The $15 Ceramic Diver

May 26, 2013

From the unpublished archives. This blog was written in May of 2013

FOR the past few months, watchgeeks have been gushing over Sottomarino watches. This, the house brand of the retailer Precision Time who have both a chain of brick and mortar stores and an Internet retail presence. It seems to be treading in the TV brand space with oversized cases and inflated MSRPs.

Precision Time routinely runs specials on the Sotto brand with deep discount sales sweetened with coupon codes. It was one of these scenarios that was too good to pass up: the Ceramico on a rubber strap for $15. Two things stood out at this price; a ceramic case and a sapphire crystal. I figured it would be something to write a review about and for the price and materials would be a great summer beater. Perfect for shade tree mechanical jobs, yard work and eating sand later in the summer as the surf smashes me into the beach.

It took about five days to reach my mailbox. It shipped in a large, tin case similar to what you see with Fossil but with a hinged lid. as i opened it, I was initially taken back by the high-end look. Nice finishing, a clean aluminum bezel ring with sharp fonts and nice clean dial details. The first thing I noticed when pulling it out was the weight. As this is a ceramic watch I was expecting it to be a lot lighter until I got a good look at the caseback.

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Where to start…

The Case. The face and side of the case looks great. It is a matte finish ceramic that is very pleasing to the touch. But flipping it over reveals that the case construction is actually two pieces – the stainless steel bottom of the watch with the ceramic fitting over it like a shell. The finish between the two case pieces is night and day. The stainless steel base is rough and poorly finished; this in sharp contrast to the well crafted ceramic top. The edges are super sharp and the tolerances are terrible with uneven gaps between the caseback and the surrounding ceramic top. Immediately the spell was broken. This was not much different than those Chinese switchblades at the flea market that seduce from afar and reveal their true hackiness up close.

Matte ceramic also has an odd quality in that when it gets covered in sweat and dries, it looks like the thing is covered in boogers.

20130526-164331.jpg

The Bezel. With any dive style watch, a unidirectional bezel is pretty much the standard and the Ceramico is no exception. The clicks were solid with none of the sloppiness one would expect in a cheap watch. That was until I rotated it about a quarter turn and it immediately seized. It was then that the overall flawed bezel design became apparent as it is much too thin to be adequately manipulated with wet or dirty hands. I literally had to work it for several days to get it to reliably move through an entire one hundred degree rotation.

The Crown.

20130601-092956.jpg

Here’s one from the spring that i never got around to publishing. I ended up replacing the terrible silicon band with a Panerai style leather band. Even with all of the flaws, this thing has taken a ton of abuse and keeps time. It looks pretty good in the wrist and has become my beater work watch.

As I went to unscrew the crown to set it, something seemed wrong. It felt like it was cross threaded. When I looked closely I found that it wasn’t centered properly into the case and that it was actually rubbing against the lower crown guard. Yet another detail missed.

The Dial. I can put up with a lot of flaws on a watch but an uncalibrated, inaccurate second hand drives me crazy. Couple that with haphazard dial markers and lume that’s worse than Invicta’s proprietary Tritinite and you’ve got a real mess. My biggest peeve is that the minute markers do not seem to be equidistant.

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Interestingly enough, the hands have a great matte silver finish and are three dimensional.

The Strap and Buckle.

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The silicone strap is okay but has proven to be a lint magnet. The buckle is nice and solid in a style reminiscent of Panerai.

The Crystal. This is actually the best feature of this watch. Very solid and thick and it has taken quite a beating. As expected, the optics distort the as it is viewed from the edge.

For $15, I kinda except all of the flaws. The retail of $399 is laughable. Even an Invictard would not put up with all of these issues from a yellow boxed behemoth. I’ve worn this thing to do a lot of manual labor and dirty jobs and knocked the hell out of it. It looks exactly as it did when I got it six weeks ago. Granted, it’s analogous to a really attractive woman with crossed-eye.

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23 Responses to “The $15 Ceramic Diver”

  1. krane11367 Says:

    All I can say is: Welcome back, betterskills, you’ve been gone for FAR too long.

  2. betterskills Says:

    Thanks! Real life has got in the way.

  3. Mrs. Butterworth's Waffle Says:

    i’ll fixa up a tantalizing wee dish of the finest mall kiosk quality w/green peppercorn ripped off relish!

