The Islander Watch brand was launched by Long Island Watch Store (now “Island Watch”)to provide affordable timepieces alongside their stock of Seiko, Orient, Citizen, and other comparable value market watches. The range of Islander watches includes 30+ models in diver and aviator style, all with NH3x movements and a variety of vibrant colorways.
For this review, I received the ISL-13:
About the Watch
The ISL-13 is the black PVD coated version of the ISL-12, which appears to combine design elements from the Bulova Devil Diver and Citizen Promaster. The squared cushion case with rounded edges combined with the thick bright orange arrow-shaped minute hand.... YUM! I went with black because I feared the size might be too much for my wrist, and black tends to wear a bit smaller.
The watch’s vital statistics are:
- Movement: SII NH36 Movement with day and date
- Case: 45mm x 16.5mm x 47mm (DLC Black Case)
- Back: Solid screw back, etched (the caseback is not plated)
- Crystal: Double-Dome sapphire, blue AR underside
- Strap: Black 3-Ring, Two-Piece Nylon, 22mm lug width
- WR: 200 Meters
- Bezel: Ceramic Superluminova C3 Luminous Unidirectional 120 click insert
- Lugs: 22mm drilled end lugs
- Dial: Black with applied lumed indices
- Warranty: 1 yr
The watch arrived in a white and blue box as shown below. The first things that struck me were its weight and size. At 120.5g, the ISL-13 is quite a rock. And at 16.4mm high, 45mm wide (without crown), and 47.2mm lug-to-lug, it is a fairly large chunk of wrist candy. The other thing that stands out is its composition. It is a very sharp looking watch with extremely high readability. The oversized orange arrow-shaped minute and large lumed indices against a black case make for a very sleek look.
The 316L stainless steel case is coated in a thick matte black PVD. The coating is even and appears to resist scratches well. The matte finish was definitely the right choice over a glossy one. The case includes an integrated crown guard between the 3 and 4 o’clock indices. All edges of the case (including the guard) have been rounded off, so there are no sharp edges or corners. It is very much a “pillow” case with a smooth rounded feel. The case shape is nearly identical to that of a Bulova Devil Diver.
The drilled lugs are a welcome feature, and the spring pin holes are far enough from the case to permit a variety of strap options without difficulty. The drilling is clean and even with no burrs or signs of tooling. The lugs are short and also curve down slightly in line with the overall rounded profile of the case, making the watch very wearable even for mid-sized wrists.
The screw-back caseback is a bead-blasted finish with a scuba diver engraved center with “Islander” below and “200M Sapphire Island Watch” along the edge above. The caseback protrudes about 2.8mm from the bottom of the watch, accounting for nearly 1/5 of its height. The case rides on the caseback with a visible gap between it and the wrist.
The signed screw-down crown is quite refined, with a fine grooving and beveled / fluted edge. It pulls out to two positions, for time and day/date setting. Operation is smooth, with noticeably fine threading for screw-down.
The crystal is high dome double-domed sapphire with internal anti-reflective coating. The center protrudes 2.1mm above the bezel. The high dome complements the other stylistic elements of the watch well. Clarity and scratch protection are both excellent, and the AR-coating exhibits a bluish hue at certain angles.
The dial is matte black with oversized applied C3 lumed indices outined in polished steel and the islander logo just above center. The combination of round and rectangular shapes for hour markers on the dial looks very crisp and makes for exceptionally high readability in light or darkness. Just outside the ring of hour markers sits a chapter ring with hashes for the minutes. The watch also includes a white background day and date window at the 3 o’clock position. The alignment of the day/date is spot on, and on the model I reviewed was dual language, English and Spanish.
The hands are an interesting mix. The hour hand is a short stubby sword, lumed and outlined in black paint. The minute hand is a prominent arrow, lumed and outlined in bright orange paint. The seconds hand is black, with a lumed circular counter-balance, but no lume on the business end. Note: According to the Island Watch website, the new models now include a lumed tip on the seconds hand…a very good improvement IMO, and a sign that Marc and his team at longislandwatch.com are listening and committed to their customers. Before this improvement it was difficult to see the second hand against the black dial, and at night having the lume on the wrong end did nothing to support nighttime readability. With a lumed tip, both night and day readability improve. Even without, the overall readability is excellent. And like my Citizen Promaster, the minute hand is the star of the show.
The ISL-13 includes a one-way 120-click fully-lumed ceramic rotating bezel. It sports a triangle at 12 o/clock, and a combination of dots, dashes and arabic numerals for minute indicators. The black ceramic insert is glossy, in contrast to matte finish on the rest of the watch. The look is clean and well-done, also supporting easy readability. The top edge of the bezel is stepped and then beveled on the way down to the medium grooved coin edge - a very nice design that looks and feels like quality.
The operation of the bezel is one area where I think this watch could be improved. The bezel does align perfectly with the indices, but it moves easily and allows significant play before clicking into the next position. It is clearly a fashion / desk diver bezel, and not intended for actual use under dive conditions. As most these days are not counting on their watch for actual dives, this may not be an issue for many. Still, it is something that purists and those seeking a toolwatch feel may find important.
Nearly all of the watches in the Islander Watch collection employ the very capable SII NH36 movement with day and date. It is a 24-Jewel automatic movement running at 21,600 A/h with central sweep seconds and a hacking feature for precise setting. Operation is smooth and precise. The watch tested with only minor positional variation in both rate and beat error(+/- 8s, +/- 0.2ms), but well within specification for a standard NH36.
The watch includes full-lume bezel and indices, and lumed hands with generous application of green Superluminova C3. One nice touch, the Islander logo on the dial is also lumed. The watch glows for several hours after charging - comparable to Seiko or Zelos as far as luminescence (very good), and outperforming my Citizen Promaster for the same.
The Strap and Spring Bars
The ISL-13 comes with a two-piece black nato strap with PVD-coated steel hadware. The nylon is of high quality, and stitching is above average. The strap fits well and wears comfortably. All holes and edges are clean and even.
The spring bars are a surprise. At 2.5mm thick, they are well-built and tanky! No concern whatsoever of losing or breaking one of these bad boys. Definitely a high-quality detail. Here they are shown next to a normal spring bar:
List price for the Islander ISL-13 is $449.00, but it typically sells for $349.00 on the Island Watch website.
I would recommend this watch to anyone who is looking for a unique dive-inspired watch and does not mind the “fashion” bezel. The watch combines the case of a Devil Diver with the readability of a Promaster to create a unique and interesting style. The dial and bezel lume is excellent. The PVD variant reviewed here is particularly good for those who fear larger watches, as the black wears thinner. Despite its size and weight, the watch is very comfortable to wear. If you do not mind the thickness, you get a great looking watch with a lot of wrist presence and clear quality and attention to detail.
- It’s thick, but surprisingly comfortable wear
- Very capable lume
- High readability handset
- Fully lumed dial and bezel
- Case shape, cushioned and PVD
- Band comfortable, 2 piece nato
- A lot of wrist presence
- A solid offering at the price point