PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 16 Dec, 2015.
Note: this is an express review. Designed to be read within 5 minutes, each main element of the watch features an image slider, each picture has supporting information. This allows the pictures to do most of the talking, and keeps the waffle down. If you want the see the watch in more depth, watch the video review embedded below. Please let me know your thoughts on this new review template.
Described by Melbourne Watch Co as a “modern twist on the timeless aviation style”, the Avalon is their first foray into this genre of watch. As is usually the case for MWC, the name of the watch is linked to the city of Melbourne – Melbourne’s Avalon Airfield.
It’ll cost you $799 AUD / $575 USD / £380 GBP, so we’re in solid middle-ground boutique pricing that may seem a little more than alternatives out there. Is it worth it? Let’s find out.
- Case – 45mm 316L Stainless Steel with DLC coating, 12mm height, 54mm lug to lug length
- Weight – 101g
- Movement – Miyota Cal. 90S5 Open-Heart Automatic
- Crystal – Anti-Reflective Sapphire
- Dial – Multi-layered with ‘shuriken’ centre texture and Orange C3 Super-Luminova applied indices.
- Hands – Orange C3 Super-Luminova
- Strap – 24mm Leather, 22mm DLC buckle.
- Water Resistance – 50m/5ATM
- Warranty – 24 Months
The DLC coating has a brushed matt texture to it, and feels heavy duty – I’m pretty sure it’ll handle a knock or two.
With a 45mm diameter and 54mm lug to lug length, the Avalon is on the large side. However, the relatively thin height of 12mm counteracts this. The watch is fairly heavy at 101g, letting you know you have a decent timepiece on your wrist.
The sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating is extremely good – the sapphire crystal is superbly clear and the AR coating does a great job at keeping reflections at bay. Certainly one of the best crystals I’ve seen on a watch of this price.
The caseback is not DLC coated, in order to avoid it seizing shut. It has a sapphire crystal as the exhibition window, and all details are reasonably well engraved.
The crown is classic Melbourne Watch Co, with the logo etched in the end – the same as all their other watches.
The dial is the main thing that struck me as being better than anticipated. I was expecting the little plaque with “Avalon” on and the feature around the open heart to be a bit cheap looking, but they’re far from it. They’re made with high quality materials and are excellently put together and applied. On top of this, the shuriken (ninja throwing stars) texture and concentric circular pattern on the outer index are both very well carved.
The badge with “Avalon” on is an actual piece of metal screwed onto the dial. Quite unexpected.
Same goes for the feature around the open heart. Top finishing.
The logo is on its own plaque, sitting atop the shuriken texture.
The applied hour markers are all made with great precision – filled with orange lume (to match the hands) and with a polished steel surround to provide a nice bit of reflection when the light hits the dial.
The part skeletonised hands are well made, and provide great visibility thanks to the offset of orange against the black dial. The seconds hand, of course, has the Melbourne Watch Co “M” as the counterweight.
The strap is a wide boy at 24mm wide at the lugs, going down to 22mm at the buckle. The leather is also quite thick, so you definitely know that you’ve got this watch strapped to your wrist.
The leather is completely black with matching stitching to go with the case, creating more of a stealth look than aviation. It’s pretty soft and comfortable.
Like the crown, the buckle is another thing that is the same on all Melbournes. It has the bulge to fit the engraved logo in, and I really like the consistency they’ve got going on here. The DLC coating is a spot on match to the case, and the buckle is well machined.
I personally haven’t come across the Miyota 90S5 before, probably because it’s a very specific movement that features an Open-Heart. But, it’s pretty much the 9015 – which we’re very well aquainted with. You know what you’re getting with Miyota, a solid, reliable movement – albeit a bit of a plain one. It’s a nice touch of Melbourne Watch Co that they added a custom logo to the rotor.
The Miyota 90S5 runs at 28.8k bph – that’s a nice smooth sweep of 8 ticks a second.
It has 24 jewels, as well as hand winding capabilities and a hacking second hand.
I’m quite happy in admitting that when I originally saw the pictures of the Avalon upon its release, I wasn’t particularly too fussed about it. However, seeing it in the flesh has completely changed my mind on it. Although it’s not as much as an “aviator” style as it would like to be (I would say it looks more of a stealth / tool watch), it’s still a very cool looking timepiece. But it’s the build quality that has struck me; it is so much better than I was expecting and has made the Melbourne Watch Co Avalon a great timepiece in this price bracket. The hard wearing DLC coating, detailed dial, good quality movement, topped off with a great crystal and AR coating means it’s worth the initially quite high £380 price tag.