The Spinnaker 50 Phantoms Review: Release the Phantoms!

Here's a side by side comparison of the Mist and Black Bezel variants of the 50 Phantoms, a timepiece that's the result of the collaboration between Spinnaker and the Banksy of horology, Seconde/Seconde.

Thoughts on its inception

Not much has been revealed regarding how the supposed collaboration agreements and contracts go but I'd like you to join me in this whole mental exercise as we try to decipher the unwritten rules behind how Seconde/Seconde comes up with its designs. If you follow Seconde/Seconde's other collaborations with brands like Timex and Massena Labs, there's a method to that madness. Let's break down the logic between the two brands he's worked with thus far: Timex and Massena Labs. Timex's IYKYK theming seems to involve the marriage of old and new as Seconde/Seconde attaches a current year Emoji that matches nickname and heritage of the watch it's associated to, a mental exercise that tests both your knowledge of the past and present, hence the name of the collaboration, If you know, you know.


A Black and Blue color tone with a "Slap" speech bubble that looks like it came straight out of a comic, I wonder what this means?

Massena Labs' collaboration piece, on the other hand, is the "Hmm... Looks Familiar" Uni-Racer which references the extrinsic and intrinsic detail of the Uni-Racer respectively, namely, "Big Eye" describing the design doctrine of the Uni-Racer ("a testament to the art of defying the rules and creating a timepiece informed by the past, but with a “Big Eye” on the present.") and how the 30 minute sub-dial is slightly bigger than Central Minute counter sub-dial.


Looks like Mr. Seconde/Seconde has quite the eye for details

We can therefore conclude what Seconde/Seconde's design doctrine is when it comes to coming up with a collaboration concept:

  • What is the heritage of the brand or the watch he's working with?

  • What horological history can he reference out of it?

  • What's the most artistic direction he can go for that works best with the current information on hand?

Now that we have a general grasp behind the logic Seconde/Seconde is operating on, let's go for the next step, how exactly does Spinnaker fit here? We know they're a brand that specializes on making Dive watches, so it has to be a dive watch? It can't be the Rolex Deep Sea Dweller, Spinnaker already has a watch that homages that, The Rolex Submariner? Nah, Spinnaker's gonna have to get in line behind Cadisen, San Martin and all other microbrands that have homaged the famous diver. That leaves out one more dive watch, the one that supposedly beat the Rolex Submariner to the punch by ONE year, the one with a name that allows room for a rather ghastly pun, a pun that could also apply to this concept aesthetically, Enter the ̶B̶l̶a̶n̶c̶p̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶5̶0̶ ̶F̶a̶t̶h̶o̶m̶s̶ Spinnaker 50 Phantoms!


Quality & Design

There's not exactly much to address here. If this isn't your first rodeo with microbrands, you know the inherent logic as to why microbrands are compelled to go for the best possible materials to construct their watches with. They can't afford to cheap out on materials if they hope to have a shot against established brands like Seiko, Casio & Citizen, and the same logic is in effect here. It might be homaging the Blancpain 50 Fathoms, but the watch case is actually derived from an existing Diver design within Spinnaker's roster, the Spinnaker Fleuss, here are the specs as listed on their website, with a few additional details based on what I've seen:

  • Movement : SII NH38

  • Case : 316L Stainless Steel

  • Case Diameter (mm) : 43

  • Case Thickness (mm) : 12

  • Glass : Sapphire Crystal with inner AR coating

  • Bezel : Unidirectional Turning Bezel

  • Band : 22mm Black Genuine Leather Strap with lumed threads.

  • Extra Band : Rubber Strap

  • Lug to Lug (mm) : 51

  • Water Resistance : ̶N̶o̶ ̶F̶e̶e̶t̶150mm

But besides the specs, in terms of details, everything has been exceptional. Horizontal brushed finish is noticeable on the sides of the case while same can be said about the vertical brushed finish on the lugs, and the bezel action is good, but not as crunchy as I want it to be. Besides the sapphire on the front (which seems to be inner AR coated, they're getting points for that), it also sports a sapphire caseback with a lumed ghost on the watch's rotor:



Oh right, nobody cares about artistic horological inside jokes that make you feel smart (sorry, Seconde/seconde), let me show you the REAL reason why people got this watch


The witching hour is upon us!

