Steinhart Ocean One Vintage review

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage

The Steinhart Ocean One Vintage (from now onwards referred to as the O1V or I’ll get bored before I get to the end of this review) is a Swiss made automatic watch heavily influenced by Rolex submariners of times past.

 

In the affordable watch world Steinhart somewhat split opinion, with some disappointed by quite how heavily influenced by Rolex their watches are, while others are just pleased to be getting high quality time pieces at a reasonable price point.

I’m not generally a fan of such blatant “homages”. A certain amount of influence on design is understandable, but if you’re going to copy a watch I’d rather it was just copied and called such. Don’t try to pretend you’re doing anything new or special.

That said I’ve been wearing the Steinhart for a few months now and, with little knowledge of or interest in vintage Rolex watches and therefore no instinctive comparison constantly in mind, I’ve been quite enjoying it.

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-sea

Initial thoughts

The O1V arrives nicely packaged for its price. A solid outer white cardboard box with the Steinhart logo embossed on top contains the documentation and the faux leather display box. The display box itself is solid and well padded and should do a good job of protecting the watch in transit.

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-box

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-display

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-dial

When you first put on the O1V it feels big. This is a combination of the very flat lugs resulting in quite a “long” feeling watch and the high domed sapphire crystal. If you’ve got small wrists those flat lugs will be an issue for you – it really isn’t a watch that hugs the wrist at all.

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-side

It’s also 16mm thick, really sitting off your wrist quite noticeably. If you wear a tailored or fitted shirt it’s not going to fit comfortably under your cuffs.

Visually though the O1V is quite striking, and it feels substantial to hold. It’s a watch you won’t forget you’re wearing.

The watch

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-stones

So the O1V is pleasant to look at. What about the smaller details?

Let’s start with a few negatives. The uni-direction 120-click bezel is incredibly stiff to turn, and the small teeth make it quite hard to get a good enough grip turn in even perfect conditions. On the plus side this means it’s unlikely you’ll turn it much by mistake, but it’s quite a pain to turn is 119 clicks when you accidentally knock it one click and want to get it aligned properly again.

The vintage style lume is also far from impressive. If you give the face a good blast close-up with a lamp or flashlight before bed you’ll get good enough visibility in to the night, but if you’ve just had it on your wrist for the day don’t expect to see anything at all from it. For the first few days of wearing I didn’t realise it had any lume at all.

Finally, and this is personal taste, but there is no date window which drives me crazy and is the primary reason I won’t be keeping the O1V long term.

On the positive side, the domed crystal looks great and Steinhart have used a sapphire crystal which adds scratch-resistance to a classic look. It also makes it very hard to photograph the watch face well as the high dome distorts the pictures from pretty much any angle, but hopefully you’ll find some of our pictures that do it justice.

The case itself is a 42mm polished stainless steal with a brushed back. Etched on the back is the O1V divers helmet, which looks fine but doesn’t have the deep stamped quality of many other watches of an equivalent price.

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-back

The strap/bracelet

We ordered the Steinhart with the stainless steel bracelet and the official brown leather strap. With a 22mm lug size, the brushed bracelet feels substantial without feeling overly heavy. It’s one of the more comfortable bracelets of this size that I’ve worn. The clasp has taken quite a battering over over the couple of months  the O1V has been in regular rotation, however you expect this from a standard stainless steel bracelet.

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-bracelet

The official leather strap with deployment clasp is less successful. The strap wasn’t as supple as I’d hope when it arrived, and despite a lot of wrist time it never felt like it adapted to fit me. The clasp also pinched occasionally and didn’t feel solid. If you’re getting an O1V go with the stainless steel bracelet and get an unofficial leather strap if you want one.

The movement

The O1V contains an ETA 2824-2 25 jewel automatic movement. Enough has been written on the 2824-2 over the years in far more detail than we can manage (or care about) here to reassure you of it’s quality, but suffice to say that this is a movement of the highest quality for the price and indeed for several price brackets above.

For those not in the know probably all that you care about is that it is Swiss made, beats at 28.8k bph (meaning that the sweep of the seconds hand is as smooth as you can hope for), and that in my wrist tests it was operating at +/- 3 seconds per day.

Final thoughts

So the Ocean One Vintage is an OK watch. Even good in places. But not one that I’ll be holding on to, and not the one I’d recommend you buy if you’re looking at a vintage diver at around this price point (the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro if you’re asking). The sweep on the seconds hand really is super smooth, and the crystal is great, but that’s about it. I’ll be trading in for something else in the next few months and unless you’re desperate for a Rolex 6200 I wouldn’t recommend it.

steinhart-ocean-one-vintage-beach

Key information

Make: Steinhart
Model: Ocean One Vintage
Case diameter: 42mm
Case thickness: 16mm
Lug width: 22mm
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Strap or bracelet: Available with bracelet or leather strap
Water resistance: 30ATM / 300 meters
Price: €490 including tax from top-time.eu