Collins Sonar

Collins Sonar

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Manufacturer: Collins Watch Company | Price: $695 USD (£555 GBP, €620 EUR)

When I was first started Zaltek Reviews in 2018, I could easily state that my favourite genre of watch was a diver. Nothing else could come close. Fast forward to today and although I still love a nicely designed dive watch, I’ve started to lean towards slightly smaller sports and diver watches at around the sweetspot of 39-41mm. When I heard that Collins Watch Company were releasing a diver at their stated dimension of 39.5mm, as you’d imagine, it certainly peaked my interest! A few emails exchanged with Jimmy (the owner) and Mike from The Time Bum, the Sonar finally arrived here in Scotland.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: Diameter – 39.3mm, Thickness – 12.2mm, Lug to Lug – 46.9mm, Lug Width – 20mm
  • Movement: Sellita SW200, 28,800vph, 26 Jewels, Hackable, Self Winding, 38hr Power Reserve
  • Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel
  • Bracelet: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel, Solid Links, Screw Pins, Signed Clasp
  • Crystal: Flat Sapphire, Underside Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Aluminium Insert, Lumed Marker
  • Water Resistance: 300m / 30ATM / 990ft
  • Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9
  • Crown: Screw Down, Signed    Caseback: Screw Down
  • Warranty: 1 Year    Weight: 152g (Sized)     Where to Buy: Collins Watch Company
  • Dial Options: Black, Blue, Green, Orange, White, Yellow

Collins - The Brand

"Collins Watch Company was established by Jimmy Collins in early 2016. Having a background in the arts and a career as a Hollywood commercial director, Jimmy decided to take a chance and pursue his life-long passion for design. After launching a successful line of American made eyewear, Jimmy set his sights on the more elusive challenge of designing a watch. A bone fide watch fanatic, he was more than eager to bring his horological ideas to life.

Launched in 2017, Collins’ first watch, Bronson, charmed the microbrand watch world with its unique music inspired design and features. A chronograph version soon followed and sold fast, leading Jimmy to his next design. With its Swiss movement and refined finishes, Hyperion officially dipped the company’s toes into the world of dare-it-be-said, luxury watches.

After another successful launch and a nation-wide tour with appearances at prominent watch shows, like Windup Watch Fair, Jimmy decided to take a plunge into the world of dive watches, announcing the Sonar. With its balanced design, 300m water resistance, highly tuned Swiss automatic movement, Sonar will set sail in early 2020. Based in Los Angeles, Collins Watch Company proudly assembles, tests and tunes all its watches in the United States. The company guarantees every product it makes and is committed first and foremost to all customers."

Case & Crown

The case of the Collins Sonar has a diameter of 39.3mm. The lug to lug is 46.9mm and the overall thickness, including the sapphire crystal, albeit flat, I measured in at 12.2mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel, crown and bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the case is entirely brushed, even although it states on the Collins website that the watch is brushed and polished. The only polishing that I can see on the Sonar is the bezel.

The Sonar has a water resistance rating of 300m, thanks to the screw down caseback & crown. The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are in general, superb for my 6¾″ wrist, due to the relatively short lug to lug distance of just under 47mm. The Sonar does wear extremely well on wrist and it is very comfortable, although I do feel it could be better, especially with regards to the way the bracelet has been designed. More on that later on in the review…

The signed crown is very nice indeed and does look great with its etched Collins logo. There is absolutely no wobble either when the crown is in use and you can also feel a very nice little pop as you unscrew it. You’ll also see and feel the amount of work that has gone into the crown, making it look & feel rather premium. The caseback has a deeply stamped Sonar map etching on it with the usual spec sheet etched around the edge.

Strap / Bracelet

The bracelet that’s fitted to the Sonar is beautifully made and there is not a great deal I can fault it on. It has everything you’d want in a very nice bracelet. First and foremost, it’s very nicely manufactured with no squeaks or rattles to be found anywhere. It has solid links throughout, screw pins for adjusting and re-sizing, yet for some reason, Collins decided to fit a shitty pressed clasp, bringing the bracelet as a whole, from epic down to what the actual fuck! A very disappointing decision from Collins. Another slight negative are the end links. I’d have much preferred female links over the chosen male links that would have given the bracelet an immediate articulation, rather than extending the effective lug to lug length.

Movement

The chosen movement for the Collins Sonar is the Swiss made Sellita SW200-1. A fantastic automatic movement running at 28,800vph (4Hz) with 26 jewels, self-winding, hacking and a more than respectable, 38 hour power reserve. Checking the accuracy after running the Sonar for approximately 2 weeks, mainly on my wrist and occassionally in my watch winder, I was more than happy with the results, with the Collins Sonar showing an average of just +5.1 seconds per day.

Dial & Bezel

The Collins Sonar has a 120 click unidirectional bezel with an aluminium insert. It is of good quality with everything lining up absolutely perfectly, just as it should. The bezel action is excellent with no backplay. The text on the dial that’s printed are the words SONAR with the depth rating of 300m just below. The Collins logo is also printed and is placed at just under the 12 o’clock position. There is also a printed crosshair in the centre of the dial, which I’ve never been a fan of, on any watch, but I can understand why Collins decided to go with this, what with the whole Sonar / Target / Radar aiming vibe.

The green version that I have here, is probably the worst version that I could have been sent, as I hate green. However, I’ll try and keep an open mind during my review and just squint my eyes a little and pretend it’s blue or something. 🤣

Back to the dial, the hour markers at the 3, 6 & 9 o’clock positions have fatter syringe style markers, with a larger arrowhead at the 12 o’clock position, just above the Collins logo.

As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are nicely done with their very proportionate design that matches the hour markers very nicely. The seconds hand is very nice too, with it’s wee lumed diamond section three quarters of the way down the hand, with the tip of the hand reaching right out to the minute track.

Lume

The lume on the Collins Sonar is nothing more than average if I’m totally honest. I have seen sports watches with better lume. It’s not all doom and gloom though as the lume is initially bright but you’re lucky if it lasts for more than an hour and that’s after it being outside for a while and then giving it a sporting chance by giving it a good blast for a few minutes with a UV torch. The lume that’s been used on the Sonar is Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9, but I’m presuming that it’s not been applied very effectively. Maybe thicker batons, giving more lume real estate, would be a good place to start.

Conclusion

I had high hopes for the Collins Sonar, as when I first seen pictures of it, my initial reaction was, oooo that’s really nice looking. As it happens though, in reality, there are just too many issues for me to wholeheartedly recommend it. Don’t get me wrong, the build quality is very nice indeed, however the clasp, the aluminium insert and the average lume can’t justify that rather hefty price tag of $700. That’s too much in my opinion, and oh yeah, I also heard that it’s an introductory pre-order price. WTF!!? It is set to increase by around another $100 when the Sonar is sold at full retail. No thanks, but I think I’ll pass.

Collins Watch CompanyA rather nice watch, however with a couple of small changes, it could be so much more!

Design
8/10
Quality
8.5/10
Value
6.5/10
TOTAL
7.6/10
A massive thank you to Jimmy at Collins Watch Company for allowing me to review the Sonar dive watch. Also, thanks to Mike at The Time Bum for sending it over from the USA. Very much appreciated.
 
To view the Collins website, or to join their mailing list to be informed of new models etc, visit Collins Watch Company.
 
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