The Ocean One Vintage Dual Time by German brand Steinhart was inspired by the Rolex GMT Master II, and in particular its distinctive two-colour bezel (the red-blue version known as the Pepsi bezel), with the white dial that originated with the PanAm Rolex GMT made as a limited edition for the airline’s pilots in 1954. The intricacies of patent legislation apparently permit the use of elements such as the two-colour Rolex bezel (and one company, Speedometer Official, makes bracelets in this pattern) and this is what Steinhart have done. A comparison between the Rolex original and the Steinhart version shows a lot of differences in the detailing.
Case and dial
The Ocean One Vintage Dual Time is 42 mm in diameter and 16 mm thick, in part due to the high domed sapphire crystal. The dial is in a graduated colour, moving from a very light grey-beige in the centre and darkening at the edges, a pattern that makes it look cambered and increases the vintage character. The luminescent paint on the hour markers and Mercedes hands is in a beige colour that simulates “old radium.” Likewise the red-blue bezel is in less intense colour than the Rolex original, as if it had faded. Unlike the Rolex bezel which is a prestigious feat of ceramic engineering, with two colours of their proprietary Cerachrom, the Steinhart bezel is in stainless steel with coated aluminium inlay.
The date window reveals another engaging detail: alternating red and black numbers. The fourth GMT hand indicates the hours in a second time zone, and it can be adjusted from the crown: the bezel can also be rotated to provide a quicker method of changing time zone. The two colours of the bezel originate from the idea of a day/night indication. What sets Steinhart a touch above other German entry-level watch brands is the quality of the detailing: the differentiated satin and bright finish on the case, the Steinhart logo crisply engineered onto the screw-down crown, the precision of the dial printing, the quality of the rotating bezel’s ratchet. The watch can be supplied with the classic metal bracelet (the obvious choice for people who like the idea of a Rolex look-alike) or a brown leather strap. Water resistance is 300 metres.
For brands like Steinhart that buy movements from specialist movement manufacturers, the year 2020 will be a significant watershed, because Swatch Group brand ETA will no longer supply their movements to companies outside Swatch Group. In this piece Steinhart use a Swiss-made Soprod SOP A10-24h Top self-winding movement, personalized with a 24-hour module driving the GMT hand, and a skeletonized rotor marked Steinhart visible through the transparent caseback. The latter in itself is a significant difference between this piece and the Rolex original, which has a solid caseback. The movement has the stop-second feature for precision setting. It runs at 28,800 vph (4 Hertz) and has a 42-hour power reserve.
Reference and price
Price is of course a major difference between the Rolex GMT Master II, for which the price is around $9,000, and the Steinhart piece. The Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Dual Time Premium, item number T0227, can be purchased from the company’s website, www.steinhartwatches.de, for €840 inclusive of VAT, €706 without VAT, plus shipping costs.