When it comes to homages, people in some groups and forums are sceptical. Some say it is ok wearing homage, and some say it is in the same category of wearing a fake. But I believe that this is a great market for some vintage watch homages. Basically like the Gevril Daytona Chrono, the homage of Rolex Paul Newman Daytona did. Gevril made it with really good movement and overall quality was very good for the price. And you didn’t need to pay six figures for it. I, of course, would like if someone made a really good homage to Omega Speedmaster MKII, but I guess that will never be happening anytime soon.
One day I was browsing some watch forums and found the thread talking about Ginault watches homage to Rolex Pre-Ceramic Submariner called Ocean Rover. I read some articles on their website and I was surprised that the watch has they’re own built movement, that it’s hand built in the USA and all this in a very nice package I was quite intrigued. What I saw was that under the Forum member reviews many people wrote that these reviews are fake, that Ginault kind of gave them 50% discount on watches and that they were bought reviews. Yes, they had a deal that if you buy the watch and review it in video/article form, they will give you 50% discount. Well, I got a similar deal. But trust me guys, I will give an only honest opinion.
So let’s start with some story about the company. The Ginault watch company launched their fist watches about 6-7 years ago, called BM1. It was no branding homage, it reached some people but never got the attention. Here are pictures of BM1:
After some years of making their own movement, improving on the design and all the details, the Ocean Rover was born! They had many prototypes with cyclops and date window, but the final version is just a no date. Here are the prototypes:
So let’s start the review of Ginault Ocean Rover 181070GLSN. It arrived in a well-packed clam shell style box, nothing fancy but not the cheapest either. Inside the box you will find a Certificate of authenticity, manual, timing results, polishing cloth, screwdriver for sizing the bracelet and an extra sand coloured two piece nato strap. Overall a good package. First impressions were just amazing, something like this I experienced only two times. When I received the Breitling Navitimer and Ceccacci Date Chrono, the quality, design and how they felt on my hand, it just blows away me every time. So as this one did it again. The bezel and glide lock clasp was the first thing I tried and wow, the glide lock clasp is just made perfectly. I have seen and tested the original Rolex glide lock clasps, and damn, it feels the same. The machine work done to make it is just perfect for such price range.
So the case. Well, the case is a homage to original Rolex Submariner 16610. Their main goal was to create the case as close to the original Sub as possible. And they delivered. They also are aware that many homages have been made, but they surely can say that they deliver the best in the market, THE BEST! The case is made from 316L stainless steel. The case is finished in this brushed finish, but leaving a bit machining marks open on the back side of the lugs. The sides of the case are polished amazingly good. On my piece, they are a bit scratched as I used it for one month straight. All the edges are sharp and really can be seen that this watch is no joke when it comes to quality. The crown is nicely signed with the Ginault logo. Probably the most beautiful signed crown I ever seen, really love that flower on the end. The case back is screw down and has polished ring going around with all the specs and Ginault logo. The case is 40mm in Diameter, 50mm from Lug to Lug, 45mm from Bezel to Crown, 15.6mm Bottom to Top, Distance between Lugs: 20.05mm, Solid End Link width: 20.03mm. The proportions of this watch are very good. I guess the 40mm are starting to get as my favourite size for diver. All my other divers were 42mm and up. I only have one Vostok vintage diver that is 39mm. So this watch was really a game changer for me.
The bezel on this one is really nice, it is 120 clicks counter-clockwise rotating bezel with metal insert. I really like that they went with the metal insert because I want this watch to age. I really would like to see how it will fade after 10 years. The bezel has no play at all. On the Ginault web page, it says that they didn’t machine it, but found the best possible option to take. The lume dot is actually corundum with applied lume. The lume is really great too, holds for very long time and is even better than my Seiko Orange Monster has, which was the benchmark for everything I review in the lume department. On top of the case sits the domed crystal made from corundum, which is an actually smart way to say sapphire. The crystal is 30,4mm in diameter. The thickness is 3,1mm, so basically it can withstand 1,220 meters underwater in computer simulations. However, the actual testing equipment on which they tested the watch could only simulate water pressure up to 1,000 feet. Nonetheless, Ginault crystal went through the testing chamber with flying colours at 1,000 feet. The crystal also is designed so there’s almost no direct light reflection point. So you can wear this watch at direct sunlight and always tell time perfectly clear.
