This Might Be the Coolest Dive Watch of 2020
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Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) has moved online and Baselworld 2020 is canceled, but that hasn’t stopped watch brands large and small from debuting their new wares. Stay on top of this year’s best new watch releases here.
Ollech and Wajs doesn’t have a centuries-long history like some of its Swiss watchmaking counterparts, but that hasn’t stopped the Zürich-based firm from turning out some of the most advanced tool watches of the later 20th century. From their record-breaking Caribbean 1000 diver to their Early Bird 24-hour model, O&W watches have graced the wrists of divers, drivers, flyers and more since 1956.
Recently under new ownership, Ollech and Wajs released the P-101 and P-104 pilot’s watches last year. Featuring a 12-hour and a slide-rule bezel, respectively, they’re tool watches through and through, and were some of our favorite mechanical watches of 2019. Now the brand is back with the Ocean Graph, a wildly cool diver that you might consider the aquatic cousin of the P-104.
Instantly reminiscent of the brand’s 1960s watches, the Ocean Graph is a tribute to a timepiece that debuted in 1969 within the brand’s Precision line, which featured a decompression bezel. Back before the era of dive computers, a decompression bezel helped a diver to understand how long his decompression stops needed to be when ascending from a given depth after a given amount of time. Though most divers use computers to track this information today, the bezel is still a handy backup, and more than that, it’s a fun reminder of the early days of recreational diving.
O&W didn’t skimp on the Ocean Graph’s details. Though powered by the workhorse ETA 2824-2, the automatic movement has been adjusted in five positions for further precision and finished with an engraved main plate and an O&W rotor. The 39.56mm brushed steel case is water-resistant to an impressive 1,000 meters and features a reinforced case back, 5.6mm domed sapphire crystal, and a screw-down crown with four gaskets. With a prominent date wheel at 6 o’clock and a generous application of Super-LumiNova, the dial should be more than legible underwater.
While you can get the Ocean Graph on a cool blue and white perlon strap for $1,616, for our money, it’s worth shelling out the extra $146 for the beads-of-rice bracelet. O&W’s beads-of-rice might be made to imitate the brand’s models from the 1960s, but this version features individually machined links that are brushed, assembled and screwed in by hand to prevent stretching.
Given the proliferation of low-cost divers in the microbrand watch scene, there will be some who scoff at the Ocean Graph’s $1,762 price (with bracelet). However, this is no poor man’s desk diver: with a case resistant to 1,000 meters, a decompression bezel, an upgraded automatic movement and a serious bracelet, this is a watch that could — and should — accompany you on life’s adventures for years to come. And while we haven’t had our hands on one yet, given our experience with previous recent O&W models, we’re guessing that it’ll be well worth the expense.