Review: Monta Oceanking (Version III)

It was early summer in 2020 and it felt like the entire world was on fire. The Coronavirus was running rampant, and the Quebec Government had instituted draconian lockdown measures, which included a nightly curfew. If residents were not in their homes by 8pm, fines were issued. It was a horrible time. My wife and I had no choice but to work from home, and both of my boys were attempting homeschooling for the first time. My oldest was in his second year of college and my youngest was in his last year of high school. We all struggled with this new way of doing things.

On the bright side however, all this togetherness allowed me to introduce my kids to some of my beloved film franchises. We went through all the Die Hards, Lethal Weapons, Beverly Hills Cops and Aliens. The latter really stuck with them and my oldest found a video game called Alien Isolation, which he insisted we try. So, we did. Coincidentally Monta had sent me an OnceanKing to review and to this day, in my brain, this watch is linked to the Alien franchise and the great time I had with my boys kicking Alien posterior!

I really, really liked the Monta OceanKing version II, nevertheless it was not without its flaws. Some of which have been addressed with the new version III which I’ve been lent for review. So, let’s dive in and see what they have done.


The dimensions have remained very similar, with a diameter of 40.5mm (down from 40.7mm), a thickness of 12mm (same as the previous model) and a lug-to-lug length of 48mm (down a full millimeter). Overall, they have made an extremely wearable watch even more so. These numbers are right in my sweet spot, and I believe they are for many of you as well. There have been other cosmetic changes made to the stainless-steel case that are equally subtle. 

The crown guards have more tapering, and the lugs are shorter, but no longer have an angle cut beneath them, making the entire case a little flatter looking. The screw-down case back, which provides its 300 meter depth rating, is no longer adorned with the Monta logo and is completely smooth, except for the brand name, Swiss made, depth rating and serial number engraved on the outer edges. Monta says that this provides the space for owners to personalize their watches with an engraving. All in all, the smooth bottom feels incredible on my wrist.


Review: Monta Oceanking (Version III)

Stainless steel
Caliber M-22
Yes, markers and hands
Steel bracelet
Water Resistance
300 meters
40.5 x 48mm
Lug Width
Screw down

The polished screw-down crown does retain its signature Monta conical shape but feels a little more difficult to operate. Its teeth seem shorter and rounder at the edge. Perhaps this is what is leading to the slipperiness? The logo has also been changed from being engraved with a circle surrounding it, to being raised sans circle. Once screwed in, it sits perfectly nestled between its guards and, just like the previous generation, looks very, very good. The top of the lugs are brushed, with polished chamfers and case sides. The rear is nearly completely brushed. 

One of my complaints about version II was the length of the hands, as I found them too short. It looks like Monta has addressed this issue with version III, however, it is not how you might think. Instead of increasing the length of the hands, they widened the bezel, which effectively shrinks the dial opening, and now the hands reach the minute track, as they should. The overall look works very well, nonetheless I cannot help but feel that some of its “Montaness” has been removed from the design. The new proportions look more traditional. 

Speaking of the bezel and its insert, it remains ceramic, which is fantastic for resisting wear, but it is no longer fully lumed, with only a glowing pip at the 60-minute mark. The action is still absolutely first rate, and I did not think it was possible to improve the teeth that help you gain purchase, but they have. They are narrower and provide even more bite, without being too grippy or painful. They have completely mastered this feature, and I absolutely adore admiring its profile. 

The ink black dial is stunning, with applied markers all around, though they are not as elaborate as the previous version. The date window remains at 6 o’clock and no longer has a three-dimensional frame, but rather a smaller, thinner surround that matches the markers. Due to the dial’s narrower real-estate, gone is the lume marker at 6 o’clock and the rehaut that featured cutouts for each marker. Unfortunate casualties that have further removed some more “Montaness”. 