Yes, it really does have enough ghosts in the dial to fill 3 haunted houses, and alongside the diver style indices, they're all delightfully painted with C1 and C3 Superliminova, although I'd like to point out to both Spinnaker and Seconde/seconde how this watch is inappropriately named, it's AKSHUALLY the 51 Phantoms. it seems both parties forgot to take account the one lonely ghost in the rotor :(

Mist vs. Black

Decisions, decisions... I was initially not a fan of the Mist bezel variant but it turns out its key aesthetic issue is easily addressed if the Mist bezels came with a matching grey rubber/FKM strap instead of the black ones it normally comes with, as seen here. It looks WAY better with either a grey rubber strap, a grey Epsom leather band, or a 22mm Fleuss SS bracelet. With these bands, it makes grey the primary color of the entire watch in the process, which is heavily complimented by the black dial as black now serves as its accent color instead. It pretty much makes the Mist bezel variant look as good, or do I daresay better, than the black one. That said, black still remains more versatile since black alongside brown tend to be the most common and accessible colors when it comes to leather bands and esthetically, it's truer to the watch that it's homaging with this version, since the 50 Fathoms never had a version with a grey bezel. One other advantage is that if you have other watches, you probably have spare black leather bands you can just use with these watches, provided they're 22mm.

Protip: You can take advantage of the Blancpain x Swatch hype and be creative with strap choices since the strap options you have for that collaboration also works well with the 50 Phantoms, they're homaging the same watch, after all ;)


In terms of accuracy, Spinnaker is 2 for 2 on my book, since BOTH of the 50 Phantoms I have are running at -1/+1 seconds per day. I'd like to emphasize that neither of these are review models, which means either Spinnaker regulates their movements prior to movement placement, Spinnaker used their best NH38s for the 50 Phantoms Limited Edition batch, they got extremely lucky with the movements they from Seiko, or the most unlikeliest of them all, I won the Seiko lottery TWICE in a row (I should probably buy a lottery ticket...). If it's the former, then props to Spinnaker for doing their due diligence. Due to the virtue of these movements being Seiko NH38 movements, they don't fit the bill for COSC certification, but accuracy wise? These 2 were exemplary, so in that regard, I'd think they are, at least in spirit (all 100 of them, I might add). As quirky as they look, they don't mess around when it comes to what they're supposed to do, tell time, and let me tell you, the ones I have on hand do so extremely well.


I do have thoughts on how this watch can be improved even further. First one would be the addition of a lumed Spinnaker logo on the crown, a concept I've seen another microbrand (Zelos) do, considering they've already got the front and the back covered in terms of lume, might as well add a bit more and include the crown as well. My second suggestion is tied to my comment above, Mist variants should be getting the same color strap as the bezel, although be aware this suggestion is based on how both variants look with the black limited edition dial, the results could be different with the blue one considering how promotional materials for the blue version show it with a blue strap instead of the Black ones that the Limited Editions came with.

Also for the love of Spooks and all that is haunted, I'd really like to have the option to buy a 22mm Fleuss Bracelet for my Mist version now that I've seen how well the color grey or silver just elevates it a lot aesthetically, either that or a suggestion for a good alternative to the OEM Fleuss bracelet so people know what to go for. They've claimed on email inquiries regarding the projected availability for OEM Fleuss bracelets to be up for sale and it's going to be April of 2024, which is a rather problematic date since that's a month after Spinnaker starts shipping non-limited edition Blue 50 Phantoms, so getting the chance to buy a stainless steel bracelet for your 50 Phantoms is going to resemble the bloodbath that happened during the 50 Phantoms' first ever release.


Whether you chose Mist or Black during the Blue 50 Phantoms preorder, or are deciding on what to go for next year if Spinnaker ever decides to do something similar to Timex x Seconde/seconde's episodic release of the IYKYK series, hope this review helps out with that. Also, regardless of what you went with, the Mist bezel variants of the blue dials don't share the same limited availability as their black dial counterparts, as out of the 670 Limited Edition models available, only 170 of Mist bezel versions were made, so it's best to choose by preference on this matter. Hopefully these comparisons and observations help justify or assuage your decisions on which version you ultimately went with!

Was it truly worth the hype? I'd say that with a resounding YES, but could Spinnaker have done better during its release? Absolutely. I hope they learned a lot from how it went the first time.

All in all, despite its appearance of being a novelty Halloween item, make no mistake, it's a wonderful timepiece that, contrary to what people say, should never go out of style. This watch might've been late for Halloween, but Spinnaker just set the phantoms loose in time for Witching hour.

