Dual-time watches, whether they be a four-hander GMT or a 12-hour bezel, are all the rage in 2019. Almost every manufacturer is trying to release some sort of watch with a dual-time function. Even Timex has gone into their archives to resurrect a watch with a 12-hour bezel. With so many brands releasing dual-time watches, it is now becoming more difficult to release one that separates itself from the crowd.
Veteran microbrand Astor + Banks is now taking a stab at breaking into the dual-time market with the Sea Ranger. Marketed by Astor + Banks as their “best watch yet” they are attempting to pack good looks and functionality into the Sea Ranger. Does the Sea Ranger live up to the brand’s hype? Let’s find out.
The more watches that come through for review, the more I realize that there are two types of dials that truly catch my eye and try to differentiate themselves: textured dials, and dials with different levels. The Sea Ranger has the latter. The glossy black dial is separated by a step down in the middle of the dial. The ring that steps down contains a 24-hour time track that stands out because it is matte black. Plenty of AR coating is applied on the underside of the domed sapphire crystal to allow the dial to remain readable.
The inner part of the dial contains the rest of the text on the dial. Astor + Banks is printed at the 12 o’clock position and Sea Ranger and 30 ATM // Automatic is printed at the 6 o’clock position.
On the outer section of the dial, applied indices are flanked by hash marks for minutes and seconds. The applied markers are straight near the chapter ring and have a concentric shape as they reach toward the inner dial. A small touch of color is present at the cardinal positions. Each marker is filled with Super-Luminova BG W9 lume. The concentric shape of the markers at the inner part of the dial is a welcome change from the more common rectangular markers I have been seeing on recent releases from other brands.
A tapered handset is complemented by a contrasting color seconds hand. All the hands are also filled with lume. A nice touch on the Sea Ranger is the different lume color applied on the minute hand. The minute hand will glow green (as opposed to blue everywhere else) aiding in legibility when using the bezel as a countdown timer. The hour hand also stops at the outer ring of the 24-hour time track on the dial. This attention to detail is what can help elevate a watch in a crowded segment.
Case & Bezel
Many 12-hour bezels often make the wearer sacrifice one of the most useful complications, the dive bezel. I use my dive bezels more than any other function on my watches, aside from reading the time. The sapphire bezel on the Sea Ranger does not make the wearer sacrifice the dive bezel in its entirety. The first quarter of the bezel contains hash marks to allow the wearer to use it as a 15-minute counter.
The knurling on the bezel is easy to grip and the bezel turns easily. Astor + Banks uses a 120-click unidirectional bezel, which I don’t think is entirely appropriate for a 12-hour bezel. 12-hour bezels should be 60-click (or less) and bi-directional as to allow the user to change time zones without rotating the bezel all the way around. As the bezel meets the case, it has a dramatic cut-in that adds some height which I will discuss later.
The case is asymmetric; it bulges out slightly on the right side which essentially provides integrated crown guards. The crown sits nicely inside the case when screwed in. The case is mostly brushed and features a polished bevel running down the top line of the case. The lugs have drilled lug holes which will make strap changes a breeze.
The screwed-in caseback is engraved with Sea Ranger and the normal specifications seen on most casebacks. Underneath the caseback is the Sellita SW-200. This movement is reliable and easy to wind, especially with the ample size of the signed crown. The Sea Ranger only comes in a no-date model so there will be a phantom crown position, but the date disc has been removed.
The proportions of the Sea Ranger are right around the Goldilocks size that will fit almost any wrist size. At 40mm wide with a lug-to-lug distance of 45.5mm, the Sea Ranger might actually wear too small for some. However, the Sea Ranger is 13.8mm thick which is quite tall for the rest of the proportions of the watch. The height mainly comes from the bezel, not the main case of the watch. With that said, it doesn’t appear as tall as the dimensions imply but it does give the Sea Ranger a little more wrist presence.
The Sea Ranger is a comfortable watch on-wrist, especially thanks to the bracelet. The links on the bracelet are small and articulate well, which makes the bracelet drape comfortably around the wrist. The review sample I had did not have the final bracelet. The production bracelet will taper to 16mm at the clasp, making it even more comfortable.
Thanks to the asymmetric case that protrudes slightly towards the wearer’s hand (assuming you wear the watch on your left wrist) and the overall dimensions, the Sea Ranger looks good on the wrist as well.
The Sea Ranger manages to break enough molds to separate itself from the slew of dual-time watch releases in 2019. Its modest size and detailed dial create a watch that achieves good looks and functionality.
Astor + Banks said they had created their best watch yet. While I don’t have enough experience to say whether it lives up to their claims, I can clearly state that they have set a high bar for themselves for their next release. The Sea Ranger would easily be one of the leading contenders if I were buying a dual-time watch today.
|Lug-to-lug Height||45.5mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Water Resistance||300 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova®|
More Images of the Astor + Banks Sea Ranger
Check out the Astor + Banks website