The Ocean line by Steinhart is a group of Rolex homage divers. There are various models that cover everything from GMT Masters, to Sea Dwellers to a particularly well-done Explorer II 1655 (the Steve McQueen model), but the bulk of the Ocean series are Submariner homages. Of the plethora of models Steinhart makes, the Ocean Vintage Military really stands out as a unique offering. This is because the OVM refers to a very specific, rare and interesting model of the Rolex Submariner, the ref. 5517 Mil-Sub. The 5517 was a military issue Submariner for the British Royal Navy in the early 70’s. As a non-civilian model, it had some special design details that make it truly unique in the Sub family. The two most noticeable differences are in the hands and bezel insert. The 5517 lacks the iconic Mercedes hour hand and instead has a broad and stubby sword hand, and the bezel insert has individual minute markers going all around the bezel, rather than just from 0-15. The other more subtle details are a capital T in a circle on the lower half of the dial, indicating that the watch contained Tritium, fixed lug bars for use with nylon straps and unique serial numbers.
One could imagine given the popularity of vintage Submariners, original 5517’s are highly sought after, ultra-rare grails within the group. Considering around 1000 were ever issued, and they are legitimately parts of Naval and watch making history, it is not surprising that they go for around 100k at auction. This leaves most of us with little to no hope of ever owning one. Of course, there are a lot of watches that the same could be said for, the problem is that this one is really great looking. It takes the classic Bond-approved styling of the Submariner and tacks on some sportier and more aggressive features designed to maximize visibility for military usage. So, when the OVM first came to my attention I knew I had to have it. It takes the historical looks of the 5517, some contemporary features like a 42mm case, and combines them into a very affordable and damn great looking package. This is not to say that I don’t like the other Ocean watches, far from it, but being able wear a watch I’ll never own, in a matter of speaking, is very appealing to me.
That being said, the OVM is not just a beautifully executed and drop-dead gorgeous 5517 homage; it’s probably the best deal on a great watch you can get. At around $400 (price might fluctuate do to currency exchange rates) you are getting a terrifically built watch with an ETA 2824-2 25 jewel automatic movement, a domed sapphire crystal with double AR internal coating, a good quality oyster-style steel bracelet and generally superb finishing all around. Simply put, you wont be able to find a better deal on a Swiss made watch with these features. With that in mind, if you are looking to get a watch with an ETA movement now is the time to do it. It’s hard to say exactly what the future holds for brands like Steinhart with the ETA withdrawal, so considering the price tag and value here, I’d highly recommend one.
Beautiful watch! Definitely have my eye on one… Just asking, did you get it directly from Steinhart? I have read many a story about their customer service. Did you have any issue?
After reading your original survey on submariners, I ordered this directly from Steinhart. It took several weeks for them to reply with shipping confirmation, but it was certainly worth the wait.
I wear mine on an “Admiralty Grey” Nato from corvuswatch- that particular strap is made by Phoenix in the UK, who is an official supplier to the Ministry of Defense, and supposedly supplied the same color straps provided on the original 5517 Mil Subs. Indeed, the strap in your photo of an actual Rolex Mil Sub looks to be the Phoenix Admiralty Grey strap.
A fantastic watch- thank you for your review and pointing me to this! love the site!
Glad you like the watch and thanks for the tip on the strap!
Thanks for the question. I had the exact same experience as Scott (next comment) did. These watches seem to be amongst their most popular, so there is a bit of a wait time. Steinhart isn’t the most communicative about it. but in the end, you’ll get your watch and be happy.
Blake recently purchased a different model (soon to be on the site) and he had great customer service.
Hi Zach, I actually emailed Steinhart directly, and within half a day (accounting for time difference) I got a reply from them. They said their stock levels were low and couldn’t tell me when a new batch was coming in, I’m guessing May as quite a few of their watches on the site give that date.
I had been eying this watch for about 2 months. Pulled the trigger last Friday. Gnomon sent out the watch on Monday to the US, and by Wed afternoon (yesterday) it was sitting on my wrist! Your review is both thoughtful and spot on. This watch just straight out represents tremendous value. Build quality is phenomenal. FIrst day out of the box I was minus -2 seconds! Keep in mind that the ETA movement on the OVM was reported to me (by the folks at Steinhart) to be the elabore grade. I really could not be happier! Thanks again for the great review!
