May 24, 2008
by Ariel Adams
Being a fan of Marcello C. watches, it quickly became clear to me that the Nettuno 3 and Tridente watches were very similar. Now owning both watches, I can say that while these watches look similar, and share certain components, they are two different watches, both useful and worth coveting in their own degree. See my full review of the Marcello C. Nettuno 3 here for even more information applicable to both watches.
The Marcello C. Nettuno 3 and Tridente models are both traditionally designed diver’s watches, playing an homage to the Rolex Submariner. In fact, most people seeing these watches immediately think these are Rolex watches. Upon this occurring, I point out, in a friendly fashion that these are in fact very high quality German watches that in my opinion are just as good, if not better than the Rolex Submariner line, especially considering the vast price difference. One cannot deny the appeal in the name “Rolex.” Rolex spends more money on advertising than almost all other watch companies combined retaining this high image of itself. Regardless, you literally pay for a name, and while Rolex watches are high quality, this is not to say there are not other very good watches out there, many which far exceed Rolex standards.
The two Marcello C. watches also share the same movement. The workhorse ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanical movement, which performs at chronometer levels in both watches. Visually, they share the same functions and design as well. Hands, dial, bracelet, and colors are all the same in appearance, although larger on the Tridente to match the proportions. The differences between the two watches come in two areas, physical dimensions, and engineering for extreme diving conditions. The Tridente also has some minor, but noticeable cosmetic enhancements.
Of course, to most of you, the biggest difference between the two watches is the price. Currently, the Marcello C. Nettuno 3 (with the 2824-2 movement or Sellita equivalent) is about $870 while the Marcello C. Tridente (also with a 2824-2 movement) is about $1430. This is a large disparity to the naked eye, but you need to look closer to understand the difference in value. Let me be clear that personally owning both of these watches, I can highly recommend each of them independently, but the differences do exist.
Lets talk about relief vs. etching/engraving. The former refers to practice of creating an image that rises from a surface, while the latter refer to the practice are carving into a surface. Relief work is more complex, and more expensive. A well tuned laser or etching tool can easily engrave a number of patterns, but relief work requires special equipment, especially with a high relief, which requires the design to be part of the actual piece it is located on. This is one area where the Nettuno 3 and Tridente differ. The Marcello C. diving watch logo exists on both the crown of the watch, and on the caseback. On the Nettuno 3, the design is etched into the metal, while on the Tridente, the design is done in relief, popping out at you. This element perhaps does not go to the heart of functionality, but is a notable aesthetic feature where the two watches differ. Relief logos are more expensive. As such, the more expensive Tridente exhibits more expensive aesthetic work.
The Nettuno 3 and Tridente exhibit different size dimensions in key areas. The Nettuno 3 is a 40mm case, while the Tridente is 43.8mm. The almost 4mm difference is well noticed and you can see in the images that the Tridente has a more powerful footprint that the Nettuno 3. Also, the Tridente is about 2mm or so thicker than the Nettuno 3, meaning it rises of your wrist a bit more. It also goes to say that the Tridente is a heavier watch because of the increased amount of steel. Your wrist of course will decide your best size, but sometimes I really like the feel of a larger watch. The Tridente also has a considerably larger crown, which is very easy to use. Both the Nettuno 3 and Tridente have excellent crowns that are enjoyable to operate, but the larger Tridente crown is more suited to operation with gloves. Because the face of the Tridente is larger, each element on the face is likewise enhanced in size. The hands are more striking in their bigger size, which compliment the traditional dive watch look very well. Another minor difference is the depth rating indicator on the face of the watch which is written in white on the Nettuno 3 and red on the Tridente.
The Nettuno 3 and Tridente share bracelet designs but the dimensions are a bit different. The Nettuno 3 bracelet is 20mm wide, and the Tridente bracelet is 22mm and a bit more thick, and also features flexible inner links. Frankly, I find both watches to extremely comfortable. I also feel comfortable saying this having worn many different watch bracelets. Sizing the bracelets is easy if you have the right tools. They each use screws in the links for easier changing. I do recommend however having a high quality screw driver which is the right size, else you will run into trouble. The screws are in tight (for a good reason), and are of the same high quality steel as the rest of the watch. An interesting feature of the Tridente is that it offers a removable bracelet extension. Both watches have a bracelet extension (used to make the watch fit over a diving suit), but the extension can be removed on the Tridente if you do not plan on using it. This is a nice option to have (as I have admittedly never used the diving extension). A minor issue with the Tridente that I own due to the fact that I purchased it new, is that the clasp on the bracelet is extremely tight closing until you wear it in a bit. This is a known issue among watches that I have experienced with other brands such as Tag Heuer. It basically means that taking off your watch requires some prying power when you first get it. Not a big deal, but it amuses me that like a car, you need to “break in” a new watch.
Both the Nettuno 3 and Tridente are versatile diving watches, but the Tridente can take you more places, and survive. The Nettuno 3 has the standard 300 meter (about 660 feet) water resistance of a “typical diving watch,” while the Tridente is rated to go 1000 meters (about 3300 feet) below the surface. You might be thinking to yourself, “well, I will never dive to either of those max depths,” but there is more to just water resistance in a watch’s depth rating. In fact, watch companies know that most people don’t use their watches to test the limits of the ocean, and depth ratings can sometimes be used as a measurement of how rugged or hardy a watch can be. A high depth rating means a thicker sapphire crystal, more intense sealing around the inside of the caseback, pushers, and crown, along with thicker materials all around. In this case, while both the Marcello C. Nettuno 3 and Tridente are constructed from high grade steel, the Tridente is a bit heftier, and has a thicker sapphire crystal. In addition, it has a more sophisticated gasket system in the crown, and one of the best movement shock protection systems around. Yes, it is true that both the Nettuno 3 and Tridente models are very solid and reliable watches, the Tridente has a bit more “oomph,” that helps justify the premium.
When you get your Nettuno 3 or Tridente, Marcello C. provides a really nice leather case for them, but they are different for each watch. The Nettuno 3 comes in a pouch of sorts made for a single watch, while the Tridente has a zippered case with two compartments so that you can travel with two watches. Nice thing to have with a new watch. Watch “presentation” is a big deal when buying a new watch, but I really like it when the case that comes with a watch is one that can be used if you want to carry it around or travel. Most large square boxes are anything but practical for such use. It is good that Marcello C. figures you’ll want a case that you might use, as opposed to stowing it somewhere because it is too nice to throw away, but functionally useless.
These are important items to understand, because watch companies often feel a bit torn when it comes to displaying or sharing information. On the one hand, you need to provide the customer with relevant and important data about purchases, but at the same time, you don’t want to alienate anyone. If you are this far in the article, you obviously care, but if you are the type shopping for style only, too much information can be a hindrance to purchase. The more information a consumer has available, the more decisions they have to make before purchase, and it is rare for a company to have the best product across the board, so they just show what they think you need to have. Marcello C., you don’t need be so cautious. You have a great line of watches, so be proud of every detail, no matter how insignificant you think it might be. A few of us obviously love knowing about it.
There you have it. Two equally wonderful watches, with important differences. I have given both the Nettuno 3 and Tridente ample wrist time, and can safely say that they are both worthwhile watches to own. It is not a matter of recommending one over the other, but rather a determination based upon your budget and needs. For me, I’ll take them both.
See my full review of the Marcello C. Nettuno 3 watch here.
See Marcello C. watches on eBay here.
Visit Marcello C watches USA here.