The abundance of watch projects on Kickstarter is old news. The internet’s most popular crowd funding website is jam packed with a vast array of watch and watch related projects, most notable of which is the Pebble digital “watch” with its E-Ink display and ability to pair with the Apple iPhone. But there has been a noticeable absence of traditional watch projects on Kickstarter – mechanical watches, watches that are free from gimmicks, and watches by companies with a sustainable vision. Or more aptly put, watch projects that actual watch geeks can get behind. That’s why we are really excited to see the Anstead Watches OCEANIS project thriving on the Kickstarter platform.
Anstead Watches was founded by Tom Anstead, a Navy Veteran and a man with a clear passion for watches that are to be owned, worn and enjoyed by everyone. He makes it very clear on his Kickstarter page that his company was bred out of this passion and a desire to bring a well designed yet affordable watch to the market. The result of his efforts is the OCEANIS, an automatic dive watch that is great looking, well made, and will sell direct from his online store for the low price of about $400.
In preparation for discussing the OCEANIS on worn&wound, we reached out to Tom to provide a bit more context for the watch and his watch brand, Anstead Watches. Right off the bat, Tom reiterated his motivation for the project. “Obviously, I love automatic watches but the more I looked at various designs, the more trouble I had finding a watch I loved in a moderate price range. It seemed that I couldn’t find a watch under $2,000 that I liked. I felt like I could design a watch with the styling that loved, and make a series of decisions on options and manufacturing to bring the watch to market at a reasonable price.”
To that end, Tom has done an outstanding job. The OCEANIS combines a vintage military aesthetic with modern dive watch technology to create piece that is both thoughtfully designed yet practical for daily use. The case, measuring 44mm by 13.5mm with 24mm lug width, is brushed stainless steel and features a 120 click unidirectional bezel, signed screw down crown, screw down case back and has a depth rating of 300M. It is finished off with a sapphire crystal to covering the dial, which features a well balanced, full featured military design.
When asked to elaborate on the OCEANIS’ design inspirations, Tom had this to offer, “I like watches with good visibility, classic fonts for numbers, and have good functionality (like 24-hour markers and good pressure depth) yet not too busy. I wanted a clean style that had sophistication mixed with military grit. At 44mm and 13.5mm thick, it’s definitely a watch that isn’t afraid to be noticed. With the right bands, it’s also something that can be dressed up or dressed down.”
The dial of the OCEANIS is black with large 12, 6 and 9 hour numerals and day/date window at the 3 o’clock position. Between these large numerals are hash markings at each hour, and small second/minute hash markers along the outer rim of the dial. Further in from these hour markings is a small 24 hour scale, inspired by Tom’s military background. Finally, the minimal and attractive Anstead logo and insignia sit below the 12 o’clock position, and above the 6 o’clock position reads “OCEANIS” in red with the depth rating and movement description. The hands of the OCEANIS are white fence post style, with black center and white outer, and the second had is primarily black, with a red tip and luminescent round pointer.
Outside of the dial sits a beautifully designed rotating bezel with bold jagged cut edge giving it a real sense of character. Black hash markings line the stainless steel bezel with numeral markings at 15, 30 and 45. At the 12 o’clock position sits a large black triangle with luminescent filling. Speaking of, lume is found throughout the dial, on all hour markings and hands.
Powering the OCEANIS is a 24 jewel Seiko NH36a automatic movement, with hacking seconds and day/date functions. An upgrade from the Miyota 8215 that many of you may be familiar with, the Seiko NH36a is an excellent choice for the OCEANIS. In addition to providing a robust feature set and being remarkably affordable, it’s from a brand we know and trust.
Right now, while supplies last and the OCEANIS Kickstarter projects is still live, an OCEANIS can be yours with a pledge to the project of just $275. That’s an outstanding deal. The planned $400 price tag of the OCEANIS is great, but the chance to get one for just $275 is almost too good to pass up.
Something you’ll notice when you head to the OCEANIS Kickstarter page is that the project is well overfunded at this point. Tom initially set out to raise $6,000, enough to get his project off the ground and into production. With funding going better than expected and still over 10 days left for fans of the OCEANIS to make pledges, Tom has the opportunity to throw at least one new, in-house designed accessory into the mix. “With the early success of the campaign, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to create a fully branded black silicon band for those people who loved the watch and wanted to use it in the water. It was something I wanted to offer early on, but I didn’t have the funds. I’m glad I’m going to offer it before this campaign ends. If Kickstarter continues to go well, I may be able to offer a stainless steel band option as well.”
With success of the OCEANIS, Tom has his sights set on releasing more watches under the Anstead brand as well. “I would like to make a Naval Combat Series.” Tom said. “I feel the OCEANIS encompasses a complete navy life in and around the water. If anything, it’s geared toward a Surface Combat experience. I would like to make watches specific for Aviation, Special Warfare (SEAL) and Submarine Service as well. All of the watches would have specific traits that capture the essence of that service, with vintage elements that celebrate classic design.”
There is nothing we love more here at worn&wound than finding a young watch brand with vision, a sense of style and a commitment to selling quality watches at an affordable price. We’re already big fans of Tom Anstead and his young company, and thanks to Kickstarter and the success of Tom’s campaing, it looks like we have a lot more to look forward to. If you’re interested in Anstead Watches or picking up a OCEANIS pre-sale (while supplies last!), head to Tom’s Kickstarter project here.