PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 3 Jun, 2013.
The Obris Morgan Branco, in my eyes, is one of the best looking budget watches available at the moment. It just has so many things going for it- the lovely thick Italian leather strap with large buckle, matt titanium case impeccably finished, extremely clear sapphire crystal with AR coating, and a stunning deep black dial with sandwich hour markers and hands with a black base which makes it look like they are floating around the face. It is an extremely high spec watch for the price of $230, and I was very eager and excited to receive it for review. Thanks to Aifo of the Christopher Ward Forum who agreed to sell me his, as at the time of writing Obris Morgan are sold out for three months, which is good news for them- it is obviously proving to be a very popular watch for them!
Obris Morgan Branco Watch Review
It initially cought my eye because of it looking a bit like a Kobold – an insanely well made watch which the American special forces wear. Coupled with the very thick strap, it makes me feel like a ‘real’ man. I also like the crown at a jaunty angle too. When I got it in my hands I was not disappointed! Lets take a deeper look…
The first thing that presents itself is the stunning black dial.
It is what is known as a sandwich dial – so there is two layers to it. All of the hour markers, which are lumed, are on a lower level. This gives the dial a nice extra depth to it, even though the texture of it is stunningly ‘flat’.
The hour markers are small rectangles with rounded corners. They are all filled with a peach coloured lume. The marker at 12 is a double marker, with long thinner lines extruding from the bottom. The markers at 4 and 8 are also the longer style, and with these three points being a different type of marker it introduces a triangle. There is a white printed minute track running all around the outer edge of the face. It is subtle enough to not particularly overpower the simplicity of the face, but is still there for accurate reading – they’ve done a good job with it!
The hour and minute hands are perfectly proportioned swords, with a black edging and base. The seconds hand is a thin point, completely lumed apart from a black base once again. The black bases on all of the hands are exactly the same colour as the dial – they match so perfectly that you cannot see them at a glance of the watch to tell the time, giving the illusion of the hands floating. Very neat.
There are 3 fonts present on the dial – there is the logo, then the model number and 200m, and then superluminova. Some people have complained about this, saying they make the face look odd and too busy. I completely disagree with their thoughts. The fonts may be slightly different, but only just. They all very similar – and if anything, they make the dial a little more interesting in my opinion.
The case is made of high quality titanium, with a matt finish. It is 43mm in diameter and is 12mm thick. It is a decent size, being big enough to look the part but not too big to be rediculous and unwearable. The screw-in case back is stainless steel rather than titanium, which could look a little odd but surprisingly doesn’t at all- you barely even notice the difference in material.
The bezel doesn’t rotate, and is fairly plain. It has a nice edging to it, giving it a decent tool feel.
The screw-in crown has the Obris Morgan logo etched into it and is well made. The threading is good and plentiful, reassuring you of the 200m water resistance and also that it won’t thread easily.
The case being a different and darker colour due to the titanium to the usual colour of stainless steel is a nice change too. It really suits the dark brown strap and makes the watch look different and stand out a little more.
The 22mm wide strap is made of lovely thick Italian leather with big and bold white stitching. It really is a lovely strap- so comfortable, and very well made. Even just the fact that at the end of the stitching is a double stitch shows that a lot of thought and effort went into making this strap. The stitching itself is very thick and you can tell that it is high quality. It is very comfortable on the wrist, thanks to the angle of the lugs and the large buckle ensuring a decent fit. I like the large strap loops too, which are also made of high quality leather. They look like they won’t snap in a hurry!
The strap is held on using a screw bar and screw on either side, and also comes with a spare set of screws which is thoughtful of them!
Obris Morgan have decided to put in a fairly hard core and sturdy no-nonsense movement in the Branco, namely the Miyota 8215. It runs at 21.6k bph, or 6 ticks per second. It is a nice smooth movement, which is aided by the thin “floating” second hand. It feels very solid in the hand whilst winding and changing the time. There is no date on the Branco, although there is still a date function on the movement. So you still have to pull the crown out to the second position to change the time. The Miyota movement doesn’t hack, which means the second hand stops when you are setting the time to get best accuracy. The accuracy of the movement is great though. It is just about 5 seconds a day out which is a great surprise! Obris Morgan apparently regulate all the movements themselves before shipping the watches out. You can slightly hear the rotor spinning and winding the watch, but only when you really put it close to your ear and listen. During every day wear, you cannot hear it at all. It is a uni-directional wind of left rotation, so you may find that it takes longer to fully wind when compared to a bi-directional movement.
I love the effort that has been put into the whole buying experience of the Obris Morgan Branco. The pelican case is a great addition. It is well made, and feels extremely sturdy – as if you could lob this down a flight of stairs and both the case and the watch inside will end up without a scratch. Within the case is two areas cut out of the foam – one to hold the watch, and another to hold the extra strap, spare screwbar and screw, and the paperwork. Even the paperwork is nicely designed with a lot of effort and thought being put into it.
This is one of my favourite affordable watches I have reviewed to date. Usually after I have reviewed a watch I have to sell it on to fund the next watch to review. Not the Branco though. This one is staying in my small humble collection if 5 watches. It really is a great watch, and if its’ styling appeals to you, then I urge you to buy it!