Aquatico Oyster and Bronze Blue Angels

Aquatico is a Hong Kong-based watchmaker that has a growing variety of aggressively priced tool watches in its collection. The brand gave me two watches in exchange for this review: a black dial Oyster diver and a green dial Bronze Blue Angels aviator. With Seiko automatic movements, quality materials, and attractive dive and pilot designs, they seemed to be exactly what The Bum was looking for. Sadly, they were not.

Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels and Oyster


Both watches run on reliable Seiko automatic movements. The Oyster packs the popular 24 jewel, 21.6k bph NH35. It hacks, hand winds, and has a date complication, Diashock protection, and a 41-hour power reserve. The Bronze Blue Angel uses the NH35’s cousin, the NH37A, a nearly identical variant that adds a 24-hour display.


Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels

I was most interested in the Bronze Blue Angels as it wasn’t all that long ago that bronze cases were a novelty, and precious few were made in anything other than a dive style. Also, having read Joshua Clare-Flagg’s review of the lovely stainless steel Blue Angels, I had high hopes for this one. That said, the Bronze Blue Angels is a very different watch from the steel, really sharing no more than the name. Still, I was excited to put it through its paces. 

Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels wrist

The Bronze Blue Angels' brushed case is 43mm wide, 51.5mm long, and 12.5mm thick from the case back to its flat sapphire crystal. This puts on the large side, but not at all out of line for a pilot’s watch, and even on my 6.75” wrist, it is entirely appropriate for weekend wear. The stainless steel case back carries a simple image of four fighter jets in formation.

Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels case back

For an aviator’s piece, the Bronze Blue Angels is remarkably watertight. It is rated for 300m water resistance, which is a good 250m better than most pilot’s watches and 299.9m more than you would ever want to use in an aircraft. It is the kind of overkill I am happy to accept. 

In keeping with its pilot theme, the watch is fitted with a straight cut 22mm leather strap and a broad, signed, flat-tang bronze buckle. While the leather appeared to be of only average grade, I loved the style and finish buckle. 

Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels

That screw-down crown at 3 o’clock pulled me right in. I have a love/hate relationship with large crowns in that I love their ease of use and the fact that they offer so much area in which a designer can do something cool. On the other hand, I hate the way a large crown can spoil the lines of a case, especially when the designer opts for a dull, chunky cylinder. In this case, the big boy has been done right. The Bronze Blue Angel’s fluted, flattened onion shape offers visual interest and more than adequate grip without appearing bulbous or awkward. 

Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels

The rich and mossy matte green dial bears the rough sand texture now commonly found on several vintage-style watches. While the minute track and all markers are raised, I was disappointed to see that they are not applied, but molded and printed in gold, resulting in a softer, less defined effect than I would have preferred. More concerning is the presence of what appears to be white paint in the crooks of some of the numbers. [Update: With a second look, it seems the markers might be applied after all and are just lacking crisp edges and the white is glue. Of course, that really isn't any better.

Aquatico Bronze Blue Angels dial problems

Brushed gold hands and an orange-tipped second hand acquit themselves much better. Vintage C3 SuperLuminova provides a fine nighttime glow. The 24-hour display in the upper left quadrant is a distinctive touch that pushes the handsome Aquatico name to the bottom of the dial. 

All in all, the Bronze Blue Angels' style and layout works well, but the execution leaves something to be desired, even at its very affordable $279 price point. 

Aquatico Oyster

Turning my attention to the Oyster, I found more of what I was hoping for. At $329 it is more expensive than the Bronze Blue Angels but still quite inexpensive. The brushed stainless steel case is a 1970’s style tonneau with integrated lugs and polished chamfers along the upper and lower edges that break up the heavy slab and slim its profile. It measures a prodigious 44mm wide but only 49mm long, and 13.5mm thick, making it very a wearable weekend companion. You wouldn’t mistake it for a dress watch, but it manages to cut the right athletic, tool watch figure without going overboard. 

Aquatico Oyster wrist

Its recessed 3 o’clock crown has deep, broadly spaced grooves, and a beveled head signed with Aquatico’s dolphin logo. Of course, it screws down. The case is rated for an impressive 500m water resistance.

Aquatico Oyster side

Bezel action was very good, offering positive grip and a firm, mechanical feel as it made its 120-click rotation. The glossy black ceramic insert, engraved and filled with C3 and an orange accent at the pip was a real treat. 

Aquatico Oyster case problems

It comes off as a solid, respectable piece but closer inspection revealed a couple of wayward details. Those polished chamfers look smart until you squint a bit and notice the total lack of sharpness on the edges and corners. Have a look at the macro shots to see the way the polishing peters out on the lug, and the brushing overlaps the edges. 

Aquatico Oyster case problems

Another, smaller disappointment was the way the case back doesn’t fit flush against the underside of the barrel. Obviously, most dive watches have a protruding case back, but they generally make an effort to make the surfaces meet, usually with a shallow angle on the lid. Moreover, this is typically an issue with threaded case backs that must screw down into the bottom surface. The Oyster’s is fastened with five Torx screws, meaning it fits straight in with no rotation.

Aquatico Oyster case back fit

A case back of that type could be any shape, but this one is flat and partially recessed into the curved case. As a result, it sits too low at the top and bottom, and too high on the sides, creating an unsightly lip all around. Unlike the sloppy chamfers, you will not notice this when the watch is on, and it does not affect comfort in any way, but it is just one more detail that lets down what would otherwise be a satisfying case.

Aquatico Oyster case back

The dial is a fairly traditional layout, featuring applied and polished bar markers, sword hands and a bright orange second hand over a black sunray surface. All are filled with C3. An applied BGW9 chapter index overlays the dial; its cutouts fitting neatly around the markers. Lume glow is excellent, glowing brightly and lasting long after you have ventured into the dark. 

Aquatico Oyster and Bronze Blue Angels lume

But again, a positive first impression was let down under further scrutiny. I could not shake the feeling that the minute track seemed a little less than crisp and my macro revealed that I wasn’t wrong. Neither the edges nor the printing is especially clean, giving it a somewhat fuzzy look. 

Aquatico Oyster dial problems

Finally, the Oyster ships on a 22mm carbon fiber print strap with bright orange stitching and a signed, pre-V style buckle. I like that the pattern is the same on the underside, but unfinished sides reveal the layers and spoil the effect. Also, and I'll admit that this is my own hang-up, I don’t understand how anyone can offer a 500m diving watch with just a leather strap. If you are not going to supply a bracelet, then a waterproof strap is a must, even if it is just a nylon NATO. This is an easy fix, but why sell a watch that is not properly equipped for its stated purpose?

As noted above, both watches have their fine points and Aquatico’s pricing is aggressive, even more so if you take advantage of the code “thetimebum” for $20 off your purchase; however, there are too many flaws on both watches for me to recommend either one. ⬩

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