Phoibos Reef Master DLC (Review)

Today we will be looking at a watch from a brand that I wanted to review for a long time. I discovered this company from all the Youtube watch reviewers and they all said amazing things about this bran, especially for the Phoibos original designs, so I was very interested to check this brand out too. After many attempts to reach Phoibos marketing team, I finally got mine in for a review, and this one is the Phoibos Reef Master with black DLC coating. This is their original design and looks pretty cool.

So let’s look into the company how it became a reality. Ethan Guo and Emily Feng, a young couple from China. In 2014 they took a trip to Greece, attracted by its rich history and beautiful landscape. Inspired by their visit, in 2016 they established their own watch brand: Phoibos. The name Phoibos comes from Ancient Greek Mythology and is the other name of the God of light and sun, Apollo. The meaning of Phoibos is “Bright, Shining One”. Their main goal is to make only original designs in 2018 and also to offer solid, reliable, classically styled watches at reasonable prices to global consumers. Right now as from what I see on Instagram and in comments under other watch reviewers articles and videos many people buy these and are very pleased, so it must be good right?

Th watch came in a nice sailcloth wrapped box with Phoibos branding on top. Inside the box, you will find a second black leather strap, instructions, warranty and service talon. The watch itself comes on a perforated divers black rubber strap. The first impressions of the Reef Master were great, I wasn’t expecting something that good. The watch felt really solid and I immediately noticed the ceramic bezel insert and the deep machined case back with the octopus logo.

So let’s start with the case. The case is made from a 316L stainless steel with black DLC/Diamond-like carbon is a class of amorphous carbon material that displays some of the typical properties of diamond. DLC is usually applied as coatings to other materials that could benefit from some of those properties. The value of such coatings accrues from their abilities to provide some of the properties of diamond to surfaces of almost any material. The primary desirable qualities are hardness, wear resistance and slickness. The top edges of the case are polished but other parts of the case are matte. The finishing is done quite good, I’m not a big fan of the black DLC coating, but from what I can see it is pretty durable as it withstood the classic “hitting the doorknob accidentally” test, haha. The 120 click bezel with the ceramic insert is pretty solid. It is pretty easy to move due to sharp teeth for the grip. There is zero play in the bezel and the clicks are smooth. The bezel insert is also lumed and shines pretty bright. The diameter of the case is 42mm, the thickness is 14,4mm, from lug to lug it measures at 48mm and the lug width is 22mm. Overall a very modern diver size. It doesn’t look too big or too small and will fit almost every wrist. At 3 o’clock we have a signed screw down crown. The crown is pretty easy to unscrew and operate, even for big fingers. The screw down case back is made of stainless steel but has no DLC coating as it could rub off when you wear the watch. But I like how the implemented the Octopus logo on the case back. On top of the dial sits a double domed sapphire crystal with AR coating. The AR coating, in my opinion, needs a lot of work as it is very hard to take photos in any light as the bezel and crystal reflect everything. 

The dial is something that I don’t like, particularly the 6,9,12 markers font. It kind of looks cheap to me, if they used more simpler font or just lines or something, it would’ve looked a ton better. The sandwich dial itself is matte black. The first layer hides all the hour markers. The 6, 9 and 12-hour markers are in this light blue colour, just like the accents on the bezel. At 3 o’clock we have a black date window. At 12 we have the Phoibos Octopus logo and at 6 we have a text saying that it is automatic and 300m water resistant which is more than enough for swimming and holiday activities by the water. The pencil shape hour and minute hands are both in white with black parts where they are attached to the movement. The second’s hand is also white, but stick shaped with a dot. All the hands, hour markers and bezel is lumed. The lume is very bright and lasts for quite a bit, the colour of the lume is also out of usual, it glows in this light blue colour.

The movement that is inside is the Seiko NH35 automatic which is one hell of a good movement if we talk about budget movements from Japan. It is probably the most used movement besides the Miyota 9000s series movements in microbrand watches. And the reason is that it is very reliable, easy to maintain and it has a hacking feature that everyone wants these days. The NH35 beats 21,600bph has 24 jewels and power reserve is 42 hours. The accuracy is pretty good, it was around +7 to +9 seconds a day which is pretty ok for this movement. I have this movement in about 3 other divers and they work perfectly fine.

The straps that came with the watch were good. The watch came on a black leather strap with black stitching. I think the leather strap is unnecessary as the Reef Master is a dive watch, and a tool watch needs to be either on a bracelet, rubber strap or nato strap. Anycase the strap has a decent quality, the buckle is a regular buckle with the same DLC black coating and signed with Phoibos logo. The rubber strap, in my opinion, is the best to wear it on, so I swapped it with the rubber strap that came in the box. It is the classic divers strap with many perforated holes and that classic weird looking buckle. On the wrist the watch feels pretty comfortable and wearing it daily is no problemo.

Overall I like the watch, despite the weird font on the dial and the black DLC coating. I wish they sent me the stainless steel version with the blue bezel to review. The watch has great specs like stainless steel case, DLC coating, sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel insert, great lume, two straps and of course the Seiko NH35 automatic movement. It really is a bargain. I also went swimming in the sea with this one and it held up pretty good, the strap stayed on and the watch wasn’t moving on my wrist. Do I recommend it? Hell yeah! I think this is definitely going in the list of top 10 dive watches under 350$. Right now they have a discount on their site, right now it costs 239$ $339 which is a big discount, so definitely grab one for yourself!

Price: 239$ $339 @ phoiboswatch.com

Specifications

  • REF.: PY015C
  • Dial: Sandwich Dial  
  • Calibre No.: SII NH35A
  • Case:316L Stainless steel with DLC coating 42mmX 48mm
  • Strap: Black crazy horse strap,  One rubber strap with signed buckle free
  • Glass: Double domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective undercoating
  • Water resistance:300M(1000ft) suitable for Swimming & Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
  • Case size: Diameter 42.0mm  Thickness 14.0mm
  • Bezel:120-click unidirectional matt ceramic bezel
  • Crown: Screw-Down crown
  • Lume:15 layers Super-LumiNova BGW9 & Dark Blue on hands, indices, and bezel marking
  • Warranty: 2 year

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