The Mechanic Ocean is Crafter Blue’s maiden watch offering, their first line of watches after having offered quality rubber straps for quite some time now. Billed as a serious dive watch, let’s see how the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean fare!
Crafter Blue – the Brand
I’ve previously covered Crafter Blue as a brand in my introductory article on the Crafter Blue Hyperion Ocean, which was on Kickstarter then. Currently, the Hyperion Ocean can still be pre-ordered on their website for just $539 USD (after the promo code below), which would actually make it even cheaper than its initial Kickstarter pricing! For those interested in Crafter Blue as a brand, do read my article on them here.
Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean – Build Quality
Given that the Mechanic Ocean is meant to be a serious dive watch, it is unsurprisingly well built.
Firstly, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean utilises a domed sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch.
The Mechanic Ocean also comes with a helium escape valve for serious divers. The valve, combined with the screwed down crown, contributes to the watch’s 300M WR rating, which is more than enough for a diving trip at Tioman Island. This is definitely one that’s built for the water!
The Mechanic Ocean is powered by Crafter Blue’s Calibre 3531, which the brand states is based upon the workhorse Seiko NH35A movement. To me, it seems like the Calibre 3531 is simply a “zhnged” (enhanced) version of the Seiko NH35A movement, with a custom rotor finished with Geneva waves in red gold, as well as having been adjusted and regulated by Crafter Blue for greater accuracy. Some specifications: the movement beats at 21600 vibrations per hour, has 42 hours of power reserve, contains 24 jewels, and is hacking, just like a regular Seiko NH35A. Honestly, I’m not a fan of brands renaming a stock movement, as it gives off the mistaken impression that the movement is an in-house one – though to be fair, luxury Swiss brands such as Maurice Lacroix, Oris, Longines, etc do this all the time as well. I’ve no issues with the movement itself, which I’ve found to be accurate and reliable in my time with the watch.
Crafter Blue started out offering some of the best vulcanised rubber straps in the market for divers – simply search the net, and rave reviews are plentiful. Interacting with the blue/red vulcanised rubber strap on the Mechanic Ocean, I can see why their straps are so well received. The rubber strap is simply brilliant, by far the best and most comfortable rubber strap I’ve encountered on a dive watch till date. It’s superbly supple, and comes with twice the usual amount of holes for one to find the perfect fit. It feels premium as well, and reminds me of the rubber straps on 5/6 figures Hublot or even Richard Mille watches. Usually, the strap is often the weak link in microbrand watches – here, it is the star.
What’s a dive watch without lume? Thankfully, the lume on the Mechanic Ocean is rather good, glowing strongly in the darkness and lasts for a decent amount of time as well. In particular, the bezel pip is lumed too! Curiously, Crafter Blue doesn’t list the type of lume used on the Mechanic Ocean, though to my eyes it seems to be BGW9.
Overall, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean is a solid dive watch. It has a domed sapphire crystal, a workhorse Seiko NH35A based movement, a wonderful rubber strap, and strong lume to boot.
Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean – Design
The Mechanic Ocean doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to dive watch design, but it does come together nicely as a package.
Visually, the Mechanic Ocean seems to be a mix of iconic dive watches – the bezel of the Seiko Samurai, and the dial of a Rolex Submariner. It’s not the most original design out there, but it is well executed and composed. Firstly, the blue sunburst dial of the Mechanic Ocean is eye-catching, and plays with the light wonderfully. I’ve stated in numerous prior reviews that blue is my favourite colour, and this blue sunburst dial really steals my heart. Secondly, I appreciate how Crafter Blue took the extra step and went with a black date wheel to match the dark blue dial better. As mentioned in my review of the Aquatico Bronze Blue Angel, a mismatched date wheel is a pet peeve of mine, and I’m glad Crafter Blue didn’t fall into that trap here! Elsewhere, the applied indices and lollipop seconds hand take clear inspiration from the Rolex Submariner, though Crafter Blue did drop Rolex’s iconic Mercedes hands for more generic sword hands to prevent the Mechanic Ocean from becoming too much of an homage.
The “Pepsi” bezel of the Mechanic Ocean is well executed and looks striking, though it does reminds me of the bezels found on Seiko dive watches. The aluminium unidirectional bezel is nicely finished, though the bezel is a tad bit hard to rotate – the bezel should have been larger. There’s also the words “helium escape valve” and “professional diver’s 300m” inscribed, which reinforces the tool watch vibe of the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean. In addition, the screw-down crown is positioned on the left side, instead of the usual right! Crafter Blue states that this is to prevent accidental turning of the crown – which, whilst underwater might lead to water getting into the watch – but it’s also a great option for left handers! To my knowledge, Crafter Blue is one of the few microbrands with left crowns on watches, so if you’re a lefty who’s been struggling with crowns on the right side of watches all this while, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean should appeal to you! Lastly, the crown itself is nicely sized and signed as well.
