In this review I will take a look at what i believe is one of the best dive watches on the market, for the money. Marc & Sons have been making watches for a while now, but they recently released their Pro Diver 3 series and it is, in my opinion, their best watch to date!
To the untrained eye, this watch looks like a copy of any Submariner homage diver on the market, but rest assured: it’s far from an homage and truly has its own soul.
The Pro Diver 3 has a more balanced design than it’s previous model, the Pro Diver 2. The Pro Diver 2’s dial was too cluttered in my opinion with the metal ring around the dial (like on the Rolex Sea Dweller), the bigger hands and the big double indices at 6,9 and 12.
This model is much cleaner and i really love how they keep improving on their watch series, instead of just adding a new color or case material (like Rolex, shish). Although it might have taken some design elements from the famous Rolex Submariner, there are more unique things to this watch than copied.
Here are some of the thing i really love about this watch:
- Thanks to the ETA 2428 it is a very slim watch that hugs the wrist, and the medium size makes it perfect for almost everyone. This size also makes it super versatile and perfect for any nato strap fanatics, or for a simple leather band.
- The green sunburst fumé dial is just PERFECT. The dark green is barely noticeable, but in the right angle and light, it pops, leaving you with all the shades of tasteful green that one can love and admire.
- The date aperture at the 6 o’clock balances the dial and almost acts as an hour marker, making this an “almost” no-date dial. Maybe this is finally a middleground for those pesky no-date fanatics?
- The protruding shape opposite to the crown guard really balances the design of the watch, similarly to the (currently) hottest watch in the world, Patek Phillipe Nautilus. But they didn’t overdo it and you end up with a subtle detail that makes it stand out from most other watches on the market, without blatantly copying Gerald Genta.
- All in all, it’s very easy to read the time and the bezel, so it is not just pretty but also very functional.
The case and crown
The case is very slim and features a well balanced mix of well executed brushed and polished surfaces. The polished beveled edge on the lugs extends to the crown guards and the helium escape valve, almost making it look like the whole case was polished, and they then proceeded to cut away from there.
The flat sapphire crystal is very impressive and reflects only an acceptable amount of light. I have actually held a Rolex Submariner next to this watch, and the crystals were similar, which makes me wonder. What light it does reflect back into your eyes have a slight charming blue tint that most watch nerds have come to love.
The dial is just PERFECT… Lovely silver framed applied indices gives you a good reason to admire the watch from an angle, as the light hits the top flat surface and draws them out in a totally new way. The date aperture features a nice polished frame that treats your eyes to the same delightful show, in the same proportions as the indices. All of this if of course perfectly aligned with the watch case and bezel.
The hands sit tightly together and you’re almost wondering why the hour hand is not hitting the rectangular applied indices when it passes them. The polished sword hands are very well sized and have elements from cathedral hands, namely the angles cross-bridge section in the middle, to make them slightly more interesting to look at.
All of these features sit comfortably on top of a lovely green sunburst fumé dial that is just STUNNING. When in-doors, you only notice the green ever so often, but under the warming rays of the sun, this dial pops like corn in a microwave! Only the minute track remains black, but there is no clear line that defines when the green stops.
Forget about the awful static green that some microbrands are trying to pull off… No, this is tastefully done and makes the watch come alive! I will leave it to the Jaeger-LeCoultre design boss Lionel Favre to conclude this section:
“The gradient effect gives depth to the dial, it also gives more richness to the light effects,” “Depending on the light, the dial changes tone, and the blue can come out more intensely than the black and vice versa.”Lionel Favre
The only thing that could ruin this dial is too much text, but Marc & Sons kept it balanced, tasteful and minimalistic. Thank you for keeping “professional diver III” or “sapphire” (like the previous model) off that stunning dial!
The bezel is beautifully executed with small polished teeth for grip and a lovely black ceramic bezel insert. The numbers on the bezel are very crisp with ZERO spill of the phosphorescent paint, maybe because they have been deeply cut out from the ceramic and then filled with paint. This also makes it harder to inadvertently scratch off the paint.
After a close up inspection, the font they used leaves small details in the form of squared serifs, contrary to the Rolex Submariner that has a more rounded font and “serifs”. This bezel is one of the reasons some people think it’s a Rolex from a distance, and perhaps they could have made a more original one. What do you think?
The lume on this bad-boy is off the charts! Maybe I am biased here, since I prefer BWG9 over Superluminova C3, but even when putting aside preferences you have to admit one thing: they applied the lume perfectly!
The bezel also lights up in a clean fashion. Slightly less bright than the hands and indices, but almost unnoticeable since you have just gasped in awe and your brain is now lacking oxygen. No grainy texture or flaws can be found here, just pure lume bliss!
You wouldn’t expect the minute track to be lumed, but Marc & Sons sure don’t care about your expectations. It is however less “powerful” than the rest in terms of brightness, but I actually enjoy that hierarchy and find it to be a very cool detail!
The bracelet and clasp
The strap is fully brushed with the exception of the side “tracks” on the clasp lock. The brushed finish matches the quality of the one on the case and the links move freely without rattling. Having screws instead of pins to hold this thing together is just the cherry on top of the cake.
The clasp is probably one of the top grade generic clasps you can get on the market. It is quite big compared to the thinner bracelet, but the quality and its functionality quickly overshadows that fact. All solid metal, easy to use side pusher buttons and quick adjustments with dedicated buttons. What more could you ask for ?
The ETA 2824-2 needs an introduction, but for the sake of being thorough and catering to the newest members of the watch addiction club, I’ll be doing it anyway. The 2824 is simply known as “the workhorse” because, like a workhorse, it just keeps running and running. Considered by many to be the best entry market movement, it has also been the base movement for many bigger brands like Breitling, Panerai and Bell & Ross (although they probably buy the Top Grade versions of that movement and refine it even more).
Out of the box and half wound up it ran with 0 beat error and plus / minus 21 seconds a day.
What could have been better
Although this watch is close to perfect for the money, in my opinion, i can always find things that could be improved. Sometimes that means the price might go up, but i would be willing to pay that little extra to see these things be corrected.
- The crown is quite hard to unscrew, mainly because the engraved teeth are not very sharp. The logo on the side is also quite bad for crowns and finding a round symbol for your company would make sense here. The crown on their Elegance collection looks much better.
- The clasp is undoubtedly of high quality when considering the price, but it is also very big, which stands out when you have a watch and bracelet this thin. Perhaps sacrificing the micro adjustment on the clasp and adding micro links for perfect adjustment might be a good idea? Or at least let us have the choice.
The price is very fair!
Nothing to say here… You get more than what you pay for and it’s even made in Germany! You can get your own for 590 Euros (658 USD) which is still some money, but money well spent.
Many microbrand watches can be found for the same price with japanese movements and inferior clasps, dials and bezels.
The Germans have once again shown us how efficient and industrious they can be by serving the world with a watch that is pretty, functional, well built, precise and not just a soulless copy of a more expensive and iconic dive watch. It takes elements from many other watch designs and creates its own identity, without the need to indulge in some crazy and over the top design.
I have actually always wanted a Rolex Submariner, but after acquiring this watch, I no longer feel the need to buy one. It has satisfied my thirst for a classic dive watch.
To put it in stone: it’s german quality, craftsmanship, efficiency and minimalisme at a very fair price! I can’t recommend this brand enough !