OCEAN7 and its sister brand AirNautic, are well known for making sport and dive watches with a variety of styles and quite a few models have been seen on Watch Report in the past. After so many dive and aviation watches it was surprising to see a modern dress watch come from OCEAN7 but they have made one and its known simply as The Classic. We have two examples to show you today one is the OCEAN7 variant dressed in PVD with a standard movement and the other is the AirNautic version sporting a 24hr movement and blued steel hands. Its always nice to see a sport watch manufacturer design and build a dress watch as they enter the design process with everything they have learned making watches that have to be capable of withstanding far more than the standard dress watch typically encounters. The Classic and Classic 24 may be in the same case and from sister companies, but these are two rather different watches.
- 40 x 11mm 316 Stainless case
- Flat sapphire crystal with internal AR
- ETA 2893-2 (AirNatuic)
- ETA 2824 (OCEAN7)
- Sapphire display back
- 20mm lugs
- 50m WR
- MSRP $499 – $599
- No cost PVD option
First off, these are essentially the same watch in build and quality but they wear very differently given the look of the polished PVD case on the Classic and the silvery cream dial on the Classic 24, not to mention the very different movements. For a modern dress watch with no bezel to speak of, the Classic line is perfectly proportioned at 40mm. They would seem massive and showy at 42-44mm and I dont think that is what these watches are about. They are very understated but have an amazing wrist presence and garnered a lot of compliments. At 11mm tall you can get thinner dress watches but 11mm is very thin and they wear very easily sliding under any cuff without issue. The Classic and Classic 24 come fitted to identical sporty black leather straps. The PVD coated OCEAN7 Classic is well suited to the included strap, it measures just over 4mm thick and comes with a signed, but not PVD, buckle. The cream dial feels too classy for its own strap, I mounted the review unit to a low profile aligator style black leather strap and its perfect, just the right amount of class to match the lovely dial and blued hands. The blue coloration of the hands is only seen when the light hits the hands in a specific way and thus does not overpower the watch in any way. The thin and relatively short lugs should allow the Classic and Classic 24 to be worn on a variety of straps depending on your taste. The cases are well finished and feature flat crystals with internal anti-reflective coatings.
The style of the Classic and Classic 24 is very much in the same vein as designs from NOMOS and Stowa, but has been simplified with only 12, 3, 6, and 9 printed on the dial and wider set lugs thanks to the larger case. Under very strong and direct lighting, the OCEAN7 Classic has a dark brown copper dial tone that has a sunburst appeal. In all but my brightest desk lamp or when angled against strong sunlight, the dial appears a rich glassy black. The hands on the Classic and Classic 24 are also perfect for the design, thin but long enough to be instantly legible. The minute hand stretches to the furthest reaches of the dial and actually overlaps with the minute markers on the dial. The OCEAN7 Classic has a date wheel between the 4 and 5 marker and the date wheel is white text on a black background. Crown action on the OCEAN7 Classic is light and easy as the Classic and Classic 24 are not equipped with a screw down crown so setting and hand-winding doesn’t get much more simple. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of experience with dress watches but my tastes had me instantly preferring the AirNautic Classic 24. The cream dial on a black strap is very much my idea of a great dress watch. The AirNautic Classic 24 is powered by an ETA 2893-2 which is designed to measure 24hr time, so the hour hand makes a single rotation of the dial in a given 24hr period. Noon is at 12 on the dial and midnight is at the 6 oclock position and labelled as 24. I have reviewed an AirNautic with this movement in the past and was at first resistant but its actually a nice way to tell time and is rare to see in a dress watch. The movement has excellent crown feel and seems to be keeping very good time, on wrist it seemed to be reliable to -5 to +5 seconds a day and you can option the OCEAN7 Classic or the AirNautic Classic 24 with a COSC chronometer movement that has been certified to keep time within a maximum measure, generally -4 to +6 seconds a day. The OCEAN7 Classic, with its familiar ETA 2824-2, was similarily accurate and both of these watches keep better time on wrist than they do in your case. Indeed my only complaint about the AirNautic Classic 24 is the black date wheel on an otherwise white/cream colored dial. It stands out, not in a bad way, but it would be nice to get a matching date wheel.
The OCEAN7 Classic and the AirNautic Classic 24 are great examples of what you can get in a modern dress watch for a reasonable price. Depending on the strap either of these could be worn with jeans and a nice shirt, then sub in a new strap and team up with a nice suit. Thanks to drilled lug holes, the strap changes could not be more simple and this fact highlights the best feature of the Classic line up – understated versatility. Fifty meter water reisitance combined with a sapphire crystal and reliable movement makes the Classic a redibly wearable watch, almost regardless of the situation. The OCEAN7 Classic starts at $499 with no additional cost for the PVD and the Classic 24 is $599 as reviewed and it definitely our pick of the two. Classic and modern styling meet in the Classic 24 and offer solid timekeeping and an interesting movement all backed by OCEAN7 watches.
Editors note: Pricing recently changes on the Classic and Classic 24 due to a change in the cost of movements. We have updated the post to reflect the $50 price increase.
By James Stacey
Hi James Stacey: Thank you for this great review. It is interesting that for about $800
you can get a watch very much equal or better than many high end watches: great
design, good movement, COSC certified, well made. Does this all make any sense?
Hi Paul, much of what equates to the price of watches is the tradition (age and previous models from the brand), technology and brand power. I would say the concept does make sense, if you were to compare a modern independent dive company to a brand like Rolex or Omega, or any other world recognized manufacturer you would see that the high pricing isn’t simply a measure of the watches ability to tell time (otherwise Casio and Citizens would cost a fortune). Rolex and Omega can charge what they do because there is a prestige associated with their brand and that prestige is appealing to many buyers. Brands with a long tradition or history can charge on their brand name because they have withstood the test of time. The same works for cars, there are brand we all know as being expensive (Ferrari, Pagani, Rolls Royce, etc) but there are also brands (like Noble) that make insanely fast cars for far less money than the established exotic brands. People like buying these prestigious brands so the prices can be quite high (the watch brands I mentioned are only mid range in the pricing scale). Independent and/or younger brands don’t have that prestige and tradition associated with them, so you get a lower price. Luckily, this means there are nice watches available to almost any buyer and that is why we like to cover them on WatchReport.com, we believe there is a perfect watch out there for everyone and price is only on of many factors in finding it.