Billed as an everyday tool watch, the Phoibos Proteus is the brand’s latest offering that features a meteorite dial. Let’s see if it’s shiok or not!
Phoibos – the Brand
I’ve previously covered the brand story of Phoibos in my review of the Eagle Ray. For those interested, you can read that article here. I also reviewed another of their recent releases, the Great Wall, here!
Phoibos Proteus – Build Quality
Like most of Phoibos’ other watches, the Proteus packs stellar specifications for its price.
Firstly, the Phoibos Proteus 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. In addition, the Proteus has a WR rating of 300M. As such, you should have no issues wearing it along to the pool, beach, scuba diving, etc.
The ubiquitous Seiko NH35A movement powers the Phoibos Proteus. 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.
I must highlight the bracelet of the Phoibos Proteus, which is impressively engineered. Previously, I critiqued the bracelet of the Phoibos Great Wall – it was full of sharp edges, and wasn’t that comfortable to wear. I’m pleased to report that the bracelet of the Proteus is a marked improvement! It’s very comfortable on the wrist, and feels solidly milled. There’s a really nice clasp as well, brushed finished and stamped with the Phoibos logo. Definitely one of the best bracelets I’ve seen at this price point!
Lastly, the lume on the Phoibos Proteus is pretty strong as well! It features 15 layers of Super-LumiNova C3 on the upper dial and BGW9 on hands, indices, and bezel marking. I was pretty blown away by the amount of lume present on this watch – there’s lume almost everywhere on the dial! In particular, I was impressed by how the minute track is filled with lume as well. If you’re a lume head, the Proteus definitely won’t disappoint.
All in all, I would say that the Phoibos Proteus ticks all the boxes for an everyday tool watch. There’s sapphire crystal, a workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, 300M of WR rating, a well-crafted bracelet, and tons of lume. Specifications wise, it’s pretty solid for the money.
Phoibos Proteus – Design
Of course, the Phoibos Proteus is not just about the specifications – a big part of its appeal is definitely its meteorite dial.
The key calling card of the Phoibos Proteus is its lovely meteorite dial. Look at the texture of that dial – it’s really stunning. It’s unique as well, as no two watch would have the exact same pattern. This may sound cliche, but it’s really something to wear a piece of outer space on the wrist. There’s an exotic nature to the meteorite dial that I really love.
While the meteorite is definitely the star of the show, I found the rest of the dial to be thoughtful and well-composed too. Firstly, I like the colour contrast between the off-white minute track and the black meteorite dial. Not only does it lend itself to a nice monochrome colour scheme, but it also aids in the watch’s legibility. Secondly, the applied indices adds depth to the dial as well. Furthermore, I like the red accents present, which adds a touch of sportiness to the otherwise monochrome dial. In particular, I find the design choice of a lightning bolt second hands interesting – very Milgauss like, a dose of quirkiness injected into the Proteus. That being said, I’m on the fence regarding the pothole date window. I think the idea is a good one, as it’s a different take on the regular square date windows or cyclops date windows usually found on dive watches. However, I find the execution lacking – it’s simply a tad too small for the numerals of the date wheel to be displayed fully.
The Phoibos Proteus features a 120-click unidirectional ceramic bezel, which I absolutely love. Ceramic is known for being extremely scratch-resistant, and watches with ceramic bezels often look like new even after years of wear. The bezel also possesses a slight gloss, which adds to the sophistication of the watch. However, I did find it difficult to rotate the bezel – it’s a tad too small and lacks adequate grip, which is a shame.
Moving on to its side profile, I must applaud Phoibos for one of the best crowns I’ve personally seen in a watch of this price. The crown of the Proteus is screwed-down, bead-blasted, features a detailed embossing of the Phoibos logo, and also has a knurled texture for maximum grip. Honestly, I would say that this is one of the best crowns I’ve handled, period. It makes the Proteus an absolute joy to hand-wind. Elsewhere, the case of the watch is nicely brushed for a utilitarian feel. Polished bevelled edges are also present – great to see some advanced finishing techniques here!
