Ginault Ocean Rover
If controversy creates cash, then the Ginault Ocean Rover must be selling like hotcakes, as the controversy was one of the main reasons I wanted to review this watch. If you have not watched the 17 minute video above, I suggest you do before reading my comments here, as I discuss most of the controversy surrounding the Ginault Ocean Rover and some of the brands responses to questions that were asked. What I am going to do here in this segment of the review is walk you through my journey with this watch and how this particular watch has changed my perception on a few things.
Ginault Ocean Rover Specifications:
- 316L Stainless Steel
- 40mm in Diameter
- 47mm in length
- 13.5mm thick
- 20mm lugs
- 148.4 grams
- 120 Stops Counter-Clockwise Rotating Bezel
- Ginault Caliber 7275
- 30.4 Dome Sapphire Crystal
- ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch
- 1,000 Feet or 300 Meter Water Resistance
- Gold Sand Lume
Price $1299.00 USD
To attempt not to repeat myself, I am not going to go over the debate about homage watches again. You, the reader, know where you stand on that and it is not in my right to change your opinion on that. If you are okay with homage watches or are just interested in the Ginault Ocean Rover, read on. I will say I personally am walking a fine line with this one, as it really is very similar, if not too similar, to a Rolex Submariner. Full disclosure, I have never owned a Rolex. I never wanted to. The design, especially the Sub, always felt dated to me. I have held countless Rolex watches though, whether in watch stores or at gatherings etc. It is just like anything else though, you can handle something for a short time and get a decent feel for its quality, but you really do not fully appreciate it until you can wear it, drive it, or use it for an extended period of time. The Ginault Ocean Rover has allowed me to get the feel of what wearing Rolex on a daily basis would be like. Now, don’t get your panties in a bunch, I am not comparing the quality of this watch to a Rolex, but keep reading.
As I said, one of the main reasons I wanted to review the Ginault Ocean Rover was because of all the talk about it on various sites and forums. Their website copy is almost satirical when you read it. It is like if SNL made a spoof watch website with all the marketing jargon from an 90’s infomercial. It was because of that I wanted to see if the watch was remotely close to what they claim. I did not want another Rolex homage. I have had them before, from Invicta in my early days of buying many, many years ago to Steinhart, Squale and so many others. It has been done over and over, and brands such as Ginault and others continue to come out with them. There must be 20 Rolex homage watches that were introduced from new brands just last year, from the super cheap to the high end micro price bracket. And those are just the ones that I know of. But the claims from the brand and all the marketing hype and discussions kept me intrigued.
So lets get to to what the watch comes with and the quality. It arrived in a well packed clam shell style box, nothing fancy but not the cheapest either. Warranty card, manual, polishing cloth and an extra sand colored two piece NATO strap. Standard stuff here. I am not a big bracelet wearer these days, but nylon NATO style straps are not my bag either, so I sized the bracelet and put it on the wrist. Sizing was a breeze with the included screwdriver I forgot to mention and I removed two links to fit my 7 1/2 inch wrist. Be careful though, the links are easy to remove but each link does have a collar in the middle of it, you do not want to lose one or the screw will not fit properly. I adjusted the clasp, which is super similar to the Rolex Glidelock system, and allows you to easily adjust for micro sizing or of course to fit over a wet suit.
So what is the quality like? Crazy good. Yep, I said crazy good. It is the best sub homage I have ever held in my hands. The construction, the case finishing, the dial work is all well above most microbrand watches. Honestly, it makes a Steinhart look cheap. Take a look a the enamel dial, it is a black mirror. Beautiful applied markers with sand colored lume (4 corners of the earth lume :-0 ). The crown stem is thick and has sizable gaskets as well. Attention to detail was paid at every corner of this watch, including the machined end links. Be sure to take a look at all the pics in the gallery. That will bring us to the next point of contention. The price.
$1299. That is quite a lot of coin for a Rolex homage. Is it worth it? Well, quality wise they hit it out of the park. What about the movement though? Oh, well that’s where it gets dicey. I have no idea what the movement is. Ginault claims that the Ocean Rover uses their own caliber that they made here in the good old US of A, but they have not proven it, though I can not disprove it either. Claims are that it is a copy of an ETA 2824. I go over this in the video at more length, but the bottom line is no one knows what the movement actually is. How has it been running? Fantastic. It has been running at a consistent 2 seconds fast per day. I find that crazy as I do not know if what they say is true, if they removed and machined some parts for an SW200 movement, or it might be a Seagull movement. Or could be what they actually claim.
If you watched the video you know the sand lume is great, but here is a still photo; others below in the gallery.
Back to my journey. If you are wondering why I never wanted a Rolex, the simple answer is I just did not. Years ago I was into much larger watches, and Rolex Subs at 40mm did not attract me. Even when the DSSD came out a few years back, I looked at them, and nothing. As we all know and have experienced though, tastes change and evolve. Seeing the other standard Rolex Sub homages still didn’t make me urn for a Rolex. The Ginault Ocean Rover on the other hand, changed everything. I guess the reason for that would be because the Ginault is so high quality that being able to wear it the past month has showed me that I can enjoy this case size and that I do appreciate this classic style, it just has to be very well done. And without a doubt the Rolex is higher quality than this Ginault, with the 904L stainless steel, in house movement and and even higher grade of finishing. Is it worth 8x’s the price? No, but it is has the name and prestige, so they can charge what they want. I know I would want a no date version. Pity Rolex does not make a Mil-Sub style anymore. Speaking of that, this Ocean Rover is kind of a mash of a few Rolex styles, the Rolex 16610, the 5517 and the bracelet and clasp of a newer Submariner.
So we have established that one day I might want a Rolex. Okay. Great. Getting back to the Ginault Ocean Rover, a few things that bother me. Well, more than a few things, but you know what I mean. The dial writing is silly. “Kinetic Continuous”. What? The watch is top heavy. The total weight is only 148 grams and the bracelet is solid and substantial for a watch of this size. The case just overpowers the bracelet and this comes into play when adjusting the buckle for that perfect fit. If I go tighter the watch head still moves on my wrist but the buckle digs in, if I let it out a little, the whole watch is a little loose. That is how I have been wearing it because I can’t stand a watch digging into my wrist. Maybe in summer months it would wear better.
I have been racking my head trying to come to a conclusion here. Do I like the Ginault Ocean Rover? Yes I do, very much in fact. Do I like everything about it? NO. As far as the quality goes, it is a home run. The problem is everything else. The silly dial writing, the outlandish marketing copy on their website, the claims of USA built and assembled cases and movements etc. These days transparency is key to long term success. Yes, they have sold a good amount of these watches so far….at a discount that they offered to members of forums and such in exchange for comparisons or written/video reviews. That discount was 60% off. That put the price at $519. It is a little troubling that a new brand out of the gate had to offer such a massive discount to get people to bite. It did work and I guess it was a good marketing strategy, but now that the discount is over, where does that leave them? How many are going to be shelling out $1,299 for this watch with claims that have not been proven. They say they do not want to give up all their secrets to their manufacturing because others can copy them…but in the same sentence say other brands do not do what they claim to have done because they don’t have the know how when it comes to watches like they do. So, what is it then? The watch is solid, and it is a cut above most microbrand homages no doubt. It might be the best submariner homage out there right now in terms of quality. If you want to charge these prices though, you have to prove your claims. That or keep the price at $550 and maybe no one will care as much. It will be interesting to see where Ginault is at in a years time.