Hands-On With The Horon Ocean Hunter Dive Watch
Dive watches are ten a penny when it comes to new microbrands. It often seems to be the go-to style for brands when they’re starting out. Why? Well, a dive watch is possibly one of the most well-rounded styles in as much as it’s a rugged tool built to handle the rigors of everyday life. It’s often a little less niche than, say, a dress watch. As a result, the microbrand market is somewhat saturated with dive watches, and it takes something a little bit different to stand out. When Horon Watches dropped us an email about its upcoming Ocean Hunter dive watch, there was something there that piqued our interest enough to want to have a closer look.
With the sheer number of dive watches on the market, it’s damn near impossible to come up with a unique name. I appreciate this, but I’ll admit that the name “Ocean Hunter” came across as very typical and generic. Do I have a better option to propose? No, but that’s not my job. My job is to say it as I see it.
A classic dive watch blueprint
Upon holding the watch for the first time, I have to admit that it felt pretty well put together for the most part. Perhaps unfairly, I had expected it to be a little less well built than it actually was. The finishing on the case was rather nicely done. The chamfers had a lovely polish with no bleeding into the brushed sections. The 42mm case is an appropriate size for a tool watch. Sure, I usually prefer 40mm, but that’s just my personal taste. One of my favorite watches in my collection is actually 42mm, so numbers don’t always mean everything. The 49mm lug-to-lug meant the watch sat well on the wrist, and the length was nicely in proportion to the rest of the watch. The 13.3mm thickness is also relatively slim for a 300m microbrand dive watch, so no complaints there.
One of the key features of a dive watch is the rotating bezel. Used to track dive times, it’s a pretty important feature. It’s one of the first things I check when handling dive watches, and it’s also one of the harder things to get right. Sadly, the bezel is where the Ocean Hunter loses some big points. I hate back-play on a bezel. It can completely kill the premium vibe of a watch. I’m not suggesting that the Horon Ocean Hunter is premium or luxury in the grand scheme of things, but with prices starting at $499 USD, I would have hoped for a more solid bezel action. The bezel also uses a scalloped edge, similar to the classic Omega Seamaster design. Unfortunately, this means it falls foul of a slight lack of grip at times, regardless of how nice it looks.
The bracelet left a positive impression
It’s not the first time I’ve noted how much of a difference a bracelet can make to a watch. A good bracelet can make the overall package feel like more than a sum of its parts. On the flip side, a poor bracelet can obliterate a watch before it has a chance to get going. Thankfully, the Ocean Hunter has a rather nicely made bracelet. The machining is excellent, and as a result, the link articulation is lovely. It’s very comfortable on the wrist, and the folding clasp offers the wearer a handy dive extension.
I’d mention the bracelet chamfers if I had to be really picky. As lovely and as well finished as they are, the homogeny with the case chamfers is very slightly off. I’d prefer them to be precisely the same width to allow for a more cohesive and flowing design. It’s far from a dealbreaker, but when spending $499 USD or more, you start to hone in on the more minor details, as it’s a decent wedge of cash to be parting with.
The Ocean Hunter shines
Horon offers backers the choice of four different dials. The Kraken uses a single-layer dial construction with a lovely meteorite finish. The other three use a two-part construction with stamped guilloché textures in various colors. A black/gray combo (Hydra) is the most traditional, and a bright blue/orange combo (Naga) is the most eye-catching. Neatly tucked in the middle is the Leviathan model, which is the one Horon sent in for review. It features blue and black for its color scheme, and it’s definitely my favorite of the guilloché dials.
The two-part construction affords the dial an excellent depth. The central section is the deepest with a more traditional guilloché pattern. Horon chose a nice applied logo below 12 o’clock here. I could do without the large “AUTOMATIC 300M” text, though. It draws attention away from the guilloché, which is supposed to be the star of the show. It just makes the dial a little bit busier than it needs to be.
The outer section hosts the applied hour markers and features a contrasting, finer guilloché pattern. The black color used here helps complement and differentiate itself from the inner section. Horon chose a combination of vivid BGW9 and C3 lume for the Ocean Hunter. It pleases me to say the watch is blinding. On all too many samples I’ve had for review, the lume has been less than satisfactory. It’s nice to see a brand do things right the first time around and nail the lume from the off. Outside the dial, we see a chapter ring in blue and black, and a two-tone matte ceramic bezel insert encircles it all. The blue and black colors used here have no functional purpose as they would on a GMT bezel, for example. Rather, they simply match the color scheme of the dial. Stylistically, it does look cool. I can’t help but feel that its non-function is a bit of a bummer, though.
A Sellita SW-200 powers the Ocean Hunter. At this price, it’s nice to see that Horon used a Swiss movement. I’d have been plenty happy with a Miyota 9-series, but it’s cool that Horon went the extra mile and equipped the watch with the Sellita. You can take a look at the reliable SW-200 complete with its custom rotor through the display case back. The one thing I will say — and this is aimed at Sellita, not Horon — is that 38 hours of power reserve is old news. In this day and age, I would like to see Sellita improve on that. When La Joux-Perret is offering 60-hours of power reserve in a similarly priced movement, 38 hours no longer cuts the mustard. Obviously, this is not on Horon. The brand has still chosen a great movement and kept the price very attractive.
Horon Ocean Hunter price & availability
Overall, this is a fairly solid watch. It’s not a perfect watch, but does such a thing really exist at this price point? Horon has built a decent watch and is offering it at an attractive price. A Swiss-made movement and 300m of water resistance for $499 USD should not be sniffed at. If you like the guilloché dials, then this may well be the watch for you. If you don’t, then you can always go for the meteorite dial instead. That would probably be my choice too.