In a sea of micro-brands (yes, I made a pun in the first sentence) one has many to choose from. Scrolling through Instagram at five o’clock in the morning, while still wiping the sleep from your eyes, can at times feel like a daunting task. Then, one morning something a bit familiar, yet totally different scrolls down your feed. Enter Octon…
If you’re like me, this is how 90% of your days will start. It’s nice to see your mates, what happened yesterday and how they like their coffee. Okay, welcome to the 21st century..
On such a day (shout out @pompompontus) for posting a brightly colored piece by a brand that I had never seen before. It was a seemingly neon or “Neptune” Blue with an equally opposing bright “Aurora” Green, and jumped out immediately against his natural forest backdrop. I’ll be honest, most bright-colored watches are a turn off for me unless (and this is the important part) they are tastefully done. And that’s where Octon’s initial impression left a good one. Lets dive in.. (Pun #2, BAM!)
Lets get some STATS out of the way so we can move on to the fun stuff.
- Black (or White) Swiss Super LumiNova Grade X1
- 120 click unidirectional Bezel
- Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- 40 mm Case (Chalk this up as a win by itself)
- 300m depth rating (Win #2)
- Screwdown Crown
- 22mm Lug width
- 12mm Height
- All Stainless 316L Surgical Grade
- Comes with extra strap
On the website it says, “You should have a watch on your wrist within 3-5 days.” They weren’t joking. shipping tracked it from Switzerland to my current address in the United States within their listed time. I’ve waited in line at the supermarket longer than that. After opening the matching black package, I pulled out this water tight Peli-case. And yes, it’s real. I know whats important is inside, but I don’t want to understate this case. It would actually be great to use as transport on a flight or camping. (I fly with watch rolls, but hey for camping or tossing about on some other trip it would be great! There’s even room for your spare straps and the tool.)
Before I even inspected the watch, I noticed a strap neatly packed beside it. On the website it showed an OD green, or Olive green cloth strap. This one was black and appeared rubber so I was curious, and pulled that out first. Beside was a tool I thought a gimmick, but after use I’ll attest to its durability. I’ve bent several name brands in the past, and being one sided means you can really push on it without ruining your hand.
It’s a higher quality rubber tropic top/chocolate bar bottom with obvious white stitching and a nice hefty buckle. Very nice. My only Nit-pick would be It’s 2019 and Quick-Release Pins would be nice. The case is drilled so it’s not a huge deal, we’re just being picky, though the factory pins were hard to get into the actual rubber. I had to really force them, so I’m removing a score for that. – Octon Rubber Strap 8/10
What is surprising was the second strap underneath the rubber one! I looked over the website and didn’t find anything about a third strap so maybe I got lucky. This was a matching black perlon. I have to say their taste in straps from steel to cloth and in-between seems spot on for my taste. If you’ve never worn a Perlon I highly suggest testing one out. It’s one of the most comfortable straps you can own because of the infinite adjustability. Thank you Octon. I would say its standard to above quality with a nice signed buckle. My only question might be how long the very tip of the strap will hold together. – Perlon 7/10 longevity – 9/10 comfort
What can I say guys, the metal bracelet on this watch is stellar. You don’t see a lot of major brands doing solid end-links at this price range, much less micro brands. And these are SOLID! So solid in fact, that I recommend taping up your watch case whenever putting the bracelet back on because it’s a very snug fit. (More on that later..) The links aren’t jingly or bendy (all you SKX guys know what I’m talking about). When sized correctly it has the perfect wrist presence and doesn’t seem to wander about. I like mine to sit behind the bone and it does that just well without having to snug it up too much. There’s a beautifully signed and milled clasp with fold over keeper. That said again my only Nit-pick would be that the clasp is not push-button. As a 300m diver it’s my belief that it should be, especially at the lengths they went to make the rest of the band so nice and complete. Again, we’re being picky. – Metal Bracelet 9/10 (would be 10/10 at this price range with push-button clasp)
Here we can see how I put the metal bracelet back on after wearing the other straps for a couple of days. I used painters tape but any tape should suffice as long as you block those lugs off well. You’ll thank me later!
