Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze

I'll just say this up front: the pictures on the Phoibos site do not do the Eagle Ray Bronze PY0118D justice. The shape and layout are right, all the details are correctly rendered, but there is a whole panoply of gloss and sparkle that was entirely left out, and that is a shame because this watch is really pretty in addition to being pretty badass. Now, let's get down to it.

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze Black
This Phoibos is the latest iteration of the brand's popular Eagle Ray series, only this time, produced with a brushed CuSn8 bronze case. You can choose from blue or black ceramic dials with bronze bezel inserts, blue or black meteorite dials, or the black ceramic dial with the black ceramic bezel insert that I chose for this review. Measurements are the same as they were on the stainless steel version: 41mm wide, 47mm long, and 14mm thick from the case back to the double-domed and 3x anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal. It makes for a satisfying balance between sporting wrist presence and real-world, daily wear practicality. I found it to be a proper fit on my 6.75" wrist while still substantial enough to not appear undersized on bigger folks. Using your watch as a real dive instrument? Never fear, the Eagle Ray is sealed for a whooping 500m depth rating.

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze Black wrist

In profile, the case appears to be mostly bezel. This is a trick of the eye, perpetrated by the bezel's aggressive saw-tooth, the subtle chamfers cut along the upper edge, and the pronounced undercut on the bottom. It works quite well, giving the case an attractively slim, vintage look.  The screw-down crown mirrors the bezel's jagged pattern and is not signed, but decorated with an engraved star/iris shape on its domed head. In my review of the Phoibos Sea Nymph, there was much debate of the correct orientation of a sawtooth. I firmly believe they should peak to the right on anything that turns counter-clockwise, and so they do here, just as God and The Time Bum decree. It is the same on the crown. Arguably, this is merely an aesthetic issue as the crown must go in both directions, but it works well when unscrewing, and that is the motion most likely to encounter a degree of resistance. Regardless, the crown was easy to grip and smooth to operate, and the bezel action was similarly excellent, clicking firmly through its 120 positions without undue effort and with zero shimmy or back play.

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze Black

On the flip side, you will find the gateway to the movement guarded by Phoibos's "Angry King Octopus" (my name, not theirs), stamped and polished on the threaded stainless steel case back. It is nicely executed, and I must add that I have come to love the unapologetically eccentric Phoibos logo. Behind it lies a Sellita SW200-1, a Swiss automatic based on the venerable ETA 2824 featuring 26 jewels, Incabloc shock protection, a 38-hour power reserve, and a smooth 28.8k bph sweep.

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze Black case back

Let's turn back the dial and bezel. Both surfaces are a glossy black ceramic that looks about a mile deep. The syringe hands, lollipop second hand, and applied markers are polished and finished in a rose gold color. That same color is repeated in the printed index, dial text, and logo. The only element that is not printed in gold is the date, but the white-on-black disk tucks in unobtrusively at 6 o'clock. All hands are exactly the right length. Phoibos treats the hands, makers, and bezel pip with 15 layers of C3 SuperLuminova for a potent nighttime glow. 

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze lume

Usually, I would bemoan the fact that the bezel insert is not fully lumed, but not this time. You see, Phoibos has instead layered a cut-away insert over the engraved bezel, creating a sandwich that reveals the bronze beneath the ceramic. It is an uncommon yet very cool choice. The bezel pip lume sits in a cylinder that stands proud of the engraved triangle below. I like the extra dimension and trust that it will prove to be less vulnerable to knocks than an exposed lume pearl. 

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze Black bezel pip

The overall effect is lovely as the reflective elements contrast against the more utilitarian finish on the case, while the rose gold color complements the warm bronze. Again, I have to say the web illustrations kind of suck the life out of a watch that is a real stunner in person. 

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze Black

Phoibos provides a rather impressive kit with its watch. Along with the usual zippered travel box, they give you a strap tool, a black rubber tropic strap, and two minimally stitched leather straps (black and tan). You also get not one, but two bronze buckles. The first is large and sculpted with a broad, flat tang to fit the leather. The second is signed and smaller to fit the tropic. The engraving is deep and clean on both. The buckles are a big plus in my book as it is not always easy to find bronze buckle and even less so to find them in the right color for a given case. Kudos to Phiobos for looking out for us strap swappers. The straps are 20mm wide and taper to 18mm buckles. 

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze straps

I really dig the Eagle Ray Bronze. Your $420 will get you a sharp-looking watch with all the right specifications, thoughtful extras, and bags of charm to boot. Better still, being a bronze watch, it will begin to oxidize right away, further enhancing its personality. No doubt many owners will wonder if they will keep that case as clean as the ceramic or revel in the unpredictable gnarliness of its patina. Frankly, you'll win either way.

For more information or to order an Eagle Ray of your own, see PhoibosWatch.com. ⬩

Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze tan strap
Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze
Phoibos Eagle Ray tan strap
Phoibos Eagle Ray Bronze crown

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