The Prometheus Watch Company has been producing unique tool watches since 2008. The Portugal based brand hit a real stride, making a name for themselves, with their now discontinued Ocean Diver series. These rugged tool divers had distinctive looks and apparently exceptional build quality that gave the brand a cult status. Other models, such as the uniquely faceted Trireme and the surprisingly elegant Signatura have kept the brand’s status and popularity strong.
Their most recent, the Sailfish, is a lower priced offering with vintage inspired looks. Specifically, as their website states, the watch takes cues from the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms from the early 50’s. This classic dive watch served as the basis for many of the features, both physical and graphic, that are seen on contemporary dives watches. That said, the Sailfish is not an homage watch to the Fifty Fathoms, like the Helson Skindiver, as the inspiration seems limited. Specifically, the Sailfish takes its visual centerpiece, the domed sapphire bezel, from the Fifty Fathoms. The Sailfish also features a sapphire crystal, steel bracelet and a Seiko NH36 automatic movement as well as a price tag of around $460 (currency exchange depending), making it a decent value in a 300m tool diver.
Prometheus Sailfish Review
Movement: Seiko NH36
Strap: Steel bracelet
Water Res.: 300M
Dimensions: 42 x 52 mm
Thickness: 14.5 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 7.25 x 3.6mm
Weight: 241g (our measure)
Warranty: 2 years
Price: $460 (currency depending)
The Sailfish has a fairly simple case design, with some elegant curves and geometry. Measuring 42 x 52 x 14.5mm (to the top of the domed bezel), the case is a comfortable medium size for a rugged watch. The bezel does add another millimeter on to the width, making it 43mm up top, but that doesn’t really effect the feel of the watch. The case shape from above has typical lines, which are dominated by the massive bezel. The lugs are thick, but appear short as they are connected away from the case center. The whole surface, and case for that matter, has a clean satin brushed finished, which is very appealing and soft. The top surface of the watch also is ever so slightly curved all around, which makes it less blunt than a typical tool watch.
Looking at the watch from the side, you can see that most of the height comes from the bezel and case back, as the mid-case is quite thin. The unadorned sides are broken up at the edge, on each lug, with the flat-head from each screw bar. Two-sided screw bars are still unnecessarily difficult to deal with in my book, if you are a regular strap changer, so I wish they had used a different method here. They do add a nice rugged and industrial detail to the watch, but to me this is a situation where function needs to be first.
Coming off at 3 is a large, 7.25 x 3.6mm, screw down crown. The crown has a simple design, with a straight cylinder shape and coined edge. On the outside surface is Prometheus’ rather cool flame logo. Though the crown is large, I think it looks good on the watch as it has to fight with the bezel. If it had been smaller, it would have gotten lost. The case back of the Sailfish is a solid steel screw down type. In the center is an etching of a, you guessed, Sailfish, around which are some details about the watch.
The domed sapphire bezel is very striking. Standing tall off of the already tall metal edge. It gleams and glistens in a way that flat bezels simply can’t, yet has an oddly utilitarian appeal to it as well. The bezel itself has a fairly decent action to it. it’s a 120 click unidirectional mechanism that lines up well, and though has a bit of back play after landing on a mark, doesn’t feel loose of flimsy.
The dial of the Sailfish has an interesting vintage inspired design that as far as I can tell does not relate to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. It’s also a design that is a bit of a departure from typical dive watch designs, feeling more like a vintage military field watch. In one sense, this nods to the fact that the Fifty Fathoms was a military design, though visually it is quite different.
The dial is ultimately very simple as well. The surface is matte black (also available in blue, grey or yellow) on which there is a primary index consisting of large, lumed numerals. They are bold and quite clear, making for a very legible design. On the outer perimeter is a seconds/minutes index in railroad track style, printed in white, with larger lumed lines every 5 minutes. And that’s it for indexes, keeping true to a no-fuss military design. Otherwise, all that is printed is a Prometheus logo below twelve and “Automatic, 300m/1000ft” above six.
Replacing the 3 marker is a date window showing the black on white date disk. In this circumstance, I think the contrast works well as the date makes up for the absent marker. Had it matched the dial, it might have felt like a hole in the numerals. The window also lines up well with the hour index, preventing any awkwardness in the layout.
