The 38mm Martenero Marquis makes for a lovely addition to the watch roll.
In recent years the sub $500 category of watches has become a minefield of vanity brands promoted on social media by a swarm of Instagram ‘entrepreneurs’ who’ve got no idea what they’re peddling – utter trash. For the stalwarts of the industry, the Seikos, Casios, Orients, Tissots, watching these brands rise to prominence must have been especially frustrating. But just like the gold Michael Kors and DKNY watches of five years ago, the trend for minimalist Chinese built watches on 0.04 cent NATO straps will fizzle out. Rest assured.
I say the same thing to people who ask about watches under $500, “you get what you pay for,” it’s as simple as that. However, extend that budget to the sub $1000 mark and you start to look at some interesting mechanical watches from both big and boutique brands. One brand we’ve featured in the past is Martenero, an operation based in New York City that builds handsome customisable watches featuring reliable Japanese movements. We got our hands on their latest release, the Martenero Marquis and were pleasantly surprised with the US$595 package.
What appeals to me the most about Martenero is the ability to customise. Marquis customers can choose from either a 38mm or 42mm case size, three dials, four hands and six straps. That’s 144 possible combinations of the same model watch. Our review unit was the 38mm version with silver sunburst dial, dark blue hands and black strap – a perfect combination for everyday wear.
My daily watch has a 40mm case and as an enthusiast who loathes ‘big’ watches I found wearing the 38mm a refreshing and understated alternative. The dial is probably the most appealling feature of the Martenero Marquis featuring a raised index ring which adds depth and increases readability. As Martenero’s ‘take on the classic dress watch’ I find the interior numerals a strange addition but it does gives the watch its own distinct character. I love the font used for the date window at 6 o’clock – just the slighest hint of serif to add some class.
The Martenero Marquis utilises a Miyota 9015 mechanical movement with a 42 hour power reserve, which can be viewed through a sapphire caseback. It’s a standard Miyota movement but a perfect choice for a watch in this price range, one that will likely be worn, wound, beaten and loved most days of the week. The crown is adequately sized and easy to grip and winds with a reassuring solidarity.
I think the case and hands are the dressiest parts of the Martenero Marquis. The lugs elegantly acetuate the bezel and the batons hands complement the roman numerals and sunburst dial. My only criticsim of the case would be the height. A thinner case would have made the 38mm model wear a lot dressier, it may be more suitable for the 42mm however.
Ultimately it’s the attraction to the boutique brand and the customisation ability that will appeal to potential Martenero Marquis buyers. Unfortunately the value of the Australian dollar will play its part in final decisions, especially as the watch creeps up towards the AUD$800 mark. Nevertheless, those who do decide to part ways with the cash will be rewarded with an attractive and individual watch with undeniable character.
Purchase the Martenero Marquis here.