BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
Being a passionate watch lover, I spend a good part of my day writing about watches and discovering new and intriguing timepieces that offer a good value proposition. Over the course of time I have seen my personal horological tastes evolve and these days I gravitate more towards big and brawny dive watches. So, over the two past months, I got the opportunity to experience a new chunky diver from Hong Kong-based brand Andersmann, I could not resist. And now that I have handled the watch for a while here’s my detailed rundown of the Andersmann Oceanmaster II.
Let’s begin by talking a little about the face of the watch. The dial on the Oceanmaster II has been cleanly executed with a heavy focus on legibility, which is one of the key characteristics of a dive watch. It has been rendered in a deep black shade and has a nice grainy texture to it which gives it a distinctive visual appeal. The dial has a sandwich style construction with a layer of superluminova at the bottom followed by an upper layer which is then cut out to create the hour markings. I really appreciate this style of construction as it gives the dial a nice sense of depth and helps with better luminescence which makes it easier to read the time in low light situations. Taking center stage on the dial are bold Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 which are quite reminiscent of markings on a Panerai dial and that is also where the similarities end.
The minute track is refreshingly different and is a combination of printed hash markings and finely cut squares at intervals of 5 which I feel is a great detail that gives the dial an added character. Finally, on the outermost periphery of the dial, you have printed Arabic numerals which makes reading time a little easier with the help of the nicely proportioned handset. The hour and minute hands have a sword style shape while the second’s hand is a stick with a lumed circular pip towards the end. Another aspect of this watch that I really appreciated was that Andersmann did not try to pack in a date keeping the dial clean and symmetrical.
I would now like to talk a little about the lume on this watch. Throughout the dial, Andersmann has made generous use of the beige/custard color tone which includes the lumed base disk, the hands, and all the printed details. To be honest I am not a big fan of the old-radium look which a lot of brands are trying to achieve to evoke a vintage aesthetic in their watches. So, when I first saw the pictures of this watch I was a little confounded by this choice of lume color, especially on a thoroughly modern dive watch. But after using the watch for a while now I must say that it has grown on me and it does look aesthetically pleasing and different. As for the color emitted in low light, this thing glows a bright green and while I am not a diver it should be good enough to bring you back safely from those underwater junkets.
Whenever I hold a new watch in my hands I look for a certain heft and feel of solidity which is something that I felt immediately when I took the Andersmann Oceanmaster II out of its box. Made from 316L stainless steel the case on this watch is 47mm wide, 17mm thick and has a lug to lug distance of around 56mm. As the dimensions suggest this is a large and chunky watch and it wears like a large watch. But what is more important to understand is that this watch was designed to be big and bold and I feel Andersmann has certainly achieved what they wanted to. Cutting a long story short this is a purpose-built tool watch which has been designed keeping in mind serious divers who would be strapping this watch on when they are taking a plunge into the water which could even involve wearing a wet suit in certain situations. And if diving is not your cup of coffee and you still like this watch, then you would certainly need large wrists to pull this one off. Now, let’s keep the size aside and look at other aspects of the case.
To start with the case is well put together and every touch point on it exudes a premium feel which is easily comparable to watches costing three to four times the price of this watch. Most of the case is fully polished which is quite well done and is reminiscent of dive watches from the past. And while I am not against polished cases I would certainly have liked a few more brushed surfaces to avoid the wear and tear this watch might go through if used for its intended purpose. The right-hand side of the case is flanked by a big screw down crown which is protected by the crown guards and is also beautifully knurled making it quite grippy and fun to operate. I grew so fond of it that there were days when I used to simply unscrew it and screw it back down to experience the smooth operation. Sounds nerdy, right and it does not end here as the bezel took my nerdery to a totally different level.
Akin to any other dive watch the Andersmann Oceanmaster II comes equipped with a uni-directional bezel. It features a black ceramic bezel insert which has a Matt finish to it that nicely complements the polished case. The dive time markings are finely engraved and are a combination of hash marks and Arabic numerals at 3,6 and 9. There is also a lume pip at 12 which glows well and can be used in conjunction with the minute hand to time things.
One of the most important features of a bezel is its grip and I am glad to say that the bezel on this watch is certainly one of the better ones out there. It reciprocates the pattern on the crown and is a pleasure to operate. Based upon my usage the action on the bezel is simply superb. The clicks are quite precise and immensely satisfying and there little or no back play between one position and the other. And even though I am not a diver I really enjoyed my time playing around with the high-quality bezel.
Held securely on top of the case is a dual curved sapphire crystal which has a thick anti-reflective coating that works well for the most part and the dial is quite legible at various angles with minimum distortion. Surprisingly though this 1000-meter dive watch also has a 4,5mm sapphire glass on its back. While an exhibition case back on a dive watch might be a little concerning for some of you let me assure you that Andersmann has taken great care of getting this watch professionally tested by a Swiss laboratory for water resistance. Reliability aside the sapphire case back brings forth a great view of the mechanical powerhouse behind this watch.
The Andersmann Oceanmaster II is powered by the Swiss automatic ETA movement 2892-A2. This is a reliable and trustworthy movement which is known for its thinness and accuracy. To give you some perspective this is the same movement which was used as a base in the previous generation Omega Seamaster 300 diver. It operates at a frequency of 4 Hz and offers a power reserve of around 42 hours. The movement has also been beautifully decorated with blued screws, perlage on the base plate and Geneva striping on the rotor.
In all, I would like to conclude by saying that I had a great time with the Andersmann Oceanmaster II and was taken aback by the quality that this watch offers especially at the price point. The robust case construction, awesome bezel and crown, highly legible dial and a great automatic movement combine to form a power-packed wristwatch. The watch retails at a price of USD 1,280 which I think is a bargain considering what you are getting for the money. The watch comes packaged along with 26mm leather and rubber straps. Unfortunately, I did not get to experience the leather strap but the rubber strap which my review sample was attached to was of a high quality and made the watch sit comfortably and securely on my wrist.