Phoibos was very productive in 2019. They launched quite a decent selection of new models and their popularity among dive watch fans achieved new heights.
Among all the noteworthy members of the 2019 generation, I decided to write a review about my favourite piece - Phoibos PY015D.
Why PY015D, you ask?
It's simplicity in design comes as a breath of fresh air among all over-complicated dive watches, whose design can be described with one word: clutter.
More important, simplicity in the case of Phoibos PY015D doesn't mean compensation on the technical specs. In this part, PY015D comes strong, with great balance of tool watch features and premium category features.
But you will read more about this later.
In case this is your first time you hear about the brand, here are few relevant facts that you need to know:
Phoibos is a Chinese watch manufacturer, very fresh in the market with their own brand but getting a lot of traction among dive watch lovers. Company was started by a Chinese couple (with a nice story how they came up with a name for the brand), production is done in Hong Kong and they have warehouses in USA, China and UK, with worldwide free shipping option.
If you are from USA (especially if you are from West Coast), service requests would be done through a local partner: Time-Tec Watch Service Center, Los Angeles. By the way, all quartz watches bought from Phoibos are coming with 1 year warranty and automatic ones with 2 year manufacturer warranty.
Now, let's get back to the topic! Here is how I see the feature set of PY015D.
Let's start first with the basics: PY015D is built around Seiko's NH35A caliber. This was a safe, no-risk decision by Phoibos, as this is a workhorse movement, well know to every watch enthusiast out there.
Black case is 42mm in diameter and 14mm thick, which makes it a good option even for people with a smaller wrist.
Reasonable dimensions of the case are accompanied with the choice of the strap - with this Phoibos model you get the Crazy Horse leather strap. I am not the biggest fan of leather strap on a dive watch (is it a dive watch then?), but in this case I am willing to justify it by calling PY015D a desk diver.
Another great thing about the watch is material of the glass - Sapphire Crystal glass (double domed with anti reflective coating.
To continue with the great things - this watch has ceramic bezel with 120 positions (unidirectional movement, of course). Bezel markings contain lume (BGW9 Super-LumiNova), as well as hands and indices.
Beauty of the Phoibos PY015D stainless steel case is in its simple design that projects tranquility - somehow just by looking at it my mind gets into the calm mode. Who knows, maybe it could have therapeutic capabilities (it would be an interesting marketing statement).
There are no distracting (screaming) elements on the case, just black background, simple markings and well incorporated logo.
Considering that there are so many options that Phoibos could have chosen to increase the visual impact, luckily they decided to level down the aggressiveness and go back to the basics.
Black case and clean design are enriched with careful additions of orange colour. Minute and seconds hand have orange borders while markings on 3, 6 and 9 o'clock are completely orange.
End result - simple, but attractive case, closed with Sapphire Crystal glass (with the common anti reflective coating). As we already stated in the Phoibos PX005C review, premium features like Sapphire glass are a rare and worthy catch within this price category.
Case dimensions of Phoibos PY015D would classify into the middle size category - 42mm in diameter and 14mm in thickness. Risks were not taken here, and I would say it was another good decision not to complicate too much.
Phoibos is again using lume from the Swiss brand (they are focused on Swiss watch elements, sometimes mixed with Japanese quartz movement) - Super-LumiNova Blue-Green-White (BGW9). Reasonable decision, as this lume offers high brightness in dark environment, and it fits well into the design of the hands, markings and numbers.
One more interesting detail is the bezel - it has 120 positions, which gives smoother transition when rotated. You have to be aware that 120 position bezel doesn't appear often in sub $300 category
I will not spend lot of words on the movement, as Seiko's NH35A is well known caliber to anyone with at least slight interest in watches and capability to Google. As with lume, it is a very reasonable choice. It doesn't add much, but for sure Phoibos didn't lose anything with going with NH35A.
First impression - the strap coming with Phoibos PY015D is unexpectedly interesting. Starting from the deeply grounded opinion that leather strap should never be part of a dive watch, Crazy Horse leather on this watch made me think. Not to confront myself, I just simply decided to declare Phoibos PY015D a desk diver.
Ok, coming back to the strap - Crazy Horse (Full grain) leather is top quality leather and it is a nice contribution to overall quality feel of the watch.
Also, the colours on the strap are strictly following the design guidelines of the case, with the orange knit on the sides of the black strap.