Steinhart Ocean One Titanium Premium 500 Review

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Steinhart is a familiar name to those of us who have been interested in affordable watches over the last several years. When we were first getting into this world, their watches offered a lot of bang for the buck, and looked good too, as they were largely homage watches or recreations of classic styles, like fliegers and marines. Steinhart also manages to do something few other brands are able to, and seemingly with no great explanation as to how, which is offer Swiss made automatic movements in watches that often cost under $500. What they lacked in originality, they seemingly made up for in style and low prices.

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With that said, it’s been a few years since we last reviewed a Steinhart watch. To this day, our review of the Ocean Vintage Military (OVM) remains one of our most read articles and watched videos. The Rolex Mil-Sub homage watch just oozed style, and while controversial, as any homage watch is, was just too much fun to ignore. Plus, the watch it was based on is so rare and goes for so much at auction that an homage to it is hardly hurting sales. If anything, it celebrates the watch it was based on, telling its story to a new era of collector. Needless to say, the OVM became a huge cult hit and was, for a time, always sold out. Since then, Steinhart has released plenty of watches, many of which we’ve mentioned the release of, but none to my knowledge has reached the status of the OVM.

Well, when Steinhart released the Ocean One Titanium Premium 500, the team here all felt that this could be their next hit. This time, instead of being an homage to a specific Rolex reference, the watch went its own direction. The case became titanium, the water resistance claims a depth of 500m, and the dial plays with the sub-layout but is its own thing (or close enough). Clearly, it’s a play at the Tudor Pelagos, but rather than being a look-alike, they made something with similar stats and concept. Both being a modernized play on the Submariner.

More over, it was simply cool looking. Homage watches are fun, but honestly in the years we’ve been doing this, I’ve lost interest in them. More and more micro-brands have popped up with unique visions and stories, creating a marketplace of great watches… for my money, I’d rather buy something unique. So, I was glad to see Steinhart veering away from pure homage. Sure, it has a sub feel, many many watches do, but it wants to be its own watch, and I can get behind that idea. Plus, in true Steinhart fashion, it’s under priced. Featuring a Soprod A10, ceramic bezel and of course titanium case and bracelet, the OTP (it needed an acronym with such a long winded name) comes in at around $540. Knowing a bit about what things cost, that’s a crazy price. The question is, did they cut corners elsewhere to achieve it?

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$540

Steinhart Ocean One Titanium Premium 500 Review

Case
Titanium
Movement
Soprod A10
Dial
Matte Black
Lume
BGW9
Lens
Domed Sapphire
Strap
Ti Bracelet
Water Resistance
500
Dimensions
42 x 50mm
Thickness
14.85mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
7
Warranty
2 Years
Price
$540

Case

The OTP’s case, as the name clearly indicates, is made of titanium instead of steel. This is the biggest departure from the other Ocean One line cases. Compared to the OVM, the size and shape are identical. After having not worn an Ocean line watch in a few years, I still found the size pleasant at 42 x 50 x 14.85mm (to the top of domed sapphire, 13mm without). It’s a robust watch, giving some sub-styling with a more modern and aggressive tool watch feel. It also wears a bit smaller than it sounds due to the proportions of the case sections and the wide bezel.

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The design itself is to be expected, if you’ve owned or seen a Steinhart Ocean before. From the top, the case has classic lines that are dominated by a large bezel with sub-like cutouts for texture. On the right side is a chunky 7 x 4.5mm screw down crown that sits within small triangular guards. From the side, you can see that the mid-case is quite thin and fairly flat, lending to some vintage feel. The bezel angles upwards, meeting the large domed sapphire crystal. The crystal is a strong point of the case design as it’s very attractive, with a tall chamfer on its edge leading to a dome, and has pretty decent AR.

The bezel mechanism has a good action to it too. It’s a 120-click unidirectional bezel with a nice snap and little back play that lines up close to the mark. It has enough resistance that accidental turning is not a concern, but not so much that turning it is unpleasant. A great feature that goes towards the modern concept of the OTP is the use of a black ceramic bezel. It’s more scratch resistant and has a very clean look. I’m a bit torn on the glossiness, as matte might have played off of the titanium nicely (hence its use on the Pelagos) and added to the mil-feel of the dial, but the gloss has some charm too. Unlike the OVM, the ceramic insert also features full lume markers, which glow excellently.

