Richard Legrand Oceanfarer – Vintage vibes in a modern watch

By Frederik Drost
Richard Legrand Oceanfarer – Vintage vibes in a modern watch
Richard Legrand delivers a modern watch with a vintage feel that frankly feels like it should cost more. The smaller flaws are quickly overshadowed by the specs, the beautiful dial and the price


The micro-brand diver segment is one of the more interesting and fastest developing segments out there. It seems like this is what people want, and the micro-brands often deliver some exceptional quality and unique designs. 

I have had a few dive watches on this blog, but the Richard Legrand Oceanfarer stand out in subtle ways that i have come to love. Having no date and applied numeral indices is what sets this watch apart from the rest, without being a crazy unique design. But do you get enough bang for your buck? How does it wear? Let’s find out !

I present to you, the Richard Legrand Oceanfarer.

Quick pros and cons

PROSCONS
Great value for moneyNot the best bracelet
Beautiful dialThere is a gap between the endlink and the bracelet
Applied numeral and baton indices
Great tropic strap with custom buckle
Bezel is perfectly aligned and there is no play




Packaging

Not only does the Richard Legrand Oceanfarer come with a cool leather pouch, but it also arrives with a set of well built tools so you can resize the bracelet yourself, and an extra tropic rubber strap! The tools include a pin removal tool with a nifty hammer, and a springbar removal tool. The box is of course rather generic, but that is completely overshadowed by all the goodies that comes inside of it! 


Design and quality

The overall design of the watch is quite simple with vintage ques, but in its simplicity, Richard Legrand has made some very nice design choices. This watch bears strong resemblance with certain vintage Blancpain 50 Fathoms models, but with a modern and updated design.

The Oceanfarer is awfully similar to this vintage Blancpain 50 Fathoms, which is great! A underlooked classic that deserves to inspire other modern watches!

The thin bezel and unprotected crown screams vintage, but the rest of the watch is classically modern.

The case and crown

The case doesn”t get simpler than this! Slightly curved lugs with a polished beveled edge and an overall lovely satin finish. The beveled edge is quite big, which I like because it gives the watch a little extra “shine”. Most of us won’t be diving with this watch, so having a bit of jewelry like reflections is welcomed.

The back case is just outstanding to the point where I am comparing it with my dads Omega Seamaster back case! I know some of you adore these unique case backs and i do to, unless it means they will cut corners somewhere else on the front of the watch.

The crown is free from crown guards and sits 2 mm from the case thanks to a rounded shape on the inside. I would have liked to have it closer to the case, especially since there are no crown guards.

It has a lovely set of polished teeth for grip and a deeply engraved RL on the side with a beat blasted background and polished letters. It’s nice to see these deeply engraved logos, and many brands cut corners when it comes to that (I actually prefer a clean crown than a lazily engraved one)! The RL really stand out when you turn the watch, which is jut great!

The crown action is smooth, meaning it’s easy to unscrew and the threading is consistent and precise. Gripping it is easy

The bezel

When it comes to dive watches, the bezel truly deserves its own titled paragraph. The Richard Legrand Oceanfarer has a rather slim bezel with a sapphire insert and a dark blue base. This gives the watch a slight vintage feel, while keeping great proportions on a rather small watch (when comparing to other microbrand divers).

The printing is crisp, but fades ever so slightly because it lies underneath a sapphire window (which does add a charming vintage feel).

The bezel action is also really good for this price range and i am tempted to shove this in other watch brand’s faces to show them what is possible for so little money. 

The triangle aligns PERFECTLY with the 12 o’clock marker and there is ZERO play when turning the bezel back and forth. The clicking does sound a little hollow, probably due to a lighter mechanism, but if you want that deep roaring in your bezel, you usually have to go into the 4 digits price range.


The dial and hands

The dial base is the same dark blue as the bezel, but with a sunburst finish. However, this is rather hard to notice indoors and the dial appears to be a light black lacquered finish. But when you go outside and the sun hits this bad boy, it lights up and you catch a glimpse of the sunburst finish. 

It shines all the way from black and dark blue to purple and lighter blue, and it really is one of the most understated colored dials I have seen. It reminds me of the Marc & Sons Pro Diver 3’s dial which is barely green under certain lights.

Everything is perfectly aligned on this dial… The minute track is printed sharply and has a nice hierarchy with the thicker lines every five minutes. The hours markers are all applied and polished, and they lift the dial and add a touch of luxury to the watch. They play so well with the light in combination with the dial base and the hands!

