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Precista PRS-17Q quick review

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  • Precista PRS-17Q quick review

    The Precista PRS-17Q is a watch I have owned for some time. It has seen a fair bit of wear, especially lately since its the watch I chose to take travelling with me.
    Since its been on my wrist for weeks I thought I would share a few thoughts. My first review for ages and its over 40deg outside so its a good time to be doing this !

    The PRS-17Q is the reissue of a Precista Royal Navy Diver, first issued in 1988 and 89. These originals are rare and command high prices. The 17Q itself is long out of production and difficult to obtain, but is more affordable. I paid about $450 for mine I seem to remember.

    In the late '80s Precista was not the only manufacturer to use the distinctive case with its very short squared-off lugs - the Sinn 815 and Tutima 513 were civilian versions differing mainly in their dial marking and handset. All were rated at 200m and shared the ETA 955.114. quartz movement.

    The Timefactors reissue can be seen to be a very faithful reproduction of the original Precista with a few modern upgrades and concessions to utility outside underwater minefields.
    It has the dial of the '89 version, with 2mm sapphire AR coated on the inside instead of mineral crystal and a Rhonda 915L quartz movement with 10year battery life. A date window has been included, sitting very discretely at 3.5 on the dial. The plongeur handset is similar with the minute hand slightly more elongated. The original tritium lume has been superceded by Super Luminova C3 and the springbars are removable from the drilled lugs rather than fixed.
    The 17Q has a companion now - the PRS-17A with mechanical 2842-2 movement for those WIS that prefer this option

    The first thing to note is the modest size of the 17Q compared to most modern divers, both in diameter and thickness.
    It is 37.3mm across the bezel, with the case only marginally larger, and 43.5 to the tip of the crown. The height is only 10.9mm, very thin indeed for a 200m diver.
    This is an understated watch without fussy script on the dial as befits a military watch (it has a NATO stock number, though I doubt many of the reissues have seen service)
    The unusual case shape makes it different from other divers. It took a little getting used to, but I really like its quirkiness and its a great attribute IMO.
    Compared to a modern diver it is somewhat lacking in wrist presence, but its low-profile look is another attraction for me - it is the antithesis of bling. This is entirely consistent with its military toolwatch heritage.

    I wear this watch often because it is supremely comfortable on the wrist. Its small size and 60g weight make it sit there almost unnoticed. Its low height means it doesnt get hung up and will fit under sleeves very easily.
    Legibility is excellent with white on black standing out at a glance. The lume is very good on the face and excellent on the hands, lasting through the night.
    The case made by Fricker is basically a flat hunk of metal with rounded edges and a couple of bits cut out of it - very robust indeed and difficult to damage. It has crown guards and gives good protection to the slimline bezel which sits within its outside radius. 2mm sapphire is not the thickest but is set flush with the bezel and again the overall size of the watch makes it less of a target for getting a knock.
    Serious thought has also been put towards its WR with twin Viton seals for the caseback.
    The 200m depth rating means it is not just for getting in the shower or the paddling pool but can be used for anything Im ever likely to throw at it. I find it an extremely practical watch - it is there when I need it and until then its not a giant hunk of metal getting in the way or having to be babied.
    A ten year battery life makes the main pain of owning quartz much less of a problem. The lithium cell is enormous compared to most watch batteries. The Rhonda 915L movement has proven both reliable and very accurate, running to within about 3sec/month.
    The only gripes I can think of are the thinness of the bezel makes it somewhat difficult to grip and set precisely and the lume pip both on bezel and second hand are undersized and indistinct. It is interesting to note that all of these issues have been well sorted on the PRS-18Q, another RN reissue and current Precista offering.

    Build Quality
    Excellent for its price point.The overall fit and finish is impressive. All parts (except for movement) are custom designed and made for the watch.
    The 17Q feels like a solid little beast that can take a knock without worry.
    The hands and dial are slightly better quality IMO than the PRS-18.
    Pictures do not generally do Timefactor's Precista watches justice, it is when you have them in hand that it becomes apparent just how much good work has been put into them.

    Summing Up
    In a fit of madness (well, penny-pinching) I almost sold this watch I am now very glad I did not.
    I have become rather attached to it because of the many good things it represents - quality, value for money, practicality, interesting aesthetic and heritage. Its rarity also makes it unlikely to ever go down in value.
    The 17Q comes on its traditional Nato strap, but for me putting it on an anvil bracelet did something special - it suddenly just seemed "right" and sat on my wrist perfectly.
    Many thanks to DW for sorting this excellent little watch for me that punches well above its weight.
    It has earned its place as one of two watches in the "Diver" section of my modest collection by virtue of its quirkiness and sheer usability and will be parked there for the foreseeable future.

    Thanks for reading!

    Attached files

    My karma ran over your dogma

  • #2
    nice review ,thanx for that 8-)
    'why tip toe thru life ,only to arrive safely at death'


    • #3
      Great review. Thanks. :thumbup:
      “I want to touch base on how we’ll synergize the pivot going forward”


      • #4
        Thanks for putting this out there Jake. I reckon this is my favourite Precista. I think it's the nuggety case, nicely shaped hands and sheer practicality that do it for me. Great watch :thumbup:
        Preparation and planning prevent piss poor performance


        • #5
          Cool review. Who ever designed those Sinn hands needs to be shot.