Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Kentex is the Japanese watch company you probably haven't heard of, but they should be on your radar. In fact, I actually had to travel to Asia to learn about the brand. It wasn't until I first attended the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair in 2012 that I had the pleasure of learning about this impressive watch maker. Unlike the bigger Japanese watch companies like Seiko, Citizen, Orient, and Casio, I don't believe that Kentex produces their own movements. In fact, this Kentex Marineman Seahorse includes a Seiko mechanical movement (more on that later). What Kentex does excel at is offering remarkably well-composed and good-quality watches for fair prices - something which at its core is one of the biggest reasons to get a Japanese-made timepiece. More so (and in my opinion), Kentex watch designs are a bit more reminiscent of European designs, being a bit less "Japanese" in flavor.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Take, for example, this lovely Kentex Marineman Seahorse. Ignore, for a second, that I happened to choose this limited edition model with a white bezel and mother-of-pearl dial. Compared to many other Japanese sport or dive watches, this is a design which seems to understand the "less is more" principle that so typifies the best of European design. What you essentially have is a generously sized, easy to read, yet nicely appointed dive watch most watch people wouldn't hesitate to own. So if this more niche model isn't your cup of tea, be aware that Kentex produces the Kentex Marineman Seahorse with more traditional dials such as black - but also experiments with other colors such as green, blue, and of course, mother-of-pearl.

I first went hands-on with the Kentex Marineman watch collection here. There, you can see images of other dial variations and colors. What so impressed me was not only the affordable price, but the finishing as well as attention to details such as the properly sized hands, quality polishing on the exterior of the hour markers, and general high-end components used in much of the watch. The Kentex Marineman Seahorse is a proudly Japanese watch, but it sends an uniquely alternative message to timepiece aficionados compared to its colleague brands like Citizen or Seiko.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Kentex Marineman Seahorse is a mechanical watch that contains a Japanese Seiko-made caliber NH35 automatic movement. This is a work-horse mid-range automatic that you'll find similar versions of in many Seiko 5 range timepieces. The NH35 features automatic as well as hand-winding, and also hacking seconds. Operating at 3Hz (21,600 bph), you'll get about 41 hours of power reserve out of an NH35. You can get the NH35 movement in some slightly cheaper watches, but I would say that for the quality of the components in the Kentex Marineman Seahorse, the asking price for the timepiece is not too much.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

At its heart, the Kentex Marineman Seahorse is inspired by classic European dive watches. Having said that, you don't get the impression that the watch is attempting to copy and specific design or brand. While you can probably find various elements that many have been borrowed from existing designs, I applaud Kentex for coming up with a familiar, yet original design for the Kentex Marineman Seahorse. Yet, the name of the watch does make me wonder just what a "marineman seahorse" is. With that said, you do get a nice relief-engraved picture of a seahorse on the rear of the watch.

From a dive watch perspective, the Kentex Marineman Seahorse is water resistant to 200 meters with a sapphire crystal, rotating diver's bezel, and well-lumed hands and hour markers. The bracelet also happens to have a diver's extension on it. The AR-coated crystal offers a lot of legibility, and you'll either hate, love, or feel ambivalent toward the magnifier lens on the crystal. I'm personally pretty ambivalent about it.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Looking very closely at the dial with my watch nerd hat on, you see a range of small areas that indicate minor lacks of refinement. From a distance the dial looks great, but those who like to carefully inspect dials will notice a few things that Kentex might have done a bit better. First is the color of the hands which is just a bit different than the color of the hour markers. Typically, these should be the same color, and according to Kentex, it is all SuperLumiNova. Next is the orientation and text of the "Diver's 200M." text on the dial. It is just a little bit too low, more-or-less touching the font under it and leaving a gap between it and the space over it. Ideally, the text should all be the exact same space apart. Also, I don't think the "." after "200M" was at all necessary. Looking a bit lower, you see the "Made In Japan" text bisected by the 6 o'clock hour indicator. There is a small space between "Japan" and the indicator which is not echoed on the other size. It is true that the design wanted to perfectly center-align the text, but that small gap might have been remedied by slightly widening the font for "Japan" or something else.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

None of this is to say that I don't like the dial - which is actually the major element which first drew me to the Kentex Marineman Seahorse watch. Rather, because I like it so much, I take the time to inspect it carefully. Another plus is the minute/second scale around the dial as the flange ring - that is a welcome detail.

