A watch fit for first class
For today's review, we are stepping back to a simpler time, a time that was synonymous with luxury and chain-smoking indoors. I'm of course talking about the dawn of the jet age, a new golden age in travel that brought us the De Havilland Comet in 1952 and the Concord in 1969, feats of British engineering and the peak of social status. The use of jet-powered flight outside of the military brought new possibilities to civilian travel, much quieter and incredibly fast (Concord's fastest transatlantic flight from New York to London took just under 3 hours!). What really set the jet age apart, however, was the luxury it brought to travel.
The passenger's experience was at the forefront over anything else, extravagant lobbies, powdering rooms and first-class meals became key components in selling this new mode of travel to the lucky few. These flights exhibited the kind of service, comfort and legroom that looking back would make you never want to step foot on a Ryanair flight ever again, even if that luxury often came at the cost of safety. Just look up any image of 1950's first-class travel and you'll be remiss to find a seatbelt in sight, nor neck pillows or sweatpants - we'll look past all the disastrous plane crashes for the sake of this review.
But what does any of this have to do with watches? Well, today we are taking a look at a Scottish watch brand that's making waves (supersonic waves) in the watch world - Marloe. More specifically, looking at their latest addition to their luxury watch line, the Pacific 55, a mechanical watch that embodies the jet age in its story and design.
The Marloe Watch Company
Established in 2015 by Oliver Goffe and Gordon Fraser, Marloe is an independent watch company founded on a shared passion for manual mechanical movements, pairing design and tradition in every collection. Marloe operates in small-batch productions, focusing on quality over quantity and QC'ing every watch by hand at their HQ in Loch Leven, Scotland.
Each collection focuses on a story of human endeavour or a moment that defined new possibilities for engineering - paying homage to events like the first expedition to the South Pole, the first transatlantic crossing or the land speed record-breaking Bluebird. Each story plays a big role in the design of each Marloe watch.
The Marloe Pacific
Each watch in the Pacific collection pays homage to a particular era of the jet age, from the engineering behind the plane design to the retro-spectacular decor and the splendour of first-class travel.
Looking at the Marloe Pacific 55, this retro-futuristic look that accompanied jet-age travel is definitely eminent within the watch's design. Its sleek 40mm case feels fluid and boasts a dynamic side profile with highly polished, brushed and frosted textures, a nod to the aerodynamic wings of the De Hallivand Comet. The Pacific features one continuous upper curvature from the 20mm lugs, over the box crystal and around the caseback.
I'm really glad this watch features a box crystal. The refractions give the dial so many beautiful viewing angles that glint and shine on your wrist. This effect is brought out even more thanks to the two-tone bubble dial, combining highly polished gold chamfered hands, applied batons and Arabic numerals which seem to fall off the edge of the dial's curvature. Holding this dial against a flat-dial watch, you really notice how the watch face pushes towards the crystal and plays with the light - a true visual treat with impeccable clarity. When you also consider the sunken seconds sub-dial at 6 you get a dial that truly embraces its depth. Every detail feels decisive and built around the wearer's enjoyment when looking at the watch.
When you think of a watch inspired by aviation, it's easy to imagine something like a Breitling Navitimer, IWC Big Pilot, or a replica of a cockpit clock scaled down to wrist-size. Which is why I find the Pacific 55 so charming, rather than trying to look like a conventional pilot watch, they bring out their flight-inspired design through nuance, of what the jet age symbolised in aviation's most exciting time in history.
Worth its weight in gold
The gold pallet of the Pacific 55 harks back to the gold watches of the 50s and 60s, and if all the watches in the Pacific collection represent an era of jet flight, then the 55 hands-down represents the decadent first-class experience of the De Hallivard Comet.
Before choosing the 55, I was concerned if the all-gold palette would look garish, having never owned a gold-coloured watch before. Now strapped to my wrist, I can confidently say this is not the case. The tone of the gold is just right, not too yellow and similar to the gold Rolex Day-Date President. The matte effect of the dial complements the frosted effect of the case profile and allows the indices, hands and case to stand out on their own without getting lost in a sea of gold.
A caseback that's a feast for the eyes
Visual joy is not just reserved for the front of the Pacific 55, turn the watch over and there's much to fond over. The smoothed scallops have been scooped out of the corners of the caseback for a slim appearance, not only compensating for the 12mm height of the watch but keeping the Pacific comfortable on the wrist. The true showstopper here however is the bubble sapphire caseback, projecting the Sellita SW216-1 movement onto the curve of the crystal. This has a magnifying effect that lets you see the movement with so much clarity, like peeking through a looking glass into the engine of the Pacific.
With a 40-hour power reserve and accuracy of -8/+15 seconds a day the manually wound Swiss Sellita SW16-1 is a fine but by no means the most visually striking movement out there. However, an embellished movement is not what Marloe set out to include. Instead, translating the internals of a jet plane, which has a utilitarian mechanical nature, into their movement, decorated with only a vertically brushed texture showcasing the 'M' cog logo.
As you can probably tell I'm a fan of the Pacific 55. Marloe brought out a well-executed piece that feels decisive and well thought out in its design. It's clear the watch tells a story and tells it well, with its homage to the jet age represented in all its small details and retro-futuristic look. It's a visually stunning watch that I never get bored looking at, turning my wrist to find new details as the refracted light hits the dial from all its curved edges and polished finishes, forgetting to even read the time. I wish more brands put this level of detail into their watches as Marloe does and I look forward to seeing what this humble Scottish watchmaker has in store next.
Price and specifications
The Pacific 55 is available to purchase from the Marloe site, currently priced at £975.
- 40mm diameter, 12mm height
- 20mm lug-to-lug
- 10ATM water resistance
- 70.5g weight without strap
- Sellita SW216-1 manual winding movement, 40+ hour power reserve
- Sapphire box crystal with AR coating, magnifying exhibition caseback
- 1-micron gold PVD tri-finish case with pillow dial and applied indices
- Chamfered hands, sub-dial hairline seconds hand