Marloe Lomond Chronoscope

I had talked myself out of ordering The Marloe Watch Company's newest model. Sure, the Lomond Chronoscope looked pretty cool, and the Kickstarter Early Bird price was mighty tempting for a mechanical chronograph, but I resisted. I had just paid for two other pre-orders. I had committed to downsizing my collection and hadn't sold enough of my old ones to justify another purchase. Moreover, the Lomond is 43mm wide, and I was trying steer towards smaller cases. I made quite a convincing case. Then I got a "Vintage Coffee" Lomond prototype into my hands, and I had to reevaluate everything.

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee

I reviewed Marloe's first project, the Cherwell, about this time last year and came away duly impressed with the distinctive design and hand-cranked internals that gave the watch its uniquely appealing personality. Marloe built upon this foundation with their second range, the Derwent. The Lomond possesses many of those same elements, most notably a tapered case and crown, a meticulously executed dial, and of course, a hand-wound heart. The Lomond's SeaGull ST19 traces its origin to the old Venus 175, a Swiss column-wheel design sold to the Chinese in the early 1960's. It is a two register chronograph with a small seconds and 30-minute totalizer. Beat rate is 21.6k bph. My SeaGull 1963 Reissue and Magrette Moana Pacific both have ST19s inside and have provided years of trouble-free operation. It is a pretty movement too. Its Geneva stripes, gold plating, and blued screws are on full display through the Lomond's exhibition window. While you are back there, have a squint at the Robert Burns quote cut into the outer ring, "Nae man can tether time or tide."

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee

Viewing the watch in profile, you can appreciate the Lomond's uncommon shape. The polished case tapers from a 43mm face to a 38mm caseback. A channel running under the bezel helps to break up the profile a bit, but that dramatic wedge-shaped profile still looks impressively tall, even though the case is only 11mm thick. 

The angle also serves to elongate the lugs, drawing out their lines as they meet the sides of the case. The wedge is echoed in the crown, which is also signed and decorated with deep angled grooves that afford excellent grip. It screws down on the prototype while production models will use a doubled gasketed push-pull crown, which makes far more sense given that this is not a diving watch and is rated for only 50M water resistance. The case and crown elements continue the themes established by the Cherwell. It is a design language that is unique to Marloe, and it looks fabulous. I must also note that even though this was a prototype, the case finishing was top-notch with crisp lines but no unpleasantly sharp edges.

The folks at Marloe opted for a layered dial and ceramic bezel on this watch, and I applaud those decisions. The outermost ring of the dial contains a 1/5th scale index and applied hour markers. The primary dial has the lume pips and textured subdials recessed into the surface. There is quite a lot of text squeezed onto this dial: "Marloe Watch Company" at the top of the dial, "Chronoscope" and the water resistance rating in the lower half, and "Hand Wound" wrapping to meet the pips at 6 o'clock. I often criticize this much wordiness on a dial, but Marloe has integrated it well. From the old Hollywood style of typeface to the clever use of unequal sizing, to the contrasting color of "Chronoscope," it achieves a proper balance. 

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee

There are four variants available. All feature polished, faceted, and lume-filled minute and hour hands. The second hand is particularly pleasing, painted in the dial's accent color and featuring a long, lumed spear tip and a looped tail. The Classics have white or gray dials, matte black bezels engraved with a telemeter scale, and crocodile embossed straps. The Vintage models are Vanilla (pearl white) or Coffee (brown and gold) with glossy black 60-second scale bezels, and calf leather straps with contrasting stitching, pronounced grain, and brass rivets. The straps are 22mm wide with signed buckles and quick-release springbars.

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee

I requested the Vintage Coffee prototype for my review sample. It is a gorgeous espresso color that alternates from a rich brown to a warm black. The index, subdials, and other accents are gold. The rich brown of the dial and strap, hard gloss black of the bezel, and metallic gold and steel combine to form a marvelously sensual treat. Crazy edge distortion from the acrylic dome doesn't hurt one bit. The Vintage Coffee Lomond is like a chocolate pot de creme, intense and deceptively complex, but just enough to be satisfying without going over the top. 

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee

As much as I love the dial, I do have some criticisms. The flat polished hands on the subdials offer little contrast and can be easily lost under the wrong light. Also, while the C3 SuperLuminova is strong, and there is ample application on the hands, the lume pips are tiny. I feel greedy to say it, but why not lume the bezel markers? It would make perfect sense with the lumed sweep hand. Not that I ever have much call to time things in the dark, but it would have looked amazing. 

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee lume

On the wrist, the Lomond belies its 43mm girth. This largely a result of the tapered case, which keeps the lugs from protruding too far beyond the face, limiting the overall length to a compact 46.5mm. It also features a high-domed acrylic crystal that increases its overall thickness to 13.65mm. For reference, the Lomond is 0.5mm shorter and 2mm thinner than my 41mm Sinn 103 st, which is by no means a large watch. For all its presence, I found the Lomond to be an easy fit on my 6.5" wrist and comfortable under a buttoned shirt cuff. 

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee wrist

So here I am, with this marvelous espresso gem on my wrist, and I don't want to send it back. I told myself it was too big, and I was wrong. I told myself I already had too many watches, and well, that's clearly a joke. The only thing left is the price, and although they are no longer stupid cheap (the $280 Super Early Bird and $322 Early Bird are both sold out), I can still snag one for $372. That is an excellent value, and a hell of a bargain compared to the $549 expected retail. 

That's it. I'm backing the Lomond Chronoscope. If you care to join me, head over to the Kickstarter page before Friday, March 31 at 9:56 AM EST. ⬩

Marloe Lomond Chronoscope Vintage Coffee

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