While this isn't true for all bezel insert colors, the black or white bezels on Kentex Marineman Seahorse watches are ceramic - which is a nice feature that many collectors will enjoy, given the material's scratch resistance. Even if some of the color for the minute indicators on the bezel wear off, they are actually engraved into the bezel for added longevity. For those who care, a lume pip sits at 12 o'clock on the rotating bezel.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

For a long time I've been after a cool sporty dive watch with a mother-of-pearl dial. One that is nevertheless masculine... I think with the Kentex Marineman Seahorse I got exactly what I was asking for. The naturally glossy and slightly colorful dial material looks attractive and gives the otherwise utilitarian design a decorative look.

The Kentex Marineman Seahorse is not a particularly small-wearing watch, at almost 45mm wide. The size is further emphasized by intentionally protruding screws in the lugs and the dimensions overall. While not over-the-top, the Kentex Marineman Seahorse feels like the pickup truck of dive watches - which is either an excellent thing or an undesirable thing, depending on who the wearer is. The crown screws down and has a Kentex logo, as well as being flanked by crown guards.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Kentex did a nice job polishing the case. You have some contrasting brushed and polished surfaces, and I like the polished beveled edges on the bracelet. Kentex supplies the bracelet with a solid end-link, which is rare at this price range - but not unheard of. Overall, I like the bracelet a lot. The above mentioned beveled edges are nice, as is the slight tapering from where the bracelet meets the case to the deployant. I am a huge fan of tapering bracelets so I find the addition of one here to be really welcome. It also helps to reduce how large the steel case wears.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Kentex supplied both half-links and a micro adjust in the deployant to help you get a good fit with the bracelet. Common to many Japanese watches is the unfinished stamped metal deployant and diver's extension parts. These don't come with a high-end feel, but they are functional and the triple locking deployant feels stable enough. You do, however, get the "Asian rattle," as I call it from the bracelet, given the parts, which lock well enough, but rattle around a bit if you shake it. This is compared to say a Rolex Submariner that has a fluid moving bracelet, but one that the parts are so closely put together with tiny tolerances that there is no rattle. But of course, for the retail price of your standard Rolex Submariner you can buy about 11 Kentex Marineman Seahorse watches.

Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Kentex Marineman Seahorse Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As an attractive and useful dive watch at a solid price, it is difficult to pass up the Kentex Marineman Seahorse. Even though Kentex does have a few "distinctive" designs, I think most people will find their selection of very subdued looking sports watches impressive. Certainly a brand that should be on anyone's list who is keen to spend less than $2,000 or even $1,000 on a watch. A lot of value here and a fun watch overall. In models such as this ref. S706M-09, you even get exclusivity, as it is a limited edition of just 99 pieces (among other Kentex Marineman Seahorse watches). Price for the Kentex Marineman Seahorse watch is $780. kentex-jp.com

Necessary Data
>Brand: Kentex
>Model: Marineman Seahorse ref. S706M-09
>Price: $780
>Size: 44.8mm
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we'd recommend it to first: Japanese watch lover looking for something mechanical with a bit more of a European style but still a great value.
>Best characteristic of watch: Handsome looks with a nice assortment of parts of impressive details for the money.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Some forgivable, albeit noticeable, refinement issues. Might be too large for some tastes.

What do you think?
  • Interesting (2)
  • I want it! (1)
  • I love it! (1)
  • Thumbs up (1)
  • Classy (0)
  • XuanLiu

    i have the version with green ceramic bazel and mop dial. in my opinin, the lume is too weak, but otherwise, a great watch under $1000

  • thornwood36

    The date bubble is not nesesery, other than that great all day wear watch.

  • Jef_in

    this would be better if under $500

  • Ah man I’m such a sucker for pearl dials.

