BACKGROUND ZENTON are a new Hong Kong based dive watch company who specialize in producing high quality custom dive watches in limited editions. They first launched themselves in March of this year with an introduction on OceanicTime.
The M45 came presented in neat black leatherette box with red stitching. The box is an appealing item and of a really good size (not too big), but the highest praise should be given to its contents, all which were thoughtfully included; a truly stellar presentation from Zenton.
CONTENTS included: watch on bracelet (with butterfly clasp), trip-lock divers clasp with divers extension and adjustable micro extensions, 4X spare bracelet links, 2X spare pins / tubes, 2X spare stubs for case lugs, 1X easy-go pin for assembly of bracelet and case screws, specialist 2 in 1 screwdriver and hex-key tool, brown leather strap with 24mm buckle, black rubber divers strap with 22mm buckle and signed warranty card (10years!).
The M45 is a large, rugged and utilitarian looking watch. The hex-nuts that run along each side of the watch from its lugs to its butterfly clasp go along way to achieving its robust masculine aesthetic. Yet the bright white dial and black bezel (that I chose) give the watch fresh and sporty feel.
DIAL The M45's BGW9 all lume dial, unlike C3 remains bright and white when in the light. This gives the best of both world’s, a lovely fresh white dial, but with the beautiful blue glow of the BGW9 lume. Sure, BGW9 isn’t quite as bright as C3, but for me it was an added bonus as I was really only looking for a white dialed diver not an all lume dial. The handset that compliments the BGW9 dial best is Zenton’s skeleton handset. The markers and Arabic numerals are of course blacked out.
CASE 45mm X 17mm X 53.5mm (lug to lug). It’s not quite an original design and is most similar to that which is being offered by HELSON and ARCTOS, but it isn’t quite the same as them either. It seems a little more substantial in its stature than the latter, but is also finished with rounder edges (specifically its crown guard).
The case itself is brushed 316-L stainless steel with a lateral Seadweller-type HEV. The finishing is lovely; the metal has been brushed in a horizontal direction across the long side of the case (where the HEV is), and the natural grain of the metal has been exposed on the crown side, where it can be seen running vertically up and down the case side.
Every surface has been brushed to perfection and beautifully finished; every component fits tightly and is flush with other each other. The overall build quality is excellent!
BEZEL One of the M45’s coolest features is its double track of bezel teeth, apart from their aggressive look they serve as a functional grip. The bezel is of the 120 click type. I chose a black BGW9 insert to compliment its white dial; it looks good in its entirety, but the 12 0’clock marker and its Arabic numerals aren’t quite as crisp as I would like them. The bezel’s movement is very firm, no play, nice and tight.
CASEBACK The workmanship on the screw down case back is phenomenal (Is that too strong a compliment? No, it’s very apt!) The M45 case back has been beautifully designed and engraved; no detail has been spared or overlooked. From the circular ‘Zenton Instruments’ engraving that runs around the outer brushed perimeter, to the deep engraved ‘Z’ logo in the middle, which has been brushed in such a way as to further accentuate it from the rest of the steel case back. Outstanding!
CROWN The M45 has a nice chunky screw down crown; it has been signed with the ‘Z’ logo. The crown stem is thick and sturdy.
GLASS Extra thick flat sapphire crystal that has anti-reflective material on its inside. I usually favor domed crystals, but in this case the flat crystal works nicely.
2000 meters. These days 2000 meters has far less of wow factor, but is still indicative of a robust professional divers watch.
The M45 houses a top-grade ETA 2824-2 that has been adjusted to five positions. It has a custom Zenton rotor. The movement is protected against magnetic fields (80000 A/m).
The M45 has hefty five-link brushed steel bracelet held together with hex-nuts. It adds a lot of extra weight to the watch (not a problem for me, though). It’s just another of the superbly made components that make the M45 what it is. As mentioned previously the hex-nuts are great look.
STRAPS The M45 came with two extra straps; one black 22m divers strap (it feels and smells of polyurethane); it’s not particularly exciting, but is no doubt very comfortable. The second strap is a thick 24mm chocolate brown leather strap, which has stitching at each end, none along its sides, as is usual.
BUCKLES The buckles are incredible. You have no idea what a pleasure it is to own a sub 1’000USD dive watch that came with two beautifully made buckles. I own watches 3 times its price that have come on pathetic little buckles. The ZENTON buckles, which are made from solid steel are chunky, sturdy examples of how a good dive watch buckles should be done.
Time, date, 120 click unidirectional lumed divers bezel with elapsed dive time scale, divers clasp with extension and additional micro extensions, BGW9 lumed dial, HEV (for SAT diving) and a 2000m WR.
WEAR-ABILITY It’s big and heavy, it’s a man’s watch; your wedding co-coordinator probably won’t find it too comfortable. I can wear it all day long on my 7 3/4 inch wrist.
316-L stainless steel, brushed surfaces, sapphire crystal, screw down crown, screw down case back, Swiss mechanical movement. This watch will last years and will no doubt retain its great looks without need of much attention well into the next decade; at least before its warranty expires in 10 years from now. ;)
The whole dial has been applied BGW9 lume. The lume has lovely bright blue hue. It’s not burn your eyes out bright, but you know its there. I would rate the brightness of the lume at good to very good considering the volume that there is on the dial.
888USD. The number eight is an auspicious number in Asia; it’s supposed to bring wealth and prosperity, in this case it won't damage your bank account too badly. It’s not huge amount of cash for what you get. I would go as far as saying it's excellent value for money.
ALSO CONSIDER The HELSON Shark Diver ETA 699USD is great alternative; it’s not as heavy as the M45, but if you like 'em big and heavy stick with the M45. You might also consider a BENARUS Megalodon 950USD if you're lucky enough to lay your hands on one.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS In all honesty I only really wanted a white dialed diver when I got the M45; sure on paper the M45 seemed like a great watch, high depth rating top-grade ETA movement regulated in 5 position, custom options etc. etc. BUT when I actually got my watch I was left quite gob-smacked at the high quality of its workmanship.
I've had a ton of Boutique divers and they've all been great, but Zenton seems to have gone the extra mile, so has a slight edge. I’m not quite sure how they’ve achieved this considering its price; they must be working well and closely with their suppliers and have some pretty stringent quality control in place. The M45 is a great example of watch in its class. A new bench mark in which other aspiring Boutique manufacturers should measure themselves against.