Something that did strike me about the window was that the OTP has a claimed water resistance of 500m, up from the 300m of other Ocean One watches. While it’s likely not a hard/fast rule, adding a display window seems like it would lower the WR as it creates a potential breakpoint, and a place that needs more gaskets and seals. On top of that, since the WR is said to be higher than the other watches, yet the engineering does not appear to have changed, what accounts for the 200m increase?.. In reality, most people wont go 500m deep with it… or 300m, or likely even 50m, so it wont effect usage, but consider me a bit suspicious about that number.

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The use of titanium is obviously a selling point of this watch, which when paired with less-sub-like dial makes for a more modern feeling watch. It sort of rides the line between being its own thing, and a sub-homage while trying to satisfy a craving for a more affordable Pelagos. That said, it’s in the titanium that I found the most disappointment with the watch. The edges of the case are a bit soft and the bezel, mid-case, crown and bracelet don’t quite match in tone(the bracelet has other issues we’ll get to later). The bezel and crown appear lighter, the mid-case a bit darker, and the bracelet darker still. The brushing on the mid-case is also very weak, lacking texture. This likely all comes back to the “value” of the watch, as cost must be cut somewhere, but for me sharp lines and good finishing are worth the extra money.

Dial

After the movement, the most exciting thing about the OTP is the dial design. Yes, the sub-influence is still strong, especially when paired with the case, but they take it in a different direction, partially-voiding homage status. The surface is matte black, as to be expected, with standard sub-markings around the dial in white/BGW9. The first departure from the norm is the relocated date window, which is now at 6. This was a smart move as it makes the dial symmetrical and integrates better with the other markers.

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Around the edge of the dial is a complete sub-departure, as far as I know, in the form of an angled chapter ring with a minute/second index. Yes, there typical is an index of lines around the main markers on subs, but the angled chapter ring is uncommon, and including blue numerals is unheard of. It’s also great looking. The ring itself sort of compresses the dial making the layout on the main surface feel tight, and well balanced. The flair of blue then adds unexpected color to the mix, which works beautifully with the otherwise black and white dial and gray titanium of the case.

On the dial surface you’ll find the Steinhart logo below twelve, Ocean One and Titanium 500 above 6. The logo and ocean text are in white, while the Titanium 500 is knocked out of a blue block. I like this approach to the text, once again using a touch of unexpected color. The bezel, as previously mentioned, contains full-lumed markers in typical sub-layout. The typeface and subtle details are different, however. The type face is thin, and a bit geometric and the lines are rounded out. It looks more Pelagos than sub, to be honest.

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The hands are the biggest departure, as well as surprise, and work really well with the watch. Rather than classic Mercedes hands, or the more aggressive mil-sub arrangement, they went with fat, straight swords in white with lume filling for the hour and minutes. They simply look great on the dial. They are aggressive, legible and make sense with the simple geometry of the markers on the surface. The seconds hand is then not the standard lollipop, but rather a arrow tip in the same turquoise-y blue found on the dial. All said, it’s a more aggressive, and more military feeling handset, bringing to mind Benrus Type 1s. Which in all fairness, had a very similar set of markings as the sub too.

The lume on the OTP is pretty decent all around. The bezel glows really well, followed by the hands and then the dial. Much better, to my recollection, than the OVM ever did. The use of BGW9 was a good choice on this watch, as it’s clean and modern. It also plays off the blue colors on the dial… and is what is used o the Pelagos.

Soprod A10

Straps and Wearability

The OTP has 22mm lugs and comes with a titanium oyster-style bracelet. It’s the same bracelet as is offered on other Oceans, but made of titanium. And, unfortunately, it’s not great. The finishing on it is an odd, matte brushing that honestly feels like it wasn’t done yet… like there was another step before it got shipped out. It’s raw and off looking with a texture that reminds me of a chalkboard. It also scuffs really fast, getting more damage from light usage than most of my bracelets have ever gotten. The clasp is also cheap feeling when constructed in titanium, feeling like one day the fold over will just stop clicking in. Steinhart now has an optional rubber strap with titanium end links that they might want to consider making the standard strap until the quality here can be figured out.

