This week, Monta released the third generation of their beloved diver: the Oceanking. Fit with an entirely new bezel assembly, redesigned proportions, and refreshed aesthetics, this is a big release from the St. Louis-based brand. The first generation Oceanking was Monta’s first ever product. Each subsequent generation is a significant milestone for the brand: the latest offering of their flagship property. I’d like to highlight some improvements from the outgoing models, but first, let’s cover the basics.
Before jumping in, I must note that I’m affiliated with Monta. The brand was created by the people behind Everest: the site you’re (hopefully) reading this article on. In fact, Monta is derived from the French word montagne, or mountain: an homage to Everest’s namesake. Beyond my connection to this brand, I simply love watches. My thoughts on this release are exactly that – my thoughts.
Third Generation Monta Oceanking (V3)
The third generation Monta Oceanking is what it sets out to be: a highly capable dive watch. It features 300 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown, and a unidirectional dive bezel. The large lumed hour indices are highly legible against the black dial. On the ceramic bezel insert, you’ll find a lume pip at 12 o’clock: an essential feature for timing dives in dark or murky water. Speaking of the Oceanking’s bezel, it’s entirely redesigned for this generation – top to bottom. Beneath the surface (pun intended) is a patent pending assembly suspended by three ball pushers. The 120-click action is rigid, satisfying, and most importantly, functional. You won’t have any trouble accurately setting the Oceanking’s bezel. Thanks to its scalloped knurling, it’s very easy to rotate – even with gloves on. On the surface, you’ll see a ceramic insert marked with a brand new typeface. The bezel itself is a bit wider than the second-gen Oceanking, making for less dial real estate. As such, the dial text has been re-proportioned, making for what I believe to be a tighter, more orderly design. In fact, the smaller logo and dial text is one of my favorite aspects of this new Oceanking.
Beneath the bezel is a slightly tweaked (from the previous version) 316L stainless steel case. It’s mostly brushed, but the sides, crown guards, and outer bevels are polished, giving the Oceanking a nice mix of finishes. The dimensions are among the biggest selling points of this watch. At 40.5mm in diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug, and 12mm thick, it’s hard to imagine better proportions for a dive watch; it truly occupies the Goldilocks zone, fitting most wrists without any outlying dimensions.
The Oceanking's size is made possible by the small-but-mighty Monta automatic Caliber M-22, based on the Selitta SW300. You can’t go wrong with this time-and-date movement – ample power reserve (56 hours), 4hz beat rate, and accuracy well within the realm of chronometer standards (just without the certificate). Of course, you can’t have a wristwatch without a bracelet (or strap). Monta is renowned for their comfortable three-link bracelets. The third generation Oceanking delivers accordingly. Securing the bracelet is the familiar Oceanking clasp, equipped with six micro-adjustment points for on-the-fly fitting. While this is the same clasp functionally, the outside has been completely redesigned, featuring elegant brushing and a small Monta emblem.
Third Gen Monta Oceanking vs Predecessors
The Oceanking has come a long way in just three generations. The second generation brought the Monta caliber M-22 and a lumed bezel: monumental steps for the model. This time around, we got a brand new bezel assembly, a much improved ceramic insert, simplified lume via a 12 o’clock pip, and various aesthetic touches (e.g. debossed crown, redesigned outer clasp). I love the redesigned proportions of the third generation Oceanking. For me, the bezel is the biggest visual improvement. I was never a huge fan of the typefaces on the first two generations, particularly on the narrower bezel of the V2. I like the look of the third generation’s wider bezel and accompanying compact dial layout. Similarly, I love the pared-down lume pip as opposed to every index on the bezel being lumed (as with the second gen). With these improvements, I feel like the Oceanking has grown into itself. Functionality is the clear priority, but with three generations under their belt, Monta was able to thoughtfully refine the watch’s aesthetics at the same time. The third generation Oceanking’s indices, handset, and new dial proportions feel right at home in a very mid-century-inspired tool watch design. At the price point, you’ll be hard pressed to find a dive watch with such high quality materials, functionality, and fit/fini.sh.