Divers love their orange watches. Well, at least some of them do, since most divers are offered in a variation with an orange dial. According to Doxa, they were the first to use orange as a way to make the dial more readable in low light situations, way back in 1966 (hey, it is as old as I am). But I don’t have over $2,000 for a dive watch, and with the wide range of watches out there, the Prometheus Piranha makes a strong case for being a great choice under $500.
Patrick took a look at the Prometheus Piranha in October, though he didn’t get it hands-on. Patrick is a fan of the brand, and had nice things to say about the watch, but he ultimately didn’t care for the style of the case. When they offered a review piece, I was thinking along the same lines as Patrick, but I thought I should take a look anyway. In fact, I was prepared to not like the watch, but my opinion changed the instant I opened the package. I can say now that the case is really well done and is one of my favorite elements of the watch.
The watch itself is very substantial. Instead of the more typical shape of the modern diver, where the case tapers in quite a bit and the bezel extends to the edges, the Piranha is much more blocky, with the case extending out past the bezel and actually creating an inset for the 60 click unidirectional bezel. The bezel can be rotated when gripped at the sides, but it is really meant to be accessed through the cut-outs at 11:00 to 1:00 and 5:00 to 7:00. Instead of making changes more cumbersome, this is actually where my fingers want to reach when I am adjusting the bezel, so it feels natural, while at the same time providing a bit of protection. The bezel itself is solid with very little play.
Beyond the shrouds protecting the sides of the bezel, the 44 mm case itself has a fair number of facets and angles. Patrick’s take on the watch, as well as what Prometheus lists as an inspiration, are the divers of the 60s and 70s. While I can see a bit of kinship to those watches, I really feel that this case design is more modern and not at all dated. What is not present are crown protectors, but the large and deeply knurled screw down crown probably does not need the protection, and the case works just fine without them.
Like most modern divers, the underwater specs are overkill. The watch is rated to 500 meters, and there is a helium escape valve in the case at 9:00, just in case you happen to be diving on trimix. The movement is the reliable Miyota 9015 automatic, and the front crystal is a flat sapphire with a beveled edge to it were meets the bezel, so the surface of the crystal sits a bit higher than the bezel. The markings on the bezel are machined into it, no aluminum or ceramic bezel ring here, but the markings are very clear and very readable in the light with the black paint.
The watch dial, at least my version, is a pretty bright orange. If that is not to your liking, the watch also comes in yellow, black, and white, with the last two versions using white for the marking on the bezel. Regardless of the color, all the watches have a very generous application of C3 Superluminova. all three hands are marked, as are all 12 hour marks and 0 on the bezel. The lume is bright and long lasting, important aspects if you are looking for utility. There are double bars at 12:00 for quick orientation in the dark. I have never worn an orange watch for any length of time, but I really like the color. I would not grab the watch when I wanted a dressier option, but it is perfect with jeans and even at my business casual office. The branding on the watch is not over done, with text at 12:00 and 6:00 and the Prometheus fire logo on the crown. The screw down case back is adorned with a cartoon Piranha, mouth wide open and ready to chomp. It is a playful design touch that I would not have minded repeated on the dial. The packaging is attractive, holding the watch flat and providing a hide-away spot for an extra strap if you get one. And the strap is probably the one place where the watch falls a little short. I think the rubber is a good choice with this very sporty design, but a different grade of rubber, or maybe silicone, would have been my choice over the included polyurethane strap. This isn’t a big criticism, the strap is not uncomfortable, and it is very adjustable if you find yourself wearing it over a wet suit, but it could be a bit more supple.
Overall, I really enjoyed the watch. It is a good size, and the case was distinct and attractive, far more so than I expected from the pictures. I found myself wearing this watch full time with the exception of when I went out with my wife for our anniversary dinner. There are plenty of options for automatic dive watches under $500, but the Prometheus Piranha is one that is well worth your consideration. prometheuswatch.com
- Brand & Model: Prometheus Piranha Dive Watch
- Price: $372 (with current discount and exchange rate, $422 without)
- Who’s it for?: Fans of bold diver watches.
- Would I wear it?: I have been wearing it a lot, so yes.
- What I’d change: Maybe natural rubber or silicone instead of polyurethane rubber for the strap.
- The best thing about it: I like the case design.