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Microbrand Corner: November 2020’s Best New Releases

Makina Uriel III

Makina Uriel III

The pulsometer is fast becoming a retro icon, the kind of watch that harks back to the bygone era of early medicine. Makina’s take on it though is anything but. Using the unusually curvaceous, 40mm Uriel case, the Uriel III is a striking reinterpretation of a doctors’ watch.

For a touch more character, the quirky oversized numerals for 9 and 3 o’clock are on their sides, dividing the typography on the dial into four quadrants. The Uriel III comes in a trio of new dial colours: white, gunmetal and our favourite of three, a deep teal blue dial with bright red pulsometer indicators. Both are currently available to pre-order in limited runs of 500 pieces.

The Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Miyota 821A automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve
  • $599 USD (approx. £460), limited to 500 pieces more details at Makina Watches.

Marc & Sons GMT Bronze Black Blue

Marc Sons GMT Bronze Black Blue

The halfway house between a traveller’s dual-time-zone watch and a solid, high-spec professional diver, Marc & Sons’ take on the classic GMT has pretty much every base covered. The black and blue 24-hour bezel made famous by the Rolex ‘Batman’ works perfectly with the 41mm bronze case.

Fit with a top of the line ETA 2893 Elaboré automatic movement and boasting a serious 500m water resistance, it’s not a true professional diver per se, but it’s only a unidirectional rotating bezel away. Otherwise it has the makings of a perfect everyday watch: reliability, ruggedness and really good looks.

The Specs

  • 41mm bronze case with 500m water resistance
  • ETA 2893 Elaboré automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • From €830 EUR, available Marc and Sons.

Firle Sennen

Firle Sennen

It takes a talented designer to skirt the line between rugged and elegant, which makes 27-year-old Brit Will Martin worth taking note of, and not just because he reminds us of our ages. The founder of Firle Watches has, in the Sennen, joined those polar opposites into a piece with an impressive specs sheet paired with the aesthetic sensibilities of a dress watch – the best of both worlds.

Powered by the STP1-11 calibre movement, complete with ETA-level finishing and a 44-hour power reserve, protected by 100m water resistance and an Incabloc shock absorption system, the Sennen opts for ‘less is more’ in looks only – looks which are available in a variety of refined colourways.

The Specs

  • 8mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance
  • STP1-11 calibre automatic movement with 44-hour power reserve
  • Use code ‘supportsmall’ for 10% off
  • £495, available at Firle Watches.

Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman Vintage

Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman Vintage

Since its introduction in 2016, Magrette’s Waterman has become an archetype for retro diving microbrand releases with its elegant look and solid build, particularly in the lovely bronze edition. Now Magrette is adding to the Moana Pacific Waterman Vintage collection with a black tough black ceramic bezel and black dial, paired with the sepia of vintage-style lume.

Otherwise the new watch retains all the characteristics that have made the Waterman the microbrand alternative to a Panerai: the cushion-shaped case, generous 42mm size and an ever-reliable ETA2824-2 automatic movement protected by solid water resistance. It’s popular for a reason.

The Specs

  • 42mm stainless steel case with 500m water resistance
  • ETA 2824-2 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • $725 USD (Approx. £555), available at Magrette.

Sovrygn Successor Automatic

Sovrygn Successor

Tackling the sports-luxe sub-section of watches is easier said than done, yet Canadian watch brand Sovrygn has come out of nowhere with its incredibly eye-catching Successor. Between the octagonal case and the skeletonised forged carbon dial – which, if you don’t know your cartography, illustrates the hydrological regions of Nigeria, the founder’s home country – this is anything but your standard retro diver start-up.

That goes double when it gets dark and the entire dial lights up with lume. While most skeletonised, mechanical timepieces with a Genta slant come with a prestige price tag, the Successor will set you back just £265. For the fledgling brand’s first timepiece, that’s a statement worth sitting up and taking note of.

The Specs

  • 42mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • £265, available at Sovrygn Watches.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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