Re-releases. Is it more, or does another re-release appear each week? Most of the time, they just come across as a gimmick, although some, like Seiko’s SPB line of dive watches, have succeeded. However, I have enjoyed getting to know an entirely different beast for the last month or so. The watch in question today is Momentum’s Sea Quartz 30, a faithful recreation of the watch worn by none other than Magnum PI. As a company, Momentum’s history doesn’t go back too far; however, the same family used to own a company called Chronosport. This brand became famous due to the launch of one of the first-ever quartz diver’s watches. While Chronosport may no longer be with us, their designs live on through Momentum.
On the Wrist
On the wrist, the Sea Quartz 30 wears like a dream. I gravitate towards watches with a smaller lug-to-lug length, but Momentum has made the Sea Quartz wear smaller than it should. Since it arrived, it has been a crucial part of my dive gear, keeping track of time while teaching, timing swims during navigation, and monitoring safety stop times (the dives here aren’t deep enough for my dive computer to track them).
However, it is on the wrist that my two biggest complaints about the Sea Quartz 30 come into play. The first is a relatively minor issue with the strap-the watch was supplied with two FKM tropic-style straps, one in orange and the other in black. While both straps are alright, they could be more pliable and tend to want to revert to being straight. The watch is an absolute strap monster, so I’ve taken to wearing it on a NATO and changing straps multiple times daily. The second issue was slightly more serious but has resolved itself over time. When the Sea Quartz arrived, the bezel was almost impossible to turn. Trying to grip the edges and rotate it was pretty tricky. However, the more I’ve used the bezel, the easier and smoother it has become. Long-term it appears not to be much of an issue but it’s something to be aware of when the watch arrives.
Momentum Sea Quartz 30 Specs
Rubber or Bracelet
Rhonda R507 Quartz
The dial is a smooth matte black affair. Three lines of text and the logo are the only writing on the front of the watch-with, the font being updated for 21st Century sensibilities. The outside of the dial is taken up with a minute track, every fifth marker being bolder than the four preceding. Where the dial shines (pun intended) is the indices. Tapering batons make up the majority, with 12, 6, and 9 represented by numerals and the 3 o’clock giving way to a color-matched day and date display. The indices are all 3D and fairly chunky, with an absurd amount of lume to boot. This gives the whole dial a feeling of greater quality.
The hands feature an equally incandescent after-dark display, but what grabs your attention is the day-glow orange of the minute hand. As with Doxa, the hands have been designed with diving in mind; let me explain. When tracking time on a dive watch, the minute hand is the only one you need. Therefore, Momentum (and Chronosport before them) added a disproportionately large minute hand. To avoid further distraction, the hour hand is almost vestigial by comparison. While the minute hand is filled with lume from top to bottom, both the hour and seconds hands have rectangular lume-filled paddles to ensure you keep track of them after sunset. My only quibble is that the seconds hand only occasionally lines up with the markers. That being said, you could spend four or five times the price of the Sea Quartz and still have the same issue.
The Sea Quartz 30 may be a modern watch, but its design is retro. There is a good reason for this; Momentum sent original units to their current manufacturers to ensure that the modern iteration is as faithful to the original as possible. The result is fantastic. Starting with the case, the Sea Quartz 30 punches above its price. The radially brushed top gives way to gently curving lugs and fully polished sides.
The chamfered edges of the case are one of the hallmarks of the original design, and they stand out beautifully here. An entirely reasonable 42mm across puts the case smack in the middle of dive watch sizing and, thankfully, doesn’t play into the bigger-is-better trend that we see pretty often today. A length of 47mm also helps give the case a degree of elegance not usually found in the tool watch world. The quartz movement inside (a reliable Swiss-made Ronda 507) allows the case thickness to be cut down to just a hair over 11mm thick- a nice reprieve from the usual heft of my dive collection. Of course, many might mock that this is a quartz-powered watch, but given that quartz features in both the history and name of the watch, one can’t complain too much. With a rugged and reliable Ronda movement inside, there isn’t much the Sea Quartz 30 can’t handle.
Overall, the Momentum Sea Quartz 30 is a fitting revival of an ’80s legend and a worthy successor to both a company and a watch that disappeared, like a retro-themed phoenix. As I write this, Momentum is all sold out, but if you want a new watch for this summer, you can’t go wrong with the Momentum Sea Quartz 30. They’re now including a bracelet option, only furthering the versatility of this superb reissue. Whether at the beach or in the boardroom, you can’t go wrong. I’d love to see Momentum take the design further with different color options and sizes and maybe a mechanical version in the future, but for now, I’d back the Sea Quartz 30 all the way.
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