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Author Isthmus


The Alba Manta Rays is a family of ISO rated 200m dive watches made by Seiko's subsidiary, Alba. They are essentially mid-range Seiko SKX ISO rated divers and compare very evenly to the higher end SKX models. I would place them in the same general neighborhood as the knights, monsters and samurai.
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[/font] [font=arial][i]source: StratmanII[/i][/font] [font=arial]The AL-4005X is the most well known of all the models and the one the entire line is nicknamed after. It is the blue model with the Manta Ray motif printed on the dial. Here is a picture of the watch in question, borrowed from the PMWF and taken by Ching Yee Ling:

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Movement.[/u][/b] Standard 7s movement used in all the SKX's with the crown oriented to 0300.

[/font] [font=arial][b] [u]Bezel.[/u] [/b]Solid SS with painted engraved numbers, not unlike the one used in the monster and the knight. The bezel uses dimple style knurls like those in the Atlas and BFS, which makes it easy to grip. It is a 120 click unidirectional design with a lumed pip. It is available in SS and in black Ion plating. Most of the stainless steel bezel patterns on the different manta rays have a different color painted into the numbers (red) from 0 to 20 minutes - there are a handful of exceptions in which all the numbers are black. The Ion plated designs have all the numbers painted white. The crown is semi protected by vestigial shrouds where each lug flows into the top of the case, in the same manner as the knights.
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[/font] [font=arial][i]Source: Roachman[/i][/font] [font=arial][b][u]Dial.[/u][/b] The dials have applied markers in a shape that resembles teeth. Two models, the blue dialed AL-4005X and the black limited edition AL-4055X[/font][font=arial], [/font][font=arial]both have a 3-d printed pattern of manta ray's swimming side by side, sort of like an Escher painting. This is where this model line gets its nickname, even though only two variants (the blue and the Ion plated black) have this dial design. Most of the other dials have a wave pattern engraved on the dial. Here is a close up of the Manta Ray dial from the roachman site:

[/font] [left] [font=arial][img][/font][/left][font=arial][i]Source: [u]a Mattr of Time[/u][/i]
[/font] [font=arial]and the ion plated black one:

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[/font] [font=arial][i]Source: Yobokies[/i]


[/font] [font=arial]And here is one of the yellow version showing the wave pattern found on th eothers:

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[/font] [font=arial][i]source: Robbie[/i]
[/font] [font=arial][b][u]Case.[/u][/b] The shape of the case and its size is very similar to that of the Samurais, but a little bit smaller and a wee bit rounder. The finish is a typical Seiko combination of satin top surfaces and polished sides and curves. Unlike many other seikos, there are multiple surfaces so the finish pattern ends up being a bit more elaborate.
[/font] [font=arial][b][u]Case-Back.[/u][/b] The caseback is a standard round screw type caseback with six slots for a caseback opener. As with Seiko's professional divers, These alba divers carry a stamped 3-d rendition of the Seiko Tsunami wave. However, in the alba's the wave has been rendered in a much more stylized form than on the photo-realistic style used by Seiko. Here is a picture of the caseback as seen in Badern's limited edition black Manta Ray:

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[/font] [font=arial][i]source: Badern[/i][/font] [font=arial][b][u]Bracelet.[/u][/b] It is unique to this case; it is a split pin design (no collars here) with solid links. The overall style is very reminiscent of the monster bracelet (large satin finished sections with a polished center scallop). The endcaps are hollow but made specifically for this case. The bracelet takes fat spring bars just like Seiko branded ISO divers. A nice touch is that they are mounted on drilled lugs, just like the monster, which is not that common on Seiko divers. The clasp like that used on the Italian chrono bracelets - it is a friction style flip-lock clasp with a butterfly style diver's extension.. It is important to note that the blue variant doesn't officially come on a bracelet - it is only available on a rubber strap. Some sellers take the bracelet from one of the other colored dials and mount it on the blue variant (that's what I did with mine).

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[/font] [font=arial][i]Source: Roachman[/i][/font] [font=arial][u][b]Strap.[/b][/u] The strap is a rubber flat wave design which is similar to those Seiko uses on their BFK diver. Like the Seiko straps the tsunami logo is stamped at the extreme end of the strap. However the logo is not the photo realistic one used by Seiko. Instead it is a more aggressively stylized version of that (It's actually rather cool). The same logo is on the case back, just like Seiko does with theirs.
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[/font] [font=arial][i]Source: Roachman[/i][/font] [font=arial][b][u]Hands.[/u][/b] This is the Manta Ray's biggest issue. For some unknown reason Seiko chose to use these odd looking gothic hour and minute hands. They are a bit undersized and the metal accents don't leave enough room to apply a lot of lume. Many owners have chosen to replace the hour and minute hand. The second hand is the same one used in the monster.
[/font][font=arial] [b][u]Lume[/u][/b], overall the lume is good and on-par with other Seiko divers. They don't seem to be using the current brightest variant of lumibrite though. The monster, knight and samurai are definitely a bit brighter. This doesn't mean that this one is not bright, only that the others are brighter.
[/font][font=arial] [b][u]Overall Impression.[/u][/b] For the price (low $100's on the trade forums) you are getting one hell of a bargain, especially when compared to the three Seikos I'm using as comparables. If the hands are an issue for you, you can change them (I'm not the biggest fan of them, but I also have not found any replacements that look right). Other than that, this watch is all Seiko goodness, and it is my opinion that f it was branded Seiko instead of Alba, it would sell closer to Samurai price and have a lot more fans. In my humble opinion, styling aside, these divers measure very well against the monster and especially the stainless steel Samurai line from Seiko.
[/font] [font=arial][u][b]Additional Models Pics.[/b][/u]
[/font] [font=arial]AL-4001X:

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[/font] [font=arial]AL-4003X:

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[/font] [font=arial]AL-4005X:

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[/font] [font=arial]Limited Edition AL-4055X:

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[/font] [font=arial]AL-4009X:
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[/font] [font=arial]Limited edition yellow AL-4011X:
[/font] [font=arial][img]http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/images/com/photobucket/i110/8e/42/52/2d/2a7570f58bc72a1bff31613a.jpg

AL-4013X


[/font] [font=arial]AL-4015X:
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[/font] [font=arial]AL-4017X
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[/font] [font=arial]As a side note, It's worth mentioning that some of these models were also issue as pulsars:

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