Hello, and welcome to my review of the 40.5mm dia. San Martin V3 (Upgraded Version 3/2020) Water Ghost Automatic Diver Watch (SN017-G) that I bought from a seller on eBay for around £120 (plus postage and packing) a few days ago.
I have had two genuine Rolex Submariner Date watches over the years, one way back in 2002 or 2004 (I can’t recall exactly) that I bought new in Zermatt, Switzerland for around £2,000 and another one in 2015 that had a ceramic dial but a scuffed cyclops date magnification lens that I bought from a seller on eBay for around £4,300 (I later sold that watch in 2018 for around £6,000).
In 2021, the cost of a Rolex 40mm dia. Submariner Date Model: 116610LN is around £8,000 which is insane for what it is. I heard that this year’s models have been upgraded and so could possibly cost even more!
Since I’ve sold almost everything I own just to make ends meet whilst we continue to be locked down (for the 3rd time) in the UK, there is no way I could justify spending what little money I have on an expensive watch, and so over the last few months, I’ve been researching “homage” watches of my No. 1 favourite watch, the Rolex Submariner Date.
Back in the 80s, “homage” watches were called fakes, but today, homage watches are amazing watches in their own right (perhaps not the cheaper ones) and here are a few of the other brands/models I looked at in case you’re interested:
1) At the top of the list is the Ginault Ocean Rover.
This is a £1,000 watch and has a beautiful Swiss movement but I just couldn’t justify that kind of money. Even if I had £1,000 I’d spend it on a Jaeger Le-Coultre or an Omega.
2) One step down is the Davosa Ternos, which is around £500 – 600.
Again, very pricey, but it is a beautifully made watch and an almost identical reproduction of the real thing. I saw one on eBay that was going for around £400, but in the end, I need to pay the bills and I just couldn’t justify spending that much money on a second-hand homage watch that I hadn’t bought myself directly from the manufacturer. If the watch leaked, I would have no leg to stand on and be out of pocket £400.
3) Similar in price is the Steinhart Ocean One that has quite a cult following, but again at between £400 – £500 used, it was beyond what I was prepared to pay. It is an amazing watch with a Swiss ETA Movement, but again, if I had £400 – 500 to spend, I would have got myself a nice used Automatic Longines Hydroconquest or Tag Heuer Aquaracer.
Which brings us the price bracket I was willing to consider which put the
4) San Martin V3 (Version 3/2020) Water Ghost Automatic Diver Watch and the Phoibos PY007C head to head with each other.
Each cost around £150 and each had their Pros and Cons.
Ultimately, even though I was very tempted to buy a used Phoibos PY007C because of the cool Octopus logo on the dial, crown and back from eBay, the strange name and the fact that it used a Miyota Chinese movement put me off.
5) The Pagani Design Explorer was the watch I almost bought after seeing a Facebook ad. It looked beautiful and is great value for money at around £70 – 80, but thankfully, after watching several reviews of it on YouTube, I discovered that the often misaligned bezel and the excessive back play was a personal dealbreaker for me.
6) The Parnis Submariner is a cheap and cheerful option if you only want to spend £40 – 50 on your homage watch, but it really wasn’t good enough for me, and I wasn’t willing to compromise THAT much.
7) Finally, the Invicta 8926OB Pro Diver at around £100 put me off (like many others) with “INVICTA” boldly embossed down the left side of the watch, although the clear back showing off a custom yellow rotor is kind of cool, but not cool enough to make me part with my money at least!
In the end, I chose the San Martin V3 (Upgraded Version 3/2020) Water Ghost Automatic Diver Watch (SN017-G) because it had the following features:
– 40.5mm dia. case (Rolex Submariner Date, Model: 116610LN has a 40mm dia. case)
– Sapphire crystal (including cyclops date window)
– Seiko NH35A Movement with super smooth sweeping second hand
– Ceramic Bezel with Uni-Directional 120 click anti-clockwise rotation
– Super bright BGW-9 blue luminescence on hands and applied hour markers on dial
– Water resistant to 200 metres
– Good 2x magnification cyclops date window
– 165g heavyweight 316L stainless steel case and bracelet
– New applied Hexagonal Logo on dial, shark logo on crown
– Embossed easy access clasp with safety lock and easily adjusted bracelet
– Perfectly milled and super smooth screws and solid end links on bracelet
– Robust plastic presentation box, manual, 2 year warranty card, hang tag, extra bracelet links and screwdriver set
If I had any criticisms, they would be:
– to have a clasp that was closer to Rolex’s original as it is much more elegant. The one on the V3, although it works quite well, looks and feels very dated.
Rolex’s patented glide lock system is almost perfect and many homage watches have this, so I’m not sure if San Martin consciously chose to exclude this feature or not.
– I’m not sure if this watch slipped through one of the QC (Quality Control) checkpoints, but the underside edge of the case that has the crown on it, is slightly sharper than it should be and could have been rounded off a little more.
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