The bezel, once again, plays a large role in the dial. The insert of the bezel has a layout very similar to the Fifty Fathoms with numerals for 15, 30 and 45 and lines for every 5 minutes. At 0/60 is a large triangle, which I believe is different from the FF, in that the original models had a diamond shape. The markers, which are all lumed, are very large, almost running edge to edge. This is emphasized by the distortion from the sapphire bezel, which makes them bow in a cool way.
When I first saw the watch, I was afraid there would be a disconnect between the look of the dial and the bezel. The dial and hands speak to early 20th century designs, while the bezel is more mid-century. In practice, it looks fine and they compliment each other well. The numerals on the dial feel balanced with the numerals on the bezel proportionally, and the fonts, though slightly different, are harmonious.
The hands are perhaps the weirdest design element on the watch. The hour and minute hands are highly articulated “squellete” style, which have an almost baroque feel. The hour hand is squat, with a flared end while the minutes hand is long, roman sword like, both of which have elongated tips. Within each hand are many sections, each bordered with a metal edge and filled with lume. The effect is very decorative and certainly different. The seconds hand resembles that of the Fifty Fathoms, but with an added red tip for a needed touch of color.
The lume on the Sailfish is quite impressive. Hands, dial and bezel all glow bright green, and fairly consistently with each other. Though not unheard of, I was pleasantly surprised by the lume given the relatively low price point of the watch, which beats the lume on many watches that cost much more.
Movement: Sii NH36
The Prometheus is powered by the Seiko Sii NH36 Automatic. This 24-jewel movement features hacking, hand winding, day/date (though day is not in use), 50hrs of power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 bph. This is a well liked and reliable movement by Seiko that we’ve seen several times before. In our time with the watch, it was accurate and had no issues with power reserve.
Straps and wearability
The Sailfish comes mounted on a very nicely made 22mm 3-link Oyster style bracelet. The links have an even satin brushing, which matches the case. They are also easily adjusted via one-sided screws, which is perhaps the simplest method of removing/adding links, as you only need a single screwdriver and a bit of time. No risk of lost screws, no special tools. Finishing the bracelet is a really fantastic clasp. It’s quite a bit larger than your standard bracelet clasp, but hides a great feature.
On the clasp is a set of buttons and a set of sliders. The buttons open the clasp as expected, and the slider control the dive extension. Rather than your typical “flip-out” extension, this has an easily adjustable type that is very useful, even when not diving. By pulling back on the sliders, the extension releases and can be sized in small increments, up to about half and inch of extension. During the day, if your wrist gets uncomfortable, you can loosen the bracelet a little bit, which can make all the difference. One other nice feature is that the inside of the clasp has perlage finishing; a very cool and unexpected detail.
On the wrist, the Sailfish wears nicely. It’s definitely sizable, but not too large. The 42mm diameter gives it a respectable build without going over board. The 52mm lug-to-lug is also fairly tame, though given the relative flatness of the watch, which is to say the lugs don’t curve down much, it feels a bit longer. Not helping this are the bracelet’s end links, which protrude an additional several millimeters.
The Sailfish then has a nice rugged look that definitely speaks to a vintage aesthetic. The bezel really stands out visually, and if you are into that style, you’ll definitely be into how it appears on the wrist. It’s bold, sporty and a bit aggressive too, despite the tame case. The watch also looks tough, and purposeful, like the bezel is a bumper made to protect the watch during a fall. While there is some elegance to the design, I do think of this as a tool watch, and the kind of watch that looks best with casual attire.
There is a lot to like about the Prometheus Sailfish. It’s got a cool and somewhat unique look, even if inspired by a classic design, that is rugged and while draws some attention, does not try to stand out. The bezel is likely the make or break detail for anyone looking at this, and for me it worked. You don’t see many watches with domed bezels, and it gives it a distinct personality. On top of all that, the watch is very solid and decently finished, making your about-$460 go a long ways.
I did have one issue that is worth mentioning, however. I could not remove the bracelet, due to the screwbars being stuck. I tried every trick I knew, but when they started to strip, I stopped. This appears to have been a manufacturing issue that has been addressed and resolved, but if you do pick one of these up, I would check the screws to make sure before wearing the watch too much. That said, I imagine their customer service would handle such an issue.
review unit supplied by Prometheus Watch Company
written and photographed by Zach Weiss