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OW Ocean Graph Review: Heritage Diving At Its Finest?

July 28, 2021

Wajs up?! No, we ain't talking about that iconic Budweiser ad but rather Ollech and Wajs. Like Michael Jordan, the OW Ocean Graph made a remarkable comeback in 2019. But Albert Wajs and Joseph Ollech have been in the watchmaking game since 1956. Specializing in a host of tool watches including the P-101 pilot dedicated timepiece, this brand is a sleeping timepiece giant. 

Manufactured in the late 1960s, instrumental and vintage tool watches are their forte. The company gained popularity for producing highly respected mechanical watches for divers and pilots worldwide as many began to take the plunge. 

So what’s to like? Although it’s not on every time lord’s lips, OW’s dive watches pull no punches. They have gained credibility in the vintage watch community for their outstanding decompression bezels, dial clarity and first rate robustness. 

Perfect for the amateur diver, I’m a genuine fan of its top notch movement which can be used in the harshest of deep sea adventures. Come dive with us to new depths in our OW Ocean Graph review. 

The Dial

Tradition is very much on the OW menu with its array of vibrant colors utilized on the dial. Featuring a striking faded blue face, there’s a freshness to this once dormant brand with a prominent nod to vintage. 

Measuring 39.5 mm in diameter and a whopping 15.8 mm in thickness, this watch will in general, withstand any waters with consummate ease. 

Watch out for white triangular cardinal markers and brushed hands seen at 3, 9 and 12 o’ clock while the orange Super-Luminova is super bright. Heck even the date marker at the 6 o’ clock mark is brushed, allowing excellent visibility and contrast compared to standard black dive watches. 

With its humble beginnings in 1969, the blue and orange tones hark back to the rock and roll Precision line of which the Ocean Graph was a part of.

Easy functionality and high levels of clarity are coupled with the oversized crown which really sets it apart. They have done a stellar job with the classic OW Logo which is reminiscent of an upside down tulip. Bloomin’ marvelous if you ask me! The case back is twice as thick and reinforced with supreme water tightness. 

But hang on a tick...there’s so much more to this piece than meets the eye. I have to admit, the 5.5 mm plus sapphire crystal domed dial is impressive. The unique screw down crown comes complete with not one, not two but four gaskets. In addition, the first 56 Ocean Graph models are to be numbered directly which provides that added bit of exclusivity. 

Oh, and how about the mighty 1000 m or 3,300 feet water resistance rating? Now that’s something not to be sniffed at.

The Bezel

You bezel believe it!

Turning to the bezel, which personally is a tad disappointing in terms of readability. The crystal insert is as packed as commuters are on the London Underground with a decompression scale that you may have to squint at to reset. 

Instead of a standard one hour scale, you are presented with a decompression offering. What’s so special about this, watch fiends? With three concentric zones, it gives divers decompression times between zero and sixty minutes, stages of the specific dive and diving depth.

What we have on the OW Ocean Graph is a decompression bezel that is extremely intricate and the perfect age-old solution before dive computers were common knowledge. 

Plus, it’s a nice reminder of how recreational diving used to be. Want to see for yourself? For closer inspection, check out this video.

OW Ocean Graph watch

The Movement

Neatly placed under the 316L steel case, the upgraded ETA 2824-2 OW5 Caliber self-winding movement is the crowning glory of this timepiece. 

Easily adjustable in five different positions, the 38 hour power reserve is underestimated, if a little uninspiring. Nevertheless, time is without doubt on your side thanks to the personalized rotor, not to mention accuracy rivaling one of Tiger Woods’s drives.

The epitome of contemporary Swiss manufacturing, check out the engraved branding on the main plate that makes this watch as tough as an ox. 

The Strap

There are two main options for the OW Ocean Graph straps. 

Firstly, the perlon nylon strap option can be picked up for around $1,700. On the flip side, the classier stainless steel “beads of rice” bracelet is elegant and slinky, especially for smarter events and business meetings. 

With hand-screwed brushed links, you won't find any stretching on this little number.  Presented with a folding closed clasp and as hardy as a Panzer tank, they haven’t skimped in this department. 

Talk about the immovable force meeting the unstoppable object. 

Tick Tock...The Final Word

Riding on the crest of a wave, the OW Ocean Graph serves as an ideal dive watch for those retro geeks. However, there are more horological hits than misses to this Zurich-based organization. 

Like a great football player, you can never recreate the same magic once past a certain age. But this hasn’t stopped Ollech & Wajs from reviving an old classic to great effect. Just remember their Caribbean 1000 diver for example that broke all manner of records. 

The Ocean Graph is an ideal fit for any timekeeper's wrist. Despite not being suitable for professional deep sea diving, you can certainly snorkel and splash away without any concern.

If you want to look the part around the office or boardroom, it is well worth coughing up the extra $150 for the stainless steel bracelet. Priced at $1837, it really is a steal!

Yes, there may be a few sticking points regarding the bezel or the overuse of orange lume but that’s really clutching at straws. Discover more here.

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Author
Simon Lazarus
As an avid watch fiend, Simon Lazarus isn’t any ordinary watch collector. Since the dawn of time (well almost), his obsession with timepieces has seen him establish a bijou collection across his extensive travels with his wife and two darling daughters including in the US and Dubai. With an extensive back catalogue of published work on timepieces for numerous sites globally, watches are moments in history. He certainly makes time to capture the true essence of watchmaking with an eye for impeccable detail showcased in his plethora of watch articles across numerous sites. With a well formed selection focusing on Swiss made as well as emerging microbrands that will no doubt gain in value, time is almost as precious as his two young princesses!
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