The March LA-B AM2 is a French-made dress watch that is available with a selection of dials and straps. Is it worth the asking price?

March LA-B AM2 Automatic Grall Review

March LA-B is a French watch brand that was created in 2008 by Alain Marhic. They make their products in France and sell from a number of retail locations in Paris and a boutique at 47 Lexington Street, London.

At a glance

March La-b AM2

Case size
39mm square
Water Resistance
Miyota 9015

The March LA-B AM2 arrives in a more spartan box than I expected for the price, but upon opening it, there is a good quality zipped leather travel pouch that contains the watch – as well as some instructions that are printed on sturdy gloss card.

Case and Movement

My first impressions of the watch case were positive: it has an unusual share shape with bevelled edges and does not resemble any other watch I have reviewed, which is a positive sign. All too often brands simply repurpose factory parts and add their brand. March LA-B seem to have designed every aspect of this watch from scratch, which accounts for the price to some extent.  For the asking price, I would have expected better finishing on the case. It would be fine on a sub-£400 watch but the March LA-B AM2 costs three times as much. As you would expect, it has a scratch proof sapphire crystal.

I really liked the crown, which although located at the corner of a square case does not protrude so much as to cause discomfort. It has a very well-engraved finish and is easy to operate. It doesn’t screw down but you still get 100m of water resistance. Overall, the brand has hit its goal of making a 1970s-inspired watch with more modern size and styling. I think it looks great.

I am a fan of the Miyota 9015 movement used in the March LA-B AM2. It is accurate, reliable and – to all intents and purposes – just as good as the Swiss ETA/Sellita/Soprod movements. However, it is generally seen as a more budget-friendly option in the microbrand watch world and it is unusual to see it in such a highly-priced watch. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the movement: more that potential buyers may well perceive it as cheapening the brand. I must be clear that it’s not simply a stock Japanese movement, March LA-B inform me that the movements are assembled in France – which does account for the higher-than-usual price of the watch.

Dial and Hands

The dial of the March LA-B AM2 is exquisite: the delicately brushed finish has thick, metallic applied markers and a custom date wheel is used to get around the unusual crown position. The colour-coded date wheel looks great, and is another example of where your money is going.

The hands are part-lumed sticks but they suit the watch well and they are very legible. The open ends give the watch a unique look. I really liked the dial – I don’t normally go for square watches but something about the design of the March LA-B AM2 dial gels for me.

Strap and Buckle

Straps are generally the weak point in the watches I review: brands all-too-often use it as an area to cut production costs. I am pleased to report that the black perforated alligator strap on the March LA-B AM2 is very good indeed. I doubt it is genuine alligator hide – the absence of CIFAS certification suggests it is standard leather – but I liked the grain, and it is obviously a step above the bargain bucket straps that I so often see. There are some areas where it could be improved: the stitching is not perfect, for example, and a backing layer would have helped with comfort.

The buckle is styled to match the case, with bevelled edges. Again, kudos to March LA-B for not simply using a stock buckle on their watch as so many other brands do. I would have liked a deeper logo engraving, or even an embossed logo, but it does the job just fine. When you go into a March LA-B shop you can choose a strap for your watch so if you would prefer a different look, that’s fine.

March LA-B AM2 – Video Review

What I Liked

What I Didn’t like

  • Attractive and legible dial and hands
  • Original 1970s-style case design
  • Every part seems to be custom-designed, right down to the date wheel
  • The brushing on the case could be better
  • The Miyota movement – whilst excellent – is more commonly used in lower-priced watches
  • The price is higher than many watch collectors will be willing to pay for the specifications on offer

March LA-B AM2 – The WRUK Verdict

There is a lot to like about the March LA-B AM2. It is an original design and I enjoyed wearing it. If it had been half the price, I would have given it a thumbs up, despite my minor misgivings elsewhere. I see March LA-B as a French equivalent to WT Author – making a custom-designed watch with reliable Japanese movements and assembling everything themselves.

I can’t help but wonder if watch collectors would spend £1300+ on a watch with a Miyota movement – even one that is assembled in France – when a Swiss watch from a more established brand like TAG Heuer or Longines can be had for not much more. If you’re not sure it is worth the asking price for the specification on offer, I recommend that you visit one of March LA-B’s stores and try the watch on for yourself – you might just find you change your mind

March LA-B tell me that they are now fitting all future models with a “G100 movement of Swiss origin”. I am not sure whether that is an ETA clone movement or not, but its 68-hour power reserve suggests it is something entirely new. If it is a custom-made movement, and the pricing structure remains relatively stable then march LA-B will be a brand to watch.

Buy a March LA-B AM2

March LA-B currently have three shops in Paris (Headquarter Rue Charlot; Palais Royal; Rue Saint Sulpice), 1 shop in London (47 Lexington Street) and more than 80 distributors across Europe. Their website is:

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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