As you can see there are actually 4 micro adjustments, including one on the safety side that seems to allow adjustment of the grip and tension on the clasp itself. All more than enough to get the bracelet to fit on any chicken wrist!
Calling this case a brother of the Black Bay would be a misconception.. More like a 2nd cousin with red hair that you don’t see very often..
The case top down looks similar with its polish and brushing in the right places, but you don’t have to look very hard to see its charmingly something more unique.
The color changing tones of the Aurora Green are obvious, and immediately grab the eye. Also the use of black Super LumiNova sets it apart. Black lume isn’t going to win many #lumebattles . If that’s a must, having options is always nice (Check another Win box for Octon..) and they do offer traditional Swiss SuperLume in a different color-way. The lightning bolt seconds hand really seems to touch the inside of the case, as does the minute hand. A small detail that makes a HUGE difference. Many big brands still get this wrong.
Again, as you read this review think of the requirements, or even limits you have when purchasing a watch and see how close this piece comes to meeting most if not all of them.
All of their pieces come standard with a domed sapphire crystal and AR coating no matter the watch or movement you choose. The bezel action is metallic and clicky; very precise. Bezel feel is always a personal preference but It’s close to spot on for me. (I love my Ray II but the angle and smoothness of the bezel and the tightness of it mean it’s almost impossible to move without perfectly clean hands.) A deep coin edge means nice grip all the way around, even when you’re stuffing a dozen Blazin hot wings down in less than 6 minutes just to get a T-shirt.. This bezel’s got your back.
At 40mm it’s floating in a Micro-brand VOID. We’re stuck in a 43mm case, 100 meter depth zone.. That alone is a BIG check in the win box for me. Speaking of boxes, Octon is checking a lot of them. This case has drilled lugs which have faded fast, even on luxury brands like my GLYCINE. Which, leads me to my next point.
Octon is currently offering several movements:
- Standard – NH35a
- Hi-Beat – Miyota 9015
- Swiss Hi-Beat – ETA 2824 – 2
I purchased the optional, upgraded Hi-Beat Miyota 9015 because It’s the only one I don’t have and I wanted to compare it to my ETA. The crown is smooth as butter and it screws down very nicely. The Citizen movement is currently running +7.2 sec per day, second only to my GLYCINE at 1/3 the price.
At around just over $200 to just over $300 I don’t know where their profit margin is.. I had to pay almost 3 times that for my Combat Sub and it has the same ETA 2824-2 movement. Granted, GLYCINE say’s it’s their own special version but the point remains the same. This watch is hitting so hard no matter what movement you pick. There’s a brand out there currently marketing heavily that I’ll let remain nameless offering similar-ish movements for nowhere near the same price. It’s what I like to simply call “specs-per-dollar”. That’s something most of us usually try to maximize, and Octon nails it.
I did notice the caseback doesn’t have anywhere to use a tool so you might have to bust out the, “Ball of Justice” (If you know, you know..) It is beautifully engraved with an octopus in a diver’s helmet.
I bought the Aurora Green Octon embracing their slogan, “Making Time For Adventure.” That was the actual sense I got towards my collection when I saw @pompompontus post for the first time, and I knew that’s what it was missing. The bright color isn’t for everyone, nor is the black lume, but they have a solution for those of you as well. It should also be said that at some point in 2019 their custom watch builder will be up, and the color combos are amazing. I think and hope this brand has a bright future, because it’s hard to believe this package they’ve put together for the price.
I would also like to say I am in no way endorsed by Octon and everything in this review is of my own experience.
Octon has put together a total package at a price I haven’t seen before, and that compelled me to write my first formal review. They check a lot of boxes that are left empty in the current market, and at the current price point they are for now truly a hidden micro-brand gem.