Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 is probably the most controversial timepiece of this year. When I saw it for the first time I wasn’t sure what to think about it. On the one hand, it’s a blatant copy of Seiko SXK007, and there is no doubt about it. On the other hand, it brings so much to the table that it’s hard to blame Deep Blue for producing this timepiece. I wanted to find out personally how it feels in metal, and as a result, I will present you my finding in this review.

It’s hard to talk about this watch without comparing it to the Seiko SKX007, perhaps it’s even impossible. That’s why, throughout the review, I’ll be making references to the famous SKX007. You may ask, if Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 is so similar to Seiko SKX007, why would you waste your time on it and not get the original instead. And that’s a great question which I’ll try to address.

Packaging

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 comes in nylon carrying case with a zipper. The inside of the case is filled with foam to further protect your watch. That’s a really nice case overall and I can imagine myself using it as a travelling case for my spare watch when I go on a business trip or holidays.

Inside you will find a watch itself on a nato strap, a cool fabric label with Deep Blue logo and a short leaflet, which is a short user manual and a warranty card at the same time. If you choose to order the metal bracelet for your Deep Nato Diver, it comes separately in a small cardboard box.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 carrying case

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 carrying case

Overall, the packaging is not especially rich but you have to remember that we are talking about $150 watch here (with promo code applied), and the nylon carrying case is really cool and useful. When we compare it to the Seiko SKX007 it’s even better since Seiko comes in a simple cardboard box with no extras whatsoever.

Case, crown, case back, crystal, bezel

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 being heavily inspired by Seiko SKX007 will not surprise you with its design. The stainless steel case in really similar to Seiko SKX007 with its asymmetric shape, protruding crown guards at 4 o’clock and combination of brushed and polished finishing. However, if you look closely, you will find plenty of differences justifying the existence of Nato Diver 300. First of all, the case is bigger. It’s 44 mm in diameter vs. 42 mm on SKX007. This is a huge change, which I personally love. I believe many watch enthusiasts with bigger wrist will appreciate it as well. The case fits my 7.5 inch wrist just perfect. I’ve always loved SKX007 but its somewhat small case was the main reason I flipped it, twice. This thing is just perfect in my eyes.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300

Another change in regard to Seiko is addition of helium escape valve at 10 o’clock. I don’t think it was needed but it’s a nice perk, especially in this price range. Furthermore, the water resistance is higher on Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 and it’s equal to 30 ATM.

On 4 o’clock there is an oversized screw-down crown with a milled Deep Blue logo on it. If you remember, the crown on SKX007 had no logo, it was just polished metal on top. The crown works perfectly, it screws down easily and setting date and time is just a breeze.

When we flip the watch over, we will find the screw-down case back with a typical Deep Blue design of a scuba diver. It looks great indeed and the background has a nice grainy texture to it. On the case back we will also find a limitation number, which allegedly is 5000 pieces. Mine watch has a very low number of 107.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 caseback

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 caseback

The dial is protected by a flat sapphire crystal. The crystal sits almost flush with the bezel and has a tiny beveled edge. Furthermore, the sapphire has an AR coating on the inside. And it’s a pretty good one. It’s hard to get any reflection on the crystal, even on the photos. Actually, I had to try to catch something! On top of that, thanks to AR coating, the crystal has a nice bluish tint when you look at it at certain angle. That’s something many luxury watch brands aim for, and Deep Blue managed to get that effect on a $150 watch. Oh, I almost forgot, SKX007 does not have a sapphire, instead it uses Seiko Hardlex. There are some disputes what’s better on a dive watch, which is used for actual diving and, although; I don’t mind Hardlex, I would choose sapphire every single time given that option. Big thumbs up for Deep Blue.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300

 

Finally, the diving bezel. Well, there is not much changed here when compared to Seiko. It’s 120 click unidirectional bezel with an aluminum bezel insert. Clicks are nice, precise, and all the markers align perfectly. Note: If you wondered if you can use Seiko bezel inserts on Nato Diver 300, unfortunately you can’t. The bezel diameter on this one is higher than on SKX007.

Dial, hands, lume

One of the main complaints Seiko fans had was that SKX007 does not have applied markers. Some people even went an extra mile and moded their 007’s with a dial from Seiko SKX171, which had applied markers, to get that premium look. Deep Blue decided to meet fan base expectations and fitted their Nato Diver 300 with applied markers with chrome boarders. It’s was definitely worth it, as the watch feels premium indeed. It’s one of those changes that seem really small but actually makes a huge difference. However, I’m not sure why Deep Blue stopped there. It would be really nice of them in they decided to add a chrome boarder to a day/date window. Instead, it’s a simple cutout. Granted, it’s nicely executed, there is no harsh edges but a boarder would be a very welcome change.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 date window

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 date window

The rest of the dial design is almost the same as on the 007. In the upper part of the dial there is a Deep Blue logo and on the bottom we have “Divers 300m Automatic” text printed. Notice it says “Divers 300m” instead of “Diver’s 300m”. What’s the difference you ask? “Diver’s 300m” or “Diver’s 200m” text can be used only if the watch is compliant with ISO 6425 standard for diving watches. It means that the watch manufacturer would have to test their watches to prove that they are ISO compliant, which of course involves additional costs. Instead, Deep Blue decided to “cheat” and print “Divers 300m”. UPDATE: Stan from Deep Blue Watches contacted my about this topic. It turns out that in fact Nato Diver 300 is ISO compliant, however; not all pieces are tested, just the samples.

