Back in the mid-to-late 20th century, Ollech & Wajs (OW) were an absolute powerhouse of watchmaking, although in recent years they’ve begun to regain some of that prowess, producing a collection of divers, chronographs and GMTs inspired by their heritage backlog. However, historically they didn’t produce exclusively tool watches and with the launch of the new OW 8001 we see the rebirth of their sporty, integrated bracelet designs.
The OW 8001 takes its role as a sports watch seriously with a chunky aesthetic featuring broad, flat surfaces and steep sides in a tonneau shape. Plus, it has an extra-thick sapphire crystal and screw-down crown for a water resistance rating of 300m, which is better than some watches that claim to be diving specialists. However, while it might look burly, it’s not actually all that big with a 39.56mm x 12mm diameter and thickness. The shape and style of the case are inspired by the 1973 OW Ref.8000, their original integrated sports watch, making the new OW 8001 a 50th anniversary celebration watch.
Interestingly, while the case and integrated steel bracelet draw inspiration from the Ref.8000, OW have decided not to replicate the TV shaped chronograph dial. Instead, they’ve opted for a round dial with a time and date display. While I like the retro vibe of TV dials, such as the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph, the round dial feels a lot more contemporary and shows that OW aren’t chained to their heritage and have the freedom to explore alternative ideas.
However, while the overall shape and complications of the OW 8001’s dial differ to its heritage inspiration, the finishing and colour are almost an exact match. Specifically, it’s a taupe colour with a Havana fumé finish, which means its produced with a double-lacquering technique that produces a radial gradient effect. It looks really, really good and the transition from light in the centre to dark at the edges is incredibly smooth.
Beneath the surface is the Soprod Newton Precision P092 automatic movement with 44-hour power reserve. Crucially, the movement is COSC-chronometer certified, making it the first official chronometer used by modern OW. On top of its COSC certification, the movement has also been independently tested by the famous Laboratoire Dubois in Chaux-de-Fonds. Marking a significant improvement in accuracy and reliability for OW.
Launches like this prove my theory that Ollech & Wajs is among the most underrated watch brands of the current era. The OW 8001 is seriously cool with its sporty case, integrated bracelet, Havana fumé dial and great movement. And tying it all together is the fact that it costs just CHF 1,856 (approx. £1,670) giving it some serious value too.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Ollech & Wajs OW 8001
- Ref: OW 8001
- Case/dial: 39.56mm diameter x 12mm thickness, brushed stainless steel case, fixed bezel, double lacquered ‘Havana Fume’ dual
- Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
- Movement: Bespoke Soprod Newton calibre P092, automatic, COSC-certified and Chronofiable® certification, 23 jewels
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 44h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: Integrated brushed stainless steel bracelet
- Price/availability: CHF 1,856 (approx. £1,670)