Bronze watches are becoming more commonplace, especially as microbrands are looking for ways to differentiate their dive watches. Whereas stainless steel watches will maintain their appearance over the years, picking up minor surface scratches and the occasional ding, bronze watches are completely different.
Inherently susceptible to oxidation and natural patina development, a bronze watch will change appearance in a short amount of time. The Heitis Okeanos Bronze takes design cues from the original Okeanos Explorer and adds a bronze case and some other small touches. The review sample seen here has already started to develop patina, which shows what to expect as the watch starts to age.
On the Wrist
Sharing only its name with the original Okeanos, the Okeanos Bronze wears completely different than the original. The lugs turn down dramatically and affectionately hug the wrist. Considering how relatively large the Okeanos Bronze is, it doesn’t feel like a 42mm watch on the wrist.
The Okeanos Bronze still commands plenty of wrist presence. The internal rotating bezel that matches the dial color gives the appearance of a larger watch, even though the dial itself isn’t all that big. It feels like a tool watch. It’s thick, heavy, and bears its patina without shame.
This is the first experience I have had with a bronze watch and I wasn’t sure how it would look compared to all the stainless steel dive watches I have worn. When new, bronze can give the appearance of rose gold; however, by the time this watch got to me, it had already started showing patina.
Some areas of the watch got darker and rusty-looking; others became lighter and shinier. Bronze can also turn green with age and there was some evidence of this as well. Overall, it added character to a watch that I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did. I’m always a fan of scratches and wear on watches but I was surprised how much the natural patina made it feel like the tool watch it is.
All of this adds a certain carefree element to the Okeanos Bronze. I would never intentionally bang my watches into things, but the patina the bronze took on made me feel as though it would be okay, even expected, if the watch were to pick up a ding or two.
A marked change from the original Okeanos, the Okeanos Bronze employs a sandwich dial. The blue dial seen here is one of two variants with a sandwich dial; the other variants of the Okeanos Bronze have applied markers. The font used for the cutout is familiar to those who have seen the original.
The sandwich dial also allows for a heavier lume application and it shows. The sword handset is also heavy with lume.
The gradient blue dial complements the bronze case perfectly and creates a unique look. It is not a sunburst pattern and appears matte in direct lighting. Because of this, the blue gradient is always visible and will not depend on lighting conditions. If you like blue sunburst dials, but wish the blues were always visible, this is the dial for you.
Matching the color of the chapter ring, the internal bezel is mostly black with white markings. The dive time bezel is rotated by the crown at 2 o’clock for those unfamiliar with an internal bezel.
The sapphire crystal on the Okeanos Bronze is heavily domed which creates some wild distortions when viewed at extreme angles. I found indoor lighting created some distracting reflections on the crystal which made reading it difficult at times.
Case & Strap
Heitis has used CuSn 8 bronze for the case on the Okeanos Bronze. CuSn 8 is a specific alloy of bronze that has its own unique patina properties. When compared to other bronze alloys, CuSn 8 is more highly sought-after for watch cases due to the low amount of impurities in the alloy. This helps yield patina that looks good as opposed to other natural corrosion that can occur in other bronze alloys.
As the Okeanos Bronze patinates, lots of little details pop up. The areas around the crowns patinate faster due to the wearer’s fingers constantly touching those areas. Where the case meets the external bezel also shows wear more quickly as moisture, dirt, etc., are most likely to settle there.
The blue and green coloration of some of the patina complements the dial color and might appear intentional to the untrained eye. If the wearer ever decides that the patina has gone too far or wants their Okeanos Bronze to look new again, bronze patina can be washed off. A quick Google search advises how to do this properly.
A bevel runs down the length of the case and is more polished than the rest of the case. Of course, this will change as the patina sets in. Each crown is signed with the Heitis logo. The crown that operates the internal bezel turns smoothly and allows the wearer to quickly adjust the dive time bezel. Depending on where the wearer places their watch on their wrist, the crown for the bezel might be turned slightly, but this wasn’t a huge problem for me.
The caseback is stainless steel, as bronze resting on your wrist all day can cause a reaction in some people. The caseback is nicely embossed with a nautical relief. Housed inside is the classic and reliable Seiko NH35.
Included with the Okeanos Bronze is a heavy canvas strap with leather backing. The strap is a perfect complement to the overall color scheme and is pliable and comfortable.
Bronze watches seem to be a love-it-or-hateit affair. Before receiving this watch for review, I was in the latter camp. I couldn’t see a reason to intentionally let a watch look old. However, after spending some time with the Okeanos Bronze, my opinion changed.
There is merit to the process of bronze gaining patina and becoming one-of-a-kind. It is equal to a stainless steel watch having its own set of scratches and nicks. You’re not going to find another person’s watch with the same patina that you have on your bronze watch. What’s intriguing about bronze watches is that if you want to, you can start the patina process all over.
If you haven’t given bronze watches a second look, I highly recommend doing so. The Okeanos Bronze is a great place to start. It was designed and coordinated to work well with the bronze color and patination process. The bronze is also a great conversation-starter. The Okeanos Bronze has a unique look, especially the sandwich dials, that is sure to turn heads.
|Lug-to-lug Height||50mm||Lug Width||22mm|
|Crystal||Double Domed Sapphire||Strap||Strap|
|Water Resistance||100 meters||Lume||Super-LumiNova® C3|
More Images of the Heitis Okeanos Bronze
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