Dive deep into naval tradition with the new Marloe Sceptre
 

Dive deep into naval tradition with the new Marloe Sceptre

7 min read
Richard Brown

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How To's Reviews

Richard Brown

Categories

How To's Reviews

Marloe Watch Company have dived deep into British Royal Navy history for inspiration with their latest creation. The Sceptre is a 200m robust tool watch with a difference, as you would expect from one of the UKs most innovative watch houses.

Marloe Sceptre

Marloe Sceptre Black Edition - Credit WatchGecko

First a bit of history

Five ships in the Royal Navy have borne the name Sceptre. The most recent was a Swiftsure Class nuclear submarine HMS Sceptre which defended our isles until it was decommissioned in 2010. Other submarines dating back to WW2 have also been called Sceptre as was a majestic 64-gun warship from the 18th century.

Royal Navy Submarine

Royal Navy Nuclear Submarine - Credit UKMOD Open License

If we look back at Marloe’s portfolio, they have never shied away from aquatic designs. Many of their watches have a nautical theme from the Coniston and its Donald Campbell Bluebird links to the later Solent, named after the small strip of water which is one of the most famous gateways to the UK.

The new Sceptre is based on the Solent but is a more robust evolution of the line. In the words of Marloe’s founders Oliver and Gordon, the Sceptre is “an aggressive ocean faring watch that’s built for the harshest environments”.

Whilst the Solent was inspired by activities on the surface the Sceptre has a distinctly sub-surface feel to it; as if it has been lifted directly from a control panel in a vintage submarine.

First Impressions

As always the unpacking of a Marloe is an experience. In the outer box we first encounter the Marloe Newsletter. Think of this like a daily paper but watch related. Place this aside for now, as it will prove to be the perfect companion to the coffee you will inevitably make later while admiring your new watch. Deeper on our journey to the Sceptre we find the expected tweed Scottish box suggesting something very British and classy lurks beneath. Then comes the watch data card which advises the serial number and technical specifications and is embossed with a periscope design. Finally the anticipated handbook dedicated to this specific watch. Forums have divisive comments on weighty handbooks in watch boxes. There are two schools of thought; those who see such books as a generic waste of paper, read only once, and offering nothing you can’t find online. And conversely those who see the publications as a timeless valuable insight into the historical development and operation of the watch. At WatchGecko, we like them. (RB note: I still glance through my Marloe Coniston book years after purchase.)

Marloe Sceptre Black Edition - Credit WatchGecko

The Marloe Sceptre Surfaces

We borrowed the unique Black Edition so first sight was always expected to be striking. As the name suggests it has a black dial, vintage gold lettering, bold hands and a black silicone strap. There are three other variants of the watch. The October with a dark dial, orange accents and a brilliant orange rubber strap. The Aggron, white dial with black chapter ring and black strap and finally the Commander which is undiluted stainless steel with a blue dial and blue rubber strap.  

Sceptre Black Edition

You can clearly see Solent DNA in the design of the Sceptre but it is more robust both physically and technically. We find thicker sapphire crystal which has a subtle blue/purple AR coating giving a deep ocean colour optical illusion. The 200m steel case feels solid and the unprotected screw down rifled crown is easy to operate with wet hands or gloves.

The bi-directional turbine bezel is one of the more unusual features on the watch. Its very design makes it unsuitable for professional diving however most of us who own 200m watches do not dive. The fact that Marloe have embraced this is noteworthy. They have bravely refused to succumb to expectations and fit a traditional dive bezel. In its place we find a perfectly functional bezel which meets all daily needs (such as parking time durations) but critically is designed to look like an integral holistic part of the case and in no way dominate the overall look. It’s a smart design, giving technical capability but avoiding cliché designs.

Marloe Sceptre Black Edition bezel - Credit WatchGecko

The Dial

The Sceptre range presents superb legibility. Lume is subtle on all the models and the hands take centre stage. Our Black Edition was exceptionally clear with aesthetically pleasing dispersion of text and technical information. The minute track is highly functional with enough sub divisions to allow accurate course plotting across the North Atlantic.

The dial is constructed from multiple parts which gives a real sense of depth. Possibly the most interesting element on the dial are the small cross hairs placed in line with each hour marker but close to the centre. They serve no purpose other than to further enhance legibility but they do remind you of tracked ships on a sonar. A ring of enemy vessels surrounding your submarine, or from another perspective twelve potential targets? Whatever the inspiration, the dial it is a design gem which is instantly recognisable as a Marloe but still an original creation – no mean feat.  