Regarding my overall verdict:

Quality: It's one of the best things going for Spinnaker. Brushed finish on 316L Stainless Steel, Inner AR paint sapphire glass, and a sapphire glass for a caseback, it's safe to assume it's probably the same quality you see in every one of their Fleuss lineup as well. The quality of the bands were good, but not exactly great, could be better. As much as I love the lumed threads in the leather strap, which I thought was a nice touch, I can't say it's great mainly due to its material being genuine leather instead of full grain.

Dial: I love ghosts, I love horology, I love lume, Call me Samhain for how much I love Halloween! No other dial is going to ever deliver on this concept as well as the 50 Phantoms ever will (Prove me wrong, Seconde/Seconde, PLEASE). This might not have the quality of luxury dials such as the ones you'd find in Seiko's Presage or Grand Seiko's Elegance series, it doesn't have the same detail as GS' Kanro or Omiwatari but conceptually? I love this dial way more since it has EVERY WACKY THING I'd ever want to have in a dial.

Movement: For all the praises I had about the accuracy of both the units I have, at the end of the day, it's still a Seiko NH38 movement, although I'll be putting it at 4/5 due to the possibility that Spinnaker regulates their movements prior to watch placement, and that deserves respect.

Wearability: wears great, and despite the 316L SS case, I can barely feel the weight, but be aware that that could also be because this watch only comes with a leather and rubber strap, It could be a different story with an SS bracelet.

Design: Read my notes about the dial, and add that with the fact that this watch was designed around a single pun, yet they realized it all the way through. A goofy themed Blancpain 50 Fathoms homage shouldn't be THIS good. This watch was made for me in a lab and there was nothing that was stopping me from getting this. The fact that both of these are -1/+1 SPD in terms of accuracy makes these watches even better.

The Spinnaker 50 Phantoms Review: Release the Phantoms!

Yes No
  • Superb build quality
  • Sapphire glass with inner AR coating
  • The wonderfully quirky Halloween aesthetic
  • A great 50 Fathoms homage
  • Despite all the praises I've mentioned regarding accuracy, It's still a Seiko NH38.
  • It's hard to find an OEM 22mm Fleuss bracelet for this particular model.
  • Mist bezel variants come with a black rubber and leather strap instead of grey.
  • Due to its very limited availability, acquiring one is quite a struggle financially.

Again it's not something I would have liked in the past but I have to admit to really liking the concept & humour behind this watch. The only disappointment for me is the colours they've chosen to go with in their models. I can't help but think a bit of imagination with this would see a far better looking watch than they are.


I really dig the mist one in the strap you put on it.


Again it's not something I would have liked in the past but I have to admit to really liking the concept & humour behind this watch. The only disappointment for me is the colours they've chosen to go with in their models. I can't help but think a bit of imagination with this would see a far better looking watch than they are.

I have to admit to really liking the concept & humour behind this watch

The greatest strength also contributes to its greatest weakness. In terms of a collaboration concept, Seconde/seconde essentially gave them the arguably, the pun behind the name and how they realized it was a god damn doozy.

The only disappointment for me is the colours they've chosen to go with in their models. I can't help but think a bit of imagination with this would see a far better looking watch than they are.

That's why sticking to the pun was a great idea but it also means their creative choices were limited to what we currently see from the original Blancpain 50 Fathoms design wise, hence the color options being limited to the same ones the original also had, black and blue. That also doesn't count another color scheme that can work with ghosts on the dial, grey could work but that's a reach on my end.


I really dig the mist one in the strap you put on it.

Let's say I was a bit, inspired, by another Blancpain homage. I can't wait for the Epsom band.


I pre-ordered the blue one.


Great review! I missed the boat at launch so have a blue one coming in March. I like blue so I'm not too sad!


I pre-ordered the blue one.

Youre in for a treat in March


I’m so disappointed that I missed out on this watch.😩👻


I’m so disappointed that I missed out on this watch.😩👻

From what I've read in the Facebook group, you can supposedly join the 50 Phantoms waitlist by sending them an email inquiring if you could join said waitlist.


Top notch review! I missed out on the original launch. It was only when a fellow cruncher voiced his interest I jumped and made the order on one of their blue edition 50 phantoms. Went for the ghost bezel variant, can’t wait until March ‘24👍