Thanks for pointing out that they are available from Gnomon as well…and I didn’t know they were elabore grade! That’s just another fantastic perk to this watch.
Did you get tagged with any FedEX or Customs duties when this watch arrived?
Great review, thank you.
Could I ask you what tool you used to adjust/remove the links with on the braclet.
A small flathead screwdriver will work.
Something like this:
Set of 5 Pieces Precision Screwdrivers for Watch Repair
Thanks for that info, Zach.
Mine arrived today. Thanks for the review, it was what finally convinced me to pick one up. So, glad I did too. Beautiful high quality watch. Links were really easy to adjust with eyeglass screwdrivers. I have ordered a leather strap for it too. Curious to see how that will look.
Anyway keep up the great reviews. I have picked a few watches up after finding your site. Nice to see reviews of watches I can actually afford:)
great review, and great photos too.
i’ve been thinking about this one for quite some time now, and you’ve just made my decision so much easier.
Great review of an awesome watch with some very enjoyable photos. I have owned the GMT diver which was very well constructed. The only gripe I have with the divers series, is the lack of a divers clasp/extension. Not a deal breaker, but it would be useful and in keeping with the style and also, a nice tapering 20 mm bracelet would add and to my mind, complete the series.
All the best
I have to agree, I just got mine based largely on this review and I don’t think there are many watches with the value ratio so high. I definitely prefer it over the run of the mill Submariner clones…
I just wanted to let you know this article made a watch guy out of me. I will be ordering this to start my affordable collection. Thanks, you have a wonderful site!
I don’t know if there is any greater compliment!
Sorry for the late reply….no added fees…..straight up $40 UPS expedited…that was it. Have had for about a month now … +16 seconds…….wow!
Thanks for all your great coverage, fellas. You’re my favorite watch resource out there. One question here: The brown leather NATO that appears in some of the photos on this Steinhart—of what make is it and where can I find one?
Thanks for the kind words, you find that strap at panatime.
Thanks for the excellent review. Can you please link directly to the panatime vintage leather strap you showed? The one on their site I found looks darker.
Damn you answered it right above this comment! Sorry 🙂
Where did you find that blue-steel strap from Strapcode? I couldn’t locate it…you are right, it is a fantastic look
The link in the second to last paragraph should get you there, but also check out corvus who apparently sell the real mil-spec strap
Great site and Review of a great watch, after watching this review about 40 times lol and the rest of yours, iv just had mine come in the post and its the dogs!!!! now to get it some new straps
Thank you W&W for your help in making my mind up
Keep the good work up
A T B Mick
Thanks for the great review. I have a question about the blue-steel strap from Strapcode. Your strap looks like the finish is stainless but the link on strapcode.com is to a brushed version. Did you buy the brushed version of the strap? That combination is my favorite. Thanks.
Yes, I got the brushed version, which matches the case of the OVM. It’s a great combo.
Just got my OVM today and immediately put it on the Corvus Admiralty Grey nato. The strap varies wildly from a light smoky blue to a dark blueish-grey, depending on the light. I think that accounts for everyone on the forums debating what color Admiralty Grey actually is.
Here is a wrist shot: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/Siberian/photo.jpg
Your great review put me over the edge and now I have one on order.
Thanks for such a thorough and thoughtful review on such a beautiful watch. Great photography too.
Just pre-ordered mine, can’t wait! Thanks for the review.
great review as allways
just can not find that brown leather strap on panatime site 🙁
Here is a direct link: http://www.panatime.com/nelibrvisole1.html
This review nailed it for me and made me gamble on a Steimhart. I’ve had my Steinhat OVM for 3 weeks now and its perfect! I can’t seem to take it off my wrist. It’s so weird because my other watches are now just gathering dust lol .
The Steinhart Vintage GMT also looks like it may be a target on the horizon too. Any chance of a review on that one guys???
