, the fit of the end links on the case is perfect, there is no looseness. The links are thick and nicely finished, and the clasp, despite its size, does not pinch the wrist and the watch is worn very comfortably on this bracelet, which, as it turns out, unnecessarily I was worried about.
Aquatico once again did not disappoint my expectations. The Seastar, which in my opinion is the flagship model of this brand, and the GMT version has all the advantages of its predecessors, but adds something new to the design and quality, apart from the additional GMT hand. The watch on the manufacturer’s website, after taking into account the discount code (which Aquatico offers quite often), can currently be purchased for $300, which in my opinion is a reasonable price for what the watch offers. Especially in the case of the version with an aventurine dial, because, as I mentioned earlier, it is the cheapest watch with such a dial available on the market. If someone likes the design, they can buy the watch without worrying about the quality, because the quality offered by Aquatico is always at a very good level in relation to the price, which is also confirmed in this case.