The Ginault Ocean Rover is probably the most talked about and written about dive watch on the internet and YouTube. Many watch review sites have reviewed it. After reading and watching many of these reviews, I knew I had to check this watch out for myself. There are many questions surrounding this watch that I can’t answer, nor will I attempt to. I am not going to look into the company, the people behind it or any claims being made about the Ocean Rover by Ginault. Instead, I am concentrating on just on the watch itself and what I have discovered. Is this watch quite possibly the best Submariner homage on the market?
If you don’t like dive watches or the classic Rolex Submariner, that this watch review isn’t for you. Dating back to 1953, the Submariner has been on the market and copied more than just about any other watch I can think of, at all price levels. For me, it’s pretty much my favorite iconic watch type. Over the years, Rolex (and Tudor) have offered many different variations of the Submariner in quantities ranging from large to miniscule. The Military Submariner, or MilSub, is the military-issued Rolex dive watch originally issued as a standard piece of equipment by the British Military of Defense during WWII. It was used by them up to approximately 1957 when the Submariner replaced it.
Ocean Rover vs Submariner
For this review I am comparing the Ocean Rover with information gathered on the current Rolex Submariner 114060, both without the 3 o’clock date option. There are a few key differences between these watches. The Ocean Rover is 2 mm narrower at the tapered end of the lugs and has a narrower crown guard, similar to the previous generation Submariner. The current Submariner now has a wider crown guard and it’s lugs are now 27 mm across, a big difference from the previous generation’s 24 mm. In addition, my measurements indicate that the bracelet on the Ocean Rover tapers from 19.5 to 15.5 mm while the current Submariner tapers from 20 to 16 mm. There is also no Ginault flower logo on the glide lock clasp of the Ocean Rover as compared to the crown logo on the Rolex. I would prefer there was a line engraved “Ginault” across the raised center section of the opening portion of the clasp. The Ocean Rover is slightly thicker than the Submariner (13.8 vs 12.8 mm) and uses a case back that appears to be virtually the same. All other dimensions of these two watches appear to be very similar, but overall I prefer the Ginault’s dimensions.
The face of the Ocean Rover differs from the Submariner by having sword hands (like most Mil-Spec Rolex’s) rather than the Mercedes hand set. The Ocean Rover has outstanding gold sand type lume (similar to what was used on some Rolex’s) rather than the upgraded Chromalight blue lume of the Submariner. The wording, name and logo on the face of the Ocean Rover is completely different from the Submariner, but uses fonts similar to the classic Rolex verbiage.
The glossy porcelain black face finish and applied lume points with stainless steel surround are superb on the Ocean Rover and the Submariner as well. The Ocean Rover has a red second hand with a rectangular counterweight rather than the Submariner’s silver second hand with lollipop at the tail end. Both watches use sapphire crystals and are rated 300M w/r. Rolex now uses their more durable Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert, which is not available on the Ocean Rover. The 12 o’clock dive bezel lume dots on these watches are very similar. The lume quality and life on the Ocean Rover is superb and I am sure a match for the Submariner.
Every single detail on the Ocean Rover is superb. This includes the case, bracelet, clasp, bezel, face, crown, back, end links and crown guard. Polishing and brushing of the case and bracelet are superb. The tool included to adjust the links of the bracelet on the Ocean Rover works flawlessly with the extremely well machined polished flat head screws used in their bracelet links. The glide lock clasp is a a perfect copy of the one used on the current Submariner and the end links are very well machined and finished; these details should not be overlooked. Until the Ginault, I did not know what fine timepiece quality was in a homage Submariner dive watch. Rolex uses their proprietary 904L stainless steel and Ginault uses 316L stainless steel. Corrosion resistance is supposed to be superior with 904L stainless steel. Only the face of the glide lock clasp on this particular Ocean Rover has scratched to any degree. I have not worn any watch with a stainless steel clasp that didn’t scratch in this area.
According to the calibration document included with each Ocean Rover, all of their caliber 7275 movements are regulated every seven days over a six week period. The ETA 2824-2 clone movement on my particular example is about a second fast per day. The calibration document that came with this watch says it is 1.2 seconds per day fast. This movement, according to Ginault, is 28,800 bph, 25 jewel with a 38 hour reserve. Ginault states that the movement uses a Nivarox hairspring, mainspring and a WJL shock absorber and is cut, machined, assembled and tuned in the United States. Interestingly, the calibration document included with the Ginault movement shows the watch with a date window, which is not the case in my example. For close ups of the movement, please watch the excellent You Tube video of the Ocean Rover by Bruce Williams.
The Rolex uses their own in house 3130 movement. It has 31 jewels, a 48 hour reserve, is 28,800 bph and is COSC to +/- 2 seconds per day. Not having long term experience with either watch movement, I cannot say which movement performs better or has a longer life. Of course, the 3130 in the Rolex is Swiss made (as far as the rules go) and is considered a very fine, proven automatic movement. Servicing the Ginault movement should be much less expensive than the Rolex.
So what isn’t there to rave about on the Ocean Rover? I would like three lines of verbiage on the face removed so it only says the brand name, Ocean Rover and 1000ft/300m. The wording on the face of the Ocean Rover is making fun of Submariner terminology, something that I have not seen before on other homage dive watches. I wish someone could develop a scratch proof stainless steel for these watches. I understand that the Ocean Rover bracelet is interchangeable with the Submariner.
I prefer the gold sand lume of the Ginault, which is not available on a modern Rolex Submariner. I also prefer the Ocean Rover’s sword hands without the Mercedes hour hand and also the Ocean Rover’s red second hand. The narrower lug width of the Ocean Rover is a big plus for me as well, since it makes the proportions of the watch absolutely perfect for my 7 inch wrist. Comfort of the Ocean Rover could not be better for me.
The Ocean Rover suggested retail price is $1299. For the month of May, buyers using the coupon code “openbox45” during checkout receive a 45% discount for a written open box review on the forum of your choice, in any language. Alternately, buyers using coupon code “youtube50” during checkout, receive a 50% discount for reviews posted on YouTube, Vimeo or any video sharing platform in any language. If you post photos of your Ocean Rover on any social media platform such as Instagram or Facebook, Ginault will also provide the buyer with an additional 3% discount via Paypal after sending the link to Ginault to confirm it.
The suggested retail price of the current model Rolex 114060, no date Submariner is $7500, when purchased new through authorized dealers. I believe some discounts are available. Factory warranty on a new Submariner is now five years; for the Ginault it is one year. Without having hands on experience with a Rolex Submariner, I can’t really determine if the Submariner is worth from over five to over nine times the price of the Ginault.
At this point in time, I don’t believe there is a better Submariner homage watch than the Ocean Rover. Ginault’s business model is direct to consumer online selling emphasizes quality and performance. The lack of pedigree and history in Ginault should be overlooked. Advertising by word of mouth from owners through online reviews really emphasizes and confirms Ginault’s credibility. I wish them well and I am looking forward to additional new models in the future. ginault.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.