Review: Lorier Neptune Collection

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Lorier is a two-person micro-brand founded and run by husband-and-wife team, Lorenzo and Lauren Ortega. Both Lorenzo and Lauren have a love for classic watch design and adventure, and they wanted to create a watch that looked like a vintage piece, but one that was also built to modern specs. Something that one wouldn’t have to worry about banging around on the trail or under the sea.

The result of their efforts is the Neptune diver. Inspired by vintage watches like the Rolex 6538 “big crown” Submariner, the Tudor Submariner, the Omega CK2913 Seamaster, and the Seiko “62MAS,” the Neptune does a great job of delivering the goods without feeling overly derivative. The Neptune was designed to look and feel vintage, yet be robust and reliable while still being affordable, and I really feel like these watches hit the mark. Others seem to agree with that sentiment, as the watches appear to have broken away from the pack to really resonate with watch-heads. Let’s dive right in.

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$389

Review: Lorier Neptune Collection

Case
Stainless steel
Movement
SII (Seiko) NH35A
Dial
Black/black “gilt”/blue
Lume
Super-LumiNova BG W9
Lens
Domed plexiglass
Strap
Steel bracelet
Water Resistance
200 meters
Dimensions
38.5 x 48mm
Thickness
14.3mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw-down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$389

The stainless steel case has that classic “skin diver” shape, with thick lugs that feature a polished chamfer. I measured the case width to about 38.5 millimeters, so yes, by today’s leviathan diver standards, the Neptune is small. I was wearing my Tudor Black Bay (which is 41 millimeters wide) when the Neptune arrived for review, and when I switched over to the Neptune it felt a little small—and I mean that in a good way—by comparison.

Shown here on a 7-inch wrist.

I can comfortably wear larger watches like the Black Bay and the Longines Legend Diver, but I also love the feel of the smaller vintage pieces in my collection. It’s refreshing to have a micro-brand diver in the sub-40-millimeter range. If you have Herculean wrists, the Neptune might not be for you, but for mere mortals the size is great.

The thickness of the case/bezel is about 12 millimeters, and with the crystal it’s a touch over 14 millimeters. The distribution of the 14 millimeters through the crystal, bezel, mid-case, and case back looks great here, and it leaves the case looking very balanced.

The 14 millimeters is nicely distributed between the crystal, bezel, mid-case, and case back.
Note the drilled lugs.
A large, signed crown at three.

Speaking of the crystal, the Ortegas went full-on vintage by using a thick, domed acrylic crystal. Because it flattens out on top, it’s not quite as domed as some vintage crystals (like the sort you would find on some vintage Squales, for example), but with the crystal’s rounded edges you’re about 90% there.

Acrylic, or plexiglass, crystals are famous for their warmth, and the Neptune’s glass doesn’t disappoint. Despite my penchant for all things vintage, on modern watches I usually prefer a sapphire crystal largely for its durability. However, I really like the overall shape and look of the Neptune with its thick plexiglass, so I’m making an exception here.

The 120-click unidirectional bezel is fairly thin and in keeping with the overall proportions of the case. It has an aluminum insert, another nod to vintage divers. The owners had originally intended for the insert to be acrylic (which would have been awesome!), but due to the narrow surface area acrylic would have been far too fragile. The same goes for sapphire and ceramic. So, rather than widen the bezel and sacrifice their near-perfect proportions, they opted for aluminum, which was very popular with vintage dive watches of the 1960s, and it looks right at home here.

Note the fine teeth on the bezel.
The blue bezel lights up when it catches the light.

I found the bezel action to be acceptable for a watch that comes in under $400. In fact, it feels better than some other, more expensive divers that I’ve handled. The printing on the insert is modeled after the likes of the Omega Seamaster 300, with a classic look that features dashes at the fives, numbers at the tens, and a small triangle at 60.

At a whopping 7.3 millimeters wide, the crown is quite large, but I have to say that I really like the look and feel of it. In fact, it’s one of the features that initially drew me to the watch. It’s signed with Lorier’s chevron logo, and it screws in.The dial is a pleasing blend of vintage influences and is rendered in a glossy finish with painted Super-LumiNova indices. The 12, three, six and nine are long triangles, while the remaining numbers are large dots; it’s a look that is very reminiscent of vintage Tudor Submariners. The dial is signed with “Lorier,” their chevron logo, “automatic” below the 12, and “200m ~ 660ft” above the six. The text is not obtrusive and is well proportioned and spaced on the dial.

The trio.
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The dial looks a bit small relative to the rest of the case, and it’s emphasized, I think, by the prominent halo created along the edge of the crystal where it meets the case. I did an eyeball measurement with my calipers and the dial measures to about 25.5 millimeters in width. Though it felt small at first, it quickly grew on me and I haven’t given it a second thought since.

The dials are available in three variations: black with “gilt” text (though it’s more matte gold than true gilt), black with white text, and blue with white text. The bezel inserts are black with black and blue with blue. I found the blue color to be really pleasant, especially on the bezel insert.

Solid glow on the lume.

The hands are also a well done retro homage. Both are lume filled and the hour hand has a small arrow tip. The finish of the handset is especially interesting. The hands are not polished or blasted, but rather they feature vertical striations that allow the hands to play with the light.

One of my favorite features of the Neptune is the movement—the SII (Seiko) NH35A. I’m a huge fan of Seiko, and their movements are first rate. The NH35A is a 24-jewel automatic caliber that both hand winds and hacks, and it has a power reserve of 41 hours. The NH35A is a well made workhorse with impeccable pedigree and it offers and incredible value here.

The Neptune comes supplied on a bracelet, with inspiration for the design coming from the classic Omega 7077 “flat-link” bracelet. It is made of brushed  solid steel with fully articulating screwed links. In true vintage fashion, the bracelet has a significant taper, going from the 20-millimeter solid end links down to 16 millimeters at the clasp. The clasp is a deployant type with push-buttons on the side for security. There’s no diver’s extension. The clasp is signed.

Signed…
…and tapered.

Compared to most bracelets today, this one is pretty skinny, but I found that it works well with the proportions of the watch as a whole, and it’s well made to boot.

Lorier also produces and sells nylon mil-straps, which are sold separately.The Neptune really is a well made and designed micro-diver with tons of character. The large crown, thin aluminum bezel insert, domed plexiglass crystal, and the tapered bracelet all add up to one very cool watch—and it’s available at an amazingly affordable price. At $389, you really can’t go wrong with the Neptune. Lorier

Images from this post:
Christoph (Instagram’s @vintagediver) is a long time collector and lover of all things vintage, starting with comic books when he was a kid (he still collects them). His passion for watches began in 1997 when he was gifted a family heirloom vintage Omega Genève by his step-father. That started him on the watch collecting path—buying and selling vintage watches of all sorts, with a special appreciation for vintage dive watches and Seiko.
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