Oceanus OCWM700TDA

Announced in July 2007, the sleek and professional Oceanus OCWM700TDA-1A is the latest addition to the Oceanus line of classically styled quartz watches with leading-edge technical features. This Oceanus (which I’ll call the 5 Motor Tide Graph) is similar to the OCW600TDA-1AV previously reviewed, however the 5 Motor Tide Graph seems a little more geared toward the worldwide business traveler; not only can it receive atomic time calibration signals in the US, but also in Japan, Germany, and England.

The feature of the Oceanus 5 Motor Tide Graph that I find most interesting is, well, the tide graph. At the top of the multi-function dial at the 3 o’clock position is a small tide chart. Moving from right to left, it indicates local tide height based on latitude and the intertidal interval. Since tides vary with local geography, you can calibrate the watch to match your local cycle.

What sort of globe-trotting person needs a tide graph? My personal theory is new managers who still surf, sail, or dive. I have a co-worker in exactly that role, and he really likes this Oceanus. Combined with the non-corroding titanium case and 100M water resistance, it can go from surfing to staff meeting and look great both places.

The 5 Motor Tide Graph adds a few new features to its predecessor, the OCW600TDA-1AV:

  • Multi-band atomic radio reception.
  • Tide graph.
  • Retrograde day indicator.
  • Optional ion-plated black version (the one reviewed here is the silver-cased version).

I really like the idea of removing LCDs from high-tech watches and dressing them up a bit, however there’s no getting around the fact that usability tends to suffer. In a digital watch, for instance, the display more or less tells you what mode you’re in, and since it changes accordingly, it keeps you well oriented. On an analog-only watch, however, it’s trickier. Some of the mode indications are simple (as when the tide graph is engaged), but some are more subtle and require a bit of experience to get used to. In other words, if you want to use all the features of this watch, expect to spend some time playing and learning. It’s not rocket science, but it’s probably a little more complex than the simple face might lead you to expect.

Aside from the learning curve, there’s quite a lot to like about this watch:

  • The titanium case makes for a very light and comfortable watch that still feels well-made.
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
  • Despite all the functions, the dial is still pretty readable.
  • Wonderfully detailed blue and white sub-dial hands.
  • 5-band radio reception.
  • 100M (330 feet) of water resistance.
  • World time with time zone swapping (easily swap your primary time zone with your secondary time zone, and vice versa).
  • Subtle date at the 4:30 position (nicely unobtrusive, but there when you need it).
  • Retrograde day indicator in addition to the date.
  • The solar panel is actually a ring around the dial, in a complimentary shade of silicon-chip blue. Functional, and simultaneously a nice design accent.

The Oceanus 5 Motor Tide Graph is a good looking watch that does a nice job of hiding a ton of high-tech features. It’s zero-maintenance, perfectly accurate on several continents, comfortable, slim, and dressy enough to suit a wide variety of social situations. Best of all, it’ll tell you when it’s time to ditch your meetings and go surfing!

Retail price for the OCWM700TDA-1AV is $800.

By Paul Hubbard

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