After the case, I usually go right to the dial, but this time I think the bracelet and glide lock clasp is much important! So, what can I say? This is probably the best bracelet I ever tested on this blog so far. The bracelet is machined perfectly, there isn’t much play in it. The solid end links go in and there is barely any gap. The fitment is right on the point. There are 4 permanently jointed solid links and 2 removable solid links on each section of the bracelet. An 8.1-inch wrist could fit in nicely with all links attached. The removable links are held on with screws, that’s why they gave the screwdriver to remove them if needed without a problem. The glide lock clasp is really solid. The glide mechanism works very nice and the machining on this was also on point. The finishing was really nice with polished sides and inside + brushed finishing. Overall it is serious bracelet and clasp there. I really couldn’t find any negative points, I really tried to test it in different environments, but it still holds up to the quality.
Now let’s take a loot at the gorgeous dial. The dial is black glossy enamel. This is the second watch I review that has enamel dial. Not many in this and lower price range use enamel for the dial. But Ginault went the best possible way! The logo on the dial and the font used for specifications are just right. The hour markers are forged and then hand polished for several hours to get the perfect shine. The hour hand and minutes hand is in sword shape. The second’s hand is lollipop type with a red tip. A nice touch I would say. The lume that is applied to the markers and hands is Ginault gold sand lume. It looks like faded vintage lume, but shines very bright first 15 minutes and then it starts to fade away. But don’t worry, it holds 12+ hours as I tested. It is comparable to Superluminova C3 in terms of burst and longevity.
And now we come to the final part, the “heart” of the watch. And damn, Ginault just has done it right. They wanted to use Swiss movements (ETA, Sellita), but stumbled on the problem. The companies policies became very strict to whom they supply their movements to and coupled with a steep price hike choking the supply. It basically meant a death sentence for a micro brand like ours. Then they went to Miyota/Seiko, but it was just too difficult to micro adjusted to all positions. So they went the final way, the Chinese, but they also failed to meet the quality standards that Ginault set. Basically what they asked for was an ETA “standard grade” alternative, that is the mean daily rate be within +/- 12 seconds/day and positional error within +/-30 seconds/day. And they wanted H4 cannon pinion, that is 0.50mm higher than standard issued H2 height. So they came up with an idea to build their own movement domestically (USA). It took them 5 years to reach this, and the Ginault Caliber 7275 was born. It is basically a reproduction of the Swiss ETA 2824-2. But with minor changes.
1. Cannon Pinion has to be 0.50mm taller than the original H2 cannon pinion design. You can see it in this picture below:
2. The consistency and performance of the movement:
3. Being independent from the Swiss Giant’s monopoly choke. They basically are Made in USA watch company.
There were also some parts that they couldn’t get domestically, the hairspring. They wanted the Swiss Incabloc, but they didn’t want to send them it if the movements weren’t assembled in Switzerland. So they went with Wang Jia Ling Shock Absorber. The three leafs cherry blossom shaped shock absorber is Chinese. It is Wang Jia Ling shock absorber. It costs about the same as the Swiss Incabloc.
As you can see the movement is really good, with good specifications. They really go the hard way to test and adjust these movements. Once a completed Caliber 7275 is encased in the watch, it will then go through a 6 weeks journey on their automatic winder to simulate real world use. Ginault watchmakers time each one of them every 7 days, then give each one of them a slight tweak if necessary to make the caliber to run even more accurately until it reaches as close as to 0 in the end of the journey. The mark “X” means the “average daily rate”. The Swiss COSC standard of this particular measurement is +6 / -4. Every watch they sell comes with the document and there you can see results from all the testing. That is really nice that they go extra mile for this. The movement is decorated too, maybe not the best decoration as I can see from the pictures, but it’s there.
The watch also came with the sand colour two piece Nato strap. I don’t like these kinds of straps a lot, I like regular natos a lot better, but this one was surprisingly good. It is soft, despite the thickness. I wore it once on the strap, but I thought that this is the one watch that wears good only on the bracelet, so I took the strap off and put it on the bracelet.
Hmmm, what can I say? It is a heck of a watch. Do I like it? Hell yeah! Do I recommend to buy it? YES! It is a lot of watch for the price. Sapphire crystal, USA built movement, amazing quality, enamel dial, 6-week movement testing, high standards in building the watch, 5 years in developing and all these parts and work that is put in it, just costs 1.299$ in shape of a watch. I think it’s a great deal. Of course, it hasn’t got any heritage like other brands do, but hey, it is a new brand, the word has been spread out, maybe after 10 years, they will be on the top of watchmakers in the world.
Ginault Ocean Rover Specifications:
- 316L Stainless Steel
- 40mm in Diameter
- 47mm in length
- 13.5mm thick
- 20mm lugs
- 148.4 grams
- 120 clicks Counter-Clockwise Rotating Bezel
- Ginault Caliber 7275
- 30.4 Dome Sapphire Crystal
- ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch
- 1,000 Feet or 300 Meter Water Resistance
- Gold Sand Lume