For a business entity, which is essentially a one-man show, the German brand Steinhart is surprisingly prolific. Although most of their watches are so-called “homages” and “tributes”, there is a great number of them. Starting from divers to pilot watches and going all the way to chronographs, the watchmaker offers you plenty to choose from. This new Steinhart Ocean One Vintage automatic watch, for example, is designed for the kind of people that are longing for a historic Rolex (or, perhaps, even a re-issue of a historic Tudor,) but either can’t afford one or plain don’t want to bother sifting through the thousands of “pre-loved” models with questionable history.
This new product was probably designed as a sort of homage to the classic 1955 Rolex Submariner Ref. 6200 diving watch. Compared to more common versions of the Submariner that had their dials equipped with traditional rectangular and dot-shaped hour markers painted with luminous compound, this source of Steinhart’s inspiration was issued with a dial featuring three Arabic numerals and eight stick-shaped hour markers. In fact, it takes just a brief glance at the photos below (thanks to Instagram user silas815 for the photo of the 1955 Rolex) to see how faithful was Steinhart at reproducing the legendary diver:
Steinhart Ocean One Vintage looks very close to the original Rolex Submariner 6200 (even the red triangle with a luminous dot on the bezel, and the oversized crown that looks almost like a perfect reproduction of that iconic Coroncione crown that the 6200 was delivered with are here), but is still different.
The first thing that you’ll probably notice is the size. The stainless steel case of the German watch measures whole 42 millimeters in diameter while the original watch was only 35 mm from side to side.
However, the proportions of this “tribute” seem to be maintained in a faithful fashion, so the watch simply looks a bit larger. I am not sure about the reason behind the increase in size, but have a suspicion that it has something to do with availability of similarly shaped cases and, well, efforts at unification that are inevitable for a brand that is clearly not capable of churning out millions (or even tens of thousands, for that matter) of timepieces per year.
The other thing that makes it not as valuable as a vintage Ref. 6200 is, of course, the movement. The Steinhart is powered by what they prefer to call “Caliber ST.5“, which is based on ETA 2824-2 automatic movement with a new gold-plated rotor and galvanized bridges.
While the new movement is not surrounded with legends, it is a time-proven work-horse and Steinhart made its reputation equipping the mechanisms with the highest quality parts making them even more reliable and accurate. Although I would have preferred to have this watch with the oscillating weight treated with black PVD coating, even the gold-plated job still looks nice given its price tag of just €460 (EU-only 19% VAT included), which is literally a fraction (about 1/100, in fact) of a price you would have to pay for a real thing.
Although some purists often frown at this sort of “tributes” to timeless classics, I would say two things to that.
First, this model is exactly one million times better than any Chinese “copy”, which is often only 20-25 percent cheaper, but is still what it is: an expensive-looking mickey mouse watch with no real guy behind it who would dare to put his name on its stolen face. Second, for a person who dreams about a Rolex Submariner or, as another example, Panerai Radiomir, but has no financial means to fulfill this desire, it is more honest to buy an “homage” than try to look like someone they are not.
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 5/5
Value for Money: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
See also: Mk. II Fulcrum Automatic Diver
Photos: Steinhart // instagram.com/silas815/
Steinhart Ocean One Vintage specification
Price: €460 plus shipping costs (Online, 19% VAT included)
Movement: Automatic, Steinhart caliber ST.5 (base ETA-2824-2), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Galvanized bridges, gold-plated oscillating weight
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 16.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Luminous (“Mercedes” hour hand)
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with solid links
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Transparent or Solid, engraved