Hands-On with the Marloe Replica Watch Company Lomond Chronoscope
A few years ago, we wrote about the the Cherwell replica watch from a small outfit out of the UK, Marloe Replica Watch Company. Featuring a multi-level dial and powered by a mechanical Seagull ST36 movement, the Cherwell was a strong first effort from the young brand. The replica watch was not without its faults, as we noted in our review, but it showed some promising design sensibility from the burgeoning firm.
Marloe Replica Watch Company is back with its latest project dubbed the Lomond Chronoscope, a series that consists of four distinct chronograph replica watches. With one foot in the past and another in the present, the Lomond Chronoscope pulls on the best elements of the Cherwell, mixes them with some cues from a handful of notable references, and ultimately creates something that feels surprisingly unique and contemporary. It’s not another racing-inspired chronograph, nor is an outright homage. And while there is a certain level of familiarity here, the Lomond Chronoscope ultimately feels like its own design.
The project is currently being crowdsourced on Kickstarter starting at $372 as of this writing, with the lower early-bird pricing having sold out within the first day of the launch. Making that price even sweeter is the fact that the Lomond is powered by a mechanical chronograph engine—a Seagull ST19.
I was immediately drawn to the design, so I reached out to get my hands on some samples to see if the quality held up in the metal. Let’s take a closer look.
The case measures 43mm wide, 46.6mm lug-to-lug, and 13.6mm tall. In a practical sense, however, the replica watch wears a bit smaller than the given dimensions due to the tempered lug length and the bezel, the latter of which tends to bring in the width of a replica watch.
In profile, the case does look quite thick, despite 13.6mm not being exceptionally tall for a chronograph (I should note that some of that height comes from the acrylic box crystal).
This perception is largely created by the case design. The mid-case is somewhat of a slab, a detail that is accentuated by the case’s high-polish finish. The delineation between the mid-case and the bezel does provide a small break, but it’s not enough to temper the appearance of the height. That said, when worn the replica watch doesn’t feel overly thick as it dips into the wrist, which is likely due to the relatively flat case back.
In terms of the geometry, the case is quite attractive. It features soft lines and short curving lugs. The case tapers from the bezel down to the case-back, which comes in at roughly 38mm. I quite like the uninterrupted path down to the case. When combined with the taper, it gives the case a bowl-like shape that often translates to a comfortable experience on the wrist. This was something they also did with the Cherwell to great success.
On the right side of the case are a set of pushers and a large crown. The crown widens away from the case, is concave at the top and has twisting grooves for proper grip. The prototype that I have here has a crown that screws down, which is in my opinion an awful way to go for a hand-cranker. Thankfully, the engineers were wise to this and the production model will feature a push-pull crown with a set of O-rings for water-resistance.
Advertisement The construction of the crown will change, but the design will remain the same. There is printed text along the perimeter of the crystal. It includes the following quote from poet and lyricist, Robert Burns: “Nae man can tether time or tide.”
Flipping the replica watch over is an open case back showcasing the Seagull ST19, a caliber that is essentially a clone of the iconic Venus 175 movement dating back to the ‘40s (it’s the same movement that you’ll find in the Seagull 1963 chronograph). It boasts a column wheel and features some superficial decoration, including blue screws, some striping and gold-tone bridges, wheels and plates. While it’s not the most beautiful of movements, there’s a lot of value packed into what is essentially one of the most affordable mechanical chronograph calibers currently on the market. And it’s what is helping keep the cost down here.
In terms of basic operation, it runs at a rate of 21,600 bhp, it does not hack, and as far as the chronograph functions go there is a central sweep hand and a 30-minute totalizer at three.
Now, I have to admit that the ST19 is not my favorite mechanical chronograph. My biggest gripe with this movement is the pusher action. You just don’t get the same satisfying resistance and click as you would with a Valjoux 7750. With that said, as far as gripes go, this one is relatively minor.
The Lomond Chronoscope comes in four flavors split into two distinct styles: Classic and Vintage. We received one from each for review. The Classic White features a white dial with a subtle metallic sheen. The printed markings are grey with red and green lume accents. The Vintage Coffee then has a dark brown glossy dial that looks nearly back at times, with markings that are a mix of gold and green lume (which doesn’t read so green here) and a splash of red. A set of bronze sub-dials anchor the design.
Advertisement The Classic White. The Classic series features a matte ceramic insert with a telemeter scale. The Vintage Coffee. The Vintage series features a polished cermamic insert.
Like the Cherwell that came before it, the Lomond features a stacked dial. The top layer is reserved for the lume plots denoting each hour; the logo below 12; and “CHRONOSCOPE,” the water-resistance rating and “HAND WOUND” above six.
The sub-dials at three and nine then are two cut outs revealing the bottom layer. Both sub-dials feature concentric circles. Moving now to the very outer edge of the dial, you have a steep drop that takes you back to that bottom layer. This is a look that mimics classic stepped dial. Here, you’ll find the chronograph seconds track, with a polished marker at every five-minute mark, large hash markers for every minute/second, and smaller hash markers for an additional 1/5th scale.
One very cool detail worth noting is that the box crystal magnifies and distorts this track when viewed head on, giving greater presence to the applied and seconds markings while obscuring the smaller scale.
The hands are faceted swords center-filled with Super-Luminova. Then, you have the central chronograph hand–a long arrow with a lumed tip and a skeletonzed lollipop counterbalance. At the sub-dials there is a set polished tapering needles. Overall, the handset here is quite attractive and feels appropriate to the replica watch, adding enough personality without drawing attention away from the beauty of the dials.
When explaining the process behind the design, Oliver Goffe and Gordon Fraser—the duo behind Marloe Replica Watch Company—offered the following:
“Whilst there will always be debate over design decisions, we feel that we’ve managed to create a replica watch that looks both unique and fresh whilst feeling familiar and recognisable; the constituent parts all working together to form a cohesive piece.”
I couldn’t agree more. While there are certainly some recognizable elements, the total end result feels fresh and intentional. In fact, if Junghans ever produced a sports chronograph under the Max Bill line, I can’t help but imagine this isn’t too far off from what that might be. All in all, they nailed it.
And it seems I’m not the only one with this opinion. Others seem to be drawn to the design, too, as the Kickstarter campaign reached its goal in just 25 minutes. At the current going rate of $372, this is one hell of a value-packed replica watch. Units are expect to ship October 2017.
To reserve yours, head on over to the Lomond Kickstarter Campaign.