Ocean 7 was nice enough to ship out their LM-8 Professional Deep Diver watch for a review, and I was able to spend a few days with it. The first thing you notice when you take it out of the box is that this watch is substantial, which is to be expected for a watch rated to 2,000 meters. OK, it is more than substantial, it is heavy. And big. There is a possibility that I have held heavier wrist watches (I am sure there are some beasts out there that I have not seen as well), but if I have, it was not by much.
The stainless bracelet that comes with the watch is also substantial, requiring the removal of three links to make it wearable for me. Thankfully, the bracelet uses screw in pins, not push pins, so removal is easily and safely done with a small screwdriver – a touch I really appreciated.
Once on, the weight is not really that noticeable in every day wear, you know it is there, but it is not a big deal. Now, I wouldn’t take this out on the golf course, there I think the weight would mess up my swing (and it does not need to be messed up any more than it is), but it isn’t weighing down my arm down or causing any fatigue.
So now that I got the initial shock out of my system, let me back up to the packaging. The packaging itself is quite nice. a cardboard sleeve and 5-sided box encase the (faux?) leather and velour presentation box. The lid is held down by two snaps, revealing the watch sitting front and center.
The presentation box blends style and utility, marking this as a nice watch, but definitely a professional tool. There is a side compartment that looks like it would be handy for a silicone strap, and Ocean 7 does sell a variety of replacement straps; any of their 24mm straps will fit, including the cold carbon. No accessories are listed as being included with the retail package.
Since this is a dive watch, and a serious dive watch, I want to talk about the technical aspects of the watch. First off, the watch is rated to 2,000 meters. Yes, 2,000 meters. Incorporated subtly on the left side of the case is a helium release valve. The rest of the dive watch standards are here: a screw down crown with protectors; a 120 click unidirectional bezel; and lume for the hands, chapter markings and 0 on the bezel. It is the details on these items, especially the last two that make this more than just a beefy diver.
The bezel is a polished black ceramic with DLC (diamond like carbon) coated markers. The markers are slightly recessed from the bezel itself, which does provide a slight 3D effect. It is not so pronounced that is jumps out at you, but it is definitely a step up from a flat printed bezel. The action of the bezel is secure, with no play in it. The lume is also very well done here, by far the strongest I have run across. I unboxed the watch in the evening, exposing it to room light for only a few hours, and the lume stayed readable well into the night.
After wearing it for a full day, the watch remained readable over night. The dot on the bezel faded a bit more than the rest of the lume, but the C3 (yellow) luminous paint used for the markers definitely works here. Even the second hand, which sometimes only has a wee bit of lume on it, is discernible in the dark thanks to the rectangular marker set back from the tip.
The clasp incorporates an expansion joint that allows you to easily adjust the bracelet to fit over a wet suit of varying thicknesses. There are at least 6 steps to the sliding expansion, which I appreciate. Most of my diving is in tropical waters, so I use a 2mm suit, but I have been known to go out into the local So. California waters, and there I wear a 6mm suit. Having the variability in the expansion would let me wear it comfortably and securely regardless of which wetsuit I am wearing at the time.
Also in the clasp is a small adjustment where the bracelet connects to it, allowing for a 1/2 link adjustment in case you find yourself in a spot where a full link would make the watch too tight or too loose. Both of these features built into the clasp speak to the attention to detail that Ocean 7 puts into the design of the product.
As one would expect with a watch at this level, you are getting a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the interior and a screw down stainless steel case back. The watch sells right now for $699, with an option for COSC certification at $200. The list price is a discount from the retail price of $799. There is no time table for the discount to expire, but a representative indicated it would be going away “soon,” and was not a permanent discount.
Powering the watch is an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. I mentioned previously that the watch is big, it measures 45mm in diameter and is 56mm lug to lug and stands 17mm tall. It fits under my dress shirt cuff, but since I rarely roll my sleeves down, this is not a major concern of mine.
At 56mm lug to lug, and with a thick screw down case back, the watch sits a bit off my wrist. The lugs are curved down, but there is still quite a gap between my arm and the watch under the two lugs. It makes for a more distinct transition to the bracelet. The end links of the bracelet are squared off, making the transition a bit more noticeable. Rounding them off would have been a little better.
Other that this, I have no real quibbles with the fit and finish of the watch. Maybe the minute hand is a little broad, and it is a little mismatched with the other two hands. The date window is typically small, but I am getting old and my eyes are not what they used to be. Like I said, no real quibbles.
Even the weight becomes less noticeable when it is worn for a while (though everyone who picks it up comments on it). On the plus side for the smaller details, there is internal bezel etched with “OCEAN 7″ at 12:00 and “PROFESSIONAL DEEP DIVER” at 6:00, and the crown end is bead blasted with left “O7″ polished. ocean7watchco.com
- Brand & Model: Ocean 7 LM-8 Professional Deep Diver
- Price: $799 (Discounted to $699)
- Who’s it for?: Fans of big watches in general, and big divers specifically
- Would I wear it?: Definitely
- What I’d change: Round off the end links on the bracelet and narrow the minute hand
- The best thing about it: The detailing on the bezel and the lume