Each watch you will ever own needs to justify its place in your life — how it fits in with your day-to-day and what you want it to represent on your wrist. For the Martenero Marquis, I feel like there are two points in your life where this watch may find its way to your wrist. In short, it really depends how far down the rabbit hole you have gone with your watch collection/obsession as to where it can fit, and I’ll be discussing two hypothetical cases throughout this review.
So, let’s start with the more obvious of the two: the entry-level mechanical watch for the budding enthusiast. At just under $600 USD, the price is definitely right for someone who is looking to delve into a mechanical watch for the first time. For collectors who currently have quite a bit more cash “invested” in their watch collections, try to think back to when you got your first steady paycheque or salary. What would have made you feel cool without breaking the bank or purchasing an homage to a watch you can’t yet afford? Well for starters, you’d want to have it match your best suit, no? You’re in luck with the Martenero Marquis because it comes with customizable options when you place your order. You can choose dial colour, hand colour, and strap colour for a total of 72 possible combinations. Plus, you can choose the case size that best suits your style or wrist, 42mm or 38mm. For this review, I chose the 38mm as I tend to favour smaller watches in what I will refer to as the “classy gent” genre of watches. More on that sizing later.
So back to this hypothetical young go-getter and his first mechanical watch. Okay, so you’ll get to feel pretty cool when you can say “actually, it’s custom order” when an office watch conversation strikes, so check the box for boosting your morale. Next up: remember how mysterious mechanical watches seemed back when you first took a liking to them? Wouldn’t you like to see how that works? Now, the Miyota 9015, visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, is nothing to write home about in terms of appearances, but nevertheless, you’d want to see it if this was your first. “Spinning little rotor bit, ticky thing, and uhhh, jewels… Hey, mechanical watches are pretty cool!” And a new watchnerd is born.
Now let’s get to the less obvious and second hypothetical scenario: a classy yet versatile do-everything “beater watch” for your daily grind. This is actually how I found the Martenero Marquis fit into my life during my time with it, and I’ll start by discussing the dial. I have the silver dial, which has the sunburst brushing radiating from the centre. There is a raised index ring, polished raised markers, and pad-printed dots that work well with the raised roman numerals and other pad-printed elements on the lower part of the dial. All beneath a sapphire crystal, the date window is neatly framed, and I really love the small crosshair as well. Everything looks fine, and neat.
Out of the box, it actually reminded me of something Hercule Poirot might favour if he decided to go for a wristwatch. It’s simple, understated, and classy, which is why I went for the smaller 38mm size. To my eye, it just seemed to make the most sense for a watch with dauphine hands and sans-serif roman numerals. Also, it fits easily under the cuff and works well for a watch you may need to dress up or down with.
The plain bezel is brushed while the top edge of the curved lugs is polished, and this accent wraps around the case nicely. The sides are brushed and there is a touch of bead blasting near where the caseback fits into the case and also on most of the screw-down crown. This is another feature I found helpful in my day-to-day with the Martenero Marquis, as simple as it may seem. Make a mess while shaving before you hurry out the door? Bathing your splash-happy kid after a hard day’s work? If you forget to take off your watch, it will survive. It’s not a dive watch at 50m of water resistance, but it can handle the modest rough and tumble of the average day.
One of my other favourite features of this watch was the strap, which lends to the wardrobe versatility of this piece significantly. At a 20mm lug size, it’s straight cut and has the nib-style stitching at the head of the watch and at the buckle. The straight cut and stitch style help this watch dress down when you need it to and yet it still works with the “classy gent” feel you get overall. Seriously, if you put a black, tapered, lizard skin strap on this thing, it would only look in place with a suit or a tux, but this simple design choice makes it so you can throw on a denim shirt for the evening hours and have it still make sense.
So, to close off this second scenario, if you are a busy or active guy who owns a lot of vintage pieces that have low to no water resistance, and you’re in need of something practical, then this watch can work for you as well.
Overall, I find the Martenero Marquis has a pleasing combination of finishes, the case lines are sharp and the details are crisply executed. It’s not a flashy watch, but it isn’t boring either. The only critique I could offer is having a solid caseback as an available option — I’m well down the rabbit-hole at this point, and if the movement isn’t something like a 9300 co-axial then perhaps I’m not so keen to show it off. Plus, I really do feel like if you couldn’t see what was inside, you would think this watch might cost more than what it does.
Either way, I think it would be a pleasure to wear as a first mechanical timepiece, and I surely found it enjoyable as an everyday “at-the-ready” for life as I know it. The Martenero Marquis is available in a variety of customizable options for a $595 USD price. martenero.com
>Model: The Marquis
>Price: $595 USD
>Size: 38mm x 10.8mm
>Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
>Movement: Automatic, Miyota 9015
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who wants to give mechanical watches a try! It’s a gateway watch to more watches, and reading blog posts about watches, and many more watches.
>Best characteristic of watch: Versatile watch with quite a bit more class than your average entry-level watch.
>Worst characteristic of watch: No solid caseback option.