I finally overcame my fears and decided to stop into the Harry Winston boutique in Manhattan to check out the watches they had on display. They had copies of several pieces in the Excenter line on display, including the Triple Retrograde in both metals, but none of the Z line or the Oceans were out. The people working in the shop were very pleasant and quite helpful.
Not seeing what I was looking for, I decided to inquire on the off chance that they might have a lead on something. I was then directed to another sales associate, Noreen, who checked in the back and brought out the Ocean Z Chronograph in both white and red gold. Well, I wasn't especially taken by the red gold with silver dial, but the white gold version is simply beautiful (and so is Noreen, I might add)!
Not only is the Ocean Z Chronograph a large watch, but also very heavy. The white gold version comes on the same rubber strap as the Z-1, while the red gold was on a brown croc strap. Unlike the Z-1, the Ocean Z has a display back with a nicely decorated movement and skeletonized gold rotor with the HW initials. The feel of the watch is very nice as well--winding is very smooth, as is the feel of the chrono pushers. The retrograde indicators for the chronograph functions are (to me, at least) very unique in appearance and I found myself really enjoying their movement. There is no stutter when starting, stopping or re-starting the chronograph. I assume this is due to the F. Piguet based movement, but since she didn't have the specs available, I cannot confirm this. I believe it has been mentioned here before that this piece contains the same movement as the Z-1. The "continuous seconds indicator" is very subtle, and you really have to look closely to see it in motion. I can only assume that the larger version of the "shuriken" on the Z-2 is much more visible.
I mentioned that this is a large watch--44mm case diameter, but it seems to wear smaller than a Panerai on my wrist (which is about 7.25"). It is, however, a substantial watch and is quite thick. The rubber strap is nice and flexible, and the lugs do swivel a few degrees to help it conform to one's wrist shape.
So my earlier reservations were unfounded as this ended up being a very pleasant experience for me. Unfortunately, I am now completely obsessed with a watch that is currently (and for at least the near future) a bit beyond my means. Perhaps my wife wouldn't miss a few of her antique dolls? Hmmm...