    JUNK-A-JUNK

    it’s nice to see a new article Better, good job! Lif gotta way of gettin in the way for us all.

    and for all you watch sheeple that love this level of workmanship, please by all means stop by a Precision Time nearest you for a beautifully looking $30 strap that will be so inexpensive and stiffer than frozen cod.

  4. Sottomarino Says:

    Sottomarino?

    Sottomarino?

    Are you crazy better?

    Well…I know it’s an archive article so to speak and it was a fun read.

    Sottomarino?

    My unborn son could craft a better made piece of shit than this.

    I went by the mall a few weeks ago to Precision Time and the dude working there looked like he needed to escape the kiosk in order to breath!!

    I was at the mall yesterday and there was different dude working there, I was in the mood for a laugh, he asked me what I was wearing, so I told him it was a Ball Hydrocarbon DeepQuest, and he said he never heard of Ball and for me to check out a Sottomarino! PAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

    Better, since it’s been awhile, can you post more articles, maybe share your thoughts on Invicta’s latest offerings, or Worldofwatches.tv/knife pavillion…lol Or Shophq’s new look, or maybe those Powermatic’s from Tissot where the selling phrase is it’s an astounding 80 hr power reserve, but in order to achieve this we’ve lowered the vph to 3hz so now the sweeping seconds hand sweeps like a quartz…buy one of these ingenious watches!!

    Sottomarino?

  5. Column Wheel Says:

    SottoMarino you say?

    Never heard of em

  6. A J Says:

    You went for a $15 sapphire and ceramic Sottomarino?

    Well, Invicta is Swiss as Schnitzel is Italian!!

    Sottomarino is quality as frozen pizza is fresh!!

    My balls are sticky as I needs mees a shower!!

    As Fred Sanford would say, “You Big Dummy!”

  7. betterskills Says:

    Yep. I was curious just what you got at that price and how it would compare to Invicta. I don’t wear it unless I’m going into a situation where a watch could potentially get damaged. So far, it looks like the day that I got it.

    And the hands haven’t fallen off.

    Best $15 I’ve ever spent on a beater.

  8. A J Says:

    Very nice Betterskills, your beater is the best $15 you’ve spent…lol

    Those hands would of fallen off if it were an Invicta.

    By the way, love your articles, especially when Diamond Jim was at Slop-nbc lololol

    Stop hiding your collection of Imperious, I understand you wear your Jailbreak everyday at the mall and at night you switch to an Invicta Arsenal…lmaoooooo

    Have a good one Better

  9. Porgie Patrick Says:

    I am here, in the flesh, watching, waiting, making my own brand of knives, so the next time you slice your meat or cut the cheese, do it with a J.S. knife!!…or everyone will point and laugh at you….hahahahahaha…because I said so!

    I am lord, I am the one, I am he whom everybody looks to for info on everything collectible. I am also gods favorite on-air web host and former television stud.

    I sold more STUFF than Carter has liver pills.

    You all hang on my every breath, word, whim, and action. I grace ALL whom gaze upon me and my super duper knife collection. I carry lots of weapons and my TMJ hasn’t acted up since getting fired.

    My farts smell like roses, I love hearing my own voice and I love to have sex with my goatee.

    I will continue to reign in the hearts n minds of the misinformed junk patron, as they collect whatever I say is cool and hip. I am a secret ninja.

    But…

    I despise a certain type of fish, a fish that has personally marred and tainted my professional and personal life. This fish certainly is not a wee dany dish.

    …SO, WHO AM I?

  10. Crem De La Face Says:

    Diamond Jim???????

    ;D

  11. Russell Sprouts Says:

    JINGLE BALLS

    Dashing through the mall
    On a broken gimpy leg
    To the kiosk we go
    Laughing at Invicta’s all the way

    Bells on Bob tails ring
    Making Sottomarino’s bright
    Oh what fun it is to buy cheap shit
    Skelton’s beard looks like Vincent Price

    Oh, Jingle Balls, Jingle Balls
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to don
    A WeeWood I must say…HEY!

