Richard Le Grand OceanFarer
Today I take a look at the Richard Le Grand OceanFarer, but a few years ago, I did a review of another RLG watch, the Odyssea. I was not overly fond of that piece, mostly because of bracelet issues, but overall I felt the watch was cheaply made, even for its price. Now, in fairness, the company was still in its early stages, and like all companies, they seemed to have some growing pains. Flash forward to today and they have now released two new versions of the Odyssea, a dual crown diver and this OceanFarer. This model I have here came out late last year, and while similar is a different watch than the Odyssea, and they now have a brand new version of the Odyssea up on preorder. In that time, another change has taken place. It seems they have switched branding, and are now RLG watches, and new watches will reflect this with a new logo. This one still has the old name, but I have to say, this is a big jump in improvement from the last watch I reviewed. The Oceanfarer comes is available in matte black shown here, polar white, and ocean blue. If you are looking for a classic-looking microbrand that won’t break the bank, keep reading.
Stainless Steel Case and Bracelet
46mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
157 Grams in Weight
Miyota 9039 Movement
Domed Sapphire Crystal
200m Water Resistant
As I said, if you have been into watches for any length of time, you will find the Richard Le Grand OceanFarer to be familiar, and I don’t consider that a bad thing. Yes, it does look similar to another one of their watches, but this one feels a little more refined, has a great flat link bracelet, and believe it or not, tops out at just 11.5mm in thickness, not including the domed sapphire. The case is mostly brushed, with a nice grain, especially on a watch just under $400, but you also have some nice high polished chamfers on the top sides of the case. No drilled lugs used, but changing out the bracelet or strap is easy enough, and if you don’t have tools, don’t worry, RLG included them. They also included tools to remove the pin and collar from the bracelet, but more on that in a bit. The coin edge bezel stands proud, is easy to grip, and feels very solid, as does the screw-down crown. The bezel insert is sapphire, and of course, is lumed.
Moving to the dial, this is where you will see that it is exactly the same as its predecessor. I do feel that is an odd choice, as I am not sure who is going to be these two models, that not just from a glance, but even getting up close, look really similar. Maybe RLG doesn’t care if you own multiples of their watches, or they just really like the 12-3-6-9 layout. Either way, this dial is clean and uncluttered, the applied numbers and indices stand proud of the dial, have that chrome look, and are overall very attractive. No date here and that is because they went with the Miyota 9039 movement on this piece AND the upcoming Odyssea on preorder (see what I mean about being so similar?) One thing I do want to point out is the color of the lume paint used. It is an off-white color, not old radium or vintage lume, but it is off-white, not stark white like you would find on the blue dial version of this piece.
On top of that dial, you will find a domed sapphire crystal. I am not sure why, but this crystal really does produce a lot of reflection. Not as much as glare, you can still easily see the dial with no issue, but this Richard Le Grand Oceanfarer does have an inner AR coating, but even with the matte black dial, you will see yourself for your surroundings in this dial often. You don’t really see it here in these photos or in the video, that’s just photography tricks, but it is there and is somewhat annoying. I would think that with the matte dial it wouldn’t be an issue, and with all that said, I still think this piece would look better with a sunburst dial, as the matte dial looks a little like cardboard upon closer inspection and just really doesn’t match up with the very nice applied chrome outlined markers.
The bracelet and end links are solid and do still use the pin and collar system, which has never been my favorite, but it is very secure. This bracelet looks and feels miles away from the original RLG piece I reviewed and beyond that, is really a joy to wear. The links and smooth and flat, and drape right around my 7 1/2 inch wrist. Speaking of draping, make sure to check out the video, as I can really illustrate in photos just how this bracelet drops off from the end link and just swings flat and does not kink up at all. The clasp is nothing extraordinary, but one of the better catalog clasps, and is secure with quite a few micro-adjustment holes.
One thing I really like about the Richard Le Grand OceanFarer is the solid case back. I am a sucker for a nice stamped case back, and this one is very nice. Again, we’ve seen it before, a divers helmet with anchors and waves all around it, but I enjoy looking at it, more so than I would the plain Miyota movement with an exhibition case back. Besides, this is 200m water-resistant, and I prefer dive watches, even ones like this, to have solid backs.
The lume is BGW9, but upon close inspection, the blocky numbers and indices on the dial have large borders, meaning there is not a lot of room for lume application, same with the hands. Unfortunately, that means the lume is not going to make you do a dance, but if you need to tell the time in the dark, this should last a few hours, but do not expect any real bright intensity past a few minutes of a charge.
Do I think this is a much better watch than I previously reviewed? That is an absolutely resounding yes. Is this Richard Le Grand OceanFarer highly derivative? Yes. Does the brand itself have another model that can easily be confused for this one? Yes. Do I still feel this is a decent watch for the money? That is an easy yes. It is a crowded marketplace no doubt and there are a lot of watches that look like this, possibly from brands you are more familiar with, but I can’t knock it just for that reason. I like the dial layout, the no-date hi-beat Miyota movement, and the bracelet not only looks good but feels really good on the wrist. It is also not a thick diver, so it can be worn in a lot of situations. That all said, there are others out there with better AR coatings and better lume as well, so as always, research and compare before shelling out your hard-earned cash.