When we were offered the chance to review the Advisor Ascent after sharing our first impressions, we jumped – it’s an affordable (from $240) dive watch with great looks, a solid Seiko movement and a stunning sunburst dial. How is it in real life?
A Week on the Wrist – Advisor Ascent Review
The Advisor arrived in plain packaging, as this is the prototype for review purposes and not a final production watch. As such there are a couple of areas that I will not comment on as they are being fixed in the final watch – namely the lack of screw-down crowns, and the consequent way that it is easy to knock the internal bezel out of alignment.
This model comes in a gold-coloured case. It looks like untarnished bronze but is actually a plated finish, similar to that used on the Arcturus LC-1. Gold watches can divide opinion – I quite liked the colour of this one, but felt that the blue dial would have looked better with a steel case. The case is very sturdily built, with a 10-sided bezel sitting on top of a more contemporary rounded case. It’s nicely balanced, and the size suits my wrist well, with short lugs that hug the wrist.
The case has two crowns – the one at 4 O’clock is for setting the time and date; the one at 2 O’clock rotates the internal timing bezel. The crowns are of a unique design but their shape and lack of knurling make them a little fiddly. I wouldn’t want to try to use the watch with wet hands!
At the front of the case is a flat sapphire crystal, at the back a nicely engraved screwed-in stainless steel case back with an octopus design. I’d much rather have a closed back like this with a nice design than a display back, especially with the high-quality but uninspiring Seiko NH35 movement. My only criticism of the case is that is is very thick – almost as thick as an automatic chronograph at 13.5mm. Some may see that chunkiness as a positive – there are plenty of Breitling fans out there – but I thought it was a little too much!
Dial and Hands
The dial is the star of the show here. It’s a stunning sunburst blue colour that glistens in the sunlight and takes the watch into a level above others at its price point. Every index marker and the Ascent logo are applied in polished metal, and the hands are also finished in a gold colour. On closer inspection, the hour and minute hands have a slight crease down the centre which gives them a neat three-dimensional effect. I really liked the shape, and legibility is excellent thanks to the colour scheme and luminescent material. On closer inspection, the hands and markers are a slightly different shade of yellow, which I hope will be altered in the final production run.
Around the edge of the dial is the bidirectional internal timing bezel. This does not have a great deal of resistance so hopefully, in the final models, it will be possible to set it and screw the crown back down without knocking it out of position. The bezel has a slight angle, which gives the whole dial a three-dimensional “bowl” effect which I found very attractive. The only thing I did not like was the date – it looks like a standard Seiko NH35 date wheel with a white background and a font size that makes it look cramped in the nicely shaped date window. Given that the date window surround has been done in metal, attention is drawn to the rather boring date display! A black or blue background would have been better for me.
Strap and Buckle
I wasn’t expecting much when it came to the strap on a relatively cheap watch but boy was I surprised! The Advisor Ascent is presented on a superb quality, thick leather strap with a soft feel and high-quality stitching. The signed buckle matches the case and is just the right amount of chunky for my tastes. 10/10 here!
What I Liked
- Build quality is superb – far better than you would expect at the price point
- The sunburst on the dial is stunning
- The strap is excellent, you won’t need to budget to replace it immediately
What I Didn’t Like
- The date looks a little plain and uninspiring compared to the superb quality elsewhere on the dial
- The watch is very thick, which may make it uncomfortable to wear for some
- There was a slight mismatch in colour between the hands and the hour markers which I found distracting
Advisor Ascent – the WRUK verdict
I was sent the Advisor Ascent to review over a week before sending to the next reviewer, and it turned out to be one of those watches I wished I didn’t have to send back! I didn’t expect to like it so much, but the whole package comes together really well and it is definitely worth the asking price. It’s a tough time of year for the wallet, but if you can afford to jump on the Kickstarter campaign you won’t regret it.
Buy an Advisor Ascent
You have about three weeks left to back the Advisor Ascent on Kickstarter. The early birds have gone but you can still pick one of for $260 (about £208)