EMG had arguably one of the best-value dive watches with the Nemo. The proportions were spot on, it had a reliable movement, an amazing bracelet, and it was frequently available for under $400. Tack on some great dial color options and you have a win. For whatever reason, the Nemo didn’t seem to be an immediate sell out and that always blew my mind (and the guys at 40&20). That doesn’t mean the Nemo wasn’t a success; far from it. The people who own them love them and you rarely see them come up for sale.
The next evolution we are seeing with microbrands after a dive watch is dipping their toes into the water of GMTs. The specific case we’re looking at today is the EMG Odyssey. EMG is looking to take what made the Nemo such a fun watch such as dial colors, comfort, and affordability and bring it all into a full-featured GMT. Let’s take a closer look.
On the Wrist
I hinted at comfort a few times in my intro above for good reason. The Odyssey isn’t a small watch and while it isn’t big either, it is comfy on the wrist. Despite having long, angular lugs, the turndown they possess allows the 48mm lug-to-lug distance to be manageable for almost any wrist size. A nice party trick the lugs on the Odyssey have are the heavy-handed polished chamfers. They create an effect that almost feels like an optical illusion in how they slim out the lugs. If they were brushed or didn’t have as much polish, I don’t think I would like this case as much as I do.
Internal-bezel GMTs can be a tricky proposition. The seamless look they offer is often a trade-off for usability. They usually win the argument because you don’t need to adjust a GMT bezel nearly as often as you would a dive bezel. This is part of the reason I have abandoned purchasing internal dive bezels for my personal watches. They just don’t fit how I use bezels. With that said, the Odyssey offers (almost) the best of both worlds.
The GMT time track is the obvious standout of the inner rotating bezel. Unscrew the crown and it spins around easily in both directions to adjust the time zone you are tracking. There are also dive bezel markings below the GMT numerals, allowing the Odyssey to be used for timing as well. As I said above, I’m not the biggest fan of this but because of how it is executed here, it feels like I’m not missing anything. Instead, the dive time markings are an added benefit.
Coming in at 40.5mm wide and 13mm thick, the Odyssey has great dimensions for a GMT. GMTs can often be thicker than their comparable dive watch counterparts because of the extra components needed in the movement for the GMT hand. EMG mitigated this by using a Sellita SW330, one of the best affordable GMT movements you can source. This helps the Odyssey wear thinner, bringing its wrist-to-crystal measurement down to only 11mm. Combined with the fully articulating bracelet, the Odyssey feels stellar on the wrist.
EMG Odyssey Video Review
The Odyssey hits a home run in the dial department. It isn’t too busy and it doesn’t feel like a bare wasteland either. I like my GMT watches to have a bit going on with the dial; it helps them feel sportier. The dial layout is straightforward with EMG’s logo at 12 o’clock and Odyssey GMT above the date window at 6.
The inner bezel is split into night and day colors with one half gray and the other half white. It’s a clear and easy differentiation between the two halves that aids in orientation and allows you to set the bezel easily without squinting at it.
GMTs tend to be watches that benefit from careful attention to color coordination. Accent colors usually serve a functional purpose on GMTs and the Odyssey is no exception. The GMT hand coordinates with the inner GMT bezel and allows that hand to be easily identifiable. The entire color scheme of the dial layout is well-executed as well. The dark blue dial plays perfectly with the white and gray colors on the rest of the dial and bezel. The other color options available on the Odyssey are executed just as well.
The handset works well with the angular look the case of the Odyssey has and I like the separator on the hour hand. It gives the wearer a quick indication as to what hand you’re looking at without changing the shape of the hand itself. The lume is well-done on the Odyssey, but I want a little more of it. Some lume on the inner bezel would both look great and be functional, especially if you want to use the timing function of the bezel.
I don’t harp on crystals too much as most brands are using some form of a domed or flat crystal with some AR applied. The Odyssey is no exception but I do feel the crystal is the weakest point of the watch. I believe that speaks to the strength of the watch overall if the worst thing I’m saying is the crystal is not my favorite thing. It has a heavy dome and it is far too reflective. I could clearly see my face when reading the time and while I don’t hate my face, I’m not sure I want to stare at it every time I look at my watch. I did discuss this with EMG and they said they may add more AR to help reduce this effect. With that said, the dome doesn’t affect the readability of the inner bezel or viewing at extreme angles.
Case & Bracelet
Photos of the Odyssey do not do its case profile any justice. Even in my own photos, I felt the case looked flat when that is not the case whatsoever. As I said before, the lugs turn down a good amount and the thin case profile makes it look great and feel comfortable on the wrist. If you’ve been looking at the photos and were concerned about that, you can put your fears to rest.
The crowns deserve some attention. Dual crowns are hit or miss. You can’t make them too big or they can dig into your wrist in two spots and if they are too small, they are hard to use. EMG nailed the crown size and knurling, making them easy to use and not dig into your wrist. The crown at 2 o’clock, which operates the bezel, is easy to unscrew and turn while on the wrist. I didn’t have any issues screwing it back in either. This is the grip I wanted on the Nodus Duality.
The bracelet, as I mentioned before, is comfortable. There isn’t any added flair to the bracelet. No chamfered edges or quick-release/adjust mechanisms. It just plain works. The links are small and fully articulate, allowing it to drape around the wrist easily and dial in a perfect fit. The 20 to 16mm taper is also a nice surprise in the comfort department. While quick-adjust/release mechanisms are making their way to more and more watches, I can’t fault EMG for the lack of them on the Odyssey. The bracelet they included is comfortable and functional and I’d rather have that than something like that giant quick-adjust clasp some microbrands use… that thing is awful.
I’ll preface this is by saying that I do not think the Odyssey is expensive for what you are getting. However, the biggest hurdle EMG is going to have to overcome with the Odyssey is the price. $750 is where brands really have to convince buyers that the value they are bringing is worth it. It is a competitive price point and if this were a dive watch I would say EMG might have a hard time selling it. But this is a GMT. And it’s a GMT with a Sellita SW330. That’s the same movement Monta uses on the Skyquest and Atlas, which over 3 times more than the Odyssey.
There is more that measures a watch than the sum of its parts but EMG has done a great job in making that sum attractive. EMG has been around a long time and I don’t believe they have the following they deserve. Their watches have always been attractive at the price points they offer them at and the Odyssey is no exception. I said in the beginning that the Nemo wasn’t an immediate sellout. I don’t know if the Odyssey will be or not, but I know one thing: it should be.
Use code “WATCHCLICKER” at EMG Watches to bring the price of the Odyssey down to $700
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EMG Odyssey Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal