From the company website:
Szanto (pronounced Sahn-tow) is a new collection of vintage inspired timepieces.
This American brand’s essence was conceived in California, where Szanto designers were captivated by the beauty and simplicity of old military watch designs from the early 20th century. These classic watches possess so much character but are too petite by contemporary standards.
Over the past few years, there has been a trend toward “vintage” that can be seen in all types of merchandise, and is very much present in the watch trade … particularly in the expensive luxury sector.
Szanto recognized an opportunity to update vintage designs of the past for today’s world, with larger sizes and the addition of quartz movements for improved accuracy and affordability, thereby making the collection accessible to a much wider audience.
Journey back in time with Szanto to the “Golden Age of Travel” – a time when craftsmen took pride in the quality of their workmanship, and a time when travel, whether by ocean liner, steam train or motor car was perceived as an adventure. Steamer trunks covered with stickers from exotic destinations like London, Cairo, Prague, Paris, Singapore, & Shanghai were common and iconic. In keeping with this tradition, each Szanto watch comes packed in its own mini travel trunk.
Model: 5101 500m Dive watch
46mm Brushed Stainless Steel Case
Unidirectional Rotating Bezel
Hardened Mineral Crystal
Screw-down Locking Crown
SuperLuminova fill on hands and indices
Japanese Quartz 3 Hand + Date Movement
Water resistant Italian Leather Strap with Signature Szanto Buckle
500 Meters Water Resistant
Price: $325.00 usd
The packaging is really unique and very cool especially for a watch at this price point. Usually you get a generic watch box and that’s it. The Szanto watch box looks like a vintage travel case from yesteryear. It goes along with their MO “time rediscovered”. The packaging definitely holds true to this. The top of the box is signed with Szanto and the logo. The box itself has the look of vintage leather with very nice corners that have great detail. Inside the box the inside of the box lid also features the Szanto name and logo. Normally I just throw my watch boxes in a closet, but this box I would actually keep out on display, that’s how cool it is.
The 46mm case features a combination of brushed steel and polished steel. The design of the case is a nice combo of vintage meeting modern. There are little details that I wouldn’t ordinarily expect at this price point. On the side of the bezel there are sections of high polished steel and with brushed sections in between. What I really like is that on the crown this alternating brushed/polished detailing is continued. Though it’s a small detail, it shows a great deal of thought into the overall design aestetics.
The crown is a nice size and is very easy to grasp and screw/unscrew. A detail that I am very nit picky about if you have read my other reviews, is that when a crown is signed, I expect the logo to be straight once the crown is screwed all the way in the down position. Szanto has not disappointed me here. Kudos to Szanto for getting this right. The crown guards are quite small and are more of a detail than for real crown protection functionability. The 90 click unidirectional rotating bezel is easy to grab and rotates quite smoothly. At the 12 o’clock position is a faux pearl, which I personally think looks nice, but these typically fall out over time, even on watches that are in the $3000-$8000 price range. I prefer a painted lume triangle on my dive watches. The bezel has raised polished numbers 10-50, and the majority of the bezel is brushed. I really like that Szanto went with brushed vs polished on the bezel. Sometimes when a bezel is high polished it looks too bling bling for my tastes which takes away from that tool/rugged look I like about dive watches. On the non crown side of the case has a nice raised portion matching the crown guards on the other side of the case. The caseback features the Szanto name and logo with water resistant, 316l stainless steel, Japanese Quartz movement. The curved lugs have some great angling detail to them which allows the watch to sit nicley on the wrist. The watch has a good weight to it and wears really comfortably.
The dial is my favorite part of this watch hands down. The raised applied markers just scream vintage diver. The hour markers are coated with lume and are bordered by brushed metal. At the 12, 6 and 9 hours are rectangles and at the other hour markers are circles. These look amazing set against the black dial. Absolutely beautiful. At the 3 marker is a nice bordered dste window which is the same size as the marker at 9. The dste is easy to read because it’s black numbers on white background. The hands are so cool on the Szanto 5101 dive watch. The minute hand is orange and features a killer pointed triangle tip. The hour hand has an arrow style shape. The second hand combines two elements of the hour/minute hands, the tip is orange and has a round lume circle, the shaft of the second hand is metal just like the hour hand. The dial is easy to read from all angles thanks to the flat sapphire crystal, though I prefer my dive watches to have domed crystal. Just a personal preference.
The dial features the Szanto logo under the 12 hour markers and above the 6 logo is Szanto name and 500 METERS.
The water resistant leather strap is nice and thick, with the overall feel of a custom made strap. It’s very soft and conforms to the wrist nicley right out of the box. Sometimes a new leather strap is stiff and hard which makes the breaking in period very uncomfortable, but that is not the case with this strap. The stitching is a grey in color and nicely matches the brushed aspects of the case and buckle. The buckle is brushed stainless steel and is signed with Szanto. There are two keepers on the strap, one is fixed and the other is free moving. The under side of the long portion of the strap is stamped with genuine leather and the short portion is stamped with Szanto. I really like this strap for a number of reasons, such as the thickness which is about 4mm, the grey stitching, and how soft it is. Nicely done Szanto.
The lume is quite bright on the Szanto 5100 series dive watches as you can see by the photo. It is evenly applied to the hands, raised hour markers and faux pearl. It glows bright after being exposed to a light source for a short amount of time.
The movement is Japanese Quartz movement. Quartz movement is accurate and reliable. Since this is a non chronograph movement, the battery life is typically 36-48 month life span. I would have loved to seen a miyota auto movement inside this watch, which would have still kept the price lower and had an automatic movement which I prefer.
Conclusion and overall thoughts:
The Szanto 5101 is a nice dive watch with some really nice details for the price point. You get an awesome display box, 500m of water resistance, a nice screw down crown, great lume and a really nice leather strap. Is there anything I would change? There are a couple of things that I can mention with my nit pickiness. The second hand doesn’t quite line up with the second markers when it makes its journey around the dial. The bezel has a little too much play in it, I would like to see it a little tighter. This is a really nice offering for Szanto at $350.00 you do get a lot of watch for the price. I still believe that you can keep this watch at this price point and add an automatic movement.
I would recommend this watch to someone looking for a dive watch with some great features at a great price point.
A special thank you to Szanto for allowing me to review the watch, it was an absolute pleasure and an honor.
For reference my wrist is 7 1/2″