We’ve been spoiled for choice in 2019 when it comes to dive watches – and now there’s yet another contender for the best submersible of the year: The Pancor P03.
Pancor P03 Review – A Week on the Wrist
I think, looking back, that 2019 has been a bad year for microbrand dive watch fans. No, hear me out – it’s not that there have not been some superb dive watches: Hamtun’s Kraken and Isotope’s Goutte d’Eau are just two of the highlights for me. The trouble is there have been too many good ones. If you only want a couple of watches, or even if you only want a couple of diver’s watches, there is so much choice out there that it’s no wonder a couple of Kickstarters have failed to meet their potential. And now the marketplace is getting even more complicated with the arrival of the Pancor P03 – another superb little submersible timepiece! Pancor kindly loaned us one of their pre-production samples for a week to give it the once-over.
The 39mm Pancor is surprisingly slender on the wrist – I was convinced it was no more than 38mm until I checked. This is a watch that will look good on a slimmer wrist. The case is a fairly conservative design, except for the steep bezel which stands proud of the case. It has a light knurling and is topped with a gently-domed sapphire crystal. A lumed, ceramic bezel insert finishes off the look. It picks up fingerprints easily, but it is also easy to wipe clean. The closed case back is lightly engraved and very tasteful – a closed back is a good choice for a watch with the excellent – but not particularly attractive – Seiko NH38 movement. The watch wears really comfortably and is perfectly balanced.
The crown was a little small for my tastes and even without crown guards, I struggled to grip it securely when adjusting the time. I would also have preferred a slimmer bezel assembly and a deeper-domed crystal but that’s not to say there is anything wrong with the design – except that its overall thickness makes the watch look (but not feel) a little top-heavy. I struggled to photograph the watch thanks to the mirror shine of the crystal, bezel and case back. I did not have any legibility problems in real life, though. The biggest problem for me is the lack of a date function – though I am fully aware that it can make a watch dial look unbalanced and that a lot of watch enthusiasts actively choose “no date” watches, my day-job requires me to write the date very often and my grey-matter is no longer at an age where I can recall what day it is without checking my watch!
Dial and Hands
The review sample was the green version. It’s clearly inspired by Seiko’s vintage divers but the green surrounds around the hour markers give it a fresh new look which I found really attractive. Hands, bezel and markers are all lumed with vintage Superluminova – and I was particularly struck by how neat the finish was on the markers, which are all perfectly formed and even.
The dial has plenty of space and a good sense of depth thanks to the applied chapter ring and indices. A very tasteful design, which I very much enjoyed looking at and which was very legible in all lighting conditions.
Strap and Buckle
If you back the Pancor P03 on Kickstarter you’ll get two straps: the rubber one which the review sample is wearing, plus a vintage-style leather. Both are of good quality, with signed buckles.
Of the two, I slightly preferred the leather. It’s not quite as comfortable, but when putting on the watch with the rubber strap -due to its design – it is easy to accidentally put the tang through one of the offset holes. Both are comfortable, and adequate for the asking price.
Pancor P03 – Video Review
What I Liked
- The design and colour scheme is gorgeous
- The watch is nicely built, with some excellent finishing on the dial in particular
- For the price, the Pancor P03 is a steal
What I Didn’t Like
- The crown is a bit small and fiddly for my clumsy fingers
- The bezel assembly makes the watch look a little unbalanced
- I’d have liked a date option
Pancor P03 – the WRUK Verdict
I haven’t mentioned the asking price yet: the Pancor P03 comes in at €229 which is about £200 at the time of writing. This is an excellent price, and as the watch is in production now, it may even ship from Pancor’s Amsterdam base before Brexit, after which British buyers must anticipate the addition of import taxes. Even then, that’s an excellent price for an attractive and original design. This one gets the thumbs up!
Buy a Pancor P03
The Kickstarter campaign should be live by the time this article goes to press. You can get the link direct to the campaign and find out more about the watch at Pancor’s website pancorwatch.com.