Dive Watch Releases / Articles

2009-04-30

REACTOR Gamma Review

FIRST IMPRESSION
I was as excited as anyone would be when I first unpacked the box and found my new Gamma, carefully wrapped and waiting for me. The first thing that struck me was the size. It has a really good dial to crystal ratio making the watch look bigger than it already is. A plus for me!





AESTHETIC
Big, rugged and chunky looking, the Gamma looks the part. The bracelet is lovely but I think it looks better on the rubber strap. Are you gonna have more luck with ladies if you get one? I dunno. I’ve had plenty of comments already though. It looks like the well built, good quality dive watch that it is.




INNOVATION

The Gamma uses a new and recently patented system for applying multiple layers of C3 Superluminova.


The screwdown crown remains watertight when open. I don’t want to put this one to the test, but that’s very reassuring.

Solid Screwbar Case-to-Band Attachment. I’m not sure if REACTOR were the first to have implemented this lug system, but nonetheless a really nice feature which adds to the overall feeling of security.


10 year lithium battery cell. God knows where this watch will be in 10yrs. Gets you thinking!


Multi-layered anti-reflective coating on inside of crystal. Most manufactures use one or two layers. I believe REACTOR uses more, making the dial extremely legible and highly antireflective even under the intense sunlight it was exposed to when I took these shots.





MOVEMENT

Japanese Quartz (Miyota). Can’t get more accurate than a Quartz. They are very durable too. It’s a nice change to set the time and never have to worry about adjusting it again!





CASE
(case caseback / crown / bezel / crystal)
45.5mm X 13.8mm / 200grams / lug width 28mm / clasp 22mm / forged 316L marine grade stainless steel / 120 click unidirectional rotating bezel / solid forged case back / hardheaded mineral crystal with multiple layers of AR coating on the inside. Screw down crown.





The case is brushed, but the sides are polished. Personally I think it would look better if the sides were also brushed, but at least the polished surfaces were kept to the case sides, so will not cause any direct reflection when reading the dial.





The caseback design is very cool, it reminds of the kind of hatch you might find inside a nuclear reactor. No surprises there!


Hardened mineral crystal. I’m so used to sapphire crystal. REACTOR believes their crystal to be more impact resistant than sapphire crystal. Will it be as scratch proof though? It looks good, no dome but there is nice grayish / blue tint to the cystal that is caused by the AR coating.


The screw down crown is fairly solid and textured for easy grip. It wasn’t quite as solid as I would have liked but closed up nicely and lets face it I shouldn’t have to play with it for the next 10yrs or so! There’s a REACTOR logo on the crown face, a must for me, I hate plain crowns.





The bezel is a 120 click type, I favor these. It has a nice solid movement, a little hollow sounding but absolutely no play or wobble whatsoever, very secure. Easily manipulated with a wet diver’s glove, I put one on and tried it!

I’m not sure if I like the two tone on the bezel, it doesn’t really work for me, looks like a soccer ball.


WATER-RESISTANCE
300m or 1000ft. Surpasses industry standards by 100m. Nothing exciting here really, but REACTOR has a 1000m model coming out very soon, though.





BRACELET / strap

The bracelet is fairly light weight. It has textured coated center links, which look good, but I feel don’t work with the bezel as a look. Too much contrast going on for me! As mentioned earlier, I feel the watch works best on its rubber strap.


The bracelet clasp looks superb. It has trip lock, but wasn’t quite as solid as I would have liked. Nonetheless it still felt as if was up to the job!


The rubber strap is an absolute pleasure to wear, easily the most comfortable and secure strap I’ve owned. REACTOR have a little steel REACTOR logo on the stopper which serves as a lock so that your strap will never come out of its stopper, it looks cool too.


I love the strap / bracelet quick change system with use of Allen key. Finally I can do strap / bracelet changes on my own and in totally confidence that I won’t scratch the case.






FUNCTIONALITY

For me what makes the Gamma so functional as a divers watch is its very clean ‘pro dial’ (barring the 12 o’clock Arabic numeral), excellent lume, reliable Japanese quartz movement and the many safety features such as trip-lock clasp and solid screwbar case-to-band attachment. You would have no problem taking this one diving, which I will do in the future.






DURABILITY

This dive watch feels like it could stand up to pretty much anything. It’s rock solid feeling. However I wonder how well the coated center links on the bracelet and the bezel will hold up? Time will tell. (I’m being picky here)






VALUE

The bracelet version is 400USD and the rubber version 350USD. I don’t think much discount is offered, as they are already so reasonably priced. For what you get this is incredible value for money. If REACTOR made this watch in Switzerland and was badged as such, they would have no problem commanding 2 or 3 times its cost.





LUME
REACTOR’s system for applying multiple layers of C3 Superluminova makes the Gamma glow like a torch. I’m no scientist and only have my eyes as a guide but it’s on par if not better than the GP SHII Pro, which I believe to have the brightest lume that there is. The lume on the Gamma stays brighter much longer though! It lasts and lasts. Pretty incredible!


© OceanicTime


OVERALL IMPRESSION
Many collectors have so called ‘beaters’ in their collections. I was seriously lacking in this department. I prospected many possibilities; however I have never been too interested in buying a G-Shock or the likes, so was unsure what else would offer that level of durability and reliability.

When I read about the Gamma attached to a shipwreck and then later did a bit of research on REACTOR and their watch’s DNA. I knew my search was over. What I got though was a heck of lot more watch than I had bargained for.

The Gamma at its price point will NOT disappoint, and if you are anything like me, will bring plenty of enjoyment and a nice feeling of security knowing that you can really put the Gamma through its paces and be assured it will still come out glowing (literally)!


OVERALL RATING

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