The first time I handled the Monta Oceanking was at the Wind-Up Watch Fair in New York City in November 2018. If you have ever been to the fair, you know how many watches are there. The Oceanking was the one that stuck with me. On the drive home, I said to my wife, “I need a Monta.” It was hard to put my finger on what made it resonate with me and it wasn’t until this steel bezel Oceanking arrived that I was able to figure it out.
The Monta team cut their teeth in the watch industry long before founding Monta Watches. Michael, Justin and Eric will undoubtedly be familiar to Rolex fans as the guys behind Everest Bands. Everest made custom-fitted straps for Rolex watches and became popular in a short amount of time. Rolex owners generally have a keen eye for attention to detail and Everest Bands fit the bill perfectly.
Taking what they learned about precision, premium materials and beautiful watches, they founded Monta Watches in 2015. Carrying Swiss Made on every one of their dials and cases finished to an insane level of detail, Monta quickly rose to the top echelon of microbrand watches. This extends even further today as Monta exhibits their new releases as Basel World every year, a feat not common outside of the big brands in the industry. Adding to their own legend today, Monta continues to be a pioneer in the space, creating new technology such as their patent-pending quick adjust mechanism. All of this is just a taste of what made me want a Monta.
The Devil is in the Details
The excitement when you receive your Monta Oceanking starts before you even open the box. Finished in a dark brown wood veneer with a high polish, the box communicates luxury out of the gate. Beautifully presented in a curved display insert, the Oceanking calls your name when you flip the lid open. I’ve had a recent crush on steel dive bezels after spending some time with a Halios Seaforth with a steel bezel. The black dial and steel bezel Oceanking seemed like a no-brainer to me. A design that looks both modern and classic at the same time, this combination was right up my alley.
Perhaps the thing that most people are going to notice right away about the Oceanking is the case finishing. Monta does not use one finishing technique nor do they use the same technique in a repetitive manner. Across the 40.7mm case of the Oceanking are combinations of brushing, polishing and chamfers. My favorite detail is the polishing on the lugs. Both the inside and outside of the lugs are chamfered and polished, creating the perfect line of symmetry and depth for the bracelet.
The brushing on the rest of the case is complemented by the steel bezel on the Oceanking. Easy to grip and turn, the 60-click uni-directional bezel is tight with no playback whatsoever. I would have liked to have seen a 120-click bezel. However, considering the 60-click is executed so well, I can live with it. 60 clicks still work just fine for a pizza timer. If you opt for a ceramic bezel, it will be fully lumed. The steel bezel I have here has lume on the pip at 12.
Readability is Just the Beginning
The dial on the Monta Oceaking comes in 4 variations: black, gilt, blue and wet blue. The option I chose was the black dial. Regardless of the option you choose, the dial layout is the same. Applied markers at all hours are generously filled with lume. The marker at 12 o’clock is large and will assist with orientation in darkness. The 6 and 9 o’clock markers are also elongated. Hash marks are present for every minute in-between markers.
The Monta logo and text are prominently displayed at 12 o’clock while Oceanking and 1000ft – 300m are displayed at 6 o’clock. Oceanking is accented with red text on the black and gilt dials, giving a touch of color to the dials. Swiss Made is also displayed between 5 and 7 o’clock.
The broad, lume-filled sword hands on the Oceanking make reading the time simple and the display more legible. The hour hand is considerably shorter than the minute hand, removing any confusion as to what time it is. The seconds hand is tipped with a lume-filled spear shape, which has a smooth motion as the movement ticks along at 28,800 vph.
All of this sits behind a flat sapphire crystal. Monta claims on their website that there are 7 layers of anti-reflective coating applied to the underside of the crystal. I will say that reflections are a non-issue with the Oceanking. I never experienced any glare that hindered me from reading the time despite the black lacquer dial.
A Bracelet that Speaks for Itself
It’s slightly insane to dedicate as much time to the bracelet on the Oceanking as I am going to here, but it’s worth it. If you opt for the bracelet when you order an Oceanking (which you absolutely should) you’re in for a real treat. Tapering from 20mm to 18mm at the clasp, the bracelet hits the sweet spot in terms of dimensions. The bracelet is just as beautifully finished as the case. Each link has chamfered edges that are highly polished. This is a welcome departure from fully polished links as it provides just enough bling without being ostentatious.
I have long said that the bracelet on my Oris Aquis was the most comfortable bracelet I have ever worn. Sorry Oris, but there is a new king. The fully articulating links, which means all links can fold in any direction independently of each other, will perfectly drape over your wrist.
Once you have sized the bracelet using the screwed links, you will dial in your fit using the Oceanking’s bracelet’s party trick, a quick-adjust micro-adjustment. No buttons or levers to dig your fingernail into here, simply flip up the bracelet from the clasp and slide. This micro-adjustment mechanism is easy to use, precise and allows you to change the fit of your Oceanking anytime without tools. At the time of this writing, Monta has a patent pending for this technology.
Monta also offers curved-end fitted rubber and leather straps for all their models. While I have not tried them, I have heard good things from other Monta owners and plan to purchase one in the future. I have also seen that some Everest Bands will fit the Oceanking.
The heart of the Oceanking is a Sellita SW300 automatic 25-jewel movement. Monta claims a +/- 5 seconds per day accuracy with this movement and I experienced +/- 2 seconds per day with my example. The SW300 is said to be an equivalent of an ETA 2892 and I have no complaints about the movement. I’ve owned multiple watches with the SW200 and have nothing but good things to say about them. The SW300 is a step above the SW200.
Operating the movement is what you would expect after admiring the fit and finish of the rest of the watch. The tapered crown on the Oceanking is easy to screw and unscrew. I wish the crown were 1 or 2mm larger as I did find it slippery if my hands were not completely dry. Once the crown is popped out of its seated position, it is effortless to wind. There is no whine or tightness when winding the crown.
Making a Splash
There is no denying that you pay a premium for a Monta Oceanking. The version here retails for $1,925 or $1,700 on a strap. With that said, you are getting a lot of value with the Oceanking. The price is most likely going to be a sticking point for potential buyers, but if you get a chance to handle one in person, I guarantee it will get you over the fence.
Monta has managed to take a simply designed dive watch and elevate it to another level. Their attention to detail in case finishing, bracelet innovation and overall execution make the Oceanking a stunner. The Oceanking was a watch I laid my eyes on and knew I had to have it. There are few watches that have that effect on me. In simple terms, it is hard to ignore a watch with this much detail, a great overall design and something that will get your watch buddies talking.
|Lug-to-lug Height||49mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Crystal||Flat Sapphire||Strap||Steel Bracelet|
|Water Resistance||304 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova® BG W9|
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