By Amos Kwon
on 5.29.12
Photo by AK

We love our niche watches, and Prometheus has been on our radar for a little while. They’ve made some serious headway in the ever-growing niche dive watch industry, which takes a bit of doing today, and we’re happy to say for good reason. GP recently had the opportunity to test the Prometheus Manta Ray (~$810) and we’re pleased with the results. Photos and a full review after the jump.

Not at all shy about its size, the Manta Ray was made for deep diving, with a 1001 meter rating. Prometheus, based out of Portugal, built this beast with a robust 316L stainless steel case that measures a full 44mm in diameter and a hefty 15.8mm thick. The first thing you notice is that this watch is a chunker, albeit tastefully so. My paltry 7.5 inch wrist was shaking a bit, concerned that the size would overwhlem. In fact, the bracelet and caseback sat comfortably, something Prometheus obviously took the time to manage in the Manta Ray’s development. This is no small feat, given the fact that the watch weighs in at about half a pound. Not unlike having a fair to middling sized hamburger on your wrist, but Prometheus executed it very well. It’s large without being obnoxious, like so many other larger diameter divers.

All Manta Ray models utilize the Swiss made ETA 2824-2, and our white dialed 1L version was smooth and accurate, consistent with this very popular and solid movement. Though, of course, you’ll see fewer ETAs produced over time due to changes made by the Swatch Group. We loved the classic white dial with the C3 Luminova markers and hands. Though the visibility through the flat sapphire crystal was excellent on our Kauai dive, we would’ve liked to see a bit better lume, especially during longer durations of darkness. It’s still visible at night, but the lume could last longer. The dial comes in your choice of three colors — white, black and orange — and you can’t go wrong with any of them (unless you regularly wear far too much orange).

I especially loved the teeth on the bezel, which I found extremely easy and comfortable to grip, and the uni-directional racheting action communicates quality, though it could use a bit more stiffness and less play. The Manta Ray comes with an extra black PVD bezel whose profile sits slightly above the crystal for a different look, more sporting in appearance and a nice alternative to the classic silver. The bezel itself changes out with counterthreaded hex screws, which provide great security and are fairly easy to remove (if you don’t have sausages for fingers, that is).

The thick 22mm solid link stainless steel bracelet is also very well though out and adjusts via the same 1.5mm hex screws as the bezel (though you’ll need two hex wrenches to make the adjustments). Each link has a nice raised groove that tastefully set it apart from the many standard diving bracelets out there today. And like all real diving watches, this one comes with an easy-to-use pushbutton expansion clasp so you can show it off on the outside of your wetsuit. The screw-down crown at the 4 o’clock position is well made and comes with the Prometheus flame logo on the face. A nice touch that’s simple and duplicates the logo from the dial.

The Manta Ray is unmistakably a man’s watch that exudes a classic style with a modern size and the kind of quality that begs a higher price.

The Manta Ray, in this author’s opinion, belies its price. Though the market is glutted with $500-$1,000 dive watches, the Manta Ray stands apart based on how it looks and how it’s made. It’s unmistakably a man’s watch that exudes a classic style with a modern size and the kind of quality that begs a higher price. Several friends remarked at how prominent and attractive it is, and it certainly does make you look like a better diver than you are, especially in this particular case. But don’t go trying to wear it under a slim cut dress shirt cuff because you won’t be able to button it. It’s made for robust adventure, real world dives and probably larger wrists than mine.

Buy Now: ~$810