Obris Morgan SeaStar
If you are a fan of microbrands, you are most likely familiar with Obris Morgan. The Obris Morgan Seastar, their latest model- a diver watch of course, as that seems to be the bread and butter for the Asian microbrand. Coming in at 40mm, this is one of the smallest watches they have produced in recent years and one that takes cues from other microbrands as it has a vintage design, reminiscent of the ’60s and 70s dive watches. Before anyone gets made that these are not available, at the time of this review being published, it is currently sold out on the website, but states more are on the way. It is another value watch at $329, and in Obris fashion, does include a lot for little money.
Obris Morgan SeaStart Specifications:
50mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
11.2 mm Thick
Ceramic Bezel Insert
Sapphire Crystal (choice of a flat or domed crystal)
Miyota 9015 Movement
Rubber and Mesh Bracelet
Price: $329 as shown
As usual, there are many, many variations of this SeaStar model; the one I have for review is the blue/black model with the yellow hands. It was immediately my favorite of the bunch, but I have to say, getting it in hand, it was a little disappointing. Now, let me be clear when the light this watch right, the dial looks great. The problem I believe is the sapphire crystal and the AR coating that somewhat block the color of the outer dial being seen at most times. Most of the time, this dial just looks all black. Looking at the website as I write this, I see there are pure blue dials (it is a dark blue/green, the same as this) and also DLC models with a grey outer dial. All of these do look attractive in render form, I just wonder how they translate to real life.
If you have seen the video already, I want to clarify a few things that I said. Maybe I should wait till the summary, but since it has to do with the overall feel of the watch, I think it is important to address. This watch definitely is a vintage-inspired piece and as such, the design just does not hit the mark for me. I mention the short strap (more on that in a bit) but also that it comes with a mesh bracelet and that I felt this watch was still a great value but maybe not the amazing value some Obris models have been in the past. I think I may have been too hasty with that. I would prefer a regular link bracelet opposed to mesh, as I am just not a fan of those bracelets, but also the overall case design including the helium release value, is a nod to watches of the 60s, so as usual, everything is and always is subjective.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the case design. You can easily see what Obris Morgan was going for here and have created a design that was very popular in the 60s. Many watches had designs like this and one of the best parts about this watch is just how thin it is. This is a watch that you can wear with absolutely anything and never have to worry if it will fit under a shirt cuff or jacket. Even with the two crowns, being only 40mm, the crowns do not dig into the back of my wrist at all and having drilled lugs makes for easy strap changes.
Getting back to the dial, one thing that really stood out to me on the Obris Morgan SeaStar is the applied markers. When you get up close, you can see below that that they have this speckled/frosted finish to them that really just pop, and I love the way they look. This dial overall really is great, I just wish they left some text off the dial. I know the font used on this watch has been in use by the brand for quite some time, but I think maybe it is time for a change. I just don’t like the use of this font for this particular model. As I have stated a few times now when the light hits that dial just right, the colors are absolutely gorgeous between the black/blue and yellow accents; it really is something.
For those of you that are on the forums or Facebook watch groups, you may know that certain movements are becoming hard form micro or independent watch brands to get. One of those movements is the Miyota 9015, used here in the SeaStar. This watch has been in the planning and production process for some time obviously and I have no idea how many movements Obris Morgan is actually sitting on, but it will be interesting to see moving forward if they are still able to use Miyota and ETA movements in their watches, especially at the $300 price point. As with a lot of dive watches, you do not see the movement, but you do get a very nice case back.
Obris Morgan SeaStar Lume
One of the biggest issues that I have with this piece, and really is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, is the length of the rubber strap. Being honest, I am not in love with the strap in general. It is a weird combination of a suede fabric on top and a textured rubber underneath. It is not a very comfortable strap overall and I was just barely able to get it to fit on my 7 1/2 inch wrist.
I’m sure I will get some comments that maybe I have been a little harsh on this watch, but if you are familiar with this site, you know that I always keep it real. It is of course still just one man’s opinion, but this watch just seems a little convoluted to me and doesn’t hit all the marks. At $329, the Obris Morgan SeaStar is still a great value, even if just for the movement and the dial markers alone. It is solid and well put together as always, and every watch that comes in for review is not going to be a home run. It happens. The first batch is sold out though and I bet the second batch will sell out pretty fast as well, and even though this is not my favorite Obris Morgan, I will always look forward to their next release.