The caseback of the Mechanic Ocean is relatively simple, with some relevant specification inscribed on the back as well as a simple artwork of what looks like a mermaid with a trident. I also would like to highlight the bi-colour nature of the rubber strap, which is navy blue on the outside, and fiery red on the inside as pictured above. The strap colours complement the “Pepsi” colour of the bezel perfectly, and it’s a colour combination that works really well.
The Mechanic Ocean wears surprisingly well on my 7 inch wrist. I initially feared the hulking 45mm diameter of the watch, but the curved lugs, as well as that wonderful curved end rubber strap makes the Mechanic Ocean wear smaller than its specifications otherwise suggest. Nevertheless, it’s still definitely one that you would notice on your wrist, especially given its substantial 15.8mm thickness! If you’re a fan of bulkier tool watches, the Mechanic Ocean will be right up your alley.
All in all, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean is a nicely composed package, and striking on the wrist. As aforementioned, it’s not the most innovative design, but what’s present is well executed. In particular, I love the blue sunburst dial with black date wheel, as well as the “Pepsi” bezel with the blue/red bicolour strap.
Shootout: Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean vs Seiko Prospex Samurai
If you have about ~S$500+, and are on the lookout for a dive watch, the main alternative one would look at would be the venerable Seiko Prospex Samurai. As such, the Seiko Samurai will be the comparision for today!
In terms of specifications, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean undoubtedly trumps the Seiko Prospex Samurai. Firstly, the Mechanic Ocean uses a sapphire crystal as compared to hardlex on the Seiko. Secondly, the Mechanic Ocean also possesses a higher 300M WR rating due to features such as a helium escape valve, as compared to 200M on the Seiko Samurai. Thirdly, whilst both watches use essentially the same base movement, the “Calibre 3531” of the Mechanic Ocean is regulated for better accuracy, as well as decorated. Lastly, the strap on the Mechanic Ocean is miles better than the default one found on the Samurai. In almost every regard, the Mechanic Ocean is slightly better in build quality than the Samurai.
From a design perspective, it’s a close one – both are great lookers. Both watches have things going for them – I love the “Pepsi” colour template of the Mechanic Ocean, whilst the clous de Paris guilloche dial of the Samurai is stunning as well. If I have to choose, I’ll probably go with the Seiko Samurai – the design is more unique, and iconic, than the Submariner-inspired dial of the Mechanic Ocean.
Given that both watches are similar in price, which watch is better for you depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a tool watch, a serious diver to withstand the trials and tribulations of the elements, there’s no doubt the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean is better built. However, if you’re on the hunt for a desk diver, and likely would never bring the watch anywhere near the ocean or even a swimming pool, the Seiko Samurai is a great, stylish choice that watch snobs won’t turn their nose at.
Conclusion – so the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean “shiok” or not?
I think the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean fits a lot of bills. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense tool/dive watch, it’s one sturdily built watch with impressive specifications. There’s sapphire crystal to protect the watch from scratches, a wonderful rubber strap that hugs your wrist like a sock, and good lume. I did consider whether I would have preferred the Mechanic Ocean to come with a Swiss movement, but that would have led to greater servicing costs down the road as compared to the workhorse Seiko NH35A movement upon which the Crafter Blue Calibre 3531 is based on. Finally, if you’re a lefty searching for a left-handed watch, the Mechanic Ocean ticks that box as well!
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant you 10% off all Crafter Blue watches, as well as Crafter Blue straps! After the discount, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean can be had for just $385 USD/ ~S$530. If you’re looking for a daily beater, the Crafter Blue Mechanic Ocean makes a strong case for itself. Furthermore, if you’re looking for quality curved end rubber straps for your Seiko/Tudor watches, do check out some of their straps too – likely the best curved end rubber straps in the market. Lastly, if you’re looking for something with even better specifications, the Swiss-Made Crafter Blue Hyperion Ocean is available to pre-order at just $539 USD/ ~S$748 (after the promo code above)!
Screw-in crown on left hand
Helium escape valve
Unidirectional rotating bezel with a luminous index at 12 o’clock
Strap color: Blue and red
Case: 316L stainless steel
Case Diameter: 45mm
Case Back: Stainless steel
Dial color: Blue
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal
Movement: Calibre 3531 (based on Seiko movement, stop-seconds function, 21,600 vibrations
Water Resistance: 300m / 999 ft
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!