The handset of Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 is, as you can imagine, heavily inspired by a classic Seiko handset used on plethora of their dive watches. Over the years, I got used to it and I can’t say nothing wrong about it. It’s simple and easy to read.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 macro

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 macro

If there is one thing I hate about the Deep Blue Nato Diver 300, it’s lume. It’s bad, and there is no other word for it. I expected it to be a C3 lume, which would be comparable with Seiko lume. But instead we got a very weak lume, perhaps C1, which is uninspiring and fades really quickly. I guess the costs had to be cut somewhere. There is one more thing I didn’t notice until a friend pointed it out on watch forums. The handset has a different hue than the markers. While the handset has a bright white color, the markers have a tad warmer color, a bit creamy you could say. In most situations you won’t even notice that difference but it’s there.

Movement

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 has been fitted with Seiko made NH35 automatic movement. Am I the only one who thinks it’s slightly ironic? The watch which copies most the design cues from a Seiko SKX007 uses a straight better, Seiko made, movement. Why is it better then? NH35 is entry level movement with hacking and hand winding, while 7S26, which is used in 007, does not offer such features. It’s funny to say the least.

Straps and bracelet

Nato Diver 300, as the name suggests, comes on a nato strap. The stock strap is nice and thick, perhaps a bit too thick for my liking. If you so desire, you can order separately a matching stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is a 3 row oyster style bracelet, and it’s entirely brushed. The bracelet is really well executed, everything fits together nicely. The clasp is a standard flip lock bracelet with push buttons. Clasp feels solid so you don’t have to worry it will open accidentally. However, there is no diving extension on it. My only complaint about the bracelet is how it fits the case. The endlinks, although made of solid steel, do not fit the watch head perfectly. The endlinks protrude slightly of the case rather than sitting flush with the lugs. It’s not visible when you look straight on the face of the watch but you can notice it while looking from the side.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 bracelet fitting

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 bracelet fitting

With introduction of Nato Diver 300, Deep Blue released their Isofrane style rubber straps. And guess what, it matches the Nato Diver 300 perfectly. Although I do not have Deep Blue rubber strap, I have an original Isofrane and an Obris Morgan rubber, and they both complement this dive watch just great. It will be probably my combo of choice for the rest of summer.

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 wristshot

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 wristshot

Conclusions

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 is an exceptional timepiece for the money. Say what you want but it’s really hard to beat it at $150. You get a 300 m dive watch with a helium escape valve, sapphire crystal with a beautiful AR coating, a NH35 automatic movement with hacking and hand winding and a great design, although copied from Seiko. It’s hard to believe how Deep Blue could get their profit margin on this watch. That’s the one way to look at it. The other way is that’s an improved Seiko SKX007. It exceeds all the specs of 007: bigger case, HEV, movement, crystal and it still manages to keep the same price range.

I understand that’s not the watch for everyone, none is actually. I get the criticism from watch purists who can’t imagine owning a watch with a “stolen” design, and that’s fine. It’s simply not a watch for them. But for all the others who can look past it, Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 is an amazing watch to own, especially if you, just like me, had some complaints towards to Seiko SKX007.

PROS:

  • 44 mm case
  • sapphire crystal with AR
  • applied indices
  • NH35 Seiko movement
  • Seiko SKX007 on steroids

CONS:

  • poor lume
  • derivate design
  • bracelet’s endlinks not sitting flush with the lugs
7.7 Great

Deep Blue Nato Diver 300 is an exceptional timepiece for the money. Say what you want but it’s really hard to beat it at $150. You get a 300 m dive watch with a helium escape valve, sapphire crystal with a beautiful AR coating, a NH35 automatic movement with hacking and hand winding and a great design, although copied from Seiko. It’s hard to believe how Deep Blue could get their profit margin on this watch. That’s the one way to look at it. The other way is that’s an improved Seiko SKX007. It exceeds all the specs of 007: bigger case, HEV, movement, crystal and it still manages to keep the same price range.

  • Design 5
  • Quality 8
  • Value 10
  • User Ratings (38 Votes) 5.3
Share.

About Author

Watch enthusiast who loves to take photos of his watches, blogger, and founder of Lug2Lug.