The Phoibos Leviathan is the brand’s latest bronze watch, which they have kindly sent over for me to review. I’m a fan of Phoibos dive watches – I’ve reviewed a couple of them previously, and they all have phenomenal build quality and specifications for the price. Let’s see if the new Leviathan lives up to my high expectations!
Phoibos – the Brand
I’ve previously covered the brand story of Phoibos in my review of their Eagle Ray. For those interested, you can read that article here. I also reviewed the Great Wall here, the Proteus here, and the Voyager here. I’ve been really impressed with the dive watches I reviewed from Phoibos – they are certainly some of the best watches in the affordable dive watch segment.
Phoibos Leviathan – Video Review
For those who are interested in some hands-on footage of the watch, do check out my Youtube review below!
Phoibos Leviathan – Specifications
Like the previous Phoibos watches that I’ve reviewed, the Leviathan possesses terrific specifications for the price.
Firstly, the Phoibos Leviathan utilises 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 Leviathan also features a WR rating of 500M, which I believe is the highest out of all the Phoibos dive watches that I’ve reviewed thus far. Part of its high WR rating is due to the inclusion of an automatic helium escape valve, which prevents the watch from getting damaged due to the intense internal pressure present during decompressing when diving to the depths of an ocean. In other words, this is a legitimate diver, one that you can choose to strap on with you to the Pacific Ocean if you wish.
In case it isn’t obvious, the case of the Phoibos Leviathan is forged out of bronze, specifically marine grade CuSn8 Bronze. I enjoy the natural patina that bronze develops with age, and the unique character that it brings. As the patination of bronze depends on a variety of factors (exposure to air, water, etc), no two bronze watch patina in the exact same way. Starting as a shiny, rose-gold case, the watch will eventually patina into a rustic brown. I love the transformative effect, and personally I find a bronze case much more interesting than plain old stainless steel. Furthermore, bronze arguably looks the best on dive watches – the popularity of the Tudor Black Bay Bronze is a testament to that. In addition, the Leviathan also features a 120-click unidirectional DLC bezel. DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) is more durable than your regular PVD coating, and therefore should translate to a bezel that is more durable and scratch-resistant. Phoibos doesn’t specify what the material of the bezel is, but I assume it is stainless steel, just with a DLC coating.
The Leviathan is powered by the Seiko NH38 movement, which is the open-heart variant of the ubiquitous Seiko NH35. 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 NH movements, and greatly prefer it to the Miyota 8 series movement (which is the alternative movement commonly seen with microbrand watches). Unlike the NH38, 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 NH movements are as reliable as they come, and is one of the best bets at the $300 USD price point.
I’m also really impressed with the leather strap of the Phoibos Leviathan. It feels handcrafted, and comes with a bronze buckle that will patina alongside the case. Here’s a tip – to check whether the strap is handcrafted, examine the stitching. If the stitching is of even thickness on both sides, it’s likely to be handcrafted, or at least handstitched. If the stitching is thinner on the underside of the strap, this would indicate that the strap is machine-sewn, and therefore probably of a lower quality. On the Leviathan, the strap features even stitching on both sides, with the edge dye smoothly applied. It’s also very comfortable on the wrist, and thick enough to support the bulky Leviathan. However, it is only Genuine Leather, so do not expect the strap to patina over time. For those looking to bring this to the sea, Phoibos has also included a black rubber strap with the watch.
Finally, the Leviathan comes equipped with 15 layers of Swiss Superluminova “Old Radium” on the hands, indices, and bezel. The result is one of the strongest lume I’ve seen at this $300 USD price point. It’s immensely bright, and lasts for a significant amount of time. As compared to C3, the “Old Radium” lume seems to have a lighter green hue to it, which I found interesting.
Overall, the specifications of the Phoibos Leviathan is unbeatable at its price. You get a double-domed sapphire crystal (with 3 layers of AR coating), a 500M WR rating with a helium escape valve, a marine-grade bronze case with a DLC coated bezel, an open-heart Seiko NH38 movement, a handcrafted leather strap and an additional rubber strap, as well as 15 layers of Swiss Superluminova “Old radium” lume. Honestly, if you passed me such a specification list and asked me to guess the price of the watch, I would probably guess closer to the $500 USD mark. Specs-wise, the Phoibos Leviathan really punches above its price point.
Phoibos Leviathan – Design
While the specifications of the Phoibos Leviathan are stellar, the watch has quite a well-composed design as well.
The main attraction of the dial is its lovely fume blue texture. For the uninitiated, fume dials are gradient dials where it’s lighter in the centre, and gradually develops into a darker shade near the edges. It’s an aesthetic that’s best exemplified by H. Moser & Cie watches. It’s also a design that is more common on dress watches – such as the UNDONE Mystique, or the Montage Prestige I recently reviewed – so I found it interesting that Phoibos has utilised it on a dive watch. I think it works well, especially on this blue colour variant. There’s an enigmatic quality to it, one that evokes the mysteries of the seas.
