Review: OG Deep Space
If you’re looking for a watch that you might want to sell after a bit, that you hope will make you a bit of money, then stop right here. Get the Rolex. If you’re looking for a unique watch with incredible watchmaking quality and don’t want to pay the Earth, then step right this way. This is the O.G. Deep Space.
Have you ever found yourself at a dead end, where the thing you’re looking for that really should exist turns out, after all, to not exist at all? That’s where most of us give up. Not everyone, though. Some people—we’ll call them sado-masochists—see this as an opportunity to fill that tiny niche themselves.
Meet Oliver Gallaugher. Is he a watchmaker? No. Is he a watch designer? Well, kind of. He wasn’t at first. Sure, his education stems from a creative background—creative writing, that is. When it comes to designing and manufacturing watches, his qualifications number precisely zero.
What he did have, however, was an unhealthy interest in watches and not enough money to buy the ones he wanted. Remember the story of tractor manufacturer Ferruccio Lamborghini, who offered insight on making the clutch in his Ferrari better to none other than Enzo Ferrari? Enzo told him to stick to tractors, and so Ferruccio pivoted to making supercars instead, to make a point.
That’s what we’ve got going on here. Oliver craved high-end watchmaking, but his bank balance did not. No other watch brand would fulfil his desires, so he had to do it himself. But of course, if it were as easy as that, we’d all do it. At first, Oliver rather optimistically touted his services as a watch designer, clearly putting those creative writing skills to good use in persuading customers to hire his services. It would be impossible to make a watch entirely by himself, but he could at least work with a brand that had the capability to make it happen.
Didn’t really work out, however. First client, creative differences saw them part ways. But never mind, because would you believe a second opportunity soon appeared on the horizon. Unfortunately, that worked out even worse, because it turns out the interested party was actually a serial con artist.
Looked like the chances of Oliver pretending to be a watch designer and actually getting away with it enough to make his dream watch come true were getting slimmer than ever. Everyone was surprised. How could such a fool proof plan not work? Not—according to Oliver—because it’s bananas crazy, but because too much was left in the hands of others. The solution, Oliver believed, was in cutting out the middleman and going it alone. Optimistic, here in this use, is like calling a Saturn V rocket “a bit loud”.
It's here we reveal Oliver was the wealthy benefactor of an enormous fortune, so making his dream watch come true was going to be easy. Except he wasn’t. To keep the project going, Oliver was helping out at the family café, serving customers and washing dishes. All he had to get started with was about £4,000 in savings and a packet of Maltesers. In talking to Oliver about this, he reflects that perhaps he was too ambitious at this stage. The maddest part is that it seems I was witnessing the first time this thought had ever occurred to him.
The idea goes as follows: find the right suppliers for each part of the watch and persuade them not to hold him to minimum orders, upfront fees or anything else that might vaporise his £4k—and his dream—instantaneously. For context, that’s not enough money to buy even one Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the brand’s entry level watch.
So, who did Oliver manage to persuade to join him on this ridiculous adventure? For the dial, hands and buckle, a company called Hod, based out of Russia. The case, that comes from Hong Kong, with Hod finishing it. The strap, that’s Vietnamese, from a supplier called Handdn. The movement, that work is done by DK Precision, a German business, who also assemble the final watch as well.
Each supplier is a small business that Oliver reached out to based on reputation in the community, people he believes share his passion and want to achieve the same goal. To him, they’re not just partners, but friends as well. The O.G. Deep Space is the result. Did Oliver waste £4,000?
As a creative writer, Oliver’s imagination is much too rampant to design a watch that is plain and boring. But of course he understands that, unless your name is Max Büsser and you’re willing bet the house on a single watch, it would behove him to not go too crazy.
We are, though, talking about a very high-end watch. The case, in 41mm of stainless steel, is sculpted with a concave bezel and treated with an unusual mix of polished and bead-blasted finishes. You might think it would be perhaps a hair too big, but for me with my distinctly average wrists, it’s absolutely perfect. Short lugs and the skinny bezel make it a compact wear despite being a hair oversized by measurement.
I say this a lot, and the Deep Space proves it beyond any debate: the key to designing a watch that feels right is all about proportion. There’s the golden ratio and other stuff like that, but for whatever reason, there are ways that inherently makes something look right or wrong. It can be millimetres, microns even, to get it wrong—and getting it wrong is so, so easy—but this gets it absolutely right.
Even the crown, which is blown up to crazy proportions, falls into balance. It’s skinny but broad, with teeth deep enough to leave a mark in your fingers. But it’s both satisfying to look at and satisfying to use, which we’ll get onto later. For now, we’re going to talk about the dial.
This is where Oliver wanted to further explore the Deep Space name with a themed design that brought the night sky down onto the owner’s wrist. At first, Oliver was hand inscribing shooting stars—you know, like a child draws—but it quickly became apparent that he was making his watch look like it belonged on the fridge door.
The solution is as elegant as it is satisfying. A titanium dial, brushed and PVD’d in grey, with different sized dots engraved in it. The brushing sits at an angle to the dial, and twinkles along with the bright, bare titanium dots, in a way that instantly evokes timelapse star images but without being incredibly crap.
It’s one of those, “how did no one think of it before?” ideas. To add to that, there’s the O.G. logo in gold print—I asked Oliver about the O.G. name and he is very aware of the double connotation and quite happy with it—and the minute track printed on the underside of the crystal. It’s unusual and probably not for everyone, but I do think it’s a big part of why the 41mm feels smaller than expected.
The hands are especially cool because not only do they remind me of Spy vs Spy, they also have a needlessly complex construction that is more satisfying than anything we’ve seen so far. So to get that clean break between the dark and light, the hands aren’t just masked and painted, they’re actually each made of two parts, the larger, darker part in DLC coated titanium and the smaller tip in steel. The darker part actually has a shelf that runs the full length of the hand for the lighter part to sit on so they are entirely flush. Completely unnecessary, but exactly what you want from a crazy watch.
And we’re only just getting to the craziest part. On paper, this is a cheap Unitas 6498 movement. You might be disappointed by that. Except this has a Unitas movement in the same way a Zonda R has a Mercedes engine. This one is not like the others, because DK Precision have gone to town on it.
That very satisfying wind, for example, comes from the introduction of a long, sculpted click spring. The bridges have all been reproduced in a new design and plated in gold. And then the finishing… This is the part that’s either going to make you shrug your shoulders and head to the Rolex store, or it’ll make your eyes widen and your wallet tremble.
DK Precision have finished this movement like Patek Philippe would. The bevels are individually hand polished. There’s black polishing on flat mirrored surfaces like the screw heads and swan neck. Even the pallet fork and escape wheel, which you can barely see, get the black polish treatment. Get this: the centre wheel, even though it can barely be seen, is bevelled and polished on the inside edges.
This is peak watch finishing in a watch that—and now we get to the cost—is £1,000 cheaper than a steel, fluted bezel Datejust. Think about that. A watch with a level of finishing that makes a £25,000 Patek Philippe blush and it costs less than a Datejust.
What’s even more bananas is that there are only ten of these watches. Oliver went through all that pain and effort to only make ten. The reason? It’s not that he wants to hype them up and inflate the prices. No. He’s a creative writer, remember? So he thinks no one will buy one.
What do you think of the O.G. Deep Space? Your kind of thing or would you spend the money on a Rolex instead?