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Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV Watch Review

Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV

After the success of their previous Kickstarter, the Montreal-based watchmaker Héron Watches is back with a new timepiece that’s heading to the crowdfunding website on February 28th. The new watch has the mighty name Gladiateur MMLXV, an accessible dive watch with a characterful Roman numeral bezel. Does it live up to the grandeur of its name? Well, we’ve been sent an early model ahead of the Kickstarter to find out.

Taking it out of the box for the first time my immediate impression is that the size is just about perfect. It sits right in that Goldilocks zone thanks to a 41mm diameter case with short lugs 20mm across and a height of 12mm meaning it will happily slip under most cuffs. The idea behind the size was to make sure it would suit the majority of wrists both male and female.

Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV

Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV

As for the case’s style, I’ve quickly become a fan of its simplicity. The screw down crown is protected on either side by guards but they don’t stick out too far and help to give some shape to the steep sides. Naturally, the case is dominated by the thick diving bezel which has a 120 click unidirectional rotation and a bead blast style finish. However, the most noticeable feature of the bezel is the fact its 12 hour scale is written in embossed Roman numerals, which is very characterful and in keeping with the Gladiateur name.

It’s a watch that has lots of details that a watch enthusiasts will appreciate but that at the same time don’t preclude it from being attractive to watch laymen. Take the dial for example. At face value it’s pretty basic, it has three hands and 12 hour markers so job done, right? But look at it again and you begin to see more details such as the fact the lume-coated indexes aren’t all identical. The marker at 12 is a triangle while the ones at 3, 6 and 9 are rectangles and the rest are smaller wedge shapes, ideal for underwater legibility.

Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV

In terms of colourways there are four different versions of the Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV to pick from although the one I have here is the Acier Blue, acier being the French for steel. The first colour refers to that of the case and the second to the dial. There’s also Acier White, Rose Black and Noir Black. Perhaps it’s because it’s in front of me but the blue is my favourite.

Flipping the watch over quickly we can take a look at the caseback. It’s a solid steel back, no exhibition window here, and it’s engraved along the circumference with all the vital information such as the watch’s name, case material, water resistance rating of 100m (quite low for a dedicated diver but still decent considering the price) and Héron’s home city. In the centre is a stylised engraving of a heron, although I did spend a good five minutes trying to resolve it into some sort of gladiatorial helmet before I realised what it is.

Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV caseback

Hidden beneath the ambiguous heron is the 9039 Miyota automatic movement with sweep seconds. It’s a real Japanese work horse with a 42-hour power reserve and -10/+30 seconds per day accuracy. It’s also a key component in keeping the watch accessible with a retail price of $475 (approx. £350).

The Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV frankly ticks all my boxes. It’s well sized, accessible and the design is simple yet interesting. Plus, its name evokes images of glorious arena combat under the hot Italian sun and what more could you ask of a timepiece? If you get in on the kickstarter, open from February 28, you can also get it at various levels of discount. At Emperor level it’s $340, Centurion $310, Legionary $280, Eagle $250 (approx. £250-£184). Each level denotes a different stage of early bird savings with Eagle being the earliest and greatest discount, although there’s limited availability for each level.

Price & Specs:

Model: Héron Watches Gladiateur MMLXV
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter x 12mm height, stainless steel case, Acier blue dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: 9039 Miyota calibre, automatic, 24 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Rubber
Price/availability: $475 USD (approx. £350), Kickstarter prices vary depending on access level – Eagle (super early bird) $250, Legionary (early bird) $280, Centurion (late bird) $310, Emperor (Kickstarter deal) $340 USD

More details at Héron Watches.

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