BACKGROUND The Monta Oceanking is the debut divers watch from the founders of Everest Horology, who are better known as being the producers of the famous Everest Bands. After two years of development, the Oceanking was born boasting new bezel technology and a high-end Swiss movement – offering something new to the world of micro-brand divers, particularly from higher price-point than we usually see.
DIAL Starting with the Oceanking’s face, typically diver-esque in its style with a matte black background and white markers; it is guaranteed to appeal to lovers of the genre. The minute markers are these crisp matchsticks while the hour markers are a combination of large polished appliqué batons with a single oversized trapezoidal marker at 12.
Just below said (beautifully polished) 12hr marker is the Monta logo and brand-name also in white. At 6 o’clock is a polished date aperture with a black on white date wheel – if you’ve read any of my ramblings before, you’ll probably know that I prefer black dials to have black date wheels but in the case of the Oceanking which has obviously been designed by someone who’s got more than a clue - who am I to argue – it works.
Above the date window are 2 simple lines of text; the Oceanking name and its water-resistance. A matt black rehaut runs around the outside of the dial. Balance and harmony throughout!
HANDS The Oceanking’s dial has a set of highly polished sword hands – the safe choice, yes but ultimately the correct choice if the Oceanking is to maintain its clean and sober styling. And while the overall appearance of the dial is typically classic (not boring) – it exudes elegance and refinement - which is exactly what hits you when first come face to face with the Oceanking.
LOGO I felt I had to mention the Monta logo because it’s one the nicest logos I’ve come across. It kind reminds me of a Victorian-esque cross. I don’t have any clue about the symbol’s origins but for want of a better word, it’s classy! ;)
CASE The Oceanking has a modest 40mm in diameter 316L Stainless steel case with actually quite an unfussy, almost generic shape – it puts me in mind a little of the Black Bay but I couldn’t really say it’s in anyway derivative just of similar vintage style. The sides of the case have been beveled and polished while the tops of the lugs have a satin brushed finish. The mirror-like finish on the case sides gives the Oceanking quite the luxurious feel as does the beveling inside the lugs – very nice.
BEZEL It ain’t a proper diver if hasn’t got a proper divers bezel, right? Well, Monta have taken things a step further with the Oceanking’s bezel – they’ve gone to the trouble of developing a new system that insures absolute precision of the clicks, thanks to a special assembly using a pin and unique washer setup that perfectly aligns all 12 parts symmetrically. It’s an industry first!
This highly accurate 60-click unidirectional rotational divers bezel has been given a classic coin-edge and a contemporary glossy black ceramic inlay complete with dive-time scale in white. Unfortunately amidst all the excitement developing the bezel’s click-system (which incidentally makes the gentlest of clicks as it softly thuds through its cycle), someone forgot to put any lume at 12 – arrgh!
CROWN For me the crown is one of the Oceanking’s key design features – yes, its crowning glory! With the puns out of the way with let’s look at why the crown is so special. Firstly its shape, which is – erm, crown-shaped – just looks properly old school creating a real sense of contrast against the modern ceramic bezel.
Funnily enough we don’t see many crown-shaped crowns at least not in dive watch design. The shape is elegant but apart from this, owing to its ''crown-shape'' and its lovely wide fluted grip – it is also ergonomically sound and so can be manipulated with ease, even by the most clumsily fingered individuals. Not only this but unscrewing it reveals one the most substantial and confidence inspiring crown threads I’ve encountered. The crown has been polished and signed with the Monta logo.
CASEBACK The Oceanking is fitted with a solid 12-sided, screw-down caseback. The caseback is really clean with only 4 engraved pieces of text around its outside, and once again the Monta logo proudly in its center – did I mention how cool the logo is?!
CRYSTAL The Oceanking is equipped with a Sapphire crystal with 7 layers of anti-reflective coating. Despite the multiple layers of AR, there is still some reflection coming off the crystal which made photography a bit of a bugger but it’s no more reflective than my Rolex DS, if I’m honest. The crystal has a slight dome to it, too but nothing dramatic.
