The latest Casio Oceanus high-end quartz watch model has a novel sporty touch and an accessible price point. This is the Casio Oceanus Manta reference OCW-S7000D-7AJF, and it introduces a blue and white dial color palette for the watch face and bezel. This includes deep metallic blue subdials, as well as a blue-toned sapphire crystal bezel insert. In fact, Casio Oceanus Manta watches might be the most affordable timepieces available with sapphire crystal bezels, a feature prized by many for the aesthetic and scratch-resistance properties of sapphire crystal.
Over the last couple of years, Casio has expanded the once Japan-only Oceanus collection to more markets, including the United States, which is the most important market for Casio’s blockbuster G-Shock timepiece. Oceanus watches are produced with the same mentality but intended as thin, dressier watches. The core design is of a functional object but embellished with lovely details anywhere the engineers could manage to squeeze them into this otherwise compact product. When conceiving of the Oceanus, Casio seems to have begun with a sort of archetype “businessman watch” profile, and then built its technology and ethos around it. Few watch enthusiasts in the West are familiar with Casio’s Oceanus collection at this time. That makes sense since G-Shock still receives the lion’s share of attention for Casio, and rival Japanese companies such as Seiko and Citizen are far better known for their higher-end all-analog watches.
To respond to that, Casio first tried to merge G-Shock with traditional watches in the MR-G collection. That, however, has since evolved into an assortment of luxury G-Shock models that aren’t really trying to be either compact or particularly dressy. Thus, Oceanus has a lot of room for interest in the market, as far as Casio is concerned. To the brand’s credit, after having worn 10 or so Oceanus Manta model watches so far, I have to admit this is a “sticky” product, meaning that once you start wearing one, its virtues and class make themselves apparent. Casio is still trying to figure out what a “world market” Oceanus watch is, but for now, it is doing very pretty things with the current-generation Oceanus Manta OCW-S7000 (and the related OCW-S6000) models. Some have featured fancy cut and colored sapphire crystal bezels and can cost double the price of this model, but those are really about cosmetic enhancements. All the Oceanus Manta watches (available in the U.S, at least) share a relatively similar case and Casio’s in-house 5701 quartz module.
Here is a quick reminder of the watch’s features and what the 5701 module does. First, it is solar-powered and able to receive radio signals from atomic clocks. The movement can calculate the calendar time without any adjustment until the year 2099, and it also includes an available battery level indicator. The hands and hour markers are painted with Casio’s Neobrite luminous material, and the dial has a date window and a day of the week indicator hand. In other modes, the 5701 includes a world time feature that uses a discreet city ring around the dial’s periphery to choose your local time, as well as a 24-hour chronograph with one-second precision. Also, similar to G-Shock watch movements, this has both “Tough Solar” and a “Tough Movement,” which implies a level of shock resistance as well as the ability for hands to realign themselves if they are moved due to shock.
Best of all, the 5701 module is Bluetooth-enabled and allows you to connect your Oceanus watch to the Casio smartphone app. This is optional, but I recommend it. Not only does the app allow you to quickly set the time and calendar information, but you can also adjust other features on the watch, which would be a less fun process if you needed to fiddle with the crown and pushers. As you can see, Casio has much of its top-level tech in the Ocean watches, which are assembled at the premium Yamagata factory (where all higher-end Casio products are made).
What Casio would be wise to do with the Oceanus collection moving forward (at least for the United States) is continue on the path to merging traditional beauty with technology. I think the brand should continue to emphasize dial beauty and simplicity. Less complicated dials have been proving popular with consumers, but discreet technology is also popular. Having Casio’s particular design ethos and value, combined with a sleek dress watch that has connected technology, is a good approach. Casio should continue to study what information today’s consumers want to see on their wrists, versus on their phones, and emphasize that on the dial of its Oceanus dress watches. Thin cases and elegant designs with hidden technology could prove to be a strong focus. Casio appears to be gradually moving in that direction, while it also uses the Oceanus Manta as a playground for new decorative techniques and aesthetics that don’t have much of a place in other Casio products.
On the wrist, the Casio Oceanus Manta OCW-S7000D is going to feel nothing like a G-Shock, save for the lightweight experience. The all-titanium case and bracelet are treated with a scratch-resistant finish, while the surfaces are given a combination of brushed and Zaratsu polishes. The case wears modestly at 42.8mm wide and just 9.5mm thick. It has a 47.5mm-long lug-to-lug distance and is water-resistant to 100 meters. The entire case and bracelet weigh just 83 grams. It is easy to miss, but the deployant clasp on the titanium bracelet has a small comfort adjust feature that allows for two slightly different bracelet-wearing sizes. Comfort on the wrist is a high point with the Oceanus Manta collection.
Casio has a similar companion product to the blue and white OCW-S7000D-7AJF, with the Oceanus Manta OCW-S7000-1A. That model is more or less the same watch but with a black and blue color theme. I probably prefer this model, as the white and silver elements help the rich blue colors stand out more, but this is just a matter of taste. Price for the Casio Oceanus Manta OCW-S7000D-7AJF is $1,300 USD. Learn more at the Casio website.