You’d be forgiven if your eyes popped out of your head upon seeing the Monta Oceanking’s $3,550 asking price. Most watch enthusiasts would probably agree with you, too, because that’s a significant chunk of change to ask in an industry that relies so heavily on brand perception to reel in consumers. But here’s the thing: despite the fact that the Oceanking lacks the rich history and branding of Rolex, Omega, and others, it isn’t your run-of the-mill, micro-brand dive watch. Indeed, it’s step or two above the traditional entry to the genre, from build quality, attention to detail, and movement choice, and this is largely due to parent company Everest Straps’ existing experience in the industry.
First, let’s dig into the Oceanking’s backstory. To help ease any lingering skepticism, Monta is linked to Everest Straps, a popular company known for producing accessories for a variety of Rolex models. In the past few years, Everest has grown drastically, adding dealers across the globe while introducing straps for many of the legendary brand’s models. Somewhere along the line, the idea of a watch came into existence but there was one problem: adorning Everest Horology Products across the dial wasn’t going to cut it. As such, the adventurous-sounding Monta was born, derived from the French word montagne—or English for mountain.
Paying tribute to classic tool watches, the Oceanking wears its influences proudly–the design is essentially an amalgam of styling reminiscent of watches like the Rolex Submariner and Omega Seamaster 300. Closer inspection, however, reveals surprising details not often seen in many micro brands’ lineups. Just take a look at the chamfered edge starting on the inside of a lug that extends to the sides of the watch, neatly wrapping around to the next lug. While this doesn’t quite jump out at you at first glance, the work and design that went into it is certainly appreciated.
Interestingly enough, the dial’s indices are shaped and cut in such a way that gives the Oceanking a unique, reflective presence not unlike that of a Grand Seiko. Markers at 12, 3, and 9 are beveled and filled with lume, which sounds like standard fare. But depending on the way indices catch light, they pop with brilliance and even appear to change shape. Monta notes that a patent is associated with the indices, though they don’t go into any particular detail. In any case, they’re damn impressive and make the Oceanking feel special.
On the wrist, the Oceanking sits flat, owing excellent wearability to the lack of a display caseback. And at 40mm, the watch forgoes larger diameters and instead accommodates a variety of wrist shapes and sizes. Some may balk at Monta’s omission of a display back, but historically, a closed back wasn’t a feature of tool watches—the Oceanking is all about tradition after all, and this falls in line with its message.
Powering the Oceanking is an Eterna 3909A, a particularly interesting movement choice, given the micro field is littered with ETA and Miyota offerings. Because of Monta’s status as a newcomer, standing out is key, and Eterna is an excellent mechanism to do it with: the movement comes from a reliable, well-respected manufacturer, and timekeeping is promised to rival chronometer standards. 65 hours of power reserve give the Oceanking enough juice to last through the weekend—if you don’t wear it, that is—and place the watch in the upper echelons of micro brands.
Happily, complaints about the Oceanking are minor. For this reviewer, after extended periods of wear, the section of the rubber strap that kept the keeper in place tended to slightly dig into the wrist and affect long-term comfort. Considering that this is a contemporary dive watch, the lack of a lumed pip on the bezel is puzzling, but rumor has it one is coming at a later date. Regardless, these are relatively minor quibbles, especially since the watch can be swapped over to the bracelet, which is comfortable and offers plenty of micro adjustment.
With all that said, a question still remains: is the Monta Oceanking worth the $3,550 asking price? Based on attention to detail, overall wearability, and movement choice, one would be hard pressed not to recommend the Oceanking. It absolutely feels like a quality piece and, when you take into consideration that the watch is Monta’s first offering, the future looks bright—even if recognition isn’t quite there for more brand conscious buyers. Next to the competition, the watch is just as well executed, if not a touch more cohesive, and to finally answer the question, feels worth the price of admission.
Well done, Monta. Well done.
Thanks to guest contributor Adam Soshnick for this authoring this review. All photos are (c) Adam Soshnick.