Check out this video of the light hitting the dial

The text on the dial is perfectly sized so to not interfere with the rest of the dial and leave some empty space so your eyes can “breathe”.

The double edged sword hands plays nicely with the light and helps settle the overall proportions of this watch. The hours hands barely reaches the hours markers and the minute and seconds hand runes right over the minute track! Just the way i like it!


The lume

The Richard Legrand Oceanfarer uses my favourite lume, the BWG9 lume! It is however clear that the application of this lume is as important as the lume itself. The Marc & Sons diver’s bezel (see lume shots here) lights up much better than the Oceanfarer’s, but you are also paying double the price! 

That said, the indices and hands does have consistent light in the dark, but the bezel shines less bright than the rest. A cool detail is the fact that the bigger lines on the minute track are also lumed. This looks super cool when you are in the dark!


The bracelets

The bracelet this watch comes on is a standard brushed 3 link bracelet with square links, twin pusher solid metal clasp with extra locking mechanism. The brushed finish is what you would expect in this price range and matches the case’s finish. 

It hugs the wrist nicely, but leaves a gap near the end links, which has been fixed in their latest version, the Odyssea Mark 3. It’s not too “rattly”, but some of the links were too tight so they didn’t align correctly until they were pushed.

It’s far from the cheapest clasp and bracelet, but the watch is so well made that it feels less substantial. However, the tropic rubber strap that comes with it is really cool and I only wear the watch with that strap now! 

The tropic rubber strap is comfortable, flexible and has a really cool custom buckle! I have had bad tropic straps, notably on the Mint Evolutive watch i reviewed a while ago, but this isn’t one of those! The buckle has a cool angular design with a polished beveled edge and pin, a deeply engraved RL and a nice notch for the pin to rest comfortably in. A perfect buckle in my opinion!


The movement

The Richard Legrand Oceanfarer is powered by a japanese Miyota 9039 hi-beat slim movement. It features hacking (second hand stops when adjusting the time), hand winding and automatic winding and beats at 28.800 betas per hour (that’s 4Hz or 8 ticks a second). It loses around 10 to 30 seconds a day and this one clocks in at 17 seconds so far. 

The movement was introduced in 2018 and before that, many micro-brands wishing to make a no-date watch would simply cover the date wheel with the dial. This makes the movement slimmer than its date counterpart, but not by much. Many agree it is annoying to have the date complication when setting the time on a no-date watch, so i embrace this movement with open arms!


On the wrist

On the wrist, the Oceanfarer is a smaller watch if you compare it to many other microbrand divers on the market. This helps give it a vintage feel and also accommodates smaller wrists sizes. 

It wears super well on my 16.5 cm wrist : it doesn’t sit too high and the teeth of the crown are not sharp enough to hurt your hand when bending it. Because this watch it short from lug to lug, the lugs doesn’t need to bend too much to create the illusion of the watch hugging your wrist.

I wouldn’t recommend this watch is you have very big wrists, but anything under 18cm will appreciate the fit.


Price

I think the price is fair.

You get a lot for your money! Sapphire crystal with AR coating, Sapphire bezel insert, BGW9 lume, a no date miyota movement and applied numeral and square indices. Don’t forget that everything is well aligned and that the bezel action is crisp without any play!  What more do you want? 

Richard Legrand is a good example of how much you can get for your money when buying watches outside the mainstream circle.


Conclusion

Richard Legrand delivers a modern watch with a vintage feel that frankly feels like it should cost more. I smile everytime i look at this watch, perhaps because of how the light reflects or because of its simple charm. I don’t really care though, I just like it.

As for the quality, you get what you pay for. If you want a ETA movement or a better strap and clasp, you will have to pay more. I own several high-end divers, yet this is definitely a watch that has its place in my collection. Maybe because it reminds me of those old charming Blancpain 50 Fathoms, or simply because it’s a great everyday watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

2 Comments

Gonna 21/11/2020 - 22:45

Frederik, many thanks for this review? it was a black or dark blue version you reviewed? did you hear anything about issues with quality after it’s used longer?

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Frederik Drost 22/11/2020 - 14:07

Hello Gonna,

This was the Blue dial version 🙂 The pictures doesn’t capture it well and it is a very subtle blue, but it is there. No, i haven’t had any problems with it and i have a friend who is borrowing it, and he wears it often and no problems either. The miyota movement is fine and will work, but i isn’t precise.

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