There’s a lot to be said for sincerity. Whether you’re designing, writing, or manufacturing, showing open respect for your sources is a great way to ensure the integrity of your product.
This is one of the reasons I’ve developed a fondness for New York’s Long Island Watch. True, its Islander line began with a series of homages. But starting with the ISL-88 and progressing with the offbeat Ameriquartz Field, the brand’s efforts feel well-intentioned. And it’s since broken ground of its own.
Now, with the release of the new Sands Point Titanium Diver ($395), it feels as though we’ve come to the joining of a near-perfect circle.
I’ll save the obvious comparison for later, but if you’re even casually aware of wristwatches, this design will look somewhat familiar (and if not, keep reading to find out). After spending some time with the Sands Point, I can tell you it doesn’t live up to the legend.
Instead, it wholly surpasses it, along with most of the other divers at this price point.
In short: Long Island Watch has done it again with the Sands Point Diver. From its outstanding sizing to its accuracy and attention to detail, this timepiece manages to be both a successful homage and a next-gen evolution for its maker. The materials, functionality, and overall beauty far outshine any qualms you might feel about its inspiration. If you’re looking to scratch your vintage dive-watch itch, skip the eBay auctions and grey market sites and steer your wallet to Sands Point.
- Case Size 43 mm x 14 mm, 47 mm tip to tip
- Case Material Sandblasted titanium
- Crystal Flat sapphire with inner AR
- Movement Seiko NH38 automatic
- Lug Width 22 mm
- Band Rubber with titanium deployant buckle
- Water Resistant 200 m
- Weight 108 g
- Gorgeous dial
- Reliable and accurate movement
- Bright colors and aesthetic
- No date window
- Barely-worth-mentioning clasp rattle
- Band must be cut to fit
Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver Watch: Review
My first criteria when reviewing a watch is simple: How long can it sit on my wrist before I feel like taking it off? Well, I’m sending this loaner back tomorrow, and I’m still not ready to move on to my next tester.
The sizing of its titanium case is perfect. At 43 mm across, 14 mm high, and 47 mm from lug to lug, it wears much smaller than you’d expect. This is due in part to its slight 108g weight and excellent 4-o’clock crown.
Then we come to the dial. Just look at it — intricate blue waves, large indices, and pops of color on the Islander logo and at the tip of the second hand.
The company’s description is accurate: “Using gun metal polished hands and markers, all filled with BGW9 Super-LumiNova, means the watch is easy to read both in daytime and nighttime when the hands and indices glow a cool blue.”
The bezel (120-click, unidirectional) matches the face and band with an insert of brushed ceramic. All the titanium hardware, from the coin edge to the case, clasp, and screw-down crown, are brushed to the same appearance.
The crystal is composed of sapphire with an antireflective coating, and the chassis is good for 200 m of water resistance.
A Question of Movement
Beneath the waves beats the Sands Point’s heart of gold (or at least, of jewels). Its Seiko NH38 movement “features hand winding and hacking, and a 40-hour power reserve.”
This is a proven mechanism, similar to the shockingly accurate NH35 that powered our Spinnaker Piccard tester. The main difference between the two is simple — the NH35 has a date complication, and the NH38 doesn’t.
Beyond this, they’re both operating on the same foundational Seiko tech. The spec sheet will tell you that the movements are manufactured to a tolerance of between -20 and +40 seconds per day. But after nearly a week on the wrist, the Sands Point ran just 12 seconds fast. That’s not quite as successful as the +1 on the Piccard, but it’s pretty damn respectable.
And I’m a big fan of the FKM rubber strap and the six micro-adjust holes in the mechanism. You’ll need these, along with a spring bar tool and a sharp pair of scissors, to trim and fit the strap.
I have only a single complaint with this watch: Somewhere in the clasp sits a tiny piece of metal that can be just the slightest bit rattly. But it’s so minor (we’re talking “bubble popping in your La Croix” decibels) that it’s barely worth mentioning.
Succeeding a Legend
Let’s address the elephant in the room. The Sands Point looks like a Seiko SKX — not a little, but a lot. Island Watch, to its credit, isn’t shy about this fact.
“The Sands Point is based off the SKX007 platform; therefore, straps, bezel inserts, hands, and crystals made for the SKX007 will fit,” the brand said.
Frankly, this look-alike quality sparked my interest in the first place, especially in its ISL-158 black trim. But offered the choice of loaners, I followed my convictions and went with the ISL-159 and its textured blue-wave dial.
Why? Because at some point, we, collectively, as fans of wristwatches, will need to get over that particular (though venerable) icon.
Sapphire crystal versus Hardlex. A hacking movement versus none. And a titanium case, better strap, and significantly easier availability. From its construction to its function, I feel the ISL-159 is a better timepiece in nearly every way.
What’s it missing? Well, the historical pedigree, I suppose. But the homage is so tastefully done as to capture the spirit of the original while surpassing its various shortfalls.
Think along the lines of a well-done restomod on a classic car, and your mind is on the right track.
Islander Sands Point Titanium Diver Watch: Conclusion
We’re only halfway through February, and I feel confident stating the Sands Point will be among the best new watches of 2023.
With an absence of a date window or additional sub-dials, this lovingly-crafted tool has exactly one function: Measure the second-to-second time on a simple 12-hour scale. At this, it excels while looking simply gorgeous in the process. If this isn’t the best diver under $400, then damn if it isn’t tied for the crown.
I’m enamored with this watch, and I’m sad to see it head back to the team in Long Island. If you like what you see here, I strongly encourage you to pick one up for yourself.
Seiko itself might not be keen on providing a (reasonably priced) successor to the SKX. But with upgraded looks and a movement derived from the very same company, the Sands Point has the heart and style of the original, both figuratively and literally.