The Proteus has a closed caseback, whereby an embossed artwork of the Phoibos logo is depicted. I like the variety of finishing techniques present here – the caseback is bead-blasted, the Phoibos artwork is polished, while the surrounding ring (whereby the “Phoibos’ and “300M” are engraved) is brushed. There are also these polished edges that stick out of the aforementioned ring, making the caseback reminiscent of the shape of the sun. Personally, I’m a tad split on the design, but at the very least it is clear that Phoibos has definitely put in the effort to make the caseback more memorable than that of the average dive watch.
On my 6.5 inch wrist, the Phoibos Proteus wears comfortably. Though a tad on the bigger side, the watch has short lugs and thus remains extremely wearable with a lug-to-lug measurement of just 49mm. As can be seen from the wrist shot above, the watch doesn’t appear too big for my wrist at all! For a dive watch, it’s not that thick as well (13mm thickness), though it certainly won’t fit under a shirt cuff.
Overall, I quite like the design of the Phoibos Proteus. In fact, I will say that it is probably my favourite design of Phoibos’ current offerings. The inherent beauty of the meteorite dial never gets old, while other aspects such as a ceramic bezel and a brushed case makes the Proteus a well-composed package. The crown is phenomenally designed too! It’s not perfect – the date window and bezel should both be larger – but I think this is the best-looking watch out of Phoibos’ current watch line-up.
Shootout: Phoibos Proteus vs Deep Blue Diver 1000 II
To my knowledge, Phoibos is the only brand that offers meteorite dial at below $500 USD. The next most affordable meteorite dive watch that I could find is the Deep Blue Diver 1000 II, currently on sale for $633 USD. As such, I’ll be comparing the two watches for today!
In terms of specifications, both watches are actually pretty similar. Both the Deep Blue Diver 1000 II and the Phoibos Proteus feature sapphire crystals, meteorite dials, ceramic bezels, Swiss Superluminova, and the Seiko NH35A movement. That being said, the Deep Blue Diver 1000 II has a higher 1000M WR rating, as compared to the 300M WR rating of the Phoibos Proteus. However, unless you’re planning on going diving with the watch on, this is likely to be of little real-life consequence.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the fight is much closer. Both brands use a unique shade of meteorite, with Deep Blue using blue meteorite and Phoibos using grey meteorite. Which watch looks better depends on what vibe you gravitate towards, in my opinion. The Deep Blue Diver 1000 II has a more utilitarian, diver feel to it – it actually reminds me of the Seiko SKX in some ways. In contrast, the Phoibos Proteus feels more like an everyday sports watch, with a cleaner look.
Where the Phoibos Proteus undoubtedly trumps the Deep Blue Diver 1000 II is in its value. At just $377 USD (after the promo code below), it is almost half the price of the Deep Blue despite sharing very similar specifications. As such, the winner of this shootout would have to be the Phoibos Proteus for me – it’s definitely the more bang-for-buck buy.
Conclusion – so the Phoibos Proteus “shiok” or not?
The Phoibos Proteus is a lot of watch for not much money. For $377 USD, you get sapphire crystal, a workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, Swiss Superluminova, a superb bracelet, ceramic bezel, 300M WR rating, and a meteorite dial. As mentioned above, the Phoibos Proteus is probably the most affordable option if you’re on the hunt for a meteorite dial watch – that in itself is saying something. If you’re looking for a tough as nails watch that comes with the bragging rights of having a slice of the moon on your wrist, then the Phoibos Proteus is a no-brainer.
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products from Phoibos’ web-store! After the discount, the Phoibos Proteus can be had for just $377 USD/ ~S$535, which in my opinion is tremendous value for what you’re getting. If you’re just looking for a solid everyday tool watch, you also can get the Proteus without the meteorite dial for a mere $269 USD/ ~S$374. I genuinely think that the Proteus is Phoibos’ best watch till date – can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
You can read The Time Bum’s review of the Phoibos Proteus (non-meteorite) here.
Dial: Grey Meteorite
Caliber No.: NH35
Case:316L Stainless steel
Embossed Case Back and Crown
Band:22mm width 316L Stainless Steel Band
Glass:Double Domed Sapphire crystal with AR coating 3 Layers Inside
Water resistance: 300M(984ft)
Case size: 42 mm dia. 49mm lug to lug 13mm thickness
Bezel:120-click unidirectional ceramic bezel
Lume: 15 layers Super-LumiNova C3 on Upper Dial and BGW9 on hands, indices, and bezel marking
Warranty: 2 year
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.