Originally MARCH LA.B offered to have me review the black version of the AM2 watch. I politely said "thanks, but isn't the entire idea of this retro inspired piece to be about the looks and colors of the era?" So I opted for the burgundy version. It may be less mainstream, but it certainly better represents what the design is all about. I think you'll agree that this deep red helps frame the AM2's personality better.
There is an AM1 and an AM3, but the AM2 is among the most unique looking watches that MARCH LA.B currently makes. One of its most distinctive elements is the strap, with the cushioned section near the case. In addition to apparently being a pain to get produced in a cost effective manner, the design is meant to remind us of Mustang car seats from the muscle car era. You remember those right? If you don't (as I don't), then Google lends a helping hand. The rich reds on the strap make for a handsome look. I've always liked the MARCH LA.B buckle as well. You can't forget the green inner lining. One small issue on this early piece is that the red color on the strap wears off a bit where it rub near the lugs. I have a feeling they will remedy that.
How to describe the AM2 case textually? I mean I don't really need to as the case is in front of your eyes, but I would call it a rounded square or rectangle. Certainly angular, the case benefits from heaps of curves and soft edges. Enough sharp lines find their way on the dial and details to keep the look of quality up. The steel case is actually 38mm wide. It looks and feels smaller. Even though 38mm wide is usually large enough for a squarish watch, the bezel is so wide that it feels more medium-sized. MARCH LA.B still isn't a "large watch brand," but the AM2 doesn't feel petite.
There is a heft to the case that I enjoy. It feels nicer in your hand than what you might think from the pictures. The steel case is polished and brushed, and the sapphire crystal is raised like old acrylic lenses. The protruding section with the crown at 4 o'clock seems to add welcome character even if you don't understand where the design came from. While the look of the AM2 is composed, it still feels remarkably organic. Clearly this was not a design by committee, but by someone having a bit of experimental fun. The case is further water resistant to 100 meters. As for the crown, it does screw in, and sometimes the spring system catches a bit making it tricky to manually wind (if necessary).
The back of the case has a sapphire exhibition caseback which is tinted green. It makes the movement look green all over, which is neat with MARCH LA.B's custom rotor. The tinting is a mere gimmick (which many other brands have done as well), but it still nevertheless looks cool. Inside the watch you are looking at a Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement. Most people would just assume that these watches use the slightly less expensive ETA 2824 movements, but no... MARCH LA.B watches like their 2892 automatics. I can't really complain about that.
MARCH LA.B currently makes four standard versions of the AM2. Each has a radically different color scheme. This is the AM2 Bordeaux (yup), and there is also the AM2 Black Automatic (they are all automatics), AM2 Boss Automatic (in a PVD black case), and the gold toned AM2 Memogold. To be honest, MARCH LA.B did a fine job with the lot of them. I think if the style suits you, and you can appreciate the thematic homage to muscle cars, you will enjoy this piece.
Legibility was a concern for MARCH LA.B. In fact, most of their watches are rather legible. They also feature multi-level dials. Notice how the "Automatic" label on the dial looks all 1970's fresh? Just like a car badge. The red dial is slick, and overall I think they did a nice job. There is a simplicity to the design that fails to grab you at first, but wearing and using the watch proves that it tells you the time easily when you need it. Detailing is good, and I like the frame over the date window (dates are on a black disc). There is some luminant on the hands only. It isn't very powerful though, but there is some darkness viewing capacity on the face.
Price wise, MARCH LA.B timepieces still represent a good value. With unique, quality designs, these are interesting watches from a brand that will likely continue to improve. These aren't mainstream watches, but they are watches that you don't need to explain to mainstream folk. The MARCH LA.B AM2 Bordeaux retails for $1,895.