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.
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?