The weird thing is, I was never really a “Rolex Guy”, I actually had a disdain for the brand. Now that I have this watch I see them in a whole new light. Yes they are IMO over priced but…..it’s the aesthetics, it’s something about the form vs function that I can now see that I never really did before. I think only by owning and review and reading about all the other watches out there that one begins to see this. What I love about Steinhart is that whilst I will never be able to aquire a Rolex 5517 the OVM let’s me have a very good taste and feel for what it is and at the same time paying a great tribute to Rolex watches. I would like to save up for a used Rolex GMT someday but until then I will enjoy the OVM and may get another for Xmas…the GMT (Steve Mc’Queen), that’s if you guys can get your hands on one and do another stellar review 😉
Sold out damn, just when I was ready to order it
Try watchrecon they seem to always have things available.
just placed order the black DLC instead.
Is this one ? http://www.panatime.com/nelibrvisole1.html it look more brown than orange
I’ve bought one for my birthday and I own it for over a month now. The watch is outstanding and exactly like you described.
I’m wearing it with a rubber black strap now, its very comfortable and goodlooking.
After graduating I’m buying the Graf Zeppelin.
Thank you for the excellent reviews W&W!
Great review! Just for a point of reference, how big is your wrist Zach?
My wrist is around 7″
thanks great review! I just ordered the black version!
best regards from berlin
this may be a dumb question, but is this watch a hand-wound watch, or automatic? i’m inches away from pulling the trigger on this lovely steinhart ocean vintage, and i would be wearing this watch daily, but i wanted to know if i would be needing to wind it everyday. cheers,
no worries. The watch is powered by the industry standard automatic movement, the ETA 2824-2. So, no daily hand winding to worry about.
thanks for the excellent review and video.
I’ve been surfing the net for about a month looking for a decent mechanical watch with a couple of Steinhart divers on my (very long) short list and came across the article above.
Finally pulled the trigger an placed an order last night and looking forward to seeing my OVM in March,
after reading your great review I’m 99% convinced to buy this watch, albeit there are some minor issues that almost break the deal for me (the most important being the awful “200m” sign on the dial, but ultimately I almost decided I can live with it.
I’m planning to put it on a nato strap as soon as I get it, thus I was wondering if the grey strap you’re talking about is this one
it looks a completely different color than in your pics, though
anyhow, thanks for showing me a great piece of machinery, sir!
yeah, that’s the strap…another option is the “admiralty grey” NATO by Phoenix, which used to be available from Corvus…but now they seem a bit hard to track down.
you should ask a percentage to both Steinhart and Phoenix, since I capitulated and ordered both. For those living in Europe (like me), Phoenix straps are directly available from the company thru its ebay store (user mickie500). Too bad Phoenix straps are only available with polished buckles. Can’t wait to get my hands on the combo.
Hey w&w, awesome review! I’ve aways liked Steinharts. How do you think, the OVM go up against C. Ward’s C60 Tridents?
Great review, and for that price it’s a bargain.
Great review you sold me, i was thinking of purchasing a marathon GSAR but now I’m going to place an order for a steinhhart OVM. Love that it has no date to worry about either (the eye sights not as good as what it used to be)
Just thought I would throw this out there as your review notes the oversight between case back depth rating and what is written on the watch face.
I received my OVM about a week ago; the latest from the new batch directly from Steinhart.
I was examining the case back today and Stienhart have rectified the discrepancy!
Both case back and watch face read 660ft = 200m now. All other markings are the same.
Let me know if you want a photo.
Same as Brandons my watch is the same on the back 600ft/200m, thought it was worded 300m on their (Steinhart)website when i purchased. I must say it looks alot better on the wrist than in pictures, would not hesitate in purchasing another Steinhart watch. Good look, great quality. Cheers Andy.
Hey Zach – Would you be willing to comment on this Steinhart vs. the MkII Nassau. The latter is smaller, more expensive and perhaps more detailed in some respects… but otherwise they seem to be very comparable. I’d love to hear your thoughts? Thanks!
I had the same thoughts as @BG. Any thoughts on this Steinhart vs. MkII Nassau?
Zach-beautiful watch. Looks great with that dark green NATO strap. Where did you get that dark green strap
Been wearing the OVM for a few months now. Absolutely love it. Knocked it a couple of times but Sapphire lens not showing any wear or tear. However, lume of hour marking is pretty weak.
GREAT REVIEW! you sold me. Just placed my order.
and thanks Peter for replying to Lance re: customs fees.
What an amazing deal!