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Luckily, the watch looks great on leather and nylon. I immediately paired it with a Colareb strap I had around that has a drab khaki color and a rough, sueded texture. It worked perfectly with the muted gray titanium case and brought out the blue a bit. Next, I threw on an olive Nylon mil-strap, which also worked great. The military color works with some of the more mil-elements of the design, while working with the titanium color and emphasizing the blue in the dial. Since the watch is titanium, on nylon, it’s very light and comfortable.

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On the wrist, the OTP wears well. Once again, no surprises for those who have owned or tried an Ocean One watch before. Perhaps it is a touch lighter. At 42mm it’s a chunky watch, but doesn’t look too oversized and works out proportionally. What I like about the OTP is that it’s more aggressive looking than other models. The gray titanium, high contrast dial, sword hands, etc, just give it a cool edge. Plus the hint of blue gives you something to play off of. It’s an attractive watch, especially on leather, that looks great with jeans, etc.

Conclusion

Overall, the Steinhart Ocean One Titanium Premium 500 (or whatever mix of those words you choose) is a fun watch with a nice style that gets you some sub vibe, a hint of Pelagos and a dash of Benrus without being an homage to any of them specifically. That said, it’s not a very original watch, but it is good looking. At about $540, it’s a solid value for a watch with a Soprod A10, a ceramic bezel and decent lume. But, it also has flaws in the mediocre finishing, not-quite matching parts and shoddy bracelet. While $540 is a great price for a watch with that movement, I’d either want to pay more for better finished piece or the same for better finishing and a less boutique movement. Frankly, with the former option, at let’s say around $1,000 I’d also personally want a unique design with a case that wasn’t shared with so many other watches.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw

23 responses to “Steinhart Ocean One Titanium Premium 500 Review”

  1. Rich Thomas says:

    Spot on review Zach! So close to the target, but …

  2. Yan Kerzhner says:

    I wish Steinhart would put a ceramic bezel with cut-outs on the entire Ocean One line. Perhaps not the OVM….although that could work well too. The current ceramic bezels with the printed numbers reflects a glare that make that hide the markers and numbers and generally lacks that extra touch of quality. It would certainly increase the price but I think Steinhart fans would be glad to pay a little extra for this feature.

  3. Elijs Dima says:

    Ceramic bezel for scratch resistance, paired with pretty much the softest grade (grade 2, right?) of a very soft metal for case/bracelet… Idk. Makes no sense.

    Anyways. I tried an all-titanium watch (tempest commodore, iirc it was featured on w&w sometime ago), and, well.. the titanium is just too soft (it was a used piece, and frankly the insides of lugs were straight-up chipped and carved like putty).

    • Jcp311 says:

      I have a commodore, and it’s held up quite nicely. Chipped lugs? Unless it was abused in the extreme I can’t see it. That said titanium is not steel.

      As for the watch this is the only offering from steinhart even remotely interesting with the revamped selection in the ocean line. I was disappointed to see the ocean red and ovm undergo poorly thought out design changes.

      • Elijs Dima says:

        Maybe it was, as you say, abused in the extreme. All I know is, I bought a used Commo and it had f***ked lugs. That’s the long and short of my trying-out a titanium watch.

        • Jcp311 says:

          Sorry to hear that. IMO it’d be worth trying one new and deciding then if you like titanium or not….I’ve also noticed over time minor scratches tend to heal themselves.

  4. Curmudgeon says:

    Forgetting the few obvious flaws, this is an outstanding value for a watch with all these specs. It’s a beater that will take quite a beating and still bring pleasure to the lucky owner. As far as the bracelet is concerned, forgetaboutit! It’s beautiful on leather! The only thing I really don’t like is the blue “Titanium 500.”

