Value Proposition The Haskell from Marloe Watch Company (Review)

A cool-looking watch for adventurers from a young microbrand featuring its first Swiss movement.
ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Erik Slaven | 7 minute read
Marloe Watch Company Haskell hand-wound ETA

Marloe Watch Company is a brand of only a few years, but already has a nice portfolio of affordable, mechanical watches. It has chosen to use hand-wound movements in all four of its lines and I’m a big fan of this decision. I like the daily interaction that comes with winding a watch and the view from an exhibition caseback is more detailed without the interference of a rotor. Most of its watches use either Seagull or Miyota movements, but its flagship Haskell now has a Swiss ETA beating inside. I hesitate to claim that an ETA movement is superior to a comparable Miyota – is a Ferrari superior to an Acura NSX or Lexus LFA? – but the perception surrounding Swiss movements is real and I applaud Marloe for a well-executed piece with Swiss technology. Let’s take a closer look at the Marloe Haskell.

BACKGROUND

Marloe Watch Company is based in Oxfordshire, England and was founded in 2015 by two watch enthusiasts and friends, Oliver and Gordon. They have a shared passion for hand-wound watches and their entire portfolio reflects that. Both have distinct roles in the company as Oliver runs the business end and Gordon is in charge of design. The company name comes from Marlow, a town close to where Oliver was raised (in south Buckinghamshire). And although it operates with an online-only storefront, a commonality among microbrands, it also welcomes customers to the offices to hand-pick a Marloe watch. A personal touch that offers a test drive before committing.

The Haskell is named after the Haskell Strait, an ocean passage between Ross Island and Antarctica that was crossed by Captain Robert Falcon Scott. He was the first British explorer to reach the South Pole as part of the Terra Nova Expedition but sadly died during the excursion. Upon Terra Nova’s return to land in New Zealand over a year later, Scott became a hero and national icon. The watch celebrates this with an engraving of Antarctica on the steel caseback. The Haskell was designed for the modern adventurer and while it probably can’t withstand the extremes of the South Pole, it should be right at home on the wrist of most outdoorsmen.

CASE AND DESIGN

The 40mm stainless steel case is completely polished (except for a portion of the caseback), which I’m often not a fan of, but it works surprisingly well with this design. And at only 9.4mm in height, it hits the sweet spot in size for a contemporary watch. The sides of the case have a subtle barrel shape that prevents it from looking generic, while a thin polished bezel surrounds a flat sapphire crystal (with an anti-reflective coating). Because the case itself represents the entire 9.4mm height (no domed crystal, etc.), it seems thicker than the measurement suggests.

It’s a one-piece case that should prove to be very durable and is water-resistant to 100m. The back of the case has an image of Antarctica engraved in the central portion, which has been machined down to form a slight recess. I usually prefer exhibition casebacks, especially with hand-wound ETA movements, but this homage paid to a celebrated explorer is well executed. The crown doesn’t screw down (although the 100m water-resistance is respectable) and has a large M engraved on the end. It seems a bit larger than the norm, but makes winding a joy and doesn’t look out of place. Overall, the case is simple and elegant, and I really dig the barrel profile.

DIAL AND HANDS

The model I have has a green sunburst dial that complements the polished case well. The green hue was inspired by the classic green Land Rover (a British automotive icon) and several shades of green radiate as the light changes. I believe the technical term for this colour is British Racing Green and the deep colour is my favourite among the other three options (sand, blue or white). A raised and very detailed minute track spans the outer perimeter, almost resembling a tape measure, while an interesting circular pattern is printed inside the applied numerals.

The pattern has marks for every hour with four smaller dots between them. It looks great and can be used to accurately track seconds, although that also seems a bit redundant. Polished, applied indices with a spot of BG-W9 lume on the ends reach inward from the minute track, while polished numerals are positioned just beneath them. A round date window sits at 6 o’clock and is actually an extension of the applied index. It’s a cool attention to detail. MARLOE WATCH COMPANY is printed in white below 12 o’clock, while SWISS MADE is just above the date window and integrated with the inner circular pattern. It’s a detailed, but not overly aggressive dial and Marloe (or Gordon) designed a winner.

The hour, minute and seconds hands are polished silver and match the applied indices. They look great, but legibility is sometimes compromised if the lighting is less than ideal. It’s a small complaint and I’ll side with form over function on this one. There are (very) small slits at the ends of all hands containing BG-W9 lume, and the small targets can be hard to spot in the dark. A very cool detail concerns the counterweights, which are equal in size on all three hands. It’s the little things that can really add a visual punch to the aesthetic.

MOVEMENT

As mentioned earlier, this is the first line for Marloe to have a Swiss ETA movement. Its Cherwell line has a Seagull ST36, while the Derwent and Coniston lines have Miyota movements.

The movement in the Haskell is an ETA 2804-2 calibre, which is based on the ETA 2824 automatic. It has 17 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 42-hour power reserve. Functions include central hours, minutes and seconds (hacking), and a quickset date complication. Even undecorated, this is a handsome movement and I kind of wish an exhibition window was offered. The engraved back is an important part of the theme, however, and I’m not complaining. The movement has an accuracy rating of +15/-8 seconds per day and in my testing, I averaged seven seconds fast per day (which is overall very decent for a watch of that price).

STRAP

The green Haskell comes with a 20mm brown Barenia leather strap with a stainless steel buckle. Three other options are available, including a darker brown, black or tan Barenia leather. It’s padded, but not overly so and feels comfortable out of the box. No break-in period required. Marloe’s logo is stamped on the right side of the buckle, which is another nice attention to detail. The strap isn’t equipped with quick-release levers, which I wish was a standard feature on all straps, but I have no desire to swap this one out.

CONCLUSION

If you read my editorial comparing microbrands to established brands, you’ll know that I’m a fan of the quality and unique designs that a growing list of microbrands are offering. They may not have the marketing or mass production capabilities of the big leaguers, but a brand like Marloe is producing compelling, well-executed watches and the Haskell is one I would proudly wear. The green sunburst dial is very eye-catching and the polished, barrel profile of the case looks great. The small details, like the equal counterweights of the hands or date window that’s integrated with the 6 o’clock index, are standout features for me. I’ve always appreciated that type of careful design. Marloe might not be as well-known as Tissot or Hamilton, but it sure can build a watch just as nice.

Marloe Watch Company Haskell hand-wound ETA

The Haskell sells for USD 830, which isn’t cheap but fairly priced for what you’re getting. A similar piece from microbrand Farer Universal sells for hundreds more, so as microbrands continue to mature and offer well-executed watches with Swiss movements, prices will likely creep northward. Marloe offers a 5-year movement guarantee on the Haskell and a 30-day return window. You can purchase one at the Marloe website or visit its offices in Oxfordshire to buy in person.

2 responses

  1. …and here I thought it was named after a programming language. Regarding the whole ETA vs Miyota thing; yeah, it’s a perception thing, though I don’t think it’s about the perceived superiority of the ETA movement, but simply the having ability to put a “Swiss Made” on the dial.

  2. The swiss made thing is interesting. I have quite a few watches and thinking about it the swiss ones are the ones I tend to wear the most..Nothing wrong with the others or I wouldn’t have them.

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