Eagerly awaiting mines arrival. They just pushed the ship date back to late October. Wanted an MKII Nassau but didn’t have the funds or patience to wait for one 🙂 Plus I’m moving to East Africa indefinitely and I’d rather have the OVM stolen than a Nassau.
Curious if anyone is going to or has replaced the shouldered spring bars for shoulderless to further imitate the fixed lug nature of the original 5517?
Just like almost everyone who replied to this article, I was sold after reading. I’ve ordered one from Steinhart just now and ordered the Admiralty Gray strap from Phoenix on Ebay. Can’t wait until I have it on sitting on my wrist! Thanks for the great review!
Just wanted to know – is the 22mm strap size for the nato watch straps?
Awesome article btw, definitely want one of these!!
Can you do a review on the new Steinhart Ocean One Vintage ( O 1 V ) ?
I too have just placed an order from Steinhart, based off this review. Thrilled is an understatement. Now to order a blue-steel strap.
Zach, 1stly thanks. I’ve been lurking on your site for about 2 years. the OVM (and a few others) keep me coming back. your reviews are really well constructed. i have been able to share your site with many others to help articulate my enthusiasm.
I’ts taken me a while but after saving up enough spare lunch change i bought an OVM + also waiting for stock to return..
after hitting the buy button, the expected silence from steinhart was still unbearable. thankfully the watch arrived in australia 3 weeks later. I paid au$480.
Your photo on the strapcode nato has kept this watch at the top of my list. now i just have to order that nato too. 🙂
My favorite aspect of this watch is that is flys under the radar. there is no bling. having researched this for so long i was actual underwhelmed by it.. which i think is actually a good long-term quality. Funnily, my wife cant understand why I bought another watch that looks the same as my other ones. (seiko divers 6105 + skx171).
Brilliant, keep those reviews coming.
ps, new site is great, but i think i preferred the old version.
Anyone know the exact model for the Panatime Brown Leather NATO Stap? Their website makes it difficult to picture the strap as a whole compared to all the others they offer which can be very similar in color. Love that strap.
Zach — thanks for the review. Your words lead me to purchase the watch as well as the strap. I hope you’re getting some spend from the manufacturer! Superb review — pointed and informational. For the first time I’m comfortable owning a homage watch. Not sure if it’s the 100k price tag or the fact that I like it so much, but I’m looking forward to getting it on my wrist.
Many thanks and best wishes from NYC.
a great watch and a great review. hard to find a better option for a milsub homage in this price range. i would also like to strongly encourage w&w to review the ocean one vintage.
We are a family of serious watch collectors and we have found Steinhart OVM to be an excellent watch for all occasions. The quality is exceptional considering the price point and it looks as good as watches that cost a few thousands dollars. I would recommend it to anyone who is considering an watch that can be worn with a suit as well as a pair of jeans. Please ignore those watch snobs who put down anything that do not cost at least five figures. I proudly wear my Steinhart OVM to board room as well as to dinners with my wife.
I am inches away from buying the GMT Ocean 1, but I am just hesitant about the 42mm size. I have one of the Orient 2ER Sub homages that always floats to the top of my collection, despite it being my first real watch. A 44mm pilot watch looks huge on me, but it fits the style. The 40mm sub/gmt look is just so perfect, I hate to invest in the watch that I want to be an heirloom one day if it just winds up looking like a flash-in-the-pan of this era’s oversized watch obsession.
As a former OVM v1 owner and new owner of the OVM v2 with the gray dial, I can say without a doubt that the gray dial is much better. In pictures, the black looks better. In person, the gray is alive. It changes shade often and in subtle ways, and it matches the look better to me with the peach dial markers, which to me always stood out and not in a good way against the black dial. Do yourself a favor, get the OVM v2 and don’t look back.
Any thougths on Gigandet G2. just bought one and I’ve been very impressed from what you get for your money.
Nice review. I am ordering one from Steinhart’s website It’s $395 including shipping to the US.
I am about to purchase the steinhart ocean too, based on your review that you made, you ve been owning this watch for over 4 years now and i think it would be wiser to ask a true steinhart owner to gather as much as possible the infos about that watch. so my question is, does your steinhart is still working well after all those years and if it hold its accuracy? and if it’s worth the penny as well? thanks.