Introducing the Steinhart Ocean Titanium 500 Premium

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Last time we wrote about Steinhart, it was to announce the Ocean One Vintage Dual Time, their take on the infamous white-dialed Rolex Pan Am GMT. As one might expect, our readers welcomed that release with mixed feelings, with most detractors bemoaning Steinhart’s continued affinity for homage watches.

Now, there is no denying that Steinhart made a name for itself by selling homage watches based on a number of different Rolex references, and because of that Steinhart is often a lightning rod for criticism. But while the Ocean One line may be the brand’s bread and butter, Steinhart has also released a number of original designs over the years, among them the Apollon, the Triton, and the entire Ocean Two range. Earlier last week, Steinhart announced their latest diver, a watch the falls conceptually somewhere between their two diver lines, the Ocean Titanium 500 premium.

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The Ocean Titanium 500 comes in a 42mm case that is aesthetically similar to what you can find across their Ocean One range. This time, however, Steinhart opted for brushed titanium with a boosted water resistance of 500 meters, which is made even more impressive when you consider that the case back features a viewing window. It’s not unheard of for a watch to have these two features, but it is atypical for a watch to pull off both and remain affordable. Regardless, that viewing window does open up the beautifully decorated Soprod A10, a movement that is seeing more use with Swatch Group’s continued squeeze on the industry. On the flip side there is a domed sapphire with interior AR coating.

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The face of the watch is a largely original design, albeit with some apparent cues. The hour markers–a mix of rectangles, circles, and triangles–are a nod to the Submariner. The hours and minutes hands, which are by no means original to Rolex, harken back to the “McQueen” Explorer II. When brought together, however, these two elements don’t feel derivative and give the piece a modern sports watch feel. Contributing to that is the excellent use of blue, which accents the dial and appears on the arrow-tipped seconds hand, the model designation above 6 o’clock, and at every 5-minute interval along the minutes track on the chapter ring. The symmetry of the dial is maintained via a date window at 6 o’clock. Framing the face of the watch is a unidirectional bezel boasting a new ceramic inlay with fully-lumed engraved markers. And speaking of lume, the watch features the ever-popular SuperLuminova BGW9.

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There’s a lot to like about the Ocean Titanium 500, especially at the price. At 496 EUR (approximately $562) without VAT, the Ocean Titanium 500 presents an incredible value. Off the top of my head, there is no other company offering anything close to a titanium-cased diver with a ceramic bezel and a top-grade Soprod movement at such an accessible price point. For $500, you’re far more likely to get a Miyota 9015, a great movement, no doubt, but it’s nowhere as refined as the A10.

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In terms of the design, the Ocean Titanium 500 certainly works. That said, I’d like to see Steinhart take the next iteration of this watch (if there is one) a step further. A new case would be a welcome change. Perhaps something a bit more refined, like what we see on the Ocean One Vintage or the Ocean Two, would go well to advance the premium cache this new watch is trying to fill. The same goes for the dial, which could benefit from a bit more dimensionality and texture. Also, the Ocean Titanium 500 does remind me a bit of another diver, the MKII Fulcrum, largely because yes, both are Rolex inspired divers, but also because of the blue accents. Other color options like red and orange might open up the range a bit more.

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Despite my criticisms–and I wouldn’t really even call them that–the Ocean Titanium 500 is a step in the right direction for Steinhart. I’ve long thought that Steinhart should pursue more original designs, which would undoubtedly open the brand up to people who are turned off by the constant stream of homage releases. The Ocean Titanium 500 is a great package that should appeal to those very people, offering good looks and quality at an unmatched price.

To purchase, head over to Steinhart’s store.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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