    Jingle Balls, Jingle Balls
    Kris Kringle’s here to say
    Oh, what fun it is to don
    Swiss Legend’s Neptune all stealth gray

    A day or two ago
    I thought I’d take a ride
    As soon as I saw Stuhrling’s lights
    Larry Magen’s quaff appeared at my side

    My horse was lean and lank
    Wino Davis is an old big brute
    We went into the nearest bank
    At gunpoint Davis robbed the lute

    Oh, Jingle Balls, Jingle Balls
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to don
    A Croton Guilloche’

    Oh, Jingle Balls, Jingle Balls
    Jingle all the way
    Oh, what fun it is to don
    A Corduba or S1 Rally…HEY!

    ;D

  12. Danny Diarrhea Says:

    Hi, my name is Danny.

    I would insist upon telling you fine folks that I wear an Invicta Pro Diver cock ring, with the NH 35, PROUDLY!!

    Folks, I have in my collection 76 Invictas, PROUDLY!!

    Michael Davis is a long time friend of mine, PROUDLY!!

    I named my 4th child Rerun, and my 5th child Eyal, PROUDLY!!

    I married Thelma from good times after she dumped that jock and that African stiff, Ebay. Bookman ate my grits!!

    My face will be on the caseback of the Subaqua Noma 6!!!

    PROUDLY!!

  13. Eyal Lalo Says:

    I would like to invite all the naysayers and Invicta haters to read the following statement.

    When we purchased Invicta there was a distinct goal, to make high quality watches affordable to the masses, mission accomplished whether you like us or not.

    With that being said, I would sincerely love to invite all watch enthusiasts to our website, as for 2014 Invicta will be launching our original line of snacks, which will be available nation wide, please gander at our highly collectible offerings;

    1- Davis Doodles – A rich chocolate sponge cake with a malt whiskey creme filling and cat turd drizzle, these tasty cakes will warm the wino up in you, MEOOOOW!!

    2- Ryan’s Raisin Rim Crunch – A delectable confection with a surprise anal bead inside, just in case you want to shove something up your ass other than an Ocean Ghost!!

    3- Lalo’s Lava Loaf – Genuine Gibeon Lava combined with 57 jeweled cranberries adjusted to 5 positions, you’ll always be on time with this Swiss Made loaf from our Hong Kong bakery!!

    4- Jill’s Sour Cream n Bunion’s – These fried Bunions are generously doused with Jill’s very own shaved Bunion powder, taste the perfection…Oy Vey by em by the tray!!

    5- Jim’s Jawbreaker’s – Even though Jim is no longer our resident barker, we made these suckers in honor of him. As you suck these balls you’ll notice each layer taste like shit, and changes colors like he changes beard styles and watches. Careful not to crack your TMJ!!

    All these and more can be yours for your next party, or late night snacking fantasy!

    ** Act now, and receive a free coupon for our famous tub of yellow popcorn with a Pro Diver prize inside**

    -Disclaimer, Pro Diver might not work, if yours arrives broken please send it to us with a check for $28, and please allow 8-18 weeks for return shipping-

    Copyright 2014
    Invicta Snack Warehouse and Grotto

  14. Anonymous Says:

    You guys (?) sound pretty immature.

  15. Aaron MacDonald Says:

    Hey Anonymous?

    You guys (?)

    What do you think it’s the same person using many different names to try to confuse people?

    You know what I think, I think it’s the same person over and over, who else would come to this bullshit website to post anything to begin with.

    Nobody cares!!!! You hear me guys (?)

    GUYS (?) I’M TALKING OVER HERE!!!!

    You pathetic losers! (?)

    I will cuntinue to wear my 64mm Invicta’s no matter how much you guys (?) make fun of us, who do you think you guys (?) are???????

    FUCK OFF EH!!

  16. Vincent Valgranges Says:

    Did ANYBODY see the Shophq last night comedy block?

    With that wrist clock 52mm Pro Diver Meteorite and the “hurry up before Swatch makes ETA stop production of Valjoux’s and Valgranges their so darn scarce and collectible and full of insane value?”…

    Elabore grades abound!!! Just look at our BULLSHIT elabore (uhhhh hmmmmm basic) grade movements sourced from Uncle Lalo’s 3rd cousins nephews neighbor Fong Lee.

    See it now on Acorn TV, if it wasn’t for Jim I wouldn’t be on TV when I really don’t wanna be on TV to begin with…

    And, yeah it’s true Invicta is “trying” to work on customer service to get better.

    Just buy one of our 5,000 different watches and if you run into a problem get in line and bring your sleeping bag.