  5. theuqbar says:

    Public Service Warning: Steinhart bracelets are known primarily for their flaws. Aside from the fit and finish issues identified in this article, they frequently come with a built-in design flaw that is difficult, and, depending on your wrist shape, sometimes impossible to correct: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f275/reducing-curve-ss-bracelet-672858.html. People have been having this problem for years, and Steinhart hasn’t done anything about it–my Ocean One purchased last year had the same issue.

    Aside from that, my Ocean One is OK, but I have to say that the overall fit and finish on the case are much better on my Squale 20 Atmos, which is in roughly the same price range and has the same movement in it. Look at Squale’s offerings very carefully first if you’re tempted to buy this watch. In my opinion, they just do a better job than Steinhart, and for not much more money.

  6. Julius Swerving says:

    Based on this review, it really sounds like the finishing on the bracelet could be a deal killer for many. I’d considered it for a weekend beater, but perhaps I’ll look elsewhere. I do like the design, though, and am glad they went away from a straight homage on this one.

  7. Nelson says:

    The finishing looks so cheap. $540 for a low quality homage watch is so overpriced. Great review.

    • Ika Baitish says:

      I personally have this watch for a month. It’s a beauty and is very well built. Finishbis very good. The titanium is grade 5…not as scratchy as my seiko sportura titanium i had for 17 years…. it became my daily driver watch and its great on the wrist. The only thing bad with it is the bracelet lock. They could have done something better. It keeps real good time and I’m happy. All you idiots replying to the review without even touching the watch should first try it on the wrist and then make remarks . otherwise shut up.
      I love it.

      • Elijs Dima says:

        “should first try it on the wrist and then make remarks”

        Oh, okay. Will you sponsor the watch being sent from Steinhart to all our homes, or should we all ask Steinhart to send out a demo version ourselves? Not quite sure how the whole concept of trying-out-in-person an online-only watch works, tbh – care to elaborate?

        As far as remarks go… well, what about Zack’s remarks, in the review, that he had after trying, videographing and photographing the watch? He did, after all, also remark that the finishing looks cheap.

      • Nelson says:

        I read this blog regularly to read reviews from experts like Zach. If we don’t believe him, so why we read his reviews.

        There are 2 probabilities.
        First, your watch comes with a good quality. So it means Steinhart prepare a crap to get their product reviewed (I can’t believe it, they should choose the best). It means no quality standards.

        Second, your ability to assess the quality is so bad as you are not an expert. If you think you are better than Zach, you should be a watch blogger and stop wasting your time reading this blog (I am sure that there will be no readers)

  8. Philip Johnson says:

    Great, just what the world needs…… another derivative Steinhart. Their design depart mustn’t be that busy. I mean, even the name Steinhart is daft. Sounds like it was thought up by a 9 year old……

    • Ika Baitish says:

      Well… it shows how stupid you are..it’s the founders family name.

      • Philip Johnson says:

        My dear chap, I’m well aware that it is the name of the fellow that started the company. A company that doesn’t really appear to be capable of original thought. They merely copy other peoples designs (IMHO). Furthermore your comment on my alleged stupidity merely highlights your lack of class and breeding, rather like Steinhart watches really. In addition ,to a native English speaker the name Steinhart does sound rather daft and somewhat contrived regardless of the origins.

        • PurityofEssence says:

          Your last name is a slang for male genitals.

        • 1droidfan says:

          What exactly have you invented or bestowed on this planet of ours, besides your remarkable wit? What will the world remember of the great Phillip Johnson compared to this very successful watch company?

          • Philip Johnson says:

            “this very successful watch company” – that I can not argue with.However, it appears to me that this success seems to be largely based on other peoples’ designs……
            As for my legacy, I care not as I will be dead. Sic Transit Gloria.

  9. Boogur T. Wang says:

    The inherent ‘softness’ of titanium may be the root of much of the perceived trouble mentioned by the reviewer.

    Lovely watch. I fail to understand the problems so many have with Steinharts offerings. They make good watches and follow established forms with updated technology. Good business sense I’d say.

    I do hope this model will be available in all steel.

  10. Denham says:

    Love mine; really like the matt titanium finish. The photos show the extent of the “issue” of finish pretty well: negligible – light playing off angles. This watch really floats my boat and will look great on a range of straps.