The company we gonna look at today is Marloe and since I started my interest in microbrands and writing this blog I wanted to review one of their timepieces and today we have the Cherwell hand-wound model here. Marloe launched their successful Kickstarter campaign in January of the year 2016 Their goal was only £30,000 but they raised an amazing £179,194. The company is run by two guys from England Oliver and Gordon. So before we take a look at the watch, let’s have a small chat with Oliver:
1. Introduce yourself
My name’s Oliver and along with Gordon we run Marloe Watch Company. Neither of us come from a watch background but both have a passion for timepieces, hence launching Marloe.
2. What started your watch passion?
I fell in love with watches when I first laid eyes on one of my father’s Smiths watches – it was a beautifully simple timepiece but so elegant. It was a manual watch and he used to wind it over breakfast, and it fascinated me. The sweeping second hand was one of the things that appealed to me the most, as my plastic monstrosity at the time clicked round in an unwieldy fashion.
3. What makes a good wristwatch to you?
Something well designed that does its job. Whether you need a simple 3-hander, a chronoscope or a dive watch, whatever it is for, it needs to do it’s job otherwise it’s pointless. We’re led by design and have core belief of essentials only, clutter free design.
4. How much watches do you have in your personal collection? And maybe you could list them?
Although I have a passion for watches, and run a watch company, I’ve never owned many – I like to wear watches rather than have them on display. I obviously have one each of the Marloe collection – I absolutely love my sand dial Haskell, but I also have a Smiths Deluxe Everest which was the same as my father’s, as well as an old Tissot Chrono which was a gift, and that I covert very much.
5. Who is your ideal customer?
Everyone and anyone. We don’t make watches specifically for anyone, in fact we try to make them as accessibly as possible to everyone. All our watches are manual, hand-wound timepieces, so for me I do love introducing this type of watch to someone who has never owned one, as more often than not they find it very exciting.
6. Is it hard to start a microbrand watch company?
Yes, it’s very hard. It’s a very competitive industry, and without good design I think anyone would struggle. Thankfully Gordon is one of the best young designers I’ve ever come across – without him, there would be no Marloe.
7. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Both Gordon and I are very outdoorsy people, so we spend most of our time outside with our families, whether it’s playing a round of golf of hiking up a mountain, we just love the great outdoors. Although I’ve now got a 14 week old son so I’m a little more housebound nowadays!
8. How do you see Marloe watch brand in the future?
We’re keen to continue evolving and producing new and exciting products – we have 2 or 3 concepts that we’re currently working on for 2019, including a new Chrono and a dive watch, and we’re very excited about these.
9. Are there any new watches coming anytime soon?
Absolutely, we are very excited to launch our newest collection called the Coniston later this year. We ran a campaign for one of our customers to name the watch, and currently we’re producing a documentary to show everyone how we make the watch.
Part I is already on our website:
Now let’s take a look at the Cherwell. The watch arrived in a nice cardboard box with a personal thank you card for buying the timepiece. The first impressions were good, but I wasn’t expecting such a big case size. I saw a couple of reviews, but I thought it would be a bit smaller like 40mm, but it is 43,5mm. Some may say it is too big for a dressy watch, but I think it looks good, and for a big guy like me it works. I really like the dial and the Sea-Gull hand-wound movement actually looks pretty good.
So the case is made of 316L stainless steel with polished finishing. The case is very well machined and the polishing is done just as good. Cherwell is by no means a small watch. At just shy of 44mm, it is definitely on the larger side of the dress watches. It wears fairly large too thanks to the fact that the dial takes up pretty much all of this space – the thin bezel, so it has some wrist presence. The case is wider at the top than the bottom, so it makes the wearing experience a bit comfortable, plus it looks good design wise. The thickness is 12,3mm, but remember that about 2mm of that is the double domed sapphire crystal with AR coating. From lug to lug the watch measures at reasonable 49,4mm, you would think it would be more than 50mm, but due to short lugs it isn’t that long and it wears really good too on the wrist. The screw-in exhibition case back is large and simple – 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”. 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, but no one ever reads the specifications anyways. Another interesting find is the crown. It is very nicely designed with a knurled grip and deep “M” engraved at the end. The crown action is really good it actually is very easy to grasp and manipulate. The water resistance is only 3ATM (30m), but as it is a dress watch, not a diver, it is more than enough.
What I really like about the Cherwell is how the dial looks and the design is something unique and going away from that minimalistic look that we see so much on watches that were funded on Kickstarter. Yet, it’s still smart, collected, and refined in its own way. The dial looks very big thanks to the thin bezel and the highly angled rehaut and it really makes the watch to pop. 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 numeral. The small second’s dial at 6 is cut out of this higher level and features a circular pattern. The applied hour markers have a very good quality and I like how they are raised over both the lower and higher levels and from some angles they look like floating in the air. Around the dial, we have the minute track which with each increment are marked by a raised square. This is another design touch that makes this watch unique. The main minute and hour hands are skeletonized and in a dauphine shape.
The movement that Marloe have chosen for the Cherwell 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. It’s hand wind only and runs at 21.6k bps so it is a low beat movement and these movements tend to be very noisy but in a good way. It’s reasonably attractive, at least better than a standard Miyota or Seiko movement that we see in so many microbrands.
The strap that The Cherwell came with is a blue leather strap with a really nice leather grain texture. The stitching is done really good and the underlining is very soft, almost like suede. The strap is very supple and on the wrist feels very good, and wears comfortably. The tang-style buckle is signed with Marloe logo, nothing special there.
Overall the watch is really cool. At first, when I saw the Cherwell on their website I wasn’t liking it, but when I received it, I was really impressed by the design and quality of it. It kind of reminds me of my Done watch, it has the same size and almost the same movement (ETA/Unitas 6497). They both are unique in a way and driven by the design. I’ve been enjoying this watch for more than a month and it will definitely stay in my rotation of watches for a while. If you are searching for a great and solidly built watch, check it out because at the price like this it is a bargain.
- 43mm diameter, 12mm depth
- Hand-wound mechanical movement – 21,600bph
- The accuracy of +25/-15 seconds per day
- Polished bespoke case
- Double-domed sapphire crystal with AR coating
- Exhibition case-back with perimeter engraving
- Multi-layered dial
- 72g (with strap)
- 20mm lugs
- 3 ATM