At Basel 2011 I was surprised to see these new dive watches from Perrelet. The brand has recently focused a lot on formal and sport so I should have expected a good diver, however, I never saw these coming. The Seacraft collection is interesting and appealing though parts of the designs seem to be influenced from elsewhere. My biggest question is how much Perrelet paid SeaCraft boats to use the name? Personally, I don't think about boats when I hear the name, I actually think about Star Craft.
There are three watches in the Seacraft collection and each comes with three different dial colors (black, white, or blue). A nice matching alligator strap option is also available for each of the watches. The colors are bold and so are the styles. I like the pieces overall but feel that Perrelet possibly could have gone further to make the watches more distinct. Plus, aside from the lugs and Perrelet logo on the dial, there isn't much about the watches that says "Perrelet."
Despite these facts, the Seacraft timepieces have a lot to love about them. The case reminds me a lot of my Glashutte Original Sport Evolution watch in terms of sizes and lugs. Perrelet took a very direct cue from the Sport Evolution with the bracelet. As with the GO, you press the Perrelet logo to extend or close the clasp by a few millimeters. The system pretty much works the same as the Sport Evolution, too. While not original, it is a great feature to have and ups the value of the bracelet for me. Similar to the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, this watch is mostly brushed steel with just a few polished elements. The case design is attractive and well done. The detailing is impressive and I like how all the pieces fit together.
The design sort of grows on you but, overall, it is a matter of taste. If I could ask for one thing, it would be ceramic bezel inserts. With the motion set forth by Omega and Rolex (among others) it is hard to come out with a $5,000 plus watch that doesn't have a fancy bezel. Having said that, the bezel does work well and look good. The matte finish is flattering to the design.
Each watch has a different caseback engraving. The cases are water-resistant to 777 meters (basically 800 meters) and have automatic helium escape valves. The dials have applied hour indicators and lots of lume. I like how Perrelet took their signature hands and made them a bit more rugged looking for the dive style of the watch. One fun little detail is the almost fancy font used for the date.
While the Perrelet Seacraft 3-Hand Automatic and GMT are 42mm wide, the Seacraft Chronograph is 45mm wide. My favorite is the Chronograph because of the size and overall design. Perrelet did a great job with the layout of the dial and the subdials. Whether in black, white, or blue, each of these pieces looks pretty fantastic. This is also one of the few white dialed dive watches I would wear (I prefer black dials, usually).
The Seacraft GMT contains a pretty unique movement that is new this year from Soprod. As Perrelet is in the same group as Soprod, all are Soprod movements specially decorated for Perrelet. The three-hand automatic has a P-261 movement, the GMT has a P-281 movement, and the Chronograph has a P-271 movement (all of automatic, of course). The GMT movement has a date wheel and a small GMT hand that is centrally mounted. The pushers on the side of the case are for advancing the GMT hand back and forth. It is possible that one of the pushers is actually to adjust the date - I don't recall 100%, but you get the idea. There is also a little porthole near 9 o'clock that is a day/night indicator.
I think these pieces will be very successful for Perrelet. They are big, chunky and feel quite durable; the dials are bold and easy to read - there is value here. Prices for these large, but comfy, Seacraft divers seem to be from about $3,500 - $6,000 give or take. Look for them about now.