When I was 14 years old, my father and I built a kit car Shelby Cobra together. It took 2 years and while I largely had no idea what was going on or how anything worked, the final product was amazing. I couldn’t believe my dad built a car. A car that actually worked, too! He chose to build one because purchasing a real 1965 Shelby Cobra was nearly impossible, especially considering how much the kit car he built cost. However, to my dad it was as good as the real thing and despite it not being an original, he still enjoyed the hell out of it.
I bring this story up because the watch I am reviewing today follows in the same vein as that kit-car Shelby Cobra. It’s an homage to the original; Ginault readily admits that. They have taken elements from various Rolex Mil-subs (Military-issued Submariners) and brought them together in a watch that is both new and available to buy.
If you’ve been paying attention to Ginault the past few months, you will know there was some recent drama. I am not going to discuss that here. I conduct my reviews so that people wanting to buy a watch can have an opinion to read which will help them make their decision. As with all my reviews, this will focus on the watch itself. With that said, is the Ginault Ocean Rover a watch that will make someone who loves Mil-subs (or any other watch for that matter) happy? Let’s find out.
Dial & Bezel
The Ocean Rover comes in a variety of dial configurations as far as lume and bezel choices. The version here is one of the more unique variations. The glossy black dial, which is the same on every Ocean Rover, has applied markers. Each marker is filled with Ginault’s gold-sand lume which will glow green in the dark.
Each marker surround is highly polished. As you would expect from the Rolex-inspired Ocean Rover, the marker at 12 o’clock is a triangle. The markers at 6 and 9 o’clock are rectangles and all other markers are circles. The lume application in each marker is even and ample. The date window at 3 o’clock matches the gold-sand lume; the background of the wheel is tan.
The Ocean Rover’s handset contains sword hands with the hour hand being broad and easily differentiated from the minute hand. The lollipop seconds hand is completely red with gold sand lume. I like the decision to color the hand to give the dial a splash of color, but the red doesn’t seem to go with the overall theme of the color choices for this version. A blue seconds hand would have fit better given the color of the bezel.
The bezel on the Ocean Rover is a dark blue, almost black in certain lighting, with gold numerals and hash marks. The gold complements the lume color on the dial and matches well with the bezel color. I understand the choice to use an aluminum insert for the bezel but given that the Ocean Rover is designed to be a modern watch, a ceramic or sapphire insert would have been welcome, especially considering the price point.
Containing 120 clicks, the bezel is solid with no backplay. It turns easily and was a pleasure to operate. I previously stated the Christopher Ward Trident bezel is one of the best I have used and the Ginault’s bezel is a close second.
The flat sapphire crystal contains no AR coating so you will get some glare in certain lighting conditions, but it doesn’t affect readability of the dial. The cyclops on the Ocean Rover is one of the best I have seen outside of Rolex. It magnifies the date to a degree that makes it instantly readable. Because of the way the cyclops reflects light, it can be difficult to clearly see the date if there are a lot of overhead lights indoors. I didn’t have this issue outside.
The Ginault logo and name are printed at 12 o’clock and Kinetic Continuous Date is printed below that. This text and the text printed at 6 o’clock are going to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing. The text contains a lot of synonyms for words on modern Rolex dials. I don’t have a problem with that as much as I do with the amount of text. I’d like to see Ginault do a more sterile dial with less text. The dial on the Ocean Rover is beautifully done and well finished and the amount of text detracts from the finish detail.
Case & Crown
Given the origins of the design for the Ocean Rover, you can naturally expect a comfortable watch with conservative proportions. The 40mm case is complimented with a 47mm lug-to-lug distance and is 12.5mm thick.
The case of the Ocean Rover is finished extremely well with a combination of brushing and polishing. The tops of the case and lugs are brushed with the sides of the case being highly polished. A small bevel runs the length of the case, accenting the transition between brushing and polishing.
A screw-in caseback that is almost sterile encloses the Ginault calibre 7275. Most likely similar to the ETA-2824, I found the movement to be accurate with little rotor noise. Ginault includes an accuracy chart with the Ocean Rover and while I didn’t it measure the accuracy over the course of a week, I found it to be correct day-to-day.
The Ocean Rover’s movement winds smoothly and decouples when screwing in the signed crown. The crown is large, easy to grip, and sits nicely in the case’s crown guards.
Bracelet and Wearability
As the dimensions would suggest, the Ocean Rover wears extremely well. The watch fit and conformed perfectly to my 6.75” wrist.
The bracelet was my favorite part about wearing the Ocean Rover. Tapering from 20mm to 16mm at the clasp, it feels solid and comfortable on-wrist. I’m a huge fan of bracelets that taper 4mm as they feel more natural on-wrist than bracelets with a 2mm taper.
Ginault has included a quick-adjust mechanism in the clasp of the Ocean Rover. The mechanism and the clasp itself will be familiar to those who have experience with modern Rolex clasps. One end of the bracelet can be tilted out from the clasp and slides to adjust the length of the bracelet. The mechanism worked well, did not slide out of position on-wrist, and locked securely when adjusting.
There are those who will say Ginault isn’t bringing anything new to the table with the Ocean Rover and that this is an homage and nothing more. While there are some merits to those claims, there is certainly a place in the watch community for the Ocean Rover.
Homage watches, especially those that derive from Rolexes, are fairly common. What is not common among those watches is a level of detail and fit and finish that at least tries to mirror that from the watches they pay homage to. Ginault has achieved that with the Ocean Rover. It is solid, impeccably finished, and uses materials that will hold up as well as any other watch at its price point.
There are watch buyers out there who want to own a look, whether that look is an homage to another watch or simply a well-built watch that might catch someone’s eye. If you are looking for the former or a combination of the two, the Ocean Rover may fulfill that need. If you are seeking the look of a Mil-sub with modern technology and no service issues, the Ocean Rover is worth a look.
|Lug-to-lug Height||47mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Water Resistance||300 meters||Lume||Gold Sand Lume|
|Movement||Ginault calibre 7275||Price||$1,499|
More Images of the Ginault Ocean Rover
Check out the Ginault website