Marloe Sceptre

Marloe Sceptre Black Edition Dial - Credit WatchGecko

The 316L Marine Grade steel case has a well proportioned display back which bears the now anticipated meaningful phrase from the creators. The Sceptre bears the words “It was through the seas that the Earth, so to speak, began”. A take on famous words quoted by Jules Verne in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

Through the port hole of the case back we see the heart of the Sceptre. A Miyota 9039 automatic mechanical movement, beating at 28,800 bph with 24 jewels, handwinding capability, a capable 40+ hour power reserve, Parashock protection and an accuracy of -10 ~ + 30 sec/day.

Marloe Sceptre 9035 Movement - Credit WatchGecko

How does it wear?

The Sceptre comes on a high quality silicone strap which is exceptionally comfortable and we could not find fault with it or the steel buckle. The watch wears very well which at 42mm and 76g in weight is not hard. The superior strap really supports the watch and long term comfort is guaranteed. It is also worth noting that multiple OEM straps are available for your new watch which can be selected prior to purchase on Marloe’s clever online watch configuration tool. You can also select your serial number which is a really nice way to further personalise a watch (RB note: I managed to get my birth month and year on my Coniston).  

Conclusions

Is there anything we would change on the Sceptre? Of course there are always things on any watch which we would personally prefer to see but the challenge of the watchmaker is to create a product that has wide appeal. The Sceptre could perhaps benefit from more prominent lume indices but then a perfectly good argument could be structured for not designing those in. You can tell we are stretching here…

In short the Sceptre is fine machine and would be a real asset to a collection or as a one-stop-shop for the “one watch” demographic of buyer.

Priced at £399 the Marloe Sceptre is good value for money when you consider the innovative design and thoroughly British heritage of the brand. There are very few decent sub-£400 watches available today that offer this level of personalisation, technical capability and sheer style.

The Sceptre is a welcome addition to Marloe’s portfolio and represents an evolution of their design ethos to bring us truly robust go-to watch. Ready for anything you or nature will throw at it, the Sceptre will quickly become a valuable companion on your adventure.

Marloe Sceptre Specs:

  • Case size - 42mm Diameter x 12.65mm depth
  • Lug width - 22mm strap width
  • Case design - Dual-texture bespoke designed case w/ screw-down crown
  • Bezel - Bi-directional bezel with 60-clicks
  • Glass - Sapphire crystal with dual side anti-reflective coating
  • Dial construction - Multi-layer dial with floating luminous pontoons
  • Weight - 76g
  • Water resistance - 20 ATM
  • Movement - Miyota 9039 automatic mechanical movement
  • Warranty - 2 year warranty
  • Price - £399 from Marloe Watch Company

Strap Suggestions for the Sceptre

Naturally we love to strap change here, no matter how good the original supplied strap is. So, here are a couple of the options we tried and loved on the Sceptre which may provide some inspiration for redressing the 42mm steel tool watch in your life.

ZULUDIVER TYPHOON Sailcloth Military Nylon – £38

Three layers make up the 0.78mm thick PVC sailcloth rubber. The first lining layer is made of a black woven cotton fabric which gives it tear-resistant strength. The next layer is a grey neoprene foam for flexibility and comfort in a wide range of temperatures. The top layer is black PVC rubber embossed with a sailcloth pattern and gives the material its a unique look and robust high abrasion-resistant finish. The combination of these layers makes the material durable, flexible and very comfortable to wear. Finally, the steel metal work matches the Marloe’s case perfectly.

Marloe Sceptre on ZULUDIVER TYPHOON

WatchGecko Henwick Single Pass Military Nylon Watch Strap - Black & Beige - £24

In creating the Henwick Single Pass Strap WG wanted to offer a strap that offered security and comfort but sat superior on the wrist. Where other single pass straps use a thin material, we went with a premium 1.4mm thick nylon that has a very smooth, tight weave. This means that the material is strong enough to both secure the watch and be able to withstand whatever adventures you take it on.

As an added design element the central stripe is embossed into the weave, this particular model matching the vintage gold lettering of the Marloe Sceptre perfectly.

The hardware is stainless steel. The buckle is slim to stop the strap being bulky, but strong enough to stand up to wear and tear. Meanwhile the second of the trapezoid keepers is a floating keeper that can move to suit the length of excess strap that needs to be secured.

Marloe Sceptre on WatchGecko Henwick Military Nylon

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Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.

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