PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 9 May, 2016.
Marloe Watch Co launched their successful Kickstarter campaign in January of this year (2016), and I covered it in this post of great upcoming watches. They absolutely smashed their goal of £30,000 by raising an amazing £179,194 – and I’m not surprised, as the Cherwell was priced at an extremely competitive £129.
Now, despite the Kickstarter being all over, the Cherwell is available – at the RRP of £249. Is this still a good deal despite being almost double the price? Let’s take a look.
- 43.4mm diameter x 12mm high x 48mm lug to lug
- 20mm lug width
- Hand-wind only Sea-Gull ST36 mechanical movement with 21,600bph
- Power reserve of over 50 hours when fully wound
- Double-domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- Exhibition case-back
- Multi-layered dial
- 3ATM water resistance
- Weight: 72g including strap
The Marloe Watch Co Cherwell is by no means a small watch. At just shy of 44mm, it is most definitely on the largest size acceptable for a smart / dress watch. It wears fairly large too thanks to the fact that the dial takes up pretty much all of this space – the thin bezel and angled rehaut allow for a pretty full and unobstructed view.
The case is fully polished, and the finishing and machining is all spotless – no issues here at all.
One thing that I like to see is how the case is wider at the top than the bottom – this means that on the wrist it doesn’t feel as large as it appears, resulting in a more comfortable wear. It also looks pretty cool.
The case has fairly stumpy lugs which means that the lug to lug length is kept to a slightly more sensible 48mm, keeping a relatively comfortable wear despite the size.
The screw-in exhibition caseback is large, simple and to the point – allowing a full view of the movement. It also has a surrounding detail with the message “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour”. Time runs at the same speed for us all – unless you’re Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar. This is usually where you’d see the watch specifics – but they’ve been relocated to the underside of the crystal. A nice alternative, although quite hard to read.
Albeit a minor element, I find the crown to be very nicely designed with a knurled grip and deep “M” engraved at the end. It’s another unique design on this watch that is great to see.
A double domed sapphire crystal sits on top of the case. The domed underside counteracts the the top done, providing almost perfect, undistorted viewing at the tightest angles. The crystal has anti-reflective coating on the underside, but I’ve not found it to be too effective.
The case as a whole is well put together coupled with good design. Is it too large though? Quite possibly. I find that I can just about manage it on my 7 1/4 inch wrist – so if you’re smaller at all, it would likely be too big.
What I really like about the Marloe Watch Co Cherwell is how the dial is almost a breath of fresh air, a design that has managed to stay unique and steer away from the “minimalist” ethos that we see too often nowadays. Yet, it’s still smart, collected, and refined in its own way.
The dial appears pretty large thanks to the thin bezel and the highly angled rehaut – this allows you to get a full view at almost any angle when coupled with the double domed sapphire crystal.
The dial is multi layered, providing a sense of depth – there’s a lower outer edge, and a raised central disc. This disc has a nice and simple touch where the top is cut flat to house the logo and the “12” applied numerals.
The small seconds dial at 6 is cut out of this higher level, and features a concentric circular pattern – again introducing more texture and depth at a subtle degree.
The applied hour markers in general are very good quality and I like how they are raised over both the lower and higher levels. But, my one criticism of the dial is the quality of the 12. It’s just not the same as the others, not as deep and doesn’t look as good – unfortunately a little bit flat in my eyes.
We also have a slight variation of the usual minute track – with each increment marked by a raised square. This is another little alteration in design that’s been thought out and well executed.
The main minute and hour hands are skeletonised and in a dauphine shape. They’re flat rather than pitched, and are a simple yet pleasant design.
I think the dial has had a lot of thought gone into it, and is well built to match – apart from the slightly lightweight 12.
The strap supplied with this review unit is not the final leather strap that will ship – so there’s really no point in discussing it. The Cherwell takes a 20mm wide strap that reduced down to 18mm at the buckle.
The buckle provided on this watch is (I assume) what will be present on the final strap. It’s a simple tang buckle, but features the Marloe logo deeply engraved on the top bar which looks good.
The movement that Marloe have used is the Sea-Gull ST3621 (also known as just the ST36). It’s a clone of the very popular Unitas 6498, a movement that was originally built for pocket watches, hence the relatively large size at 36.6mm in diameter. It’s hand wind only (not automatic) and runs at 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second). It’s reasonably attractive (more so than the Miyota movements that have been used so much in recent times) with some detailing to the bridges with brushing finishing and engraving.
It’s a pretty reliable and sturdy movement that will likely last for a long time.
Without doubt, the Cherwell offers staggering value for money at the Kickstarter price of £129. But let’s not think about that too much as it’ll never be available at that price again. Is £249 a decent deal? I think it is. Considering what you get – a real unique design which in itself deserves commendation, and built well to match. You also get a solid hand wind mechanical movement that’ll likely last for years to come.
The only two things worth mentioning is firstly the applied “12” could be a little thicker – to appear better quality, and the ~44mm diameter could be a concern for some.
Other than that, I really like it and I’m over the moon to see another UK based brand making real watches and succeeding. I wish all the best to Marloe Watch Co and hopefully they’ll be around for a long time.