Last year in 2023 for the Halloween holiday, Spinnaker unveiled its first collaboration product with Paris-based Seconde/Seconde/ (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here). Based on Spinnaker’s larger Fleuss Automatic sports watch collection, the collaboration with Seconde/Seconde/ resulted in four “Phantom” watches. The first two versions of the Fleuss Phantom with black dials (two bezel styles) were limited editions, and a bit more expensive. Then, Spinnaker released two more blue versions of the Fleuss Automatic x Seconde/Seconde/ known as the Phantom Blue and the Phantom Mist (depending on the bezel coloration), which I review for you in this article.

Understanding the theme behind these collaboration watches requires a bit of insider watch knowledge. That said, even if you don’t understand the “joke” here, a vintage diving-style watch (in a larger size) with 50 lume-painted ghosts on the dial is pretty cool. Let’s begin with the core design that Spinnaker is emulating here. While Fleuss watches come in a variety of styles, this version is meant as an homage to the classic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms — at least one version of them. Seconde/Seconde/ collaborations are often playful and emphasize graphics that evoke the watch’s main theme, or a bit of a wordplay or pun on that same theme. Here Romaric Andre (the person behind Seconde/Seconde) plays with the term “50 Fathoms” (a depth rating) and morphs that into “50 Phantoms.” The watch dial thus has 50 graphical ghosts on it, and because ghost characters typically have no feet, the watch playfully writes “No Feet” where the depth rating would otherwise be. The watch is water resistant to 150 meters, making it at the least a suitable swimming timepiece.

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The ghost graphics (which remind people of simple video game graphics and what a ghost might have looked like in a Nintendo game) are undeniably fun, and a large one is placed on the automatic rotor on the rear of the watch. Most people will smile when seeing the luminant work on the dial, where Spinnaker cleverly decided to have slightly different lume applications on the ghosts that create a sense of visual depth. Note that the ghost on the automatic rotor is also painted with luminant.

People who don’t understand Seconde/Seconde’s design ethos or who don’t have a thing for playful ghosts probably won’t be fans of the Spinnaker Fleuss Automatic x Seconde/Seconde/ Phantom watch series — and that is totally fine. Watches like this are meant to be niche and playful by design. Spinnaker makes plenty of more “classic” watches for those who don’t want to feel like explaining to strangers the story behind this dial.

The Fleuss Automatic watch itself is comfortable but on the larger side. It has a 43mm wide stainless steel case that is 12mm thick and has a rotating diver’s style bezel. The dial has a sapphire crystal over it, and the mineral crystal capped bezel inserts come in two colors. That includes the deeper blue “Phantom Blue” and the aged-styled lighter blue with the Spinnaker Phantom Mist. Both are very fairly priced, in my opinion, though these are indeed budget watches at heart.

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Inside the Spinnaker Fleuss Automatic is a Japanese Seiko NH38 automatic movement, which operates at 3Hz with about two days of power reserve. It is a very suitable movement for a watch at this price point. Even though the watch is a diver’s style, it has a larger pilot’s watch-style crown (which sorta works given the overall vintage-style theme). Dial detailing is impressive, especially given that it is still relatively legible. It was probably no easy task for Seconde/Seconde to place 50 phantoms on the dial, while also maintaining legibility for the hour markers and hands, and yet the dial seems to more or less work.

Spinnaker includes two straps with the Fleuss Automatic Seconde/Seconde/ Phantom Mist edition watch that includes a 22mm wide blue leather strap and a blue rubber-style sports strap. Both come on quick-release spring bars and are easy to swap out. Overall I think Spinnaker was wise to collaborate with Seconde/Seconde/, and that watches like this are, in many ways, what the industry needs when it comes to playful designs. So many playful watches are also very expensive, ultimately limiting their market. People like Romaric Andre helped usher in a new era of much less expensive playful watches but, importantly, ones that also attract serious enthusiasts.

The black-colored Spinnaker 50 Phantoms watches were limited editions and are now sold out. They were also more expensive, costing $445 USD each. Though they sell out and are often on backorder, these non-limited blue models are less expensive and, of course, more widely available. The Spinnaker Fleuss Automatic Seconde/Seconde/ Phantom Mist and Phantom Blue are priced $370 USD. Learn more at the Spinnaker watches website.

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