I would say that the Dreadnought is Aries Gold’s first proper dive watch. I previously reviewed the brand’s Black Sea, but I would say that was more of a desk diver due to its looks and specifications. For those looking for a serious tool watch, the Dreadnought is the model you should be looking at. Let’s see if it’s any good!
Aries Gold – the Brand
Many of us Singaporeans should be familiar with the brand Aries Gold – we see Aries Gold watches stocked in watch retailer H2 Hub, which has over 10 locations in Singapore. What many Singaporeans may not know is that Aries Gold watches are actually “Made in Singapore” – the brand possess their own manufacturing and assembly facilities and team of watchmakers right here on our little red dot. If you would like to know more about Aries Gold’s brand story, do read my review of the Aries Gold Jolter (one of my personal favourites) here, in which I covered Aries Gold as a brand in detail. I also previously reviewed the Aries Gold Cruiser here, the Aries Gold Roadster here, the Aries Gold El Toro here, the Aries Gold Vanguard here, and the Aries Gold Black Sea here. In addition, I did a feature article on why I believe Aries Gold to be the best watch brand under S$200, which can be read here.
Aries Gold Dreadnought – Video Review
If you’re interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review of the Aries Gold Dreadnought below!
Aries Gold Dreadnought – Build Quality
As typical of Aries Gold watches, the specifications of the Dreadnought punches above its price point.
Firstly, the Dreadnought uses a flat sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to its 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. It is definitely a marked improvement over the mineral crystal of the Black Sea. In addition, the WR rating for the Vanguard is 200m, meaning that you should have no issues wearing the Black Sea in the pool or the shower.
The Aries Gold Dreadnought is powered by the workhorse 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. I’m a fan of the Seiko NH35 movement, and greatly prefer it to the Miyota 8 series movement (which is the alternative movement commonly seen with microbrand watches). This is due to the fact that unlike the NH35, the Miyota 8 series movements are non-hacking, suffer from a stuttering seconds hand (some models), and in my own experience with the Miyota movements, are also more prone to accuracy problems. In contrast, the Seiko NH35 is a movement that is as reliable as they come. At this sub-S$300 price point, the Seiko NH35 movement is definitely the best bet. It’s also visible through an exhibition case back, which is atypical for dive watches.
Unfortunately, some corners had to be inevitably cut to offer an automatic watch (with sapphire crystal) for ~S$200. In this instance, it’s the bracelet that unfortunately suffers. It’s hollow, and thus feels a tad ratty on the wrist. The clasp isn’t the most solidly built as well. I wouldn’t say that it’s terrible – it’s comparable to the metal bracelets found on similarly priced Seiko 5 watches – but it’s an aspect that gives away the affordable price tag of the Dreadnought.
The Dreadnought also features Swiss C5 Super-Luminova, and glows brightly in the dark. It’s a significant improvement from the “Asian Lume” found on previous Aries Gold watches.
All in all, the specifications of the Dreadnought are great for its price. I doubt you’ll be able to find a dive watch with sapphire crystal, a Seiko NH35A movement, and Swiss C5 Super-Luminova for ~S$220 elsewhere, excluding those Chinese factory Aliexpress brands. The hollow bracelet is an area for improvement, but expected for its price.
Aries Gold Dreadnought – Design
Aries Gold states that the Dreadnought is inspired by modern naval vessels, but to me it clearly takes after established watch icons.
Like the Seiko Samurai, the Dreadnought features an angular case with edged lugs. It’s definitely a familiar look, but that isn’t necessarily a rebuke. In fact, the Samurai happens to be my favourite case shape from Seiko due to the strong presence it commands on the wrist with its faceted profile. On this particular variant of the Dreadnought, the case is coated black for a stealthy, contemporary look. The bezel is nice to rotate as well, with little play.
While the Dreadnought’s case clearly references the Seiko Samurai, the dial is decidedly Tudor Black Bay-esque. The applied circular indices – along with the cut-out date window – adds depth to the otherwise flat dial. On this black colourway, the indices, text, and minute track are in gilt, thus falling back on the ever-popular black and gold combination. The snowflake hand isn’t present here – a wise move, as that would have propelled the dial too much into homage territory for my liking.
The Dreadnought’s 44 mm case size may sound big on paper, but due to its short angular lugs it actually wears closer to a 42 mm case. It’s still pretty chunky, but that’s par for the course for dive watches.
Overall, the Aries Gold Dreadnought has the case of a Seiko Samurai and the dial of a Tudor Black Bay. It’s not the most innovative design around, but the watch blends its two inspiration together in a sporty all-black package that is executed well.
Shootout: Aries Gold Dreadnought vs Seiko Samurai SRPF07K1
Of course, the decision for most customers would whether to get an Aries Gold Dreadnought, or save up more for the Seiko Samurai.
In terms of specifications, the Aries Gold Dreadnought actually edges out the Seiko Samurai. Both have essentially the same movement (the NH35 is the commercial variant of the Seiko 4R movement, which is found in the Seiko Samurai series), 200 m of water-resistance, and lume. However, the Dreadnought uses sapphire crystal, which is significantly more scratch-resistant than the Hardlex found on the Samurai.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Dreadnought unfortunately loses out to the Samurai. The Dreadnought is a good-looking watch, but it doesn’t have the iconic design of the Samurai. The Samurai is instantly recognizable, and enjoys a cult following. Its waffle dial is more visually intriguing too. The Dreadnought comes close to delivering much of the feel and looks of the Samurai – these two variants in particular shares the same black and gold palette – but it remains just short of its inspiration.
However, the Dreadnought trumps the Samurai in value. The Dreadnought is less than half the price of the Samurai, yet arguably has better specifications. If you simply don’t have the ~S$500 budget for the Samurai, the Dreadnought is a great alternative at a substantially lower price point.
Conclusion – so the Aries Gold Dreadnought “shiok” or not?
The Aries Gold Dreadnought is a great bang-for-buck. It has terrific specifications for the price, and a design that – while not original – looks good on the wrist. It’s definitely better value than the new Seiko 5 watches, and holds its own even against the higher-priced Seiko Samurai. It also reminds me of my (much more expensive) Tudor Black Bay Dark, and I can see how the blacked-out Dreadnought can be a solid affordable alternative to that. If you’re looking for an inexpensive dive watch, particularly one that is reminiscent of the Samurai and the Black Bay, then you ought to check the Dreadnought out.
For those interested in the Dreadnought, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy a crazy 50% off all Aries Gold watches online! After the discount, the Dreadnought can be had for just US$164.50/ S$224.50, which is an absolute steal. If you’re not a fan of the all-black aesthetic, the Dreadnought also comes in a stunning gradient blue iteration.
Model: G 9029 BKRG-BKRG
Case: Solid Stainless Steel
Strap: Stainless Steel
Glass: Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance: 20 ATM
Case Size: 44mm
Functions: 3 Hands and Date
Movement: NH35A Automatic
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned.
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.