    Did you guys hear that the Ocean Ghost and the Capsule had a baby? It’s called the Ocean Crapsule 😀

    Maybe not that funny, but how bout Stephen Jay enticing you with a boring basic grade Valjoux in a Fortis?

    Or maybe Stan B should ease up on the caffeine?

    Tim still using words he learned in College that the average listener can’t comprehend. Such entertainment, how bout that STUPID looking Android that looked like a crushed potato that Alon Nisimov crapped out from Adee Kaye.

    Okay, this has got to stop, it’s too CHEEZY!!!! What a MISERABLE and funny home shopping channel where Daniel says his SUB-AWKWA is brilliant on his 6″ wrist and the Zeus he can pull off anywhere!!! SlopHq!!

  17. Nicky Says:

    hello there, i did the same thing as you did in this article, except i bought a hurlingham LOL!

  18. Twat Waffles Says:

    Well, you did better than I thought, Nicky!

    At least you didn’t purchase the Invicta with the manual spinning Turbine that they say is so amazing and impressive!!

    Remember, as you twirl the crown the turbine blades spin, what an original Turbine design, WOW!!!!

    And Invicta Ryan (change my facial hair because cum was sticking to it) Johnson says it has great value!

    Enjoy your Hurlingham.

  19. Gloria Says:

    Hi everybody!

    This is my first post, and I just wanted to tell you guys that you can certainly purchase a low end timepiece and get a lot for money spent.

    My hubby bought an Invicta special automatic chronograph with some kind of Depraz thingy inside, he raved about it and acted like a kid on xmas when it arrived, unfortunately, when he got it home it wouldn’t work and he was really upset, so I bought him a mall watch, cost me a measly $40.00, and actually has ceramic in it, well he loves it and it worked out of the box!

    Okay, bye everybody.

  20. Jim Blade Says:

    I am wondering if anybody knows that back in 2009 when I first joined Facebook that within 3 measly months I already achieved the 5000 max friends list?

    I am sure you guys know that I am the originator of cross-over hobbies?

    I will be your BFF just as long as you support my self indulgent career of selling watches and knives.

    Start Striding everyone!!!

    And don’y be Koi about it. ;D

  21. Minnesota Marvin Says:

    Betterskills, did you see the youtube video of the shophq caller calling out M. Davis live on air about robbing a bowling alley yet?

    I almost lost it so hilarious!!!

    Couldn’t believe shophq didn’t cut him off sooner, holy crap so funny!

    Okay, well a new article by YOU is long overdue, get-er-done!!

  22. Jane Sanchez Says:

    Jesus Xmas, I don’t get all the abuse guys?
    People just wanna witch hunt and see people fail, pathetic!!!

    As a person whom owns 8 Invictas (when Mr. Davis was there) they all but 1 work great, I needed service on one and yeah it’s taking long, but Invicta told me over the phone it’s going to Switzerland because it’s a Swiss Made watch, and that they make a lot of watches and the turnaround time is slower because of that.

    Hey Mr. Davis, if your reading this me and my hubby wish you the best my friend!
    My husband bought his first watches from Jim Skelton and ShopNbc, they should bring him back!!

  23. Talk 2 Me See Says:

    I want to talk 2 me!

    This all fizzled out like Joan Rivers snatch, which btw Stouffers is now selling an entrée in honor of her called “Baked Really Old Scrod w/ snatch giblets”

    I hear you get a free fish biscuit and a panty pudding frozen treat! 😉

    I like mall watches, because they serve a purpose, you know the purpose right? I purposely said that.

    Some folks like to get away, wear a Hurlingham in the neighborhood, hop a flight to Taft St. or in Hollywood.
    I’m taking a greyhound, to the Hudson River Line, cause I’m wearing a pro diver gonna lose my fucking mind! -Billy Joel

    The type of watch you wear DOES NOT define you, your status or penis or titty size, you wear them cause you like em!! Partner!!

    Well even if your wearing a SEARS special.

    Invictards hold your collection dear n near, like your soul possessions, cause you kinda know what time it is!! ;o

    Mike Davis is coming out with his own malt whiskey flavored shaving cream called “WINO” which is backed by Barbasol and stands for “wine is near okay”. Once you lather up this cream just frost your face with it and put a dab on your apple pie too!

    Lalo is backed by Ronda, 5050C is named after our esteemed president & CEO Eyal Lalo. WORD UP!

    There is no difference between Swiss and Swiss Made!


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