Hands-On: The Astor + Banks Sea Ranger

As I’m perpetually looking out for properly made, ideally non-retro, and positively budget-minded sports activities watches, I obtained greater than a few Instagram DMs pointing me to the new Sea Ranger from Chicago-based Astor & Banks. Run by one Andrew Perez, Astor & Banks numbers among the many ranks of the microbrands (a time period of which even I’ve drained). The Sea Ranger is their newest providing, and follows their format of subtly mixing numerous parts from totally different genres of watch design. 

Astor & Banks describes the Sea Ranger as a “field diver” and presents a mix of parts from the worlds of each area watches and dive watches. Offered solely in a metal case measuring 40mm extensive, 13.8mm thick and 45.5mm lug to lug, the Sea Ranger may be had with a black, blue, or white dial or with a full black-on-black matte DLC therapy. Fitted with a domed sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown, a stable metal case again, and an identical metal bracelet, the Sea Ranger is certainly sport prepared and the sizing ought to enchantment to a variety of wrists (although to not those that really feel something over 10mm is “too thick”). 

With 300 meters water resistance, the Sea Ranger is most undoubtedly dive prepared – that’s, save for its bezel. Replacing the same old dive-specific elapsed time scale (additionally helpful for conserving observe of meals deliveries and laundry cycles), we discover a lumed 12-hour bezel with a sapphire insert. I’m lengthy on file as a fan of 12-hour bezels as they permit for the straightforward monitoring of a second timezone with no extra complication or price added to the manufacturing of the watch. Also, with a little bit of math, you may nonetheless use the “0” marker to trace elapsed time. If you are scratching your head as to how a 12-hour bezel is used to trace a second timezone, click on right here for a helpful diagram. 
Allowing for added depth on the three o’clock case facet to perform as a refined crown guard, the Sea Ranger’s case is asymmetrical, easily curved, and handled to a useful brushed end with a cultured bevel alongside the case profile. With brief drilled lugs, the Sea Ranger is properly balanced on its stable metal bracelet, and and may shortly and simply be modified to a NATO or leather strap.  

Sitting atop the case construction, the bezel stacks properly whereas providing a decent however clicky motion, feeling stable and according to what I’ve come to anticipate from a watch at this worth level. Thanks to a mixture of the smaller markers, restricted hand actual property, and the predominant use of BGW9 (white with a blue emission), the lume is nice, however not nice. Thankfully, legibility on any of the dial variants is great, with my sturdy choice being for that of the white dial with its attractive gray/blue bezel coloring and black surrounds for the hands and markers (not in contrast to one in all my all-time favourite watch designs, the “polar” 16570 Explorer II). 

The bracelet is stable and properly made, although on this case the bracelet and its folding push-button clasp (with ratcheting extension) are prototype designs. Astor & Banks has mentioned that they’re planning to incorporate an up to date design that may taper from 20mm to 16mm the place the bracelet will meet a double folding clasp (with no ratcheting characteristic). The up to date design will ship with the ultimate manufacturing spec for the Sea Ranger, which is presently nonetheless in its pre-order section. In testing, Astor & Banks discovered the prototype clasp to be a lot too thick and after having skilled it in individual, I’d agree. 

Tucked safely behind the metal case again, we discover a Swiss Sellita SW200 automated motion. Applied right here with out the necessity for a date show, the Sea Ranger does have a phantom crown place however I’ve by no means discovered that to be particularly troublesome at this worth level, particularly if you’d like a date-free expertise paired with a Swiss motion. Ticking at four Hz and adjusted for efficiency by Astor & Banks in Chicago, the SW200 is a direct competitor to the well-known and sometimes used ETA 2824. 

On the wrist, the Sea Ranger is chunky however purposeful and manages to look nice whereas avoiding the frequent pitfalls of retro or overwrought styling. It’s fashionable, useful, and properly balanced, even providing a 24-hour show on a centralized ring mid-dial. I actually just like the blue/orange or white/crimson/black styling of the 2 samples I borrowed from Astor & Banks. On a NATO, the Sea Ranger feels as sturdy and sporty as one may ask of a “field diver”. It’s thick however in the identical approach as a Seiko SKX007 and the brief lug to lug distance makes it match fairly comfortably on my 7-inch wrist.

Pre-order pricing of $650 for the Sea Ranger is being provided for a restricted time with transport slated for the autumn of this 12 months. If you sleep on the pre-order however ultimately determine you will need to have a Sea Ranger, customary pricing will likely be $850. At $850 the Sea Ranger is definitely not the most cost effective within the microbrand house however with options like a lumed sapphire bezel, 300m water resistance, a stable metal bracelet, and the choice of a black DLC model, the pricing is kind of according to present expectations and the Sea Ranger presents a glance and appeal that feels nice on wrist and will translate nicely for each the sphere or the ocean.  
For extra data go to Astor & Banks on-line. 

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