Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean watch review! On this shiok Saturday, I’m reviewing the new Ascent watches from local microbrand, Advisor Watches.

The Advisor Ascent Classic (left), and the Advisor Ascent Skull (right).

The Ascent series is Advisor’s take on a supercompressor watch. Interestingly, there are two versions of the Ascent – a Classic version, and a Skull edition that features a partially skeletonised skull on the dial. Advisor kindly sent me both for review, so let’s take a look!

Advisor – the Brand

I’ve previously reviewed the Advisor Astrohelm (one of my very first watch reviews) more than a year ago, whereby I covered Advisor as a brand in detail. If you’re interested in the brand story of Advisor Watches, do check out the article here!

Advisor Ascent – Build Quality

For the price, I have to say that I’m really impressed by the build quality of the Ascent!

Sapphire crystal with AR coating protects the watch.

Firstly, the Advisor Ascent utilises a flat sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. Furthermore, there’s also an internal AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent the bulk of nasty reflections (a welcomed improvement over the aforementioned Advisor Astrohelm)! Elsewhere, the WR rating for the Ascent is 200M, which means that you can actually wear the watches out to the pool/sea without any issues. Given that the Ascent is billed as a supercompressor dive watch, the 200M WR rating fits the bill.

The Ascent is powered by either the Seiko NH35A, or the Miyota 82S0.

The Ascent Classic (pictured above) is powered by the reliable Seiko NH35A movement. Some quick specs: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking. The Seiko NH35A is one of my favourite affordable movements, so I was thrilled when I found out that it powers the Ascent Classic. For the Ascent Skull, the model is powered by a skeletonised Miyota 82S0 movement. It features similar specifications to the Seiko NH35A, except that it does not hack. There’s a lack of affordable skeletonised movements on the market, so I’m not surprised that Advisor turned to the Miyota 82S0. Overall, the two movements in both models share similar specifications, and are great workhorse movements.

The strap is alright.

Moving on to the strap, I would say that the default strap on the Ascent is of serviceable quality. It’s made from top grain calf leather, which means that it should develop patina over time unlike lower quality “genuine leather”. However, the lining of the strap feels cheap and cardboard-like, and isn’t that comfortable on the skin. Personally, I swapped out the default straps of the Ascent to silicone straps – they are much more comfortable, and I think silicone straps looks great with the supercompressor aesthetics of the Ascent too!

Swiss BGW9 lume is applied on both versions of the Ascent.

Advisor utilises Japanesse lume on both models of the Ascent. I’m happy to report that the internal bezel is lumed as well! In addition, Advisor has interestingly decided to lume the date window on the Ascent Classic. I don’t think I’ve come across a lumed date window before, so that’s certainly interesting! However, the lume isn’t very bright (by dive watch standards), and fades away a tad too quickly for my liking.

All in all, the Advisor Ascent (both variants) packs great specifications for their price. For roughly the same price as a Daniel Wellington, we get sapphire crystal with AR coating, workhorse automatic movements, top-grain leather straps, and even lume! (A DW watch possesses none of these features, by the way.)

Advisor Ascent – Design

Let’s start with the Ascent Classic.

A classic design.

The design of the Ascent Classic is well, classic. It doesn’t break the wheel, but I would say that the dial is well proportioned and executed nicely with a few nice touches. Firstly, the dial is actually sunburst, though the texture is definitely more subtle on the black variant of the Classic that I have here. Secondly, I like the applied indices used – it increases the level of depth present on the dial. The applied indices, combined with the internal rotating bezel, gives quite good depth to the watch. I also like the intriguing trapezoidal shape of the date window (though I would still have preferred a black date wheel), as well as the arrowed seconds hand that resembles the Advisor logo. Overall, the Ascent Classic is able to pull off a classic look without coming across as boring.

In comparison, the Advisor Ascent Skull is much more unconventional in its look.

On the other side of the scale, we have the Ascent Skull. The Ascent Skull is much more unconventional in its look – in fact, I would say that it is probably the most different looking dive watch I’ve handled thus far! The entire dial is dominated by the Skull motif, with part of the dial (the mouth of the skull) cut out to reveal the movement within. I think this is quite smart skeletonisation, with the ticking movement resembling teeth gnashing. I don’t think I’ve seen a skeletonised skull watch before, so I have to commend Advisor for the design innovation! Certainly a different take on memento mori. I also appreciate the brushed texture of the skull, which juxtaposes it against the matte black dial.

Love the bezel shape.

The bezel design of the Ascent is intriguing too! There’s a brushed circular portion, as well as an polished octagonal outer edge. Visually, it reminds me of the case/bezel of the BVLGARI Roma, and I think it’s a super interesting play of shapes on a supercompressor watch. It certainly adds additional character to the watch, and allows the Ascent to stand out a little more from the plethora of affordable dive watches out there.

Two well designed crowns, nicely signed.

