Part of the nouvelle vague of watch brands born in France, March LAB was created in 2008 with a focus on design and vintage inspiration. A distinguishing element that has to do with the founders’ origins is France’s Atlantic coast; to be precise, France’s top surf spot on the Basque Country’s coastline. Moving from a surf brand to the Swiss Jura to create watches, Alain Marhi kept his love for the board and translated his passion into March LAB’s dive watch, the Belza. The latest edition, the Belza Bronze Automatic, certainly has personality.
A watch already available in steel, the March LAB Belza is, specs-wise, a classic dive watch. However, while most vintage-inspired aquatic watches look back at models from the 1950s and 60s, this one has a more funky 1970s design. More angular and more robust, too, it comes with a case of 40mm, with a certain heft, at 14.5mm in thickness. The sharp lines of the case, which are made of bronze, are enhanced by brushed surfaces and discreet polished accents. As always, bronze is a living material with a warm golden colour at first, which will slowly change as it patinates.
For the rest, the Belza Bronze is a classic diver. It comes with all the features you expect from such a watch, meaning a unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert, a box-shaped sapphire crystal (AR coated), a screwed steel back with a picture of the Villa Belza (a historical house overlooking the Basque coast) and a screw-down crown with original knurling located at 4 o’clock. Water-resistance is rated at a comfortable 200m.
The dial of this new March LAB Belza Bronze is rendered in black… which would be classic for most brands, except it’s a first for the French watchmaker that usually uses green as its signature colour. The sandblasted matte dial features an embossed crosshair in the middle, gold-toned applied markers and hands with generous lume and logos placed at the dial’s top and bottom. The date window is framed by a gold-coloured element and the disc matches the dial’s colour and comes with its own font.
Inside the case is a powerful automatic movement from La Joux-Perret, the calibre G100. An alternative to ETA and Sellita, it boasts a solid 68-hour power reserve. This new Belza Bronze is delivered with two black straps, a textured silicone strap and a perforated leather strap. No quick-release spring bars are fitted, but the lugs are drilled, making the strap easier to swap.
Now available from the brand as part of the permanent collection, the March LAB Belza Bronze Edition is priced at EUR 2,195 (incl. taxes) or USD 2,023 (excl. taxes). For more details, please visit march-lab.com.