The Stowa Seatime Prodiver is a watch that lives up to its name. True to its brand lineage, the Prodiver hits all the marks for quality that you’d expect from a watch produced by an 85 year old company. It also has the capability to withstand far more than your average dive enthusiast can throw at it. But does all this history and sport prowess make for a watch worth owning? Let’s find out.
Case: Sandblasted Stainless Steel
Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic
Lens: 3.7mm sapphire crystal
Case Back: Screw down
Strap: Steel bracelet, rubber strap with deployment clasp
Water Res.: 1000m
Dimensions: 42mm, 50.30 mm lug-to-lug
Lug Width: 22mm
Crown: Screw down
Weight: 245g w. steel bracelet (our measurement), 125g w. leather strap (Stowa site)
Warranty: 2 years
Founded in 1927 by Walter Storz in Hornberg Germany, the Stowa watch company has withstood a long, and at times difficult history. In 1945, the original Stowa factory was destroyed and the company moved operations close to the Swiss-German border. Within two years, Storz had helped establish the German Watch Industry Association, and today Stowa is stronger than ever under the guidance of Jörg Schauer, who also owns the Schauer watch brand and the DUROWE watch movement brand.
The Seatime is a line first introduced by Stowa in 1963, and with the Prodiver, Stowa has not only preserved the styling of the vintage pieces, but has added elements that make it truly at home in the sea. The Prodiver is powered by a ETA 2824-2 and features a depth rating of 1,000 M. The dial is protected by a 3.7mm thick sapphire crystal, and the case features a helium release valve for prolonged deep dives.
Case and Build Quality
The case of the Seatime Prodiver is robust, measuring 42mm x 15.6mm, with clean geometric lines and hard edges. The case has an oval shape when viewed from above, with its sides tapering smoothly in to the lugs. However, a hard break downward in the top case where the lugs begin disrupts the soft oval shape and gives the watch a more square tactical appearance. When viewed from the side, the hard geometry of the Prodiver is even more apparent. The sharp break of the lugs is highly visible from this angle, and the tip of the lugs come to a dramatic, protruding point.
Seen clearly in the bezel, quality craftsmanship is a hallmark of the Seatime case. The 60-click unidirectional bezel has the satisfying machined feel we look for in a high-value piece such as the Stowa, and the outer triangular minute marker aligns perfectly with the minute indices on the dial with every turn. The coining on the side of the bezel is precise and provides an easy grip when turning. The Prodiver screw down crown is also easy to adjust with its precise coining, but locks tight when needed. The crown is protected on each side by protrusions in the case which are well incorporated into the smooth curvature of body.
My one criticism of the Seatime Prodiver case is its inclusion of screw lug bars. I appreciate that this style of lug bar may provide greater security when diving – I can assure you, once tightened these lug bars aren’t going anywhere – but that’s precisely the problem…the Prodiver lug bars aren’t going anywhere, even when you want them to! From my experience, and what I’ve read on forums and other watch sites, screw lugs on any watch are notorious for being too tight when shipped from the factory. In our case, a bench vice was used to loosen the screws, and since that time we’ve had no problems, but the original hassle seems avoidable.
Dial and Bezel Insert
For a professional grade diver, the Seatime offers some unique and distinguishing design elements on the dial. The dial on the model we reviewed has a simple black base with white non numerical hour and minute indices. Triangular markers are placed at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, and thick hash markers fill in the gaps at the other hour positions. There is also a date window at the 6 o’clock position, featuring white text on a black background. On a watch at this price point, it is nice to see that the date window matches the color of the dial, so as to not disrupt the overall aesthetic. On the dial you will also find a Stowa Seatime Prodiver insignia at 12 o’clock, and indication of the watch’s automatic movement and 1000M depth rating at 6 o’clock. This may sound like a lot of information, but the approximately 32.5mm internal dial provides ample space, and the simple yet robust hour markers provide a quick and easy read of the time.
The hands of the Seatime call to the classic look of the Omega Plofrof, while maintaining a unique appearance. The minute and hour hands are both roman sword style, and are white and orange respectively, similar to the Ploprof. However, unlike the hands of the Ploprof, which have a handle of sorts, the hands of the Seatime Prodiver have a narrow taper that runs the full length of each hand to the center of the watch. The second hand of the Seatime has a similar shape to the Ploprof, but is orange rather than white and features a circular dot indicator near its tip rather than a square.
The bezel insert of the Prodiver features numerical minute markings at 20, 30, 40 and 50 minutes, with hash markers at all other minutes and triangular markings at the 9, 12 and 3 o’clock positions. The insert has a silver base and black markings that matches well with the coloration of the sandblasted case and dial. However, for the first quarter of the bezel, this color way has been inverted, with a black base and silver hash and triangular markings between 0 and 15 minutes.
The C3 luminova on the Prodiver is outstanding. Located on the hands, dial hour indices and bezel 12 o’clock position, the lume on the Prodiver takes a charge quickly and retains its strength for a long time. Frankly, I find it rare that I notice the lume on many watches, but its certainly noteworthy on the Prodiver.
Bracelet & Wearability
The Seatime Prodiver that we reviewed came with a black rubber strap with deployment clasp and steel bracelet with deployment clasp. Unfortunately, the black rubber strap had been cut to fit a very small wrist, and I was therefore unable to test it. However, based on seeing the strap in person, I can attest to its feel, which is sturdy, yet slightly more rigid than one may hope. It is clearly built to withstand actual diving. When installed, the rubber strap also provides for a more sporty look to the Prodiver.
On the metal bracelet, the Seatime is like a chrome plated tank. The bracelet fits like a glove between the lugs of the Prodiver, and matches perfectly with the aesthetic of the watch case, while downplaying its sporty side. I think the Seatime on its steel bracelet would look fantastic with more formal attire. Unfortunately however, with the metal bracelet installed, (by our measurement) the Prodiver weighs in at 245 grams, which I found too heavy to wear on a regular basis.
My preferred strap option with the Prodiver was a nylon NATO. I found the light weight of the NATO made the heafty Prodiver quite comfortable to wear, and in the case of the brown (pictured) or green NATO’s I used, the addition of earth tones to the color pallet of the Prodiver brought out its military undertones. Both NATO’s I wore with the Seatime Prodiver were purchased from countycomm.com.
To sum things up, the Stowa Seatime Prodiver seamlessly transitions from diving tool to daily accessory. At approximately $1,000, the Prodiver hits all of its marks for brand history, quality components and construction, styling and wearability. It is a truly unique and beautiful piece, with the versatility to look great on a NATO, metal bracelet, or sportier rubber strap. The piece isn’t without its drawback, however, as I found its heft with the metal bracelet to be too much to wear, and its inclusion of screw lugs to be more frustrating than helpful. That said, these downsides aren’t really downsides when you consider their purpose. The Stowa is big and heavy because its meant to go over 3,000 feet under the sea, and the screw lugs are there to keep the damn watch on your wrist. It’s hard for me to really fault the Prodiver for its minor setbacks when they are there for such good reasons. If you think the Prodiver sounds like the watch for you, head over to Stowa’s website where you can purchase one today.
by Blake Malin