Kingsbury Monarch II

Every watch collection has a place for a grab-it-and-go dress watch. It will most likely be quartz for those mornings when the kids are moving slowly, the cat throws up, and you have neither the time nor the patience to set the time and date on a mechanical. It should have a clean, conservative design that goes with everything so you won’t get to the office, look at your wrist, and think, “wait, why did I wear purple and gold on the day I’m meeting with the Chairman?” But of course, it also needs to be a watch worth owning in the first place. You are a watch fan after all. Enter the Kingsbury Monarch II, a competent all-arounder that is currently on sale for a mere $89.

Kingsbury Monarch II
I try not to be a movement snob. Mechanical movements may be the darlings of the watch enthusiast word, but there is nothing wrong with quartz. Indeed, it is often the more practical choice. That said, some interest me more than others. One such movement is the Seiko VH31 in the Kingsbury, which moves at 4 beats per second. It may not be the buttery sweep of a 28.8k bph ETA 2824 or even the 24.6k of a Seiko NH35, but it is considerably cheaper than either and has a smoothness that I find far superior to the usual jumpy quartz tick.

Kingsbury Monarch II

The Monarch II has a 42mm stainless steel case and 22mm lugs, which is a touch large for a traditional dress watch, but not unreasonable given the current fashion. It certainly fits my 6.75” wrist just fine and slides under a shirt cuff without a fuss. Polished accents at the bezel’s edge, case back and crown create a pleasant contrast to the otherwise brushed finish. The size and finish also allow it an easy transition between workday and weekend outfits. Its signed, 3 o’clock crown is a push-pull and coupled with the snap-on case back, it sufficiently seals the watch for 50m water resistance. This is more than necessary for a dress watch and enough for most outdoor activities. I wouldn't recommend prolonged submersion, but then again, it’s just not that kind of watch.

Kingsbury Monarch II

Polished and faceted markers and dauphine hands dress up the Monarch II. You will notice a sliver of white in the hands and no, it is not lume. I wish it were, as I like to read my dress watches as night, but it does prevent the hands from disappearing against the dark dial in daylight, and that is a step in the right direction. A flat mineral crystal tops it off.

Kingsbury Monarch II

The alligator-embossed black leather strap may not be the most inspiring, but it is perfectly serviceable and I am glad that they chose a matte finish instead of the more common, and often cheap looking, high gloss. A brown strap is also offered.

Kingsbury Monarch II strap

My biggest complaint about the Monarch II is that it feels too light. Tapping a finger against the case back brings an empty sound. This is strictly a matter of perception, but it feels insubstantial. Of course, the watch has all the steel and glass it needs, but this is the inevitable result when you put a small movement in a large case.

On the whole, the Monarch II does its job quite well. It will be appropriate for most any occasion, it is adequately protected for daily wear, it provides quartz convenience with a nearly mechanical sweep, and best of all, it’s cheap enough to be your next impulse buy. Head over to KingsburyWatch.com and see for yourself. At $89, I doubt they will last long. ⬩

Kingsbury Monarch II case back
Kingsbury Monarch II crown


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