If you’re not familiar with Long Island Watch, you really need to be. We’ve worked with them in the past with getting in some various loaners, so they can be a good source for stock watches. But are you aware that they’ve also branched out into their own designs? Recently, we spent some time with one of their latest, the Long Island Watch ISL-38.

Let’s go ahead and address the elephant in the room – the Long Island Watch ISL-38 is very much a Datejust homage. Frankly, that’s the reason I asked for the loaner. As my watch tastes have changed, I’ve adjusted the sort of Rolex that (at least in my imagination) I’d want to get when I hit a specific level in my career. It used to be an Explorer II, and more recently moved to the Datejust. Something about the fluted bezel against the jubilee bracelet just spoke to me. So, I figured, with this watch, I’d get to scratch that itch a little and see if the desire stayed in place.

Or, if you’re deeper into the Seiko lore (as our Victor is), you might be tempted to say that this is a SARB/SARX with a fluted bezel. And you know, you may not be wrong there, LI has moved a lot of Seiko, so perhaps this design started there. Regardless, with that bezel and bracelet set against the stick indices and hands, it smacks of DJ to me.

Perhaps that’s short-changing the watch. The Long Island Watch ISL-38 is a 38mm case and just 11mm thick, which means it’ll fit a variety of wrists, and not feel way too small on a larger wrist. It just feels right for a dressier piece, and the proportions felt decent to me. Though the exhibition caseback you’ll see the trusty Miyota 9015 working away, which gets the job done with decent accuracy and helping to control the price.

Flipping it back over, you’ve got a nicely legible watch. The indices stand out sharply against the sunray dial, as do the hands (though I wouldn’t have minded them being a touch larger, but then that would throw off proportions against those indices). Other than the word “Automatic” at 6 o’clock and the Long Island logo up at 12, you’ve got nothing cluttering the dial, which is just how a watch like this should be.

I went into the review of the Long Island Watch ISL-38 viewing it as a budget alternative to a Datejust, and if you do the same, you won’t be disappointed. It hits a lot of the looks that likely draw you to such a piece, while keeping things affordable. For me, it made me start to question if I’d really want to save for a DJ one day. While the sparkle and flash on the bezel and bracelet are great, they feel almost too flashy, especially against the dial. And sure, you could go for a plain bezel and Oyster bracelet, but that point, it’s “just another ” sport watch. So, the search continues. Perhaps just another dial color of my trusty (and worn a lot) Sjoo. Then again, that’s just me. And hey, if you’re on the fence, a watch like this could help you solidify your tastes without breaking the bank. You can pick up your own Long Island Watch ISL-38 directly from the brand for $349; it’s available (in this style) in either a blue or black dial. longislandwatch.com

Tech Specs from Long Island

  • Movement: Miyota 9015 Hi-Beat Automatic (self-winding, hand wind, hacks)
  • Case: 38mm diameter x 11mm thick x 44.5mm (tip to tip)
  • Caseback: Screw-in, exhibition window
  • Crystal: Flat Anti-reflective sapphire
  • Band: Bracelet with a push-button deployant clasp. 20mm
  • Water Resistant: to 100 Meters
  • Warranty: 1 year

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Last Update: September 3, 2021