In the last few years there has been an explosion in watch microbrands. These tiny operations produce small numbers of usually unusual watches that would never find traction in the crowded marketplace. Most are funded through Kickstarter and similar platforms – essentially an opportunity to test the waters by taking pre-orders for a watch without the risk. If the campaign doesn’t hit its goal, no money is taken. If it does, then the microbrand gets a cash injection sufficient to produce watches for all who wanted them – so long as they got their sums right!
Dan Brigham is a Brit, based in New Zealand with a passion for motor racing. He is descended from Adamir Marchand, who was a Swiss watch and clock inventor who joined the Benrus Watch Company in the early 1930s. With the Marchand Debonair, and now Legacy, collections, Dan aims to bring his great grandfather’s legacy to a modern audience.
A Week on the Wrist – Marchand Legacy
Marchand were kind enough to loan us one of the prototypes of the Legacy watch to get our views. Some of the design and production details may well change by the time their Kickstarter campaign launches on March 7th, when backers can express their interest in the watch and buy one at the pre-order price of £279.
Marchand Legacy – First Impressions
My first impressions of the Legacy were good. The watch comes packed in a very well made branded travelling case, which feels luxurious and protected the watch on its journey half way around the world. Opening the zip-fastening box brought to mind the Helgray Silverstone – another Kickstarter watch inspired by Motorsport. I am not sure if the case will be a stretch goal or a standard feature, but it is well worth having, and a lot more practical than your usual watch box.
Inside the travel pouch is the watch itself. The Marchand Legacy is presented on a tan leather perforated racing strap. Again, the quality of the strap is beyond what I expected. The leather is soft and premium-feeling. The tang buckle is not branded, but I would prefer that to a poorly laser-inscribed one like some brands have used. A deployant buckle is becoming increasingly common but it would not work so well with this soft strap. The strap is 20mm wide, but on a 42mm watch with no lugs I genuinely had to check with a ruler that is was not 18mm.
The case is highly polished with a bezel that, although knurled, is not intended to be turned. The design evoked a wheel rim in my mind. A screw-down crown was an unexpected touch, and the watch is waterproofed to 10ATM – though I doubt you’d want to take this one Scuba diving! The case has no lugs, which makes it wear a lot bigger than I expected – and which will make it a good choice for those with smaller wrists as there is no ‘overhang’.
Round the back is a display window to showcase the Miyota 9015 movement. The sapphire window is bordered by a chequerboard pattern that I found detracted from the rather plain (but good quality) mechanics. I hope the final watch will have a more highly decorated movement or at least a signed rotor as it all looked a bit bland – or a closed case-back option.
Engraving around the window explains the usual water resistance and case composition as well as the words “The Legacy of Adamir Marchand” which I found touching. There is also an engraving on the side of the case reminiscent of Blancpain (or, if you are being unkind, Invicta) that personally I liked more than I expected. It breaks up the polished side of the watch and is not so deep an engraving as to be apparent without closer inspection.
Dial and Hands
Within the confines of the plain bezel sits the part of the Marchand Legacy that really matters: the dial. The dial is constructed in layers, with a base of chequered green and brushed steel with a printed Marchand logo (I would have liked an applied logo at this price range). Above that is a green ring with applied luminescent numerals, then a raised chapter ring marked in minutes. At 6 O’clock is a date window.
The hands are unusual. They are skeletonised and uniquely shaped. The yellow seconds hand is a nice touch, which adds a splash of colour. I personally found that the white hands on the light, chequered background made it a problem to read the time – which can be a deal breaker in a watch!
At certain angles through the double-domed sapphire crystal it is clearer to read, and when the hands are illuminated clarity is much improved, but choose your colour option carefully if this matters. A DLC black and carbon model is offered, which I think looks like the most classy of the bunch by far.
What I liked about the Marchand Legacy
- Travel case is useful and well made
- Strap is high-quality leather
- Case is nicely made and polished
- High-quality automatic Miyota movement
What I didn’t like about the Marchand Legacy
- Lack of lugs makes the strap look thin and out of proportion
- Low strap fixing points makes it feel top-heavy
- Hard to make out the hands against the face
- Would have preferred a decorated rotor or closed case-back
Marchand Legacy – The WRUK verdict
At the end of the day, much of what makes a watch desirable or not is in the eye of the beholder. You either love or hate the looks, and if this one doesn’t grab you then it does not really matter what we think! We love microbrands at WRUK because they can produce a watch that does not have mass-market appeal and still make a success of it.
If the Marchand Legacy pushes your buttons, then rest assured that you are getting a lot of watch for your money. The launch price of £279 may seem steep for a three-hander watch with no complications, but the Miyota 9015 movement is top-notch, and the quality strap means you do not have to immediately factor in the price of a replacement. Our pick is the DLC black and carbon option, which remedies our biggest concern –legibility.