At the beginning of this year, I introduced my faithful readers to Moto Koure, a new Australian micro brand. Their debut model, the MK I, is a racing chronograph with hints of Heuer Silverstone combined with a generous helping of 1960's Jaguar. I liked what I saw in the pre-release and now that a fellow collector was good enough to drop one in my hands for a review, I am pleased to report that the finished product exceeds my expectations.
Moto Koure offers the MK I in several colors with either a Seiko NE88 column wheel automatic or a VK64 MechaQuartz hybrid movement. The watch featured here is a burgundy dial MechaQuartz. Being a thrifty enthusiast, it is the one I would most likely purchase myself. While I love mechanical chronographs, and the NE88 is certainly attainable, the VK series' marriage of quartz timekeeper and mechanical chronograph module offers a satisfying sweep and snap-back for a list price of $635 AUD ($468 USD), less than half that of the automatic.
Nothing about the MechaQuartz MK I betrays its budget status. Its appearance is nearly identical to that of its pricier sibling. In the tradition of many automobiles, the most obvious difference is the dashboard trim; this one has a silver diamond plate "surfboard" surrounding its subdials while the automatics wear wood grain. There isn't a bad color combination in the collection, but I particularly appreciate the rich burgundy on the review watch as it is relatively uncommon.
The stick markers and hands are filled with "old radium" SuperLuminova. To my eye, the lume is more of an apricot than the warm tan normally associated with that color, but it is not at all unattractive. In fact, I rather liked the way it works with the wine color of the dial. Other eye-catching details include an orange spearhead second hand, a raised rose gold plate for the brand name, and the way the tachymeter index wraps over the top and sides of the rehaut. Finally, the dial offers some tasteful brightwork in the form of polished markers, hands, logo, and frames for the date window and registers. This dial just sings. There is not a single thing I would change.
The case is a tall rectangle with rounded corners measuring 40mm wide, 44mm long, and 13mm thick. You can generally expect a cushion case to appear to be one size larger than its width suggests and this is no exception. It wears like a 42mm and this is not a bad thing as the size is perfectly appropriate for a sports watch. I had no issues wearing it on my 6.5" wrist. The most notable aspect to its proportions is its height. A lugless design keeps it compact, but also accentuates the case thickness. On the other hand, a polished, stepped bezel, vertically brushed sides, and elongated pushers break it up, preventing the MK I from looking too heavy or slab-sided.
The large, push-pull crown is signed and ringed with a bold chevron pattern. Water resistance is 50m, which should be more than sufficient for daily wear, after all, the MK I is not a tool watch. I'd classify it as more of a dress/sports model. The crystal is flat sapphire glass. The Moto Koure crest is stamped on the case back. It is a simple design that is nicely executed in a combination of blasted and polished finishes. I found it to be a pleasant change from the exhibition case backs found on so many micros showing off relatively prosaic movements.
A racing chronograph needs a racing strap and the MK I does not disappoint. It comes on drilled burgundy leather with white stitching. Painted orange sides tie back to the orange lume. The strap is well made but not padded at all and quite thin, which makes sense given the somewhat fancy nature of the design. It tapers from 22mm to 20m and the buckle is signed.
I loved the Moto Koure MK I. It is distinctive, well executed, and every detail was thought through. It is one of the few watches I've tested this year that made me say, "Damn, why didn't I order that one!" In fact, I may just do that. Full price is $635 AUD and it is selling now for $540 AUD ($398 USD). It is not the steal the pre-order was, but it is still a mighty tempting proposition.
For more information or to order your own, go to motokoure.com. ◆