Phoibos Proteus

Having reviewed a number of Phoibos Watches In the past year, I have come to expect handsome design, solid specs, and value for the money. True to form, the new Proteus dive watch they gave me to review delivers all three.

Phoibos Proteus
The Proteus’s stainless steel case measures 42mm wide, 49mm long, and 13mm thick; exactly the proportions one expects in a contemporary dive watch and, given its sporty mission, quite appropriate on my 6.75” wrist.

Phoibos Proteus wrist shot

Flat planes and sharp angles dominate, lending the barrel-shaped case a tough, chiseled look that heightens its wrist presence. The north-south brushing is highlighted by the whisper of a polished fillet running the length of the watch – just enough to catch your eye, working beautifully with the bright glint of the bezel’s upper edge.

Phoibos Proteus

Speaking of that bezel, it is unidirectional and moves smartly through its 120-click rotation. Shallow depressions in the beveled upper edge look slick and are, in fact, literally so. A touch more tooth would have helped here as I needed to pinch hard to get a good grip. On the other hand, the screw-down crown is the paragon of functionality, a big fat cylinder with deep spiral cuts that look great and make its operation a breeze.

Phoibos Proteus

Like the case, the Proteus’s face is an attractive mix of flashy and gritty. Under the double-domed, triple AR-coated sapphire crystal lies a matte black, sand-textured dial that provides a grounding backdrop for applied dart markers suspended on a green-white index. Polished brightwork continues in the faceted hands, Milgaussesque lightning bolt second hand, and porthole date window. Even the glossy ceramic bezel gets in on the act. All are eye-catching and dapper without crossing the line into dress-diver territory.

Phoibos Proteus

And then we get to the dial text. Of all the nits I tend to pick, typeface is the one on which I get the pickiest. Phoibos chose a casual, handwritten signature style for “automatic” and “300m.” It’s hardly offensive, but there were so many better choices. I took comfort in the presence of the Phoibos Angry King Octopus (my description, not theirs). It is one of my favorite watch logos right now, and I’m pleased to see it printed at the top of the dial, and stamped in crisp relief on both the head of the crown and the case back.

Phoibos Proteus

When it came time to apply lume, Phoibos went to town, slathering a good 15 layers of C3 on the dial ring and BGW9 everywhere else, including all of the bezel markings. The result is an impressive two-tone that glows long and strong.

Phoibos Proteus lume

Inside, you will find the durable, dependable, and Diashock protected Seiko NH35 automatic. You know the one: 24 jewels, 21.6k bph, 40+ hour power reserve. It's hard to go wrong.

Phoibos Proteus

The Proteus comes on a brushed 22mm bracelet with a King Octopus signed flip-lock clasp. It’s all neatly finished, and the end links are solid, but I must note that they sit ever so slightly lower than the upper surface of the case. It’s enough of a difference that I registered it right away but not enough to look like it was intentional. It bugs me enough that I would probably swap the bracelet for a strap, like the black sailcloth pictured here, and be done with it, which is a shame because it otherwise suits the watch.

Phoibos Proteus

So how does the Proteus stack up on value? For $299 US, I’d say quite well. While the end links were disappointing, the case and dial offer a lot to love, the lume is outstanding, and 300m is nothing to sniff at. For $419, you can upgrade to a gray or black meteorite dial. The Proteus is available now at PhoibosWatch.com. ⬩

Phoibos Proteus
Phoibos Proteus
Phoibos Proteus


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