Originals (1)

This Post is the first of a series where I introduce Brands that are somewhat off mainstream, which might and often do show real flair and usually an individualism that can be sadly lacking in many of the better known brands.  It might be that they’re relatively new or just one that appeals to a select few and fly just under the radar.  Whatever the reason they are often on the short list by those looking for that elusive style or look that the mainstream can’t seem to provide.

One such maker is MARCH LA.B who produce the AM2.  They are a France-made luxury timepiece brand with headquarters in Los Angeles, California and Biarritz, France and brainchild of ALAIN MARHIC since 2008 and the AM2 model I feature here is a model I that typifies the individual look.

March AM2 in burgandy Automatic.  The individuals watch.

March AM2 in burgundy Automatic. The individuals watch.

And it is different, it’s what I personally call “heavy” retro and this model actually inspired apparently by those seventies Ford Mustangs with their plush seating interiors, aggressive, charismatic and above all – individual.

Certainly a different kind of presentation with the heavy polished 316L Stainless Steel case with that large heavily textured and logo’d crown bulging out from the case @4.  It certainly can’t be missed, that’s for sure.   First looks shows off the plush deep maroon/burgundy finish dial and domed anti-reflective Sapphire crystal.
The case is 38 mm square and the watch is powered by a Swiss ETA 2892-A automatic movement with self -winding ball bearing rotor system, Date corrector, Stop seconds device and ETACHRON regulator system.  It’s a pretty well specified model of that there is no doubt and at 28,800 vibrations/hr and 21 jewels should provide decent decent accuracy.

Customized ETA2892-A Swiss Automatic seen through amazing green crystal viewing post.

Customized ETA2892-A Swiss Automatic seen through that amazing green Sapphire crystal viewing post.

The Hour and Minute hands are treated with luminous material, a sweep seconds hand, silver markers plus a customized Date set @3 against the deep maroon/burgundy color dial background are quite striking.
The watch back is secured by 4 screws and the viewing window in amazing green is a Sapphire crystal, showing the customized movement inside.  Note the Crown is screw down and this model has a Water Resistance of 10 ATM /100 M.

The watch has a really plush sculpted (those Mustang seats!) perforated black “buffle” band with maroon/burgundy highlights and Alcantara lining and is pretty special in it’s own right.

So a true individualist model, the AM2 and I do like it, as it’s not only something different, but it’s both a quality piece and has an in your face retro style I find refreshing.  And bear in mind I’m not American, so inspirational items from the USA don’t usually influence me one way or another, but with the AM2 it’s got something I can identify with, and that’s the Mustang – I mean it’s a Classic and I’ve seen the pictures and indeed the movie . . . etc. and I can see the connection very clearly.

Price wise this is not unrealistic at around £750 perhaps and I’m pretty sure your next door neighbor or the guys at the Golf Club will not have one of these!  You might have to see about a change of vehicle of course and then price might become an issue!

And of course you guessed it – it’s now on my list!  and I’m trying so hard to cut back . . . 😉  and failing miserably!

World Time elegance

This elegant model is from Louis Vuitton and is the Heures du Monde which is apparently in honour of the company’s roots as a travel-trunk manufacturer.

Louis Vitton "Heures du Monde" Automatic

Louis Vuitton “Heures du Monde” Automatic

The case is in fine finished stainless steel at 44mm diameter, with interesting lug shapes.  It features a Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating under which lies the satin gray dial, which with the offset world map certainly has a different look.  24 City abbreviations/time zones are in yellow and white alternately around the globe and a GMT function allows the traveler to check time in two time zones simultaneously.
Note the two Date apertures – the one on the right of the standard Date window is actually a “jump” hour display which indicates the current hour in the tracked time zone and differentiating from day and night in white or gray.  Time zone selection is by use of the pusher @2 and a small corrector is located @4 for daylight-saying compensation.  Note too the small yellow zone indicator within the globe track index.
The analog hour and minute hands are infilled with Superluminova and the long yellow sweep center seconds hand adds good contrast.  There is also an exhibition back through which you can see the automatic movement and rotor, which of course is engraved with the LV logo.  The watch incidentally is also water Resistant to 50m.

Movement wise this model features a Swiss in-house Cal. LV101 21 jewel Automatic with a 40 hours power reserve.

Finally this model features a very stylish gray alligator and black calf leather bi-material strap with yellow stitching, which reflects the iconic Louis Vuitton luggage look.

So what price fashion ?

Whilst I’m quite taken with this model especially from a Fashion House rather than a traditional watch Brand, my concern has to be the Price which is around $9500.  I assume the high mark up is due to the position Louis Vuitton commands within the fashion world, but from a watch value viewpoint? 
It’s a nicely designed and finished watch, looks good, with decent quality features, sapphire crystal, reasonable movement (though no details), a neat World Time function, but no more than that.  It is without added value precious metal or jewellery decoration, so basically is a good mid range stainless steel watch, albeit with that stylish “fashion” design, but £6000?

It is a fact today that many of the Fashion Houses are coming up with excellent watches, both in terms of quality and technically and with good features, which often display an elegance that some of the mainstream Watch manufacturers are lacking, but the pricing for me is just too inflated.

However if you are a lover of and value “Fashion”and you’re prepared to pay for it, on the lookout for an elegant and dressy watch which has some practicality, then this one could easily be for you.

I’m admit to being tempted myself as I actually like it . . . but I have my eye on a pre-owned Vacheron Constantin and a vintage Rolex and I’m hoping to have change out of £6000 for the two – if successful, so I’ll pass . . .  😉

Budget Fashion

The thing about fashion and designer watches is that often they are accompanied by a price tag reflecting the ego aspirations of the designer.

By Void - the SOND NYG unisex fashion watch.

By Void – the SOND NYG unisex fashion watch.

In other words, just a tad pricey!  So it’s very to note a model that not only showcases clean lines modernity, plus chic and cool but also within s sensible price point.  Whilst I have noted it in the past, it still holds it’s own and I feature it once again as there is on the face of it – nothing to it, yet it excels in what is perhaps “fashion” at it’s best.

The wonderfully simplistic and refreshing use of color is perhaps for me partly why this model stands out and it is so neat!  It is indeed a statement watch, but not one that jars or grates as it can be worn with aplomb with tuxedo or jeans – it simply works.  With it’s injection molded one piece construction and unique strap/watch thread system allows an amazing range of colors to be specified – I particularly like the one shown.  In fact there are 8 colors available for each component means an astonishing 500 unique color combinations are possible!

The dimensions are 38mm wide by 44mm top to bottom and only 11mm depth with a 22mm wide band.  The battery life is around 2 years and can be replaced via the back “hatch” which is stainless steel.  This model is also Water Resistant to 3ATM or 30m.  The functions of this quartz model are relatively simple but adequate – Time and Date, AM & PM indicator coupled with a back light.  A 2 year Warranty comes as standard.

The price – around £50 (UK).