If you’re a massive diving enthusiast, you probably know that finding a proper diving watch isn’t the simplest of tasks – especially if you’re on a limited budget.
In this day and age, diving timepieces are oftentimes considered as essential a part of the gear as an oxygen tank, diving suit, or rescue devices. On top of allowing you to measure elapsed time underwater at huge depths, they can also look pretty neat during everyday wear.
Since the release of Marine in 1932, the first-ever diving watch produced by Omega, many brands have joined the game. However, not all offer timepieces at price points affordable for most.
One of the up-and-coming (and definitely less mainstream) watchmakers scoring plenty of positive reviews from users across the globe is Phoibos. The Hong Kong-originating brand specializes exclusively in durable divers that won’t break the bank and are excellent companions at deep waters.
In this Phoibos Wavemaster review, we will take a close look at the brand’s best-selling model – Wavemaster PY010. By comparing its specs with what’s on offer with other watch brands in the same (or higher) price category, we will get a better idea if all the hype is warranted.
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In-depth Review of Phoibos Wavemaster
The Wavemaster collection has been around since 2019 – just like Phoibos itself.
In terms of the number of sales, it’s leading the way among all eight Phoibos collections. At the time of writing, the Wavemaster line consists of 6 watch models with basically the same parameters. Small tweaks in the design and colors are the only aspects differentiating between the individual models.
Just like with every watch review on this website, the overall score of the watch depends on the quality-price ratio. In other words, it’s defined by how the Wavemaster fares against diving watches from brands in the same price category in terms of style, durability, precision, and naturally, diving capabilities.
Since you can only make the first impression once, let’s start with how the watch looks from the outside.
No matter which brand’s diving collection we crawl through, chances are high that we will encounter at least a few models that are obvious homages to the iconic Rolex Submariner. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s a brilliantly crafted timepiece that many years ago set the tone for the whole industry.
Despite Phoibos Wavemaster offering a pretty common look for a diver, there’s definitely a bit of a modernized feel about all 8 models.
Characteristically for diving timepieces, the Wavemaster boasts a round case. Because of the modest size (42mm diameter, 48,5mm lug-to-lug, 14mm thick), the timepiece will look equally great on all wrist sizes – whether of a male or a female.
The ever-present bidirectional bezel includes three numeral markers – 15, 30, 45, as well as 8 indices in-between and a triangle at noon o’clock. All elements are silver-tone, neatly matching the case, lugs, and the 6-link bracelet. The bracelet uses a three-fold clasp with a push-button release.
Combining as many as 4 colors, Wavemaster’s dial simply beams life. The black background includes a silver wave pattern, again paying tribute to the marine life. There are 8 dotted hour markers, 3 in the shape of a line, and a date window at 6 o’clock. Between the hour markers and the bezel placed are orange second markers, adding to the liveliness of this model. Finally, at noon o’clock there’s the octopus – Phoibos’s logo.
All three hands, as well as hour indices, are luminescent, ensuring excellent visibility underwater.
Even the most splendid look won’t matter a jot if the watch isn’t up to scratch (no pun intended) in terms of durability. Luckily, the Wavemaster is built to last.
Let’s start with discussing the most damage-prone part of any watch, the dial window. Considering the price of the watch (~$300 depending on where you shop), the inclusion of a sapphire crystal glass is excellent news.
Compared to diving models from other brands in the same price bracket, it’s definitely a standout feature. Sapphire crystal is widely known as the best protection against all sorts of impact and an ever-present element of all the top-end brands in the industry such as Rolex, Omega, or Breitling. What’s more, the glass comes with an anti-reflective coating. This allows for smooth time reading in any light. At times, it’s easy to forget the crystal is even there!
Both the case and the bracelet are made from stainless steel, ensuring the best possible shield against scratches and impressive longevity. Crucially, both the caseback and the crown are screw-down which definitely decreases the risk of corrosion and water-related damage.
And since we’ve touched on the subject of water, Phoibos Wavemaster boasts an impressive 300m water-resistance rating. Again, for a watch in this price range, that’s really on point. For instance, diving models with the same rating from more recognized brands such as Seiko or Citizen are likely to cost you twice as much (see also: Top Seiko Dive Watches & Best Citizen Dive Watches).
When it comes to the warranty, Phoibos offers a 2-year guarantee period on all watches. A pretty standard length.
Phoibos Wavemaster PYO10C is an automatic watch. Excellent news for those who value the bigger complexity associated with automatic movements – not so good for those prioritizing pin-point accuracy.
The exact movement used in the timepiece is NH35 produced by none other than Seiko. It’s a reliable and robust Japanese movement based on the popular 7s26 caliber. The movement is also used in many of the low-to-mid budget watches in the Seiko 5 collection.
Some folks report as many as two decades with little to no servicing, a result comparable to highly-rated Swiss ETA movements. Quite frankly, the movement is far from expensive and in many cases, a replacement will be cheaper than servicing.
On the accuracy front, NH35A delivers a performance of -20~+40 seconds daily. It’s an acceptable result for a watch in this price range but nothing more than that.
Stacking the Wavemaster against other diving watches at similar prices does the timepiece a world of good.
Especially for diving enthusiasts, the 300m water resistance rating will be particularly impressive. We shouldn’t also forget about the inclusion of a sapphire crystal glass – a rare sighting in diving watches under $300. Finally, the watch runs on a solid Japanese automatic movement by Seiko.
Phoibos Wavemaster Review: Conclusion
I have high hopes that the article has helped you decide whether the Phoibos model is the diving watch you’re currently looking for.
Summing up this Phoibos Wavemaster review, it’s only fair to say that the brand’s best-seller provides an excellent value for money. Certainly, it’s a great alternative to more pricey diving models from well-established brands in the sector, such as Seiko or Citizen.
Considering all the aspects of the watch we’ve covered above, the pricing – ranging from $250 to $350 depending on the store – is a great bit of business. The fact that Phoibos as a brand is relatively young has a big impact on such a low price of such solidly made watches. So it will come as no surprise if the prices offered by Phoibos increase over the years, once the Hong Kong-based becomes more established in this highly competitive industry.
When comparing the Wavemaster with other divers in the same price category, the two standout features are 300m water-resistance (suitable for saturation diving) and sapphire crystal glass (the most impact-resistant material out there).
Whether you’re a scuba diver and consider purchasing the watch mainly for the purpose of diving or you simply like the look of it and plan to wear it daily, Phoiobos Wavemaster will more than do a job.