In an effort to bring more content to TickTalk I am starting a new alternative review style, quick reviews. These will not supplant the existing more in-depth versions but will offer me a chance to talk about some of my purchases that I would not have originally intended to review, either due to time or other commitments. I will try to keep them to about 600 words, and they are likely to contain more pictures than the normal reviews. So without further ado, the Rotary Ocean Avenger.
I picked up the Ocean Avenger (GS02694/04) essentially by accident when browsing the on-line store of a well-known UK jewellers, they had a sale on and whilst idly clicking though it caught my eye. Ten minutes and a not unreasonable £80 later I was eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The Ocean Avenger is a watch design and name that was first used by Rotary in the 1960s. With the release of the current Ocean Avenger range, Rotary have pulled the design into the modern day. Re-issuing a watch from the back catalogue is a shrewd move from Rotary and they are not alone in delving into the archives to produce a popular design. Indeed, the classic style of vintage timepieces is seeing a revival with many big name watchmakers drawing from their past designs and finding success.
This is not a straight re-issue, the Ocean Avenger has had a few cosmetic changes and a change in movement but it still contains the essence and design of its forbearer and placed side by side you can see the lineage.
Constructed from stainless steel and polished to a mirror finish, the case comes in at 38mm, with lugs that softly curve away from the main body and sit at a width of 20mm. The bezel is unidirectional, coin cut and flares out from the main body making the case feel larger. Sitting inside it is a black shiny plastic insert, the minutes are marked for the first 15 and then for every 10 and 5, with Arabic numbers or a single index line. The bezel is solid, it registers well and does not feel cheap.
The crown, which sits at the 3 o’clock, is coin cut, partially covered by the bezel and signed with the Rotary R. It does not screw down so alas this cannot be considered a dive watch in the traditional sense, it is however rated to the Rotary Dolphin standard which means it will be fine for showering, swimming and similar (10atm/100 M)
Another feature that has been taken from the original Avenger is its wonderfully domed crystal, upgraded to mineral with the improved durability that confers. It presents a lovely vintage effect but suffers as you would expect with tight angle distortion, not that this particularly bothers me (aside from photographing it) as I find it adds to the charm of a re-issue, I would possibly be less forgiving of a brand new design.
The dial is a uniform matt black with the only numeric markers at 12 and 6, they are silver embossed and catch the light. The index markers are in a patina like orange clearly designed to look like the vintage dial of the 1960 Avenger, the hands are similarly coloured. This does produce a very pleasing effect and really adds to the vintage feel of the watch. Comparing to the original Avenger, they have not transferred across the inner ring of 24-hour number markers, but that makes for a cleaner and less busy dial, a win in my view design-wise. The hands themselves as mentioned are in a patina orange, they are a combination of broad arrow and dauphine design, easy to read and look great.
Originally presented on a black leather strap, I chose to change over to a beige and black NATO strap as I felt that this suited the watch’s design and look. I did take the opportunity to wear the watch on the leather strap for a few days and had no problems with its quality or comfort.
Looking inside the Ocean Avenger, gone is the automatic movement found in the original and in its place is a Ronda Calibre 505.01 quartz, a reliable Swiss made movement (more about Ronda in a previous review). The change to quartz has kept the price down and improved accuracy over the original movement, with the 505 having an expected accuracy of -10 / +20 seconds a month. The 505 also introduces a date complication at the 3 o’clock that was not found on the original, whilst this breaks the symmetry of the watch it has a useful practical application.
A vintage styled watch pulled from the back-catalogue of Rotary and brought up to date with a new movement styling and crystal, in my view a great re-issue that captures the design of the original and is fun and practical to wear. It is available in four (non-chronograph) versions, two on leather straps in stainless steel and PVD rose gold and two on stainless steel straps, in stainless steel and two tone PVD rose gold. Prices range from £139 to £289, significant discounts can be found if you look around on-line.
It has not gone without note that the Ocean Avenger, both original and re-issue, have a striking similarity to the Omega Seamaster 300. Now before there are cries of foul play, Rotary has not set out to clone the Seamaster, many designs look like others, so please don’t start down that route. That said if you enjoy the styling of the Seamaster 300 and don’t feel like spending the cash, maybe the Rotary Ocean Avenger would be a good alternative.