The beveled hands are identical to the previous generation, and as I have mentioned earlier, now fit the watch perfectly. They are beautiful, original and glint ever so nicely at different angles. The Monta name and logo at 12 o’clock appears to have been downsized a bit, with the depth rating just under the center pinion and the model name beneath that in red. I am a big fan of the splash of red on the dial, however I am a little disappointed that they did not keep the 304m marking, as they have through the previous two generations, and went with 300m. One more Monta quirk that is now missing.

The movement used in the new OceanKing is their caliber M-22, which is based on the Sellita SW300. This movement has been recently upgraded to have 56 hours of power reserve, which is up from 42 hours. It features quick set date, hacking and is only 3.6mm thick, which is why this watch can be 300m water-resistant and have an overall thickness of only 12mm. Quite remarkable and in a world of “in-house” this and “in-house” that, using this movement means peace of mind and ease of service in the years to come.  Throughout the loan period this one has performed admirably, well within COSC specifications when worn 24/7. 

When someone mentions a Monta watch, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the bracelet. They make one of the very best in the world and that is not hyperbole. Their fully articulated links, combined with their sliding micro-adjustment system and half links make it supremely comfortable and nearly impossible to not get the perfect fit. In fact, there are so many ways to move things around, it may take some time to dial-in, but it also allows for properly centering the clasp. The latter is something of a pet-peeve of mine.


If you have never handled a Monta or never had the pleasure of closing the clasp, you are seriously missing out. The snapping thud is so pronounced and satisfying, you are going to want to do it over and over again. There is nothing like it and once closed, it feels extremely secure.

Now, having gushed over this bracelet for two full paragraphs, would you believe that they have actually improved it? Well, they did! Their new clasp has a more noticeable curve, which conforms to the wrist in a much more pleasing way. The gaps between the closed ends of the clasp and the links have been made much smaller. Thus, making it look so much more refined and the entire bracelet seems much more cohesive. The flip lock has also been changed to match the new design and the engraved logo is more discreet.

I believe all of this is an enormous improvement, however, the edges of the clasp shell are very, very sharp to the touch. They don’t encounter your wrist at any time during wear, but when off the wrist, you can feel the difference compared to the rest of the watch, which is very smooth, and every edge is finished to the nth degree. 

Something else I noticed while closely examining the bracelet is the missing polished chamfers that were on the inner part of the lugs on previous generations. This distinct design element would mimic the polished edges of the bracelet links and would create a visually pleasing and refined look. The female end-links now sit flush with the case and lugs, like many other watches from other brands. It appears more “Montaness” has been left behind. 

What Monta has done with the new OceanKing is create an exceptional dive watch, with amazing build quality and extreme good looks. It wears like a dream and like all Montas, it is supremely comfortable, with infinite adjustability. They have made a watch that will appeal to a much wider audience, which should translate into more sales and success. I am just afraid that by removing some of the brand’s inherent quirkiness they may be stepping away from what got them this far in the first place.

That is not to say that this is not a fantastic dive watch. In fact, I believe it can hold up against the very best out there. It really is that good. However, the other day I took off the OceanKing and placed it on my desk. I took a picture of it from three feet away. I then asked the Worn & Wound+ Slack Community what they thought of when they saw this watch from a distance. Almost all the members said the same thing: it looks like a Rolex Submariner. 

There is nothing wrong with looking like a Rolex. So many brands have made a fortune taking design cues from their watches, and frankly it is probably a very good business model. But Monta has spent years building their brand and they had their own recognizability. Mind you, that is only within our tiny circle of watch idiot savants. Perhaps now, with the redesigned SkyQuest (I miss that bent GMT hand) and this new OceanKing, their reach will go beyond our orbit. 

The retail price for the new Monta OceanKing is $2,550. Monta

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Based in Montreal, Quebec, Marc has been an enthusiastic watch collector for well over three decades. Having witnessed and participated in the birth of the internet watch community, he has played a role on multiple watch forums and his articles have appeared on-line and in print since the late 1990s. Today his passion for all things horological is as pronounced as it has ever been, while he continues his never-ending search for watch next.