WRUK brings you a review of a watch from a company that we’ve had our eyes on for some time: the Marloe Solent Windward.

Marloe Solent Windward Review

The story that inspired the Marloe Solent Windward is that of Alec Rose: a fruit merchant from Southsea. He single-handedly raced across the Atlantic in 1964 before achieving his life’s ambition to sail around the world.

In 1967, Sir Alec set off from Portsmouth and sailed down the Solent strait, out into the English Channel and onward around the world. On the 4th July 1968, 318 days after bidding farewell to his wife, Sir Alec arrived in Portsmouth to a hero’s welcome – 250,000 people had amassed to welcome him home.

He was given the gold-standard celebration tour, fine-dining and fame for being the “Shoestring Sailor”. He was knighted days after his return and given Freedom of the City of London – prize indeed for a worthy sailor.

At a glance

Marloe Solent Windward

Price
£349
Case size
42mm
Thickness
10.5mm
Water Resistance
10 ATM
Movement
Miyota 9039

I’ve been watching Marloe for a while now: their designs are very original and they seem to be doing something new in the world of watches that is relatively uncommon for a more mainstream brand. The Solent is beautifully presented – even more impressive when you consider its price – in a textured cardboard box with a thick booklet and lots of card inserts. One gets an appropriate sense of occasion during the unboxing process, which I’ve captured in my video review.

Case and Movement

The Marloe Solent Windward is one of those rare things: a totally original design at a really sensible price point. All too often, brands use catalogue parts to make up a watch and whilst that can keep costs down, it does end up with a lot of cookie-cutter dive watches. Marloe has instead gone down the route of making everything bespoke and, as a result, created a watch that is quite unlike anything else. How they do so for a retail price of £349 is beyond me, but I am not complaining!

The case is a generously proportioned 42mm in diameter, but short lugs and a 10.5mm thickness helps to keep it well-balanced. It wears big – thanks to that expanse of white dial and the absence of a timing bezel – but it’s not too audacious. Still, this is maybe one to try on before buying if you prefer your watches more conservatively sized.

The crown is slightly concave with an attractive matte texture and a crisply engraved “M” logo. It is suitably chunky and easy to operate – although it does not screw down: this watch has just 100m water resistance. For a watch inspired by sailing, I’d expected more. Of course, you wouldn’t want to wear a Marloe Solent Windward for deep-sea diving, but you can expect it to perhaps end up submerged in water, so I’d have expected at least a 150m-200m rating.

The finishing on the case is exceptional – especially when the price is taken into consideration – with not a sharp edge in sight. The front of the watch has a gently domed sapphire crystal; around the back is a display window to show off the Miyota 9039 movement. The Miyota 9-series are excellent, accurate and reliable movements which – if I were to criticise them – are perhaps less attractive than their Swiss counterparts. Not here: a couple of cogs are picked out in gold, and a custom rotor adds a touch of class without being too austentatious.  This is one very classy watch.

Dial and Hands

The dial is, as ever, the star of the show: the Marloe Solent Windward has an exquisite dial that, much like the case, oozes class with little touches that come together to make it feel “just right”. Eschewing the current trend for multi-layered dials, Marloe has instead chosen to make a great flat dial. The chapter ring has just enough of an angle to draw in the eye and emphasise the sense of depth; the arrows that serve as hour indices are beautifully applied with a three-dimensional shape and the yellow rings that separate crystal, chapter ring and dial add a splash of colour without dominating the design.

The hands, again, are something special: I’ve never seen anything quite like them: they are styled after nautical dividers, metallic skeletonised sections with a darker needle section squeezed in between. The second hand is picked out in yellow – again adding a welcome splash of colour and the printing on the dial is very crisp. I love how the dial and hands come together in the Marloe Solent Windward. The only thing I wish was added is a date complication option, although I accept that this would have necessitated compromising on the design.

Strap and Buckle

The rubber strap on this watch is one of the best I’ve reviewed. It is soft and supple but still feels strong enough to withstand the elements for some time. The buckle is a standard tang with an engraving that is just fine for the job. I very much like how the strap sits snugly against the case – I do not like a big gap between the watch and its strap, and everything lines up nicely here.

Marloe Solent Windward- Video Review

What I Liked

What I Didn’t like

  • The design is absolutely exceptional
  • The build quality is superb all-round
  • The watch is sold at a bargain price
  • Greater water resistance would have been welcome
  • A date option would have been nice
  • Perhaps wears a touch big for some wrists

Marloe Solent Windward – The WRUK Verdict

The Marloe Solent Windward is, simply, an excellent watch at an excellent price. This is one of those times when I say I am sorry to return a review watch – and I really do mean it. If this watch were a microbrand offering at £750, I’d be heartily recommending it. From a mainstream brand at £349 I can think of absolutely no reason not to pick one up.

The Marloe Solent Windward is easily in contention for WRUK’s watch of the year 2021. Everything about it is just right: design, specifications, build quality and price. Do yourself a favour and grab one before they sell out. Unreservedly recommended.

Buy a Marloe Solent Windward

You can pick up your Marloe watch direct from the manufacturer at Marloe’s website.

Author: 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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