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from/my/collection: Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk III, Ref. 49960

I truly adore the Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk line. A model that can be tracked to the 1940s and as a diver watch nowadays has close ties to the vintage Deep Diver collection as well. The very last Sea Hawk, I hesitated a lot and seeing more the negatives than the positives. But then I’m a weak character when it comes to Girard-Perregaux watches, so the Sea Hawk III, 49960 ended up in my collection.

Let’s face it, the Sea Hawk III is big, probably too big. It is also heavy, and yes, actually for sure too heavy.. However, unlike its cousin the Chrono Hawk, the sturdiness and size of the Sea Hawk can be argued with a 1000m depth rating and being a Diver watch. However, that already ends the negatives. It has many more positive sides and that convinced me to jump over my hurdle of hesitation.

The Case

There is nothing smooth on the Sea Hawk III case. Sharp angles form the shape of the case giving it a futuristic and very masculine look. The most prominent visual feature is the crown location at 4:30h keeping with the tradition of the Sea Hawk II. The case is 44mm, so quite big, but surprisingly tight fit on a small wrist. While the Sea Hawk II had a 42mm case, it had long lugs that stuck out on my wrist, hence I ended up with the rarer 40mm Sea Hawk 4992 in my collection.

The Sea Hawk III on the other hand does not really have any lugs in the classic sense. Sharply angled towards the wrist, I could imagine that people with very large wrist would actually not find a comfortable fit. Once you tried it on your wrist, believe me the 44mm is no issue on a small wrist. Thickness is another matter, but overall it has the right proportions with the watch diameter. The finishing is superb, satin polish and a wonderful engraving on the back. It really shouts solidity and quality as you would expect. I would have preferred a metal crown rather than the black rubber though.

One more thing. The rotating bezel. If you’re used to a Rolex Submariner you will be blown away. The clicks are so solid yet easy to rotate, there is absolutely no clearance nor wobbling. A true pleasure to use and itt has precisely 60 clicks for one rotation.

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The Bracelet

The bracelet actually is the main contributor to the overall weight of 330g, that’s more than a Rolex Playtona and I have removed 4 links already. I have tried the Sea Hawk on the rubber strap and it is much lighter. The bracelet is really solid and of the highest quality. All round satin finsh with only the sides of the inner links polished lurking out just a bit. It has a single fold-over clasp that is surprisingly comfortable and has an easy to use micro-adjustment. It has also so far been very resistant to scratches.

The Dial

The Sea Hawk III came with a few dial variants. The blue is super-cool but for me not so convincing on the bracelet, so better kept on the blue rubber strap. The white dial is kind of interesting, but probably in the long term not my first choice. There was also a “vintage” version with faux patina and tan croc strap, looking quite nice but somehow a strange mix with the futuristic case. My choice by a long distance is the black dial with black bezel.

Orange accents add the needed spice. I like the idea of using an orange hand for the minutes and a white hand for the hours. So you can easily keep them apart in the dark / under water and read the elapsed time on the bezel. Also the prominent power reserve is very useful and allows for a good layout with small seconds and date window.

There is an awful lot of depth to the dial, it almost goes as deep as the watch can go under water. The dial itself has a hexagonal pattern reminiscent of the famous signature bridge design of the Tourbillon under three golden bridges. And the hour markers are probably 2mm high with a polished case and inner lume. They provide fantastic light play.

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Wearing it

On my wrist, I need to wear a heavy watch quite tight and this is a heavy watch. I couldn’t cope if this would dangle on my wrist. Once strapped you can wear it quite comfortably but the heft is always present. I have been swimming with it and that is no problem. The clasp is very secure but I’m still a bit uneasy with it while a solid pin buckle simply cannot open accidentally unlike a bracelet clasp. Maybe I’m paranoid.

Over extended period, the weight of the watch pays its tribute and I find myself removing it from the wrist to give my wrist some air to breathe. I could see me trying the rubber strap, however, the strap only works with the fold-over clasp but not with a simple pin buckle as I use on my Sea Hawk II.

So indeed there are some concerns and time will tell if the Sea Hawk III becomes a stable addition to my collection and gets sufficient wrist time, but I certainly have no regrets getting one as there are so many cool elements on this very fine Diver watch from Girard-Perregaux.

 

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