There are 5 dive watches that legitimately vie for the status of top in their class: the Rolex Submariner, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the Omega Seamaster Professional, the Seiko MarineMaster 300M, and the Glashüte Original SeaQ. Each one brings a unique twist to the genre and has praiseworthy characteristics. In my review of the modern Rolex Submariner, I proclaimed it the world’s best, money-no-object dive watch. The Glashütte Original SeaQ is a watch I previously had little experience with (Glashütte Authorized Dealers do not grow on trees), and I admired from afar a watch that seemed to make a good run for the title of King of the Divers.

I have an admitted bias towards my favorite divers, the aforementioned Rolex Submariner and the Seiko MarineMaster, that have come and gone from my watch box. I have honestly not given the SeaQ much consideration. However, when Moyer Fine Jewelers allowed me to take one for a test run, I jumped at the opportunity to review one of the more unique dive watches on sale today. Does the SeaQ slay the mighty Submariner? Let’s find out.

Case Size39.5mm x 12.5mm thick x 47.5mm L2L
Water Resistance200m
MovementCaliber 39-11 Automatic
Power Reserve40 Hours
Crystal Sapphire
Lug Width20mm
Price Range:$10,200

Slim, wearable case

Starting with the case, the Glashütte Original SeaQ I reviewed comes in at a perfect 39.5mm width with a slender 12.5mm thickness. The watch wears more like a 10mm thick watch, with an exceedingly thin mid case sandwiched between an aggressively domed sapphire crystal and case back. The case is deeply brushed on the sides and top of the lugs, with a finely polished bevel running the width of the case. The case is relatively flat, substituting draping lugs for the domed case back that lends to that wrist-hugging experience.

The finishing is quite good, easily up to the $10,200 price tag, with the brushing deeply and rather coarsely etched perpendicularly to the case, giving the feeling of the finest fine gear-toothed wheel when you feel the side of the case. The caseback is beautifully engraved with a trident piercing the Glashütte logo, and while there is a good deal of detail work here, it’s smooth and comfortable on the wrist. This case is easily among the most well-executed in its class in its design and execution.

Luxury-focused bracelet

Between the lugs, this SeaQ is fitted with a great bracelet. The brushed 20mm bracelet is beautiful and suits the tool watch nature of the SeaQ perfectly. The links are so finely finished they feel silky smooth to the touch, making the bracelet among the most comfortable I have worn. What sets this bracelet apart is the details. The links here are fastened together with screws, although instead of having unsightly screws visible on the polished sides as is the industry standard, here on the SeaQ, the twin screws are inside the link. The clasp is where Glashütte pulls ahead of the field.

It has a tool-less quick-adjust clasp like most of the competition. What makes Glashütte’s especially good is its use of a decorative push button to actuate the extension, which means you can easily adjust your bracelet on your wrist without needing to unfasten the clasp. It has the side effect of looking extremely clean and is a touch of class that elevates it past its peers. The extra adjustment of this system is just about a full link, and the only minor point against it is that its copycat Rolex variant allows for about a link and a half of adjustment. The massive upside to the slightly lesser adjustment range is a much shorter clasp.

This clasp is perhaps a link or link and a half shorter than a Glidelock Oyster, making it one of the most compact and comfortable clasps on a dive watch. The double push button system utilized here is also the nicest version of that system I have encountered, and while I usually disprove dive watch clasps that neglect the addition of the external safety clasp on this bracelet, it would feel out of place.

My only complaint about this bracelet is how it integrates and melds into the case. It almost looks like an afterthought, with brushing on the bracelet that doesn’t match the bits of the case it meets. The bracelet end links are also ever so slightly curved, just enough that I am sure you could not swap over a straight-end linked aftermarket bracelet and get a perfect fit. How this bracelet meets the case reminded me of the myriad of Seiko 62MAS style watches out there and slightly cheapens the watch’s look. It is not a huge deal, but the watch nerd in me has to point it out, and that is genuinely the only flaw I can perceive in this bracelet.

Satisfying bezel and a deep blue dial

The bezel execution on this SeaQ is also top-notch, pun intended. It might be the tightest bezel I have ever used, there is zero slop or play in the action and it requires a steady grip to operate. While the Submariner effortlessly glides from click to click, the MarineMaster 300M fluidly rotates like the dial on a fine vault, and the Black Bay seems to nestle into each notch; the SeaQ has a surprisingly abrupt, sharp bite point as you begin to move it. The sudden stop of the action felt almost like a wheel lock on a car when it’s powered off; you turn the wheel, and it just hits its hard stop. This bezel makes you fully commit to each click, and there is no way to inadvertently go a bit too far past the point where you would like to stop.

