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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In my eternal quest for the perfect watch, I stumbled across the Precista PRS 50B and the similar MKII Stingray. I was immediately attracted by the beautiful proportions of these two watches. I quickly purchased the PR50B directly from Timefactos and I was also lucky to locate a used Stingray. Unfortunately, I am a man of limited means and can't afford to keep both especially after having purchased a Seiko MM. So a difficult decision had to be made. What follows is the process that I went through to come up with a “keeper”.


Both watches cost about the same at about $600 each and are made by two reputable companies with a cult following of their own. These two particular models pay homage to Blancpain's of old. The original subjects were slightly different and hence so are these two homages.



The subjects of this comparison:



Packaging/Presentation:


Both watches have very functional boxes. The MKII comes in a nice little suitcase that accomodates 3 watches. It also includes a handy strap changing tool. The Precista comes in a leatherette Banda two watch travel case. It to is very useful and gives the watch excellent protection. Timefactors includes a nice polishing cloth, useful for the high polished case, but no strap changing tool of any kind. I like both of them and are much more practical than any fancy wooden box.


Winner: Tie





Case:


The case of the Precista is very large and of impressive quality. From what I understand it is made in Germany. As you would expect, the quality is top notch. The case is highly polished and there is no option to have it bead blasted or brushed.


I could not find a definite answer as to where the MKII Stingray's case is made. It really does not matter as it too is very well made. MKII does offer options and the customer can select the type of finish desired.


I give the PRS-50 an edge in this category. The case is very thick and it simply feels more substantial and better made than the Stingray.


Winner: PRS 50B









Bezel:


The PRS-50 has a gloss bezel insert that gives the watch a nice high end look similar to my Seiko MM. The coolest feature of the bezel is that it is fully luminescent, although quite weak. The bezel is thick and very difficult to grip. Once you have a good grip it does turn smoothly and it feels solid.


The Stingray has a more conventional looking bezel. The insert is flat black, but well constructed with clear numbers. The only luminescence on the bezel is the diamond at the 12 o'clock mark. The bezel is smooth to operate and much easier to grip and use than the PRS-50B.


In all honesty I would have liked to see a combination of these two bezels. The look and luminescence of the PRS 50 with the functionality of the Stingray. Ultimately, I gave my vote to the Stingray.


Winner: Stingray






Crystal:


The PRS-50B has a highly domed acrylic crystal, more faithful to the original Blancpain. It is of very good quality and it is a sharp looking crystal. Keep in mind that it also adds to the thickness of the watch.


The Stingray has a sapphire crystal and fortunately it too is domed. A good choice to go with a domed crystal as it would not look right with a standard flat crystal.


We all know the advantages and disadvantages of the materials and there is no need for me to explain. Since a decision had to be made, I gave my vote to the PRS-50B for its more vintage feel.


Winner: PRS-50B






Dial:


The PRS 50B has a very clean dial and the numbers and markers are very well made. I am not fond of the depth from crystal to dial. It feels a little too “deep”. The dial is also a little flat and not very interesting.


The numbers, hour markers and seconds are clearly printed on the MKII. The dial seems to be made of a better material and it is more interesting to look at than the PRS-50B.


Winner: Stingray








Hands:


The PRS 50B hands are polished and have a classic look that match the watch perfectly. However, the lume used on the hands (green) does not match the lume (white) used on the rest of the watch. In my opinion this detracts from an otherwise excellent design.


The Stingray uses more conventional hands and are not quite as interesting as those of the PRS 50B. They do match the rest of the watch and it is more cohesive.


Winner: Tie




Luminescence:


Neither watch has very good lume since they both use Luminova C1. The lume on the MKII does charge faster and just seems to last longer.


Winner: Stingray


Strap:


The Precista uses a silicone 1970's style strap. It is flexible and extremely comfortable. However, it attracts lint like a magnet.


The Stingray uses a natural rubber strap that is also comfortable and of good quality. Slight edge to the Precista.


Winner: PRS 50B






Movement:


Here is where the difference is most obvious. The PRS50B uses an old stock AS2063 that has been fully restored. From what I understand this was the original movement used in the Blancpain. It is smooth to wind and only slightly less accurate than the Stingray's ETA. The Stingray uses the ubiquitous ETA 2824-2 and it has been quite accurate and reliable as we all know. Neither watch has a signed crown which is a little disappointing.

My vote goes to the PRS 50B's movement because of its relative rarity and faithfulness to the original.


Winner: PRS 50B


Wearability:


This was the category that I was most interested in. I was looking for a multi purpose watch that would be appropriate for both formal and casual occasions. Both watches are what I would consider dressy divers and do look good with a suit. However, the clear advantage goes to the Stingray because of its slimmer case and crystal. The PRS 50B is simply too thick and it is impossible to fit under a long sleeve shirt.


Winner: Stingray




Conclusion:


As you can see, both watches are excellent and closely resemble the original Blancpain. Your personal preference and tastes can easily change the outcome of this comparison. I did decide to keep the Stingray and flip the PRS 50B. What really made the difference was the fact that the Stingray simply fills my current needs for a dressy diver better than the PRS 50B. Having said that, I will agree with the very common statement made in every comparison in this forum that “you can't go wrong with either one”. This was as close as you can get.
 

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Great comparison. You went at it as objectively as possible under extreme conditions (WISdom is tough). I also own the Precista and it does have a screw down crown so perhaps yours is/was faulty?
 

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Nice review.

Couple things:

The Precista should have a screw down crown. In addition, they are not Fricker made. Also, it is notable that the AS movement doesn't hack.
 

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Not to be too nit-picky, but MkII usually delivers (or used to) a much better strap than the one you got. I believe they supplied that one when the original one ran out of stock.
 

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Nice review the 50b is a very nice watch. I voted with my $ and it looks the bomb on Omega mesh.
 

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Thanks for a great comparison
 

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I love that Precista--the printing of "Great Britain" at six is such an elegant look.
 

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Nice review and comparison for both watches. I have the Stingray myself and thought about getting the PRS 50B but can't justify having two watches that look so similar in my collection. I'm glad I got the Stingray :-!
 

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Great review. I have a Stingray and agree with everything said here - I also use it for a dress watch. I have never seen a Precista other than photos, but it looks cool.

My Stingray has the luminescent bezel, which sounds like that would be perfect for you - I don't know if those are available at all anymore.
 

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Great review

I would say there are 3 watches in that category:
1) Stingray
2) PRS 50
3) PRS 50B

Which would I keep... probably PRS 50B (both Stingray and PRS 50 are or will be available soon) PRS50B will not.
Go figure, I have just listed my PRS50B for sale, but it can change :)
Never easy to get rid of one of your favorites :)

M
 

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Nice review and pictures. I like both watches. I prefer the dial of the Precista, but it looks like the MKII might wear better for me. It looks like the lug-to-lug is a little shorter on the MKII. Those straight long lugs on most of the FF homages are a deal killer for my small wrist. I noticed that the Helson Skindiver has a lug-to-lug of over 50mm even though the case size is only 41mm. My Seiko FFF mod works well for me, because it is an homage to the more modern FF case which doesn't have those straight long lugs. Since your main criteria was that the watch should fill in as a dress watch, I think you chose well.
 
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