Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red Watch Review

By: Baird Brown

Have you ever lusted after a Rolex Double Red Seadweller Ref. 1665? Who hasn’t? Sadly, for most of us, that is just a pipe dream. Prices on those hard-to-find references have, at times, soared above $40,000! Fear not though, friends, because if the vintage Seadweller is the Rolex that tickled your fancy, our dear friends at Steinhart have the answer in their ever-growing catalog of Rolex homage watches. Here’s a review of the Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red dive watch.

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red dial

Everyone has their own opinion of homage watches, and believe me, you can find them on just about any watch page. The fact of the matter is, homage watches are everywhere, and not just by cheap, knock-off companies. Some of our favorite watches have started off as homages. I mean, the Submariner started life heavily influenced by the Fifty Fathoms. Squale, a much older company than Steinhart, also draws heavily from the Submariner catalog. Submariner homages are literally everywhere; couple that with the ever-increasing desire for vintage-inspired watches, and you arrive at the watch we have today, the Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red. A beautiful throwback to the late ’60s and ’70s Seadweller with red text on the dial, I believe the Ocean One Vintage Red is an underrated watch in Steinhart’s catalog.

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red case side and crystal

Your first impressions on the watch are that the case is simple and extremely sharp. The bezel and the crown have nice, sharp edges rather than soft coin edges found on some other watches. The case has modern measurements for the modern man of 42mm across the case and 50mm lug to lug but retains a nice thickness of only 13mm to keep the watch neatly tucked under a cuff. A 120-click bezel turns nicely and is easy to grip thanks to the sharp coin edges. The same is found of the screw down crown, which is easy to manipulate and has a sharp, signed engraving of the Steinhart logo on the end. Most of the watch has brushed surfaces except for the polished sides. It all sits nice and relatively flat on the wrist with the curved sapphire crystal flowing nicely to a slightly raised edge above the bezel. My only complaint is that I’ve found that the sharp edges on the crown do have a tendency to dig a little into the wrist. The lug design is also very straight with little curve and could present a little overhang on a smaller wrist.


 
 

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red front view

A source of online controversy with this watch is the dial. For whatever reason, Steinhart has offered this watch with either a black dial or a flat grey dial. I have the grey dial version, but I’ve noticed that the black dial version is back on my latest visit to Gnomon Watches. I’ve never personally held a black dial version, but to me, the black dial version just seems to be a new watch with gilt paint, while the grey dial shines. Dolled up like the dial of a Seadweller, the flat grey can be a little off-putting, but the longer you wear it and glance at it in different light, the more character is presented. I’ve seen colors go from flat grey to a deep, rich charcoal color when you catch a glance of it through the AR coating of the crystal. All the markers, including the pip on the bezel, are painted in a Super-LumiNova “Old Radium” and glow a nice green. Brightness is ok, but it’s no Seiko. All the text is prominent and sharp and pops on the dial with the exception of the red text, which, in a certain light, can seem to get lost on the grey dial.

The watch has your standard issue Ocean One bracelet on it. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. It’s a 22mm oyster style that tapers, oh so minimally, to 20mm. The lug design on this watch always seems to make the bracelet look fat, and I’ve always felt that Steinhart could stand to taper the bracelet down to 18mm at least, especially on a “vintage inspired” watch. A brushed clasp and polished flip lock finish out the bracelet. Also, this 300m dive watch has no dive extension, which really isn’t a big deal to most of the desk divers out there, but would have been a nice touch. Alternatively, this watch looks great on a vintage style leather strap or NATO, and that, to me, is always a plus!

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red caseback


 

Inside is the ETA 2824-2 Elaboré movement, that may have some decoration, but can’t be seen. There’s not much to say here that hasn’t been written a thousand times over on any forum, major publication, or YouTube video. The ETA is what it is, a movement that will last long into the future with a variation of about plus or minus 10 to 20 seconds a day. I’ve noticed that mine seems to run a little fast over the course of a week. Buy with confidence, as always, with an ETA movement.

Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red wrist shot

In the end, the Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Red really comes with a great vintage Rolex look and feel without breaking the bank. Is it as fine a watch as a Squale? Maybe not. Are there areas which could be improved? Sure. But at a cost of just (clears throat and cues up drumroll) $436, what do you have to lose? Once you shine that light on the whole thing, this becomes a truly incredible value! So, if you’re ok with homages and looking for something with a good vintage look, I’d be crazy not to recommend the Vintage Red. If we’re being honest with each other, I’m not into homage watches at all. I bought this watch because of its great value and subsequently came to love it as a great watch, and not because it looks like a Rolex. I think you would too. Steinhart Watches


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