We watch nerds have it pretty good right now as a growing legion of microbrands create a host of fascinating new watches for us to choose from. Many of these offerings are priced in the affordable end of the market, under $1,000, or even under $500, which makes it easy for us to find new objects of desire, and hard to keep a firm grip on our wallets. Joining this fray is the Melbourne Watch Company, and their Flinders Automatic, which just debuted on Indigogo for as low as $350 AUD (@$317.42 USD).
Melbourne Watch Company is a new Australian brand focusing on quality mechanicals at a reasonable price. Founder Suj Krishnan initially produced homage watches, and gained a solid reputation for his work, but after about a year, he took on the challenge of designing and producing a watch of his own.
The Flinders, named for Melbourne's Flinders Street Station, is intended to be a versatile dress watch, appropriate with either a suit of jeans. The movement is a Miyota 9015, a hand winding automatic produced as an ETA 2892 alternative. The watch is 40mm wide and available with black or white dials, with a date window at 3:00, a sapphire crystal, and a leather strap. The face is all dial with only a slim polished bezel. The hands and markers are thin, polished, and simple, leaving the majority of adornment to the multi-layered and textured dial. A discreet chapter ring marks the outermost circle, joining a second ring for the applied hour markers, which then steps down to a guilloche center. Text is minimal, with the Melbourne logo and brand at the top of the dial, and a diminutive "Automatic" in script at 6:00. The "M" on the tail of the second hand is a particularly nice touch.
Like the dial, the case is simple and elegantly detailed. It is circular with short, curved lugs. The bezel and upper surfaces are polished, while the sides are brushed. In profile, the case reveals three distinct sections with the brushed barrel sandwiched between the polished beveled edges of the bezel and case back. This is a clever detail that breaks up a surface that might have otherwise appeared heavy and slab-sided. Not the be left out, the case back is as detailed as the dial, engraved with a brushed surface, exposed screws, and display window revealing the 9015 inside.
It is impossible to make a conclusive evaluation based on specifications and prototype photos alone, but with its quality movement, classic design, and elegant details, the Flinders ticks all the right boxes. The watch is available for pre-order now with expected delivery in February 2014. MSRP will be $525 AUD, but pre-orders begin at $350 AUD for the first 50 backers, $395 AUD after that. If you are looking for an automatic dress watch with a modern twist, it is well worth your time to head over to Indigogo and give the Flinders a look.
Case: 40mm 316L stainless steel, 9.8mm case height
Crystal: Flat AR sapphire with display case back
Movement: Miyota 9015 - 28,800bph, 42 hour power reserve
Dial: Multi-layered with guilloche centre and applied stainless steel markers
Hands: Hour/Minute/Sweep seconds with unique "M" logo at base of seconds hand
Complications: Date at 3 o'clock
Strap: Genuine leather with engraved stainless steel buckle
Other: Crown embossed with logo
Photos courtesy of Melbourne Watch Company