Ovlo Manston watch review

Large blue watches have been like double-decker buses recently, with two turning up in quick succession. The latest is the Ovlo Manston.

Ovlo Manston Review

The Ovlo Manston is a new project that is coming to Kickstarter soon. Like the Atom AT.01 we reviewed last month, it has a relatively conservative case design with a bold, blue dial.

At a glance

Ovlo Manston

Circa £300 (TBC)
Case size
10mm (12mm including crystal)
Water Resistance
Miyota 9015

The watch’s presentation impressed me: Ovlo has prototyped the case as well as the watch, and I was encouraged by the custom-cut foam that prevented the watch from banging around in transit (which very often happens). It’s a good balance between protection and keeping costs down.

Case and Movement

The watch case itself is relatively unremarkable but well made. There is, unusually, vertical brushing on the side. Everything feels solid. I found myself wishing that the crown was a little larger – or a little deeper – as it sometimes got lost against that large, 45mm case.

Flip the watch over and there is a screw-down case back beneath which is a Miyota 9015 movement (one of my favourites) visible through a display window. The rotor is very nicely decorated. The 52mm lug-to-lug distance is right at the limits of wearability on my 7.5″ wrist so beware if you usually wear smaller watches.

Dial and Hands

The Ovlo Manston dial is big, bold and blue – with a pleasing gentle distortion at the edges thanks to the domed sapphire crystal. The applied numbers are thick enough to add a sense of depth, and I think Ovlo could have got away with making them even bigger without detracting from the design. All the printed text is crisp and clear. The hands are very easy to read with a thick line of lume down the middle.

The downside of the watch’s diameter is the date window – it finds itself lost in the middle of the dial near the “3” marker and – as much as I complain when a date function is absent – it does feel out of place here. I would have preferred it to be above the 6 marker.

Strap and Buckle

The design of the strap and buckle of the Ovlo Manston is – as far as I can tell – unique. There are two rows of holes into which a U shaped buckle fits. I think it looks really cool and adds to the watch’s playful character.

The downside of the strap is that it is not very long. I only had a couple of holes left, so I estimate that if your wrist is 8 inches or above you’d struggle to get it to fit. Given the case size excluding smaller-wristed wearers this is an oversight I think Ovlo needs to fix before the Manston goes into production.

Ovlo Manston – Video Review

What I Liked

What I Didn’t like

  • I love the unique strap and buckle design
  • The watch is big, bold and fun to look at
  • The price is great considering the specifications
  • Date window position spoils the symmetry
  • Wearing the watch will be a struggle for those with smaller wrists
  • The strap is a little short

Ovlo Manston – The WRUK Verdict

If you like the way this watch looks, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. The strap design is quirky but cool and the decorated rotor is a step above the usual standard at this price point.

Overall, I like the Ovlo Manston but don’t quite love it. There’s nothing wrong with the watch: it’s well made and has some excellent design features. Compared to many watches I see the Manston is as good, or better, at its price point. However, in a world in which two similar-looking blue-dialled watches are coming to Kickstarter at about the same time, with similar specs and at similar prices, I’d personally choose the Atom AT.01 over the Ovlo Manston.

Buy an Ovlo Manston

Find out more about the launch plans at one of Ovlo’s websites or social media pages:

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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