July 06, 2023 6 min read
“You want me to do what? Sure, I would love to.”
So that is how this started. I received a call from WatchGecko Magazine asking me to review the newly released Geckota Ocean-Scout watch. The first obvious question is, who is this guy? Second, why call him?
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Russ Smith and I live in New Hampshire which, for those of you not from the US, is in the Northeast (New England) region of the country. That answers the who but let’s dig into the why. Plain and simple, I am a professional mariner. I have 31+ years of experience with the United States Coast Guard. I am a Chief Warrant Officer 4 (BOSN).
Warrant officers are a little different between the US and the UK. In the Royal Navy Warrant Officers are the senior enlisted members of the Service. In the USCG and USN Warrants are selected from the senior enlisted ranks but are appointed and commissioned as officers. I was a Boatswains Mate Chief Petty Officer (seamanship expert) when selected for Warrant. That makes me a BOSN for short. The 4 means I have achieved the highest rank I can.
Ok enough of that, this is a watch review, not a military lesson.
I have been a customer of Geckota for several years. I have bought various watch bands (or straps if you prefer) over the years and have the privilege to own a first-generation Phalanx S-01. I am very impressed with the Phalanx, and I reached out to Richard to tell him so. During our conversation we discovered we have similar backgrounds and a shared love of watches, and we have remained in touch over the years. When they were looking for someone with maritime experience to review and test the Geckota Ocean-Scout apparently my name came up.
I am not surprised; I am known to the WatchGecko Magazine. First, I am a regular reader and subscriber. Second, I did an interview with Richard about watches used in the US Coast Guard. During one of our conversations, he asked what watch was issued and was shocked to learn none are. Your watch is on your own, although they do have to meet certain uniform standards, but that is a different article.
Since this is my first formal review of a watch, I asked Richard what the process was and what they were looking for. Turns out it is relatively simple, “We send you a watch. You wear it, bump it about and then give us your impression and feedback. Then send it back when you are done.” Sounds easy enough.
Three days later, sitting down with the bright yellow DHL package with Geckota imprinted packing tape, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. After tearing into the package, I was greeted by a plain cardboard box with one word…Geckota. To be honest the watch box was underwhelming, and my first reaction was one of disappointment, especially when I think of other watches I have purchased. I am happy to say my initial reaction couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Geckota printed box was the outer protecting wrapper, what it was protecting is a beautiful leather Geckota branded zippered two watch travel case. Then it dawned on me Geckota is using environmentally friendly packaging which is light weight and easily recyclable. Ok, helping to save the planet is a nice touch.
The watch case includes an attached sewn leather divider to separate and protect the watches. A Geckota branded microfiber cleaning cloth is also included. Lifting up the cloth and divider revealed a Royal Blue Ocean-Scout on a Slate Blue British Military Nylon Strap.
The slate blue makes the royal blue dial and bezel stand out. The combination really goes well together. The dial has a classic 3,6,9 numeral pattern with a double bar in the 12 o’clock position. Geckota and automatic are right below the 12 o’clock position and are clear and crisp even to these older eyes. Ocean-Scout water resistant 200m 600ft is located below the two classic sword hands. The Ocean-Scout name is finished in an orange and the other wording in white which all contrasts very nicely against the royal blue dial.
The 38.5mm case, the dial with the 3,6,9 numerals and the sword hands give the Ocean-Scout a strong vintage feel. I can envision this timepiece on my Grandfather’s wrist as he sailed along the shores of Lake Michigan with my Grandmother with the Chicago skyline in the distance. The outer uni-directional bezel is easy to operate one handed and gives the wearer of this sea going timepiece the ability to use this as a dive watch. Water resistant to 600 ft (200m) is perfect if you need to jump in the water to clear a fowled propeller, cool off, or in my case conduct a rescue.
The hands, numerals, bezel pip and indices are coated with Super Luminova BGW9 witch really stands out in low light and the dark. The lume has a blueish glow making the dial easy to read.
As you look at the case there is a unique feature, I have only seen in some much higher price ranges. The case is squared off at the lugs. It gives the case a strong clean finished look especially with a British Military Nylon Strap. With other watches I own with nylons have a curved trough and a gap where the band attaches and while secure just doesn’t look right to me. The slightly flat extended case of the Ocean-Scout does an outstanding job making the band seem like an integral part of the watch.
Since we are on the topic of watch bands Geckota was kind enough to include the two other band options available with the Ocean-Scout. The watch came on a slate blue British Military Nylon Strap. It is a nice piece of gear. As I mentioned before the case design really complements this type of watch band making the band and the case feel seamless. The bands stainless-steel branded buckle and hardware match the finish of the case. The 16 different pin holes guarantee this band will fit just about any wrist.
The second band is the Geckota Vintage Rivet Berwick Stainless Steel. The first thing I noticed when I removed the separate cardboard sleeve from the DHL package was this band feels solid, as it should, weighing in at 2.4oz. (68g). Swapping out the bands was relatively easy with the right tools. The tolerances between the band and the case lugs are tight. My first attempt took a little longer than I expected and included some colourful sailor language. The tight tolerances give the watch a very high-quality feel. There is no play between the band, and the case it sits very solidly on my wrist.
Adjusting the band size was quick and easy, once I found my glasses so I could see. The links are attached with tiny screws on both sides. Unscrew each side and the links separated. I adjusted to my wrist and screwed the links back together. The nice part is I did it with only one screwdriver and didn’t have to push any pins. The deployment clasp is easy to operate and locks up tightly.
The third and final band they sent is a suede leather tapered band in a Grey Stanway color. Again, the band was easy to change out and the spring bars fit snuggly in the band which is nice, since I launched one across the room during my first attempt with the stainless steel band. The interior of the band is a smooth tanned leather which sits very comfortably against my 7 ½” (19cm) wrist. I did find I was towards the end of the pin holes so if you have a larger wrist this option may not work for you.
Changing the various band options allowed me to take a good look at the back of the watch. The Geckota Ocean-Scout has a solid case back which I think is very appropriate with the vintage feel of the piece. In keeping with the spirit of this nautical/adventuring timepiece there is a very appropriate engraved compass rose in the center of the case. Along with the compass, is a lot of the standard information you find on a modern case back. You have Geckota, 200M, Stainless Steel, Automatic, the Serial Number, and the issue number. Yes, the issue number, the Ocean-Scout is a limited release.
I hope you have enjoyed your journey with me as I have discovered this newly released Ocean-Scout from British Micro Brand Geckota. I have had the Ocean-Scout now for about 5 days and I am very impressed with the build quality, the accuracy, and the looks. It looks good, I have received several compliments on the watch as I have been wearing it out. The good news is it doesn’t end here.
This is the first article, an unboxing, if you will. Now comes the fun part I get to go out and “Bump it about” to quote Richard. It is testing time; I will get it out on and probably below the water. I’ll fly and travel with it as I plan on using it as my everyday watch for the next couple of weeks and see how it holds up to day-to-day wear. So, stay tuned.