I’ve previously reviewed the standard model of the Eagle Ray here – and I absolutely enjoyed it then. Now, Phoibos has introduced a compressor variant, along with a striking new red dial. Let’s see if it’s any good!
Phoibos – the Brand
I’ve previously covered the brand story of Phoibos in my abovementioned review of its Eagle Ray. I also reviewed the Great Wall here, the Proteus here, the Voyager here, and the Leviathan here. I’ve been generally impressed with the dive watches that I’ve reviewed from Phoibos – they are certainly some of the best offerings in the affordable dive watch segment.
Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor – Video Review
For those who wish to see some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review below!
Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor – Build Quality
Like most Phoibos watches, the build quality is superb for the price.
Firstly, the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor uses a double-domed 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. The sapphire crystal is also coated with 3 layers of AR coating, so you don’t have to worry about getting nasty reflections. I should also highlight that a double-domed sapphire is more expensive to make as compared to a flat or single-domed sapphire, so I’m impressed at its inclusion on this affordable dive watch. The Eagle Ray Compressor also possesses 200m of WR rating, so you can bring it to the pool or the sea without worry.
The ubiquitous Seiko NH35A movement powers the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor. 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 second 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 ~S$400 price point, the Seiko NH35 movement is definitely the best bet.
Like on their previous watches, the metal bracelet of the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor is sturdy and well-made. The bracelet mimicks the “5-link” bracelet of the iconic Omega Seamaster, with alternating polished/brushed finishing. The clasp – brushed, with bevelled edges – is robust, with a satisfying click. On the wrist, the bracelet is comfortable and even has micro-adjustment slots for the wearer to achieve the best fit possible.
The lume on the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor is pretty good for the price. Phoibos states that 15 layers of BGW9 SuperLuminova are applied on the hands, indices, and bezel markings, and it shows (literally). The Eagle Ray Compressor glows brightly in the dark – lume heads definitely won’t be disappointed.
Overall, the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor’s specifications punch above its price point. It has a double-domed sapphire crystal, 200m of water-resistance, a reliable Seiko NH35A movement, a sturdy bracelet, and strong BGW9 lume. It’s a rock-solid watch for the price.
Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor – Design
However, the most attractive aspect of the Eagle Ray Compressor is its striking fume red dial.
Although the Eagle Ray Compressor comes in a variety of different colours, this fume red dial variant has to be the most attractive one. Reminiscent of H.Moser & Cie watches – but in a much more affordable package – the gradient red dial is simply stunning, especially in the right lighting conditions. The applied indices, as well as the framed date window adds depth to the dial. I also liked the play on the circular shape here, seen both on the indices as well as the track of the internal rotating bezel. In addition, the incorporation of a roman minute track adds a slight vintage touch to the watch, which is further reinforced by the gilt accents of the dial. Furthermore, the Eagle Ray Compressor retains the syringe hands of the original time-only Eagle Ray.
Further accentuating the retro feel of the watch is its coin-edged bezel, which brings to mind vintage-inspired watches such as the Oris Pilot Big Crown. Alternating finishing can also be seen, with the Eagle Ray Compressor possessing a brushed case with polished bevelled edges. Furthermore, one also gets a pair of nicely signed screw-down crowns, both of which are adequately sized, grooved for grippier feel, and signed with the Phoibos octopus logo.
The caseback is fairly simple, adorned with a relief motif of the Phoibos’ octopus logo. Whilst not extraordinary, I nonetheless like the contrasting finishing present – the juxtaposition of the polished Phoibos octopus and the beadblasted caseback is attractive.
With a 41mm case size, the Eagle Ray Compressor feels contemporary on the wrist, while also not succumbing to the trend of overlarge cases that some dive watches fall prey to. On my 7-inch wrist, I found the watch to wear well, and slim enough to be paired with smart casual attire.
All in all, the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor is an immensely attractive watch – just look at how the watch pops in the above wrist shot! The red fume dial is eye-catching, and the watch has plenty of vintage aesthetic touches that gives it an old-school feel.
Shootout – Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor vs Spinnaker Bradner
If you’re looking for an affordable, vintage-inspired compressor dive watch, the Spinnaker Bradner would likely be your best alternative.
In terms of specifications, both the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor and the Spinnaker Bradner are almost identical. Both have sapphire crystal, are powered by the Seiko NH35A movement, lume, and come on a metal bracelet. The Eagle Ray Compressor does have a slightly higher WR rating (200m to 180m), but that’s unlikely to result in a practical difference in everyday use.
From an aesthetic standpoint, both are undeniably vintage-inspired watches, and each with an intriguing looking dial. Out of the two, I personally find the fume red dial of the Eagle Ray Compressor to be more eye-catching, though some may view it as a homage of H. Moser & Cie watches and thus dislike it. However, an argument can also be made that the snowflake hour hand of the Bradner comes across as more of a “homage”, referencing some of Tudor’s most iconic dive watches.
Given that the Phoibos is about 10% cheaper than the Spinnaker, I believe the former to edge out the latter in this shootout.
Conclusion – so the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor “shiok” or not?
Definitely – I think it’s the best watch Phoibos has introduced till date. For one, the specifications are impressive for the price – there’s double-domed sapphire crystal with AR coating, 200m of WR rating, a workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, Swiss Super-Luminova, and a comfortable metal bracelet. The watch is also eminently striking due to its fume-red dial, which is interesting as it’s more commonly found on dress watches. Coupled with vintage aesthetic features such as its coin-edged bezel, gilt accents and five-link bracelet, the Eagle Ray Compressor is a great choice for those seeking a well-specced, retro-looking daily beater.
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products from Phoibos’ web-store! After the promo code, the Phoibos Eagle Ray Compressor would cost just US$324/~S$435, which I think is a great price for a well-built, attractive looking dive watch. Consumers seem to agree – this particular red dial variant is unfortunately sold out at the moment, though Phoibos may restock it in the near future. I think that speaks volumes about the inherent allure of the watch!
Dial: Glossy Red to Black
Caliber No.: SII NH35A
Case:316L Stainless steel
Band: 20mm 316L Stainless steel
Clasp: Three-fold clasp with push button release
Glass: Double Domed Sapphire crystal with 3 layers anti reflective under coating
Water resistance: 200M
Case size: 41mm X 47mm
Bezel: bi-directional bezel
Crown: Screw-Down crown
Lume:15 layers Super-LumiNova BGW9 on hands, indices and bezel markings
Warranty: 2 years
Origin: Made in Hong Kong
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.