  • Ulysses31

    A pleasant piece, but I think the “Diver’s 200m” line should be spaced evenly between the above and below line.  It just looks like a mistake.

  • This can’t be compared to a submariner until there is at least 6 more lines of text on the dial.

  • notech47

    Kentex is a brand that I recently started to noticed. However, I can’t overlook the printing anomalies on the face of the watch. I have also have found and purchased other 200m dive style watches with the same movement for about 1/10th the price. The case and bracelet on the Kentex is definitely superior quality.

  • iamcalledryan

    If I buy a cheap mechanical watch I want the design to be interesting. The MOP dial is a start, but everything else is borrowed – Hands from Jean Richard, markers bezel and date window from Rolex, crown from Tag. And then there is the name Seahorse…

  • Judy Tombs

    nice watch

  • shinytoys

    Like the MOP dial. The watch also appears to be well made. For me, no need to consider once the price comes into play. With Citizen, Seiko and Orient, what’s the point? Looks too much like a Submariner.

  • joblow

    I really like the looks of  this watch.
    I don’t see alot of high-end qualities from a watch of its price point, so I’m not surprised at some of the criticisms.
    However, given other brands produce quality at the $500.00 to $1000.00 price, I hope Kentex pays attention to the review and its comments.

  • Michael Angelo Vivas Villaluz

    Good read, 44mm U0001f44e

  • notech47 You’ve found a new 200 meter diver with the same movement for around $78? Wow, that’s a steal.

  • Aaron Samuel

    Its incredible how many companies are using the Rolex Sub/Yacht Master dial and bezel. Does Rolex not mind? I know Invicta does as well.

  • bichondaddy

    Have a couple of buddies of mine that picked up a Kentex on ebay a while back….and while they had no complaints about the the watch itself….you know…keeps good time….looks nice on the wrist, etc….they said they thought the watch was a bit over priced for what you are getting.  If you really gotta have one…go to ebay…be patient and one will show up there for around $200. 
    Me…I am not impressed at all….there are nicer watches out there in the same price range!

  • bichondaddy

    MarkCarson   It can be done Mark…if you watch ebay closely…and you are very patient…you can find some super deals.  I picked up an “I” company 45mm automatic Pro Diver, ( 200 meters WR  ( so it says ), screw down crown),  there a few years back…two tone bracelet with a blue dial for under $100.  It’s my daily beater watch, I wear it when I working around the house, it hangs off of my easel when I am painting, and I don’t worry if it gets beat up at all!  It has a NH35 in it….and it keeps decent time…..and for what it’s worth….isn’t a bad watch.  The good thing is…if it ever stops working….no big deal…I’ve gotten my moneys worth…and tossing it won’t bother me one bit at all.  
    Oh…you can find Kentex watches on ebay for way under the listed MSRP….and some there for way over MSRP also!!!

  • bichondaddy

    thornwood36 Yea h…I would wear it for going to Home Depot or Lowes….maybe mowing the lawn…and it would get hung on my easel when I am painting.  It would be a nice beater….but…I don’t see it as anything more than a $200 watch.

  • notech47

    I actually have two. Both from the frustrating to many “I” brand. I’m wearing one right now; it’s about 45mm, completely titanium, except for the bezel, and has an exhibition back, great lume and is amazingly light and comfortable. It’s obviously Rolex inspired. I did have a jeweler calibrate this watch only because it was running slow when I first bought it. As long as it’s worn, it’s now accurate to about 5 seconds a day. This is the only watch I own where I managed to scratch the mineral crystal. With patience and careful applications of diamond paste with a rotary tool, its fixable. Sure it doesn’t have an anti reflective sapphire crystal or solid end links, but that is minor to me. It’s model 17018 with charcoal gray face.

  • LeVar Baker

    Really nice watch

  • John Suppa

    No thanks

  • Shawnnny

    Lol!!

  • Shawnnny

    I like it!

  • I_G

    iamcalledryan At least not a straight Submariner knock-off…

  • joshgraves

    Way too much text on the dial.  Having misaligned text on top of that would drive me nuts.

  • Seriously, what is the allure of the seahorse? I mean there’s so many marine life species…why is everyone choosing the water pony?

