Easily the most compelling Out Of Order (OOO) watch I’ve experienced as a timepiece enthusiast is this Out Of Order Ghost 3.0 limited-edition watch. The Italian-based watchmaker specializes in relatively low-priced sports watches with colorful, “worn in” looks. It takes popular traditional watch styles and amalgamates them in fashionable ways with its “Damaged in Italy” process that has proven to be a winning formula for a lot of the community’s fresher watch lovers. What Out Of Order is starting to do a bit more of is climb upmarket with more enthusiast-themed watches that continue the brand’s core theme and ethos — but in a slightly nicer execution.

The OOO Ghost 3.0 is the third member of the Ghost family and is available only as a limited edition of 41 pieces. What is interesting about each of the Ghost collection watches so far is that all of them (despite being different watches) have a retail price of around $1,000, with the Ghost 3.0 costing a bit less at $910 USD (798 Euros). The “Ghost” name is actually quite random as far as I can tell — and my understanding is that the term was used because “it sounds cool.” So on that note, I am writing a review of the OOO Ghost 3.0 watch on Halloween day. On the rear of the watch where the crystal exhibition window is resides a ghost graphic, which is fun.

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The key design element that distinguishes the Ghost 3.0 is the use of a rusted metal dial. Rusted metal is anything but a traditional material in watchmaking or luxury products. If anything, rust is something you want to avoid. That said, over the last several years, there has been increased use of materials with organic textures in both fashion and industrial design. I have postulated the reason for this at length and have come to the conclusion that organic-looking surfaces feel more familiar and thus attractive to the human eye. Things that are symmetrically perfect or that have entirely clean surfaces tend to look artificial. Humans have a certain capacity to be around artificial things, but at some point we begin to yearn to surround ourselves with signs of life again. This is a developing theory, but its the best I’ve come up with so far to explain why we find everything from ripped jeans to rusted watch dials attractive.

It was Romain Jerome who first introduced the luxury watch industry to rusted metal as a material. You can see the brown metal bezel on the Romain Jerome Titanic DNA watch here, made from carefully in-house-formulated rusted steel. It is actually not that difficult to rust metal yourself if you have the right chemicals. Following in Romain Jerome style (led by Yvan Arpa at the time), Out Of Order ads rusted metal to their menu of materials that are used in OOO watches.

Unlike RJ’s more “clean” approach to creating a smooth and consistently color-rusted metal, OOO is a bit more casual about it, beginning with what appears to be a piece of bronze or other brass. The metal is probably rusted in a large sheet, and then holes are cut out for the dials of the 41 watches. This means that the bluish-green rust color is consistent among the Ghost 3.0 models, but that each would have a unique dial aesthetic.

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The dial itself is a traditional Submariner-style dial with a lume color which attractively matches the color of the dial rust. Clearly most of the watch is meant to evoke a Rolex Submariner, but then again, it doesn’t actually look like anything Rolex would ever make. That makes such copycat designs passable for me — that is, when they don’t try to look like something the design originator would make, but rather take an existing formula into a new direction. That is what Out Of Order is doing here.

The Ghost 3.0 case is in steel and 44mm-wide with a flat sapphire crystal and screw-down crown. Oddly, the chunky case is only water resistant to 100 meters. One would think that with a Submariner-style case they would be able to get at least 200 to 300 meters of water resistance. The steel case is treated and then rubbed or otherwise “damaged” as part of the “wearing” technique designed to give the watch a less-than-new look. The case treatment is subtle if anything, and not nearly as much of a spectacle as the dial. I will, however, say that the case color and overall presence are attractive and suit the theme of the watch well. As one would expect from any Italian brand, OOO does colors and color-matching well. Finally, there is a “secret” Ghost 3.0 label on the dial that is only visible at night (as they say) written above the”Damaged In Italy” text.

Around the dial is a unidirectional rotating bezel with a matte aluminum bezel insert. The matte-finishing of the bezel is done to look brand new and unlike much of the rest of the watch not “damaged in Italy.” I think this would have been even better as a ceramic piece, but I won’t be picky. I actually think the Ghost 3.0 happens to look quite handsome with the “new-looking” bezel as opposed to a worn one. I bet OOO tried it both ways and decided to go with the clean bezel look.

Between the 22mm-wide spaced lugs on the lower part of the watch is the limited-edition number of each timepiece. Attached to the OOO Ghost 3.0 is a brown crocodile-skin-textured leather strap that is actually quite comfortable. I don’t like 80% of the brown color straps out there (I just don’t wear a lot of brown), but this particular one is really cool. OOO did a nice job of making a small Panerai-style buckle with a finishing that matches the case.

While it is a basic version (ETA produces various grades), inside the Out Of Order Ghost 3.0 is a Swiss Made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. This is the same movement as in the Out Of Order Swiss Automatic watch I reviewed here, but I think the style of the Ghost 3.0 is a bit more me. The ETA 2824 operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. Around the caseback on the periphery of the movement window is helpful explanatory text about the watch along with the always charming “damaged in Italy,” and “Please treat me bad” language.

Limited to 41 pieces and priced at not entry-price, but also not too-high: $1,000 USD, which helps explain why Out Of Order Ghost 3.0 sold out relatively quickly. These will pop up from time to time for sale, so its good to have a bit of context as to what they are for those who are keen to own one. I am curious what the Out Of Order Ghost 4.0 will be all about. Learn more at the Out Of Order Watches website here.

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