Another unusual aspect of the Phoibos Leviathan’s dial is its open-heart window, which allows the wearer to admire the beating balance wheel again. Again, it’s an aesthetic that is most common on dressier watches, such as the Pompeak Gentleman’s I reviewed recently, or the Manufaktur Waldhoff Regent reviewed earlier this year. Personally, I’m ambivalent about its inclusion. I don’t feel that it adds much to the watch, but it doesn’t detract from the beautiful fume dial either. I do think that it’s an interesting way to differentiate the Leviathan from the masses of dive watches saturating the market currently. In addition, the indices of the Leviathan are applied, with faux-patina present. If you’re a staunch detractor of faux-patina, you might want to look elsewhere. However, I do think that the use of faux-patina here makes sense, especially considering its bronze case. Furthermore, the combination of the applied indices and the open-heart results in a dial that has plentiful visual depth.
The bezel is blue, which matches the fume dial of the Phoibos Leviathan. I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but as impressive as the specifications and the dial of the Leviathan are, it was the bezel that most impressed me. It is (by far) the best bezel I’ve ever handled at this price point. It rotates so satisfyingly, with little to no play, and snaps securely into place with each click. It gives the bezel action of my Tudor Black Bay a run for its money. Really solid construction here!
I should also point out that the case profile of the Phoibos Leviathan is pretty angular, with its faceted look resulting in a striking presence on the wrist. There’s also a nicely signed screw-down crown, which is a detail that isn’t always present on watches of this price point.
As on most dive watches, the Phoibos Leviathan comes with a closed caseback. The caseback is pretty simple, with a motif of the Phoibos logo inscribed and some relevant specifications engraved. However, I do like the little porthole detailing, which further reinforces the nautical feel of the watch.
It may come as no surprise that the Phoibos Leviathan is a bulky watch. The watch has a diameter of 45mm, with a lug-to-lug measurement of 54mm. On my 7 inch wrist, the Leviathan is at the very maximum of what I deem acceptable. It’s also a pretty thick piece at 15.5mm – this is one that definitely won’t slide under a shirt cuff. If you’re a fan of bigger watches, the Leviathan will be right up your alley.
All in all, I’m a fan of the aesthetics of the Phoibos Leviathan. The Leviathan has a lovely fume blue dial, an open-heart window, an angular case, a wonderful bezel, and is a beast on the wrist. It’s certainly not your run-of-the-bill Submariner homage, that’s for sure!
Shootout – Phoibos Leviathan vs Maranez Rawai
If big, bulky bronze dive watches that don’t break the bank are your thing, then another watch that you should looking at is Maranez Rawai.
In terms of specifications, the Phoibos Leviathan edges out the Maranez Rawai. Though both watches are powered by the Seiko NH35 movement and utilises Swiss Superluminova (“Old Radium” for the Leviathan and C3 for the Rawai), the Leviathan is crafted out of marine bronze, whereas the Rawai is made of brass. Brass is often cheaper to source than bronze, due to the higher strength and durability of the latter material. The Leviathan also features a double-domed sapphire crystal, as compared to the single-domed sapphire of the Rawai. Finally, the Leviathan also has the higher WR rating of 500M – the Rawai only has a WR rating of 300M – though that is unlikely to make a difference in everyday wear.
From an aesthetic standpoint, my preference would be for the Phoibos Leviathan as well. The Maranez Rawai is not a bad-looking watch in any way (the sunburst blue California dial does have its own charm) but it simply looks more generic as compared to the Leviathan. On the Leviathan, the combination of its fume dial, open-heart window, and angular case makes it more striking, resulting in a watch that has a more character and presence on the wrist. And if you’re looking for a big bulky bronze watch, character and presence are probably important attributes to take note of.
Given that both watches are priced similarly, my vote would go to the Phoibos Leviathan for this shootout.
Conclusion – so the Phoibos Leviathan “shiok” or not?
Definitely so. To be honest, when I first saw the Leviathan on Phoibos’ website, I wasn’t really that impressed. It didn’t capture my attention the same way the Voyager did. I decided to request one for review anyway – I was impressed at the specifications it was packing for the price – and boy am I glad I did. This is really a timepiece that’s infinitely better in the metal. I found myself impressed at the little details that Phoibos got right, such as the impeccable bezel and the well-crafted leather strap. I also admired how the fume dial plays wonderfully in the light, as well as the faceted, angular nature of the case and the lugs. There aren’t many flaws on this watch. There’s certainly some “love it or hate it” aspects, such as the faux-patina hands and indices, the bronze case, and its bulky size. But if those are your preferences, it’s a very well-composed package for not a lot of money.
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 Leviathan can be had for just $332 USD/ ~S$443, which is a great price for a watch of this calibre. If you’re looking for a bronze beast, the Leviathan is a top candidate.
View the Phoibos Leviathan here.
View the full Phoibos collection here.
Dial: Black to Blue
Caliber No.: NH 38
Case: CuSn8 Bronze
Band: 22mm Green genuine leather Band (one black rubber strap FOR FREE.)
Glass: Double Domed Sapphire Crystal with 3 layers anti reflective under coating
Water resistance: 500M(1650ft) automatic helium escape value
Case Size: 45mm X 54mm, thickness 15.5 mm(including sapphire crystal)
Bezel: 120-click unidirectional DLC bezel
Crown: Screw-Down crown
Lume: 15 layers Super-LumiNova Old Radium on hands, indices and bezel marking
Caseback: embossed case back
Quantity(Limited Edition)：100PCS Only
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.