  • docweird

    Reading the review I thought that it seemed like a nice watch and if the normall version of it was in the same 100 EUR price range as my NH35 movement Submariner homage Invicta, I’d look into getting one.
    But at that price, just… No.
    There are just so many well established manufacturers at that price point, and frankly, at that price point you should be getting a ETA Elaborated movement, especially if you buy a lesser known brand no with “brand-extra”.
    I just can’t see myself paying 700+ for a Seiko 5 class movement at a price point very near brands like Longines, Omega, etc…

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  • CG

    Panagiotis  I’d like to see some of the mythical sea creatures as portrayed on old sea charts/maps… A Mermaid would be a good start for a dive watch don’t you think?

  • CG oh the watch is fine no problem there…as for the caseback take your pick: vampire/deep sea squid, any type of whale, any type of shark, giant crab, the friggin Kraken, Japanese sea dragon, angler fish, octopi, manta rays, merfolk, killer anemones, sharknado, the snorks etc.

  • Panagiotis CG Where is the sea cucumber?

  • egznyc

    I haven’t seen any Longines or Omega watches at this price point, sold new. Where are you finding these deals?

  • egznyc

    A mermaid would be nice — she could be very sexy, which would add to the allure …

  • egznyc

    The watch is nice enough, though I wonder whether the quality is enough to make up for their charging about three times what a similar Orient would be. Though I suppose Orient isn’t making limited edition MOP dials. But MOP is a bit too feminine in my opinion. The back is nicely engraved and the ceramic bezel is great, too. But I cannot get past the brand’s name, which sounds more like a feminine hygiene product.

  • MarkCarson ah yes, the elusive sea cucumber…fearsome beast and natural predator of the Sharktopus

  • docweird

    egznyc *Near* this pricepoint. For example Longines HydroConquest automatics start at around $800 here (I’m in Europe).

    Check Chrono24 for prices (or even eBay).

    For a local retailer, I’d go to:
    http://www.laatukellot.fi/longines-hydroconquest-sininen-teras-o41-mm-p-62897.html
    (829 eur).

    But the *real* question is; why would you pay nearly $800 for this when you can get a Seiko Monster with the 4R36 movement at under $200 or a Prospex “Baby Tuna” for undelr $300?

    Ie. essentially you’re paying ~500 for a mother of pearl dial and ceramic bezel.

    Then again it’s a watch; from a technical standpoint it doesn’t make sense, but I guess it’s not supposed to make sense (or how do you explain Rolex 😉 ).

  • Panagiotis MarkCarson The mighty sea cucumber (rarely seen on watch backs for some reason): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_cucumber

  • egznyc

    docweird egznyc Thanks for the response.  I am rather impressed that you were able to find a HydroConquest for just 829 Euros!  Now that the Dollar has strengthened relative to the Euro, that’s barely above $900, which I will agree is a very fair price.  On the other hand, apparently they don’t currently have it in stock.  I’m also not sure what shipping charges to the U.S. would be like (I assumed 9 Euros was for within Europe at best).  And I hear what you’re saying; there are retailers who sell it for even less on the likes of eBay.  Well, for many of us, we are more hesitant to go this route than, say, Amazon., but there may be good deals to be had for the intrepid.

    I totally agree that it’s hard to justify the added expense, particularly as I’m not a huge fan of MOP on a man’s watch.  I also think there are some very good Seiko watches out there, far better than Seiko 5 watches, with the 6R15 movement in them, selling for significantly less than the Kentex.  Why would I want to buy the Kentex, unless I’m really into their dial/materials?

  • BJS314

    bichondaddy i seriously can’t tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic right now.

  • bichondaddy

    BJS314  Isn’t that the whole point of sarcasm?  LOL

  • Clowdee

    I actually really love this watch. The choice of materials, the design, the clashing fonts, the fact that they put a URL on the underside, it’s all slightly goofy. I guess that goofy-ness is its main appeal to me. Sure, I wouldn’t buy it if I was a normal person spending a normal amount of money on a nice, slightly dressy diver, but for someone with a bigger collection, this is a nice novelty.