In my recent review of the Glycine Combat Sub Bronze, I said that it was an affordable alternative the the Tudor Black Bay Bronze. I recently purchased an Aquatico Bronze Sea Star too. With its snowflake hands, is it an even better bronze alternative?
Currently, Aquatico has 19 versions of the Bronze Sea Star dive watch on its website. Black, green, brown, or blue dials are available with ceramic or bronze bezel inserts. Two different hand and dial designs, some with and some without date, are also available.
To get as much of a bronze look as possible, I narrowed it down to one of those models with a bronze bezel insert. I settled on green, as I didn't have a green watch in my collection at the time.
Aquatico Bronze Sea Star First Impressions
In-person, the green color is very dark, with a subtle metallic pattern. The dial and hands are clearly inspired by Tudor dive watches, but the case and bezel designs are different. It also has a date, and the Black Bay Bronze has numerals at 3, 6, and 9, meaning that at least it won't come off as an exact knock-off Black Bay.
Aquatico Bronze Sea Star Details
The case is entirely brushed, with finishing that is not particularly sharp. Were this a steel watch, it might bother me, but since the bronze will patina and hide most of the finishing anyway, I'm fine with it.
I imagine that the bezel will pick up an interesting patina over time due to its raised markers.
The bezel itself is slightly stiff to rotate but is very precise. It has loud, distinct clicks, and very little play between its 120 uni-directional stops. It sits above the case, and its coin edge makes it fairly easy to grip.
I'd prefer if its number in the series were on the caseback rather than visible in between the lugs (or omitted altogether).
The Aquatico Bronze Sea Star has a unique crystal that creates a fun distortion on the dial and amplifies the light reflected off the polished gold hands and indices. It is slightly raised but has a flat top surface.
Although I would have preferred an original design over these Tudor-inspired hands, I do like the way that they look, and the watch is quite legible.
Wearing the Aquatico Bronze Sea Star
At 42mm wide and 50mm lug-to-lug, the Sea Star's size was about right for me. Not too big, but big enough to feel like I have a fun bronze watch on.
It is also fairly thick at 14mm, but it feels well-balanced and not top-heavy. Again, the thickness doesn't bother me for a 300m bronze tool watch.
The large crown has a very faint Aquatico logo etched into the surface. Its coin edge makes it easy to grip.
The large and distinctive hands and markers make it easy to read during the day.
Blue Super-LumiNova BGW9 provides great illumination at night as well.
Standard Straps, and Replacement Straps for the Aquatico Bronze Sea Star
The included brown leather strap is thick but fairly soft. It has a brushed appearance on the top surface that feels slightly like suede. Combined with a thick bronze buckle, it has a quality feel for an affordable watch. I'm not sure how well that it would stand up to diving, but it looks cool on the watch.
The website only shows the watch on the leather strap, but it also arrived with a green rubber tropical-style strap packaged in its wooden box. It uses a steel buckle rather than bronze and feels like it is made from silicone. It's not my favorite material for a watch strap, but isn't a bad option for a comfortable strap on an affordable watch. Neither of the straps are quick-release.
I've been wearing it on a number of different StrapHabit straps with my current favorite being a green Distressed Canvas strap. Keep reading at the end of the article to view and purchase other 22mm replacement straps for the Aquatico Bronze Sea Star.
Aquatico Bronze Sea Star Movement
The Seiko movement that powers the Sea Star is the perfect powerplant for a watch like this. It's affordable and reliable and has hacking and hand-winding.
This NH35 version features a date display (but no day), and has around 41 hours of power reserve. It oscillates at 21,600 vph, and spins on 24 jewels.
When I reviewed the Glycine Combat Sub Bronze, I remarked that it was an affordable alternative to the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, but with less attractive proportions. I also said (as with the bronze San Martin) that I enjoy bronze watches, but prefer not to spend thousands on a watch that quickly and visibly tarnishes.
The Aquatico Sea Star is another watch that provides the look of a Black Bay at a three-digit price. Compared to the Glycine, the dial proportions are better, with larger hands and markers, but the color is not as attractive, nor is the brand logo. The case is also much thicker, and the bezel action is not as nice. Finally, you're trading a Swiss movement for a Seiko. It's less expensive, however.
Some people might be turned off by the fact that some of the watches sold by the Hong Kong-based brand appear to be derivative of (or homages to) other watches. While that is true, it does offer an affordable way to buy watches with features and materials that are often more expensive such as bronze cases, ceramic bezels, and tritium illumination. They also offer customization services, which could be interesting.
If you're looking for an affordable way to experience a bronze watch, the Aquatico Sea Star offers a number of different ways to do that at a great price.
Name: Aquatico Bronze Sea Star
Reference Number: N/A
Lug Width: 22mm
Movement: Seiko NH35
Power Reserve: 41 hours
Water Resistance: 300m
Crystal: Inner domed Sapphire with anti-reflective coating on the underside
Bezel: Unidirectional, 120 clicks, steel with bronze insert
Strap: Leather and silcone straps
Shop Other Replacement Straps for the Aquatico Bronze Sea Star