Friday, February 13, 2015

OCEAN7 LM5 GMT - A perfect gentleman's watch in every sense, A Review

If you have been following my collection journey especially on the Ocean7 Watch Company, I already have three of its offerings (The LM8,
Airnautic Early Bird and the LM3 V2). This latest acquisition will be the fourth.

The LM5 GMT has been touted to be one of the most beautiful diver given the use of sapphire not only as a material for the crystal covering the dial but also as the base material for the bezel itself.

I like doing business with Ocean7 Watch Company. The owner, Mitchell Feig, keep close connections with the people who have bought, and will eventually buy, his watches.

On Ocean7's website (, the retail price is USD899 (excluding handling charges). With an additional USD79.81 for FedEX courier service, the total investment was USD978.81 or RM3,692.31. The transaction was effected on 30 January 2015. The packaged arrived safely on 9 February 2015, a day after my 45th birthday. I like to think of this watch as a present to myself :).

A big courier box full of packaging material for the protection of the cargo. The actual package from Ocean7 was wrapped tightly in bubble-wrap. A cube-like box with the brand printed in colour on top of it. This is actually a sleeve to another box. Opening this box, you will finally see the actual leatherette box. This is the same watch box that I got for the other three Ocean7 watches I got previously.

The lid on the leatherette box is held down by two push buttons. The inside is segregated into three areas; the left section houses the paperwork, warranty card, polishing cloth and Mitchell Feig's business card; the middle section houses the watch on its own pillow; and the right section designed to securely a spare strap. Apart from what was mentioned, there was nothing else provided.

The LM-5 GMT features a 42 mm stainless steel case that is completely polished and only 13 mm thick. The lug to lug width is 53 mm and comes fitted to a 22 mm wide carbon/leather style strap and secured with a push-button deployment clasp. The strap material looks like carbon fiber but beautifully integrated with the leather inner-lining. Total weight of the watch stands at just 110 grams. This was has been rated to dive down to 200 meters.

Previously, I was also given some stickers but not in this package :(.

The most mesmerizing aspect of this watch is the crystal and bezel. Made out of domed sapphire crystal, the bezel and watch face looks seamless and provides a visual experience that is seldom seen in many watches. For quality dive watches, ceramic has been the material of choice for the bezel. The ability to be scratch resistance was a primary reason why a lot of manufacturers chose that material. Sapphire crystal could also do the same scratch resistance job. Unfortunately, the manufacturing process appears to be more tedious. Therefore, only a few manufacturers decided to proceed with this alternative material.

The bezel features a fully lumed scale and has the ‘pepsi’ strip of red and blue. The red section (from 6:00 hours to 18:00 hours) indicates daylight whereas the rest is in blue to signify nighttime. In keeping to the GMT function, the bezel has Arabic (for the even hours) and small markers (for the odd hours). To fulfill the ISO6425 international standards for dive watches, a large triangle lumed hour marker has been put at the 12 o’clock position on the bezel. To me, using sapphire crystal for the bezel allows the whole bezel to be lumed and this looks really cool in the dark. Moreover, the continuous crystal finish from dial to bezel makes the watch look expensive.

The bezel turns only one way and moves in 120-click increments to complete one cycle. To turn the bezel requires you to firmly grip the bezel on the metal side. Trying to turn it by using the friction of your skin on your finger tips on the crystal part of the bezel does not work. Meanwhile, the sapphire crystal features an internal anti-reflective coating. 

The dial is very simple and uncluttered despite the four hands, the date window. The designers at Ocean7 allocated a very small footprint for the date window between the 4 and 5 o’clock position. What I truly appreciate about the design is the lack of a need to sacrifice any of the major and minor markers for the date window. At night, with the luminous paints working, you will be able to see a symmetrical without any dark gaps.

The additional 4th hand, the hand with the red borders on the arrowhead is the GMT hand that turns a complete circle in 24 hours. The reference scale for this complication is located on the bezel itself.

The only text found on the dial is the brand, “OCEAN7” and the word “GMT” in red. Another excellent design choice of keeping text to a minimum. The beauty of the watch lies in the simplicity of the dial.

On the right you can see the lume effect on the dial of the watch as well as the areas on the hands that have been provided with the special Super-LumiNova paint (photo from Ocean7). The additional lume effect from the bezel is really something not seen in many watches. Although the watch is only 42 mm wide, the lumed bezel makes it look bigger than its actual size. It is a spectacular effect.

The watch comes with a 3D carbon leather strap with a 22 mm width. It is referred to as 3D carbon because of the structure of the strap that looks like the weaving of carbon fiber. It has a leather base that is soft. The strap comes with a double deployant clasp. Although it works very simple by pressing the two buttons in the middle of the deployant clasp to release the straps, trying to put the tail-end of the strap into the two strap rings when reengaging the locking mechanism is a bit awkward. Nevertheless, having a deployant clasp instead of using a buckle system does have its merits. One of the biggest merits of such a system is safety. Imagine this scenario; while fiddling with the buckle you accidentally lose grip on the watch. What happens next? The watch is on the floor, dented, or even worst, broken.

I personally advocate the use of a bracelet or deployant clasp if you want to use straps. If you do have a watch with a buckle system, when putting on or taking off the watch, rest it over a flat surface to minimize any damage if it slips away from you.

The watch has a solid screw down case-back. On this case-back you can see the brand logo etched prominently in the center as well as some basic information about the watch. The same logo can also be seen at the top of the screw down crown.

The engine that powers this beauty is the ETA 2893-2 movement. A self-winding automatic movement with Incabloc Shock Protection system and Etachron Regulator System. Only 25.6 mm wide and 4.1 mm tall, this 21 jewels movement operates in the 28,800 beats per hour frequency with a power reserve 42 hours.

The casing on the watch is highly polished steel. Forged from a block of surgical steel (although it was never mentioned anywhere, I suspect it is made out of 316L stainless steel), it has the strength to protect the movement from 20 ATM of pressure. Personally, I would prefer it to be semi-brushed surface. As it is now, the casing is susceptible to finger prints.

Below you can see the 3D carbon leather strap design with the thick black stitching on the side. 

The thicker bezel that generally comes with dive watches limits the actual dial surface. This point of focus explains why there is a tendency for sport watches to be bigger compared to formal or dress watches. Purely to compensate for the lack of dial surface. I must say this 42 mm wide dive watch is somewhat of a joy to wear. This is because the sapphire crystal used on both the bezel and watch face looks seamless and provides a visual experience that allows one to fully appreciate the 42 mm wide surface.  

The whole package, from the design of the watch, the comfortable leather strap and the overall size of the watch makes the wearing experience to be quite enjoyable. It can be worn for all occasions and types of environment; in the sea, at the beach or even in a boardroom.

Quite a number of reviewers have mentioned similarities of this watch to some classic and iconic designs. I have decided against making any comparisons. For me, this watch is unique on its own and should be recognized as such. Putting together all the designed elements, incorporating a Swiss movement and pricing it below USD1,000 is already a testament of Ocean7’s watch pedigree.


In all honesty, this is a nice watch. Not too big, not too small, not too flashy, not too drab, just perfect.


  1. why there is a tendency for sport watches to be bigger compared to formal or dress watches. Purely to compensate for the lack of dial surface.

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