Not a Crook: Nixon, The Mellor

Nixon gets no love on the watch forums.  Their products are generally derided as a "fashion brand" or "mall watch" unworthy of the attention of a true watch aficionado.  While it is true that California-based Nixon is primarily an active lifestyle designer, not a watchmaker, many of their designs are quite appealing, for example, The Mellor.

The Mellor is sold as a unisex watch, and is available in several dial colors.  The case is brushed stainless steel with faux wire lugs (more on that later), a press-in case back, and a try-not-to-splash-it, 30m water resistance. It has a domed mineral crystal and the crown is decorated with the Nixon logo.  Its face presents a clean and simple dial with four applied metal indices, printed seconds markers, and brushed hands. These metal elements really make the watch stand out, but only in the day time as there is not a lick of lume.  The only text on the dial is the Nixon name, in a plain, sans-serif font. Overall, the design evokes a mid-century modern aesthetic, and although it is larger than the watches of that period, 38mm is on the small side for a man's watch today, but with its broad dial and domed crystal, it appears larger.

The movement is a Miyota quartz, but Nixon does not tell us which one. Typical of cheap quartz watches, the second hand does not hit the markers.  Clearly, there is nothing special under the hood, but even a bottom of the line Miyota should provide years of faithful service, and will be easily replaced should it fail. The watch retails for $125, which is on the high side for a pedestrian quartz movement, but some savvy Internet shopping will reveal models at $100 or lower.  The watch has been in production for a few years now, and at a range of retailers from surf shops to department stores, so old inventory is out there.  If you are patent and haunt online shopping sites and sales, you will be rewarded.  Mine was a white on white store display model purchased on eBay for $65.  Nixon also makes an automatic Mellor for several hundred dollars but that is outside the scope of this review.

Straps are either 18mm leather or 20mm NATO style nylon, and although the lugs are styled to mimic fixed wire (like a converted pocket watch or the screw-down wire on a Radiomir) they actually hide conventional 18mm spring bars.  They also provide a huge amount of clearance between the bars and case, making the watch a natural host for NATOs and other pass-through style straps.  I have found that the smaller NATO hardware fits the scale of the watch better than the thicker Zulu style.  The watch can accept a strap up to 22mm wide, but 20mm is the better choice as it covers the spring bars but does not crowd the lugs. The leather strap has an interesting, oblong buckle and metal keeper, both matching the case finish. That said, mine was consigned to the strap drawer as soon as it arrived and the watch has been on NATOs ever since. I found that Time Factors straps had the correct hardware, and their earthy "Yet Another Bond" and vibrant "Bond RNVR" designs pictured here worked particularly well. 

With its white dial and sparse markers, this watch is truly a chameleon.  Feeling preppy?  Chose a colorful rep stripe and don your khakis and blazer.  Need something dressier?  Try a dark brown or black leather one piece.  Fancy a Creamsicle? Bright orange, baby!  Is it a fashion watch? You bet, but not in the sense of being over styled or faddish.  Rather, it is a tasteful foundation piece that you can accessorize to reflect your personality.  And isn't that fashion at its best?

Pro:  Classic style with several tasty design elements; A natural for strap swaps; Discounts abound
Con:  "Fashion brand" stigma; Minimal water resistance;  Zero lume
Sum:  Ignore the snobs, The Time Bum approves.

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