Let's look at a watch from a small brand based in Scotland with an eagerness to create meaningful watches...
Welcome to the first episode of a slightly different type of review. Everything you've come to expect is still here from detailed images, thoughts based on genuine hands-on experience and of course watch strap suggestions but here we will look at some brands you might not have heard too much about before. We'll have some more information on this new series coming soon, but for now, let's take a look at the Marloe Morar Sands...
Who are Marloe Watch Company?
So who are Marloe watches? Well, their story is a familiar one for many small brands currently enjoying the increased ability to bring an idea to reality. The small brand simply focuses on making things as they should be made, for their intended purpose. Combine this with refreshingly unique designs, great inspiration and a devil for the details and the output can only be positive. Based in the north of Scotland, Marloe was founded by Oliver and Gordon who started their journey with a manual wind watch.From there they continued to build their range and reputation until three years ago, where the idea to create their first diving watch was born. Being based somewhere like North Scotland with such natural beauty around every corner, it was only right that their first diver watch took inspiration from this - especially their great bodies of water.
The Marloe Morar Sands - what it does
The Morar Sands is one of 5 models in the Morar family. These watches all sit in 40mm cases that come in at 12.4mm thick, with a lug to lug distance of 48mm. Those are pretty respectable dimensions to boast about, but the boasting doesn’t stop there. The finishes on these cases all vary depending on the model you go for with bead blasting, bronze and gunmetal all featuring. The latter is what we see on the Morar Sands to complement the chunky design of the case.
This is the first telltale sign that this watch wants to be used for its intended purpose. Personally I think this version of the Morar is a welcomed change up from the standard stainless steel or even bronze that is now becoming more and more common. Next up is the bezel, and it’s a chunky one.
It’s fair to say you really can’t miss it as it really has a big impact on the watch as a whole. Marloe has decided to continue the gunmetal finish to the bezel - you won’t get any ceramic bezel or aluminium insert here. And that’s on purpose. This comes back to the main aim with the Morar, to create a diver watch that can actually be used as a dive watch. The bezel is clicky, easy to operate thanks to the grip to turn the bezel being hidden along the edge. Simple, yet effective.
310 on the dial might not mean much to you initially, however this refers to the water resistance rating. And why 310 metres I hear you ask? Well that’s paying homage to Loch Morar, the loch this watch is named after which is, 310 metres deep. The higher water resistance ratings go the less I find myself having an interest in the feature, so the fact this piece offers a screw down crown is far more appealing to me than an extra 100m of water resistance.
Flipping the watch over we also get another subtle nod to the inspiration for the watch in the form of a mysterious creature that is thought to have lived in the loch. A cool touch that helps to paint the picture of the Morar. Behind that caseback and at the heart of the watch is the Miyota 9039. This is the dateless version of the 9015 which also has a lower hand stack for a thinner profile.
This is a reliable choice for many brands so it makes total sense we see it here in the Marloe. I’m all for no date as well. On certain watches no date is a must, so props to Marloe for sticking to the brief here and not being tempted to throw a movement with a date complication inside to increase its mass appeal.
Going back to the front now and we have potentially one of the most eye-catching, detailed and enticing aspects of that watch, the dial. For a small footprint, there is a lot going on here. The large, commanding hands on this piece really control the dial and efficiently manage to keep up with the rest of the piece's strong identity. The dial and its texture have to be one of my personal favourite aspects of the watch.
A lot of grain textures found on most watches can be quite large and heavy in their design, however, this is quite the opposite. It’s a light sprinkling of grain which is just enough to add that appealing level of pop to the dial.
The final pièce de résistance of the dial is the sunburst blue on the seconds' track. This has a lovely underlying sea-green tinge to it which when combined with the teardrop-shaped indices really pushes home the core design aspects.
For all you lovers of lume out there, you’re in for a treat with this one as a plentiful amount covers the whole dial, with the minute hand featuring a green glow rather than the bright blue.
What is it like in person?This watch was a pleasant surprise in person. As a company who purely operates online, we’re fully aware of the pitfalls of only selling products through a screen. The main one being the lack of hands-on time people can have with products before they put their money down. However once a product does arrive the enjoyment is only heightened when it turns out better than your initial expectations. This was certainly the case with Marloe. The images on their site are fantastic at getting across the branding and story of the watch which, when combined with hands-on time resulted in me really understanding this creation a lot more.
There isn’t a single feature on this watch that feels dainty or delicate. If you’re looking for a watch that you can wear and truly not have to worry about what you’re putting it through, you’re looking at it right here. It’s reliability, legibility and unique appearance only work to increase its appeal.
The diving strap that it comes fitted on is a big bulky silicone rubber. This makes sense on the watch, but for me, the choice of silicone and overall thickness really let the watch down. Speaking of straps, let’s look at some now...
Watch Straps for Marloe Watches - Morar Sands
So as we’ve just mentioned, the silicone strap doesn’t do too much to enhance the watch. Fortunately, we have a 20mm lug width to play with here so plenty of options with straps. Today however we want to offer a couple of options that will allow you to still use the watch as it was intended, and one option if you’re looking for something more casual.
It’s worth noting all of these options taper by 2mm so you will be able to use the standard gunmetal Marloe buckle from the original strap to avoid any clashes of metal finishes…
ZULUDIVER Quick Release Sailcloth Waterproof Divers Watch StrapFirst up is a strap that just makes total sense of the Morar. The Sailcloth is an option that is as attractive fitted to watches as it is practical and reliable. The grey stitching picks up on the dial colour and the quick release spring bars ensure strap changes can be made nice and easily.
Geckota Old Chester Genuine Oiled Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown
So we’ve spoken a lot about how these straps build on the Morar’s desire to be practical and tough, but what if you’re looking to go for something more comfortable? The Old Chester would be our suggestion here and as soon as it’s fitted, the bulkiness of the watch seems to be reduced massively.
ZULUDIVER Vintage Tropical Style Rubber Watch Strap
Next up is the Tropic Rubber, another combo that we just cannot ignore on the Marloe. In my opinion, this is what the Morar should have been fitted to as standard. It has many adjustments throughout the strap as a byproduct of its design. This strap is by no means thin at 4mm at the top of the strap, but it’s a beautifully balanced strap for the Morar Sands.
Is the Morar Sands worth it?Ah, the age old question, is the Marloe Morar Sands worth its price tag? Well that price tag is £449. For this you can have a uniquely designed, mechanical watch using a great movement with a real purposeful feel to it. If you’re someone who likes supporting the little guy, who does things for the right passionate reason and sees real value in a surprisingly unique watch considering the saturated market it belongs to, the Morar Sands might be the one for you. In terms of the watch, it’s a piece of kit I’d feel confident relying on, as long as I don’t find myself spending all day looking at that dial...
We’d like to thank Marloe Watch Company for sending the Morar Sands on loan for this review. If you’d like to learn more be sure to head over to their website here.