Elsewhere, the case sides are nicely brushed, which contrast nicely against the polished sides of the bezel. We also get two intricately designed crowns, signed with the Advisor logo. The design of the crowns reminds me of bolts, which adds to the industrial feel of the watch. The crowns are also well proportioned and grooved, which makes handwinding the watch and/or turning the bidirectional inner bezel a breeze. However, only the 4 o’clock crown is screwed down, which is a shame. As the top crown does not screw down, the inner bezel tends to get misaligned slightly especially when you accidentally brush the top crown against objects.

Relatively simple caseback.

The screw-down caseback of the Advisor Ascent is relatively simple. The outer portion of the caseback is brushed, with some relevant information inscribed. In contrast, the inner section of the caseback is beadblasted, and features a rather generic looking artwork of an octopus and a diver. It’s not a caseback that makes you go wow, but for the price, I can’t really complain much!

The Ascent fits nicely on my wrist.

On the wrist, the 42mm dimensions of the Ascent fits well on my 7 inch wrist. It’s slightly bulky at 13.5mm thick, but that’s to be expected given that the Ascent is billed as a dive watch.

So which version of the Ascent is better for you? Both Ascents variants definitely have their appeal. In my opinion, if you’re searching for an affordable everyday beater watch, the Ascent Classic would definitely fit the bill very well. Its classic design is versatile, and the watch won’t feel out of place in most scenarios that you find yourself in. However, if you already own a fair amount of watches, and are simply looking for something different to add to your collection, the Ascent Skull would definitely make for a great weekend watch that won’t break the bank!

Shootout: Advisor Ascent Classic vs Spinnaker Bradner

In this shootout, I’ll be comparing the Ascent against one of the most popular supercompressor dive watch on the market – the Spinnaker Bradner. For the sake of a fair comparison, I’ll only be comparing the Classic variant of the Ascent. The unique looks of the Skull would make it a pointless comparison with a regular dive watch!

The Spinnaker Bradner, priced at $285 USD/ ~S$390.

In terms of specifications, both watches are actually pretty evenly matched. Both the Advisor Ascent (Classic) and the Spinnaker Bradner uses sapphire crystal, the NH35A movement, and Swiss Superluminova lume. However, the Ascent does edge out the Bradner with a slighter higher WR rating (200m to 180m), and the inclusion of AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal.

In comparison, the Advisor Ascent Classic, priced at $320 USD/~S$443 (after promo code below).

From an aesthetics perspective, it’s again a close fight. Both watches features sunburst dials, as well as applied indices and well integrated date windows. Which design appeals better to you probably depends on your personal tastes. If you’re more into vintage, the Bradner is definitely right up your alley. In contrast, the Ascent Classic features a cleaner, more modern design. If I had to pick one, I would probably go with the Ascent Classic due to the better finishing of the case, crown and the lugs. There’s nice angularity and different finishing techniques applied, which helps the watch to belie its low price tag.

Given that both watches are about the same price, I would personally pick the Ascent Classic over the Bradner.

Conclusion – so the Advisor Ascent “shiok” or not?

For the price, the Advisor Ascents are certainly great value propositions. The specifications are great, with the design of the Ascent Classic great for an everyday watch. Meanwhile, the Ascent Skull will certainly appeal to those with more adventurous tastes. Whether you’re looking for something more conservative, or something fun, there’s something for everyone!

Before we go, one last wrist shot.

For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant readers 20% off any Advisor watch. After the discount, the Ascent Classic can be had for just $320 USD/~S$443, while the Ascent Skull would be $360 USD/ S$499. Personally, I can see the two Ascents as a great, affordable two watch collection – the Ascent Classic during the weekdays in the office, and the Ascent Skull for the weekend bar trips!

View the full Advisor Ascent collection here.

Specifications of the Advisor Ascent Classic:

Case Design: Custom-Made

Case Material: 316L Stainless Stain

Case Back: Screwed In Embossed

Diameter: 42mm

Height: 13.5mm

Lug Width: 22mm

Bezel: Bi-directional Rotating

Dial: Sunburst (Black)

Date: With Date Function

Index & Hands: Applied Index (BGW9 or C3 Luminous)

Crystal: Scratch Resistant Sapphire with Anti-Reflective Coating

Crown: Screwed Down

Movement: Automatic NH35a (Seiko)

Water Resistance: 200m / 600ft

Straps: Top Grain Calf Leather

Specifications of the Advisor Ascent Skull:

Case Design: Custom-Made Case

Case Material: 316L Stainless Stain (IP Plating with Rosegold)

Case Back: Screwed Down Embossed with Individually Numbered (limited to 150 pieces)

Case Diameter: 42mm

Height: 13.5mm

Lug Width: 22mm

Dial: Open-Heart Layered Skull Dial

Bezel: Bi-directional Rotating Bezel

Date: With Date Function Index & Hands: Applied Index (BGW9 Luminous)

Crystal: Scratch Resistant Sapphire with Anti-Reflective Coating

Crown: Screwed Down

Movement: Automatic 82S0 (Miyota)

Water Resistance: 200m / 600ft

Straps: Top Grain Calf Leather

P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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