WATER-RESISTANCE The Oceanking has a respectable if not quirky 304 meters of water-resistance. We could get a little geeky here because 1000 feet is actually 304.8m, so is closer to 305m, no? Nevertheless, 300 meters of water-resistance denotes a level of seriousness not always shown when creating a dive watch. I hate seeing a lovely looking new diver only to discover that it only has 200m, the bare minimum – for me it comes across as a little half-arsed. 300m or 304m on the other hand is so much better.
LUME The Oceanking's hands and markers have been applied with BGW9 Swiss SuperLumiNova which is white in daylight and blue in the dark. Well done for luming the seconds indicator – shame though for omitting lume from the 12hr bezel marker.
MOVEMENT Rather than go with a bog standard ETA 2824-2 or the like, Monta have gone the extra mile and gone for an Eterna 3909A which includes a unique ball-bearing system for double winding. Made to a chronometer level (tuned to - 4 / + 6 seconds a day) and beating at 4HZ (or 28,800 beats per hour.)
One unique feature is that the movement which incidentally has been tuned and tested to 38 methods, is that it is cased inside the watch using only screws and case clamps. The Eterna 3909A has 65 hours of power-reserve with the use of an enormous barrel and precision hairspring. Eterna if I’m not mistaken invented the self-winding movement. Need I say anymore!
On the downside, we can’t see the 3909A! Not many microbrews are ballsy enough to put such a nice movement in their watch – let alone a diver. But when someone does – you can guarantee we wanna see it. A Sapphire crystal caseback needn’t comprise water-resistance, either. I would be very excited if Monta brought out a Sapphire caseback as an accessory in the future, which could be ordered when purchasing or retrofitted at a later date.
BRACELET The Oceanking is fitted with a traditional 3-link, solid 316L Stainless steel divers bracelet. The links have a brushed finish on top with polished sides. The bracelet tapers down to a beautifully polished clasp with: a divers flip-lock signed with the Monta logo, but no proper divers extension. The bracelet uses screws rather than traditional pins.
STRAP Everest rubber straps are among the best that there are – one is supplied with the Oceanking. It is beautiful piece of rubber with curved ends so that it fits flush with the case. The top has some sporty contour lines running down the sides while the underside has been designed to be breathable and able to let water drain away easily.
There’s some nice branding underneath, too – I would have quite like to have seen branding on the top of the strap as well.
BUCKLE This is a lovely solid brushed steel buckle – it has plenty of heft to it but again is missing some branding.
PRICE The Oceanking has an MSRP of 3500USD – when compared to other micros, particularly startups, it’s very much in its own price segment. Most other newbie diver brands come in at least a half or even a third of its price. However, this is no ordinary offering, it has been put together incredibly well, it has implemented its own bezel technology and is fitted with a proper high-end Swiss movement.
The Oceanking has been built to the same standard as any of the bigger Swiss brands, too, but unlike them it has not been designed with the brand snob in mind – rather the aficionado who knows that there’s a whole lot more to a high-quality diver than simply the name on its dial.
OVERALL The Oceanking’s makers set out to create a modern tool-watch which fused elements from the past with modern technologies – it’s a not unfamiliar theme. We’ve seen everyone from the big Swiss brands to the more affordable micro brands with the similar ambitions. However what Monta aimed to achieve with the Oceanking was always going to be more of a challenge given that they were playing in higher price band than we typically see from an unknown entity.
This meant that they had to step up to the plate and offer something that could compete with say a Black Bay or even a Submariner. They had to bring something fresh to the table and they had to bring the style and quality – which I feel the Oceanking has done in abundance. They dropped the ball ever so slightly on the lume pip, but more than made up for it with everything else.
The Oceanking is an elegantly styled, modern tool-watch inspired by the past but with a firm foothold in the present. But at the end of the day, it is such a wearable little diver, so comfy on the wrist, feels good to handle and has plenty of wrist-presence. Monta have done a fantastic job!