While the bezel action would fit right in mounted to an unabashed tool watch, the striking blue dial on the SeaQ lends the whole watch an appealing level of sophistication balanced with legibility. This vibrant blue grabs your eyes immediately. With the domed crystal and radial sunburst effect working in concert, the dial appears almost pie-pan in form. The blue is a dynamic, bright tropical blue in direct sunlight and a dark, ocean abyss blue in dimly lit locales. It may be my new favorite blue dial, as it is fun and playful to look at. The dial also has a refreshingly minimal amount of text, which makes the watch seem more blue than some of its peers. The text is done in a crisp white-silver finish and unmistakable font. While the rest of the watch is spectacularly done, this dial is a complete show-stopper.

The Arabic indices are one of the most distinctive elements of the SeaQ’s design. There are few watches with applied, luminescent Arabic numerals running the dial’s circumference, and I love them. These numerals pop off the dial, are supremely legible, and are also distinct enough that you immediately understand the proper dial orientation and the time displayed when reading the time at a glance. The hands are a little less special but still wonderfully done and legible. Arrow minute hands are not my favorite on dive watches, as they often obscure date windows or indices at inopportune times, but the one on this SeaQ is completely inoffensive.

Impressive movement hidden behind a decorated case back

The one part of this watch you cannot see is the SeaQ’s caliber 39-11 movement, beating away at 28,800bph underneath the closed case back. This is a beautifully decorated movement with polished screw heads, beveled edges, a skeletonized rotor, and a stunning swan neck regulator. The movement here may not push any boundaries in specs (it has a power reserve that’s only about 40 hours), but it compensates with a gorgeous form factor. My preference would be for either a display case back so you can see that specially decorated caliber or a closed case back with a perhaps more pedantic-looking movement that boasts a bit more tech, but that’s just my personal preference, and I cannot fault the SeaQ too much for it. If anything, it shows how much effort and pride the brand puts into details that only their watchmakers will ever see.

Final verdict

The dive watch genre is arguably the most saturated and competitive in watches. Every brand worth its salt makes a watch capable of conquering the depths of the oceans, and many of those conquer office board rooms and dive bars with equal aplomb. The Glashütte SeaQ, in particular, competes in a market segment that is unanimously under The Crown rule of perhaps the most heavyweight, genre-defining single watch in the segment made by an absolute industry juggernaut, and it does this nearly dollar for dollar. Where most brands situate their dive watches under the $10,000 mark, the Glashütte does not position itself as a value alternative. The SeaQ’s price tag is within $50 of where the Rolex Submariner Date is priced these days, and the larger, big-date SeaQs are even $2k more expensive than their peers. The Glashütte Original SeaQ is just as exceedingly bold in its market positioning as it is with its product execution.

Every single aspect of this watch is genuinely class-leading. The case is perfectly sized at 39.5mm, and it wears thin and light on the wrist, all while being easily the finest-finished dive watch I have ever handled. The bracelet pushes boundaries with innovations like the quick adjust clasp action integrated into the decorative logo and screw fasteners hidden on the undersides of the links, preserving the finish of the visible edges.

The bezel is as tight and self-assured in its action as any out there and is finished to the same high standard as the rest of the watch. The vibrant blue dial pops off your wrist and touts details like the ubiquitous Glashütte font and inimitable Arabic numerals with German flair. The Caliber 39-11, even while tucked away behind an ornate caseback, is perhaps the best-looking and finished movement in a dive watch outside the haute horology brands.

The Glashütte Original SeaQ comes from a brand that puts immense energy and pride into its offerings. They can do this because they are not mass-producing watches at the scale of many of the big players in the industry. It is hard to find up-to-date production numbers like other private brands, but Glashütte reportedly only makes around 10,000 watches annually and only a few hundred of each model. To put that into perspective, Rolex is estimated to make over 1 million watches a year, Omega makes about 500,000 watches, and Grand Seiko is thought to produce around 45,000 watches yearly. This makes any Glashütte a genuinely exclusive watch when looking at just those numbers, and that story continues when looking at the details of the watch itself.

I have been blessed to own and experience a ton of genuinely awesome dive watches, and many of these I have an inherent bias towards, as they are in my watch roll. But this SeaQ sets itself apart from all the rest. I can safely say that the SeaQ impressed me in a way that most other dive watches that I’ve scrutinized never have. I want to thank Moyer Fine Jewelers for making this review possible. If you’re local or passing through, check out their awesome brick-and-mortar showroom in Westfield, Indiana, or shop their online website here.

Glashütte Original

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