The hands are nicely coordinated with the regular time-telling hands and are lumed and mirror-finished, while the chronograph hands are painted in white, making it easy to read and distinguish which hands tell what time. This also goes for the chapter ring with its white open-railroad track and lumed dots every five minutes. Even the two red dots at 12 o’clock are lumed, although faint.
The precisely cut lume markers aren’t rounded for visual ease. Take for instance the number “8,” which is cut so that it doesn’t overlap into the subdial, and notice that the sharp edges are left alone, instead of being “finished.” I personally like the sharp cuts that seem to abruptly stop the marker, as if a tank smashed through a building and left the hanging remnants intact.
Speaking of lume, the molded Arabic numbers are bright when charged and keep glowing throughout the night, even after a full night’s rest. One interesting observation about the lume color is that it changes its output color based on the type of light used to charge it. Under normal artificial lighting scenarios, such as halogen, incandescent, LED, and fluorescent, all the lume on the dial (including the hands) glows neon green.
However, under UV lighting, such as sunlight or an LED UV torch, there are two different colors present. The molded Super-LumiNova Arabic numerals glow a bluish seafoam green, and the five-minute markers and hands glow the standard neon green. I’m wondering if the lume powder combination to make a white mold of lume needed to increase its blue content to keep it from looking green when not charged? I have yet to test this on the M100 and M100B to compare the lume colors.
The MP45 comes packaged in a pristine black Pelican case, just like its other watches, and I’ll echo Ariel’s sentiment that it’s not period-correct, but one thing that struck me was the level of detail on the inside of the case. The foam is laser-cut and two-tone, and the cutouts fit the watch perfectly when outfitted with the black leather strap; and it’s got two levels. Slip your thumb and finger through the cut-out indentations of the first level of foam to reveal the manual, a rubber strap, 2 NATOs, and clear plastic vial containing a pair of quick-release spring bars.
Earlier, I wrote about the watch feeling top-heavy in certain instances, and this is true. The automatic version doesn’t carry its weight as well as the mechanical version, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker by any means. Because I have such a small wrist, wearing the watch on a rubber strap seems the most manageable and comfortable. Unfortunately, I have a love/hate relationship with NATO straps. I love them because they’re comfortable, stylish, and breathable, but I hate them because my small wrists result in a monstrously long piece of unused strap that I creatively reverse tuck, but this raises the overall wearable thickness of the watch by another 2-4mm.
So, with all that I’ve written about the watch, what do I think from an overall-package perspective? Well, it’s obvious that vintage-inspired re-interpretations of this period of watchmaking is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon, as demonstrated by Bremont’s recent release of its Broadsword Mono-Pusher. But one element I don’t see coming back is the customer service a brand would exude when educating customers and selling its pieces. Cochrane’s level of participation and service largely contributes to the value-added of Vertex Watches. From the start of his journey, recreating his great grandfather’s watch brand, Cochrane continues to answer his customer’s emails, sends hand-typed letters with his watches, and keeps an honest ear open to criticism to make his products better.
The MP45 creates its own path as the second collection for Vertex Watches, all without vintage production lineage, which makes it a wild card, but excitingly so. The watch feels ruggedly put-together in an old-fashioned utilitarian way and wants to be put through its paces. Conjoined parts, steel cutouts, and a pragmatic build combine to create a truly modern execution of vintage functionality and style. Priced at £2,900. Learn more at vertex-watches.com.
>Model: MP45, limited edition of 400 pieces (200 mechanical, 200 automatic)
>Size: 42mm (as advertised, excluding crown), 44.5mm (measured, including crown)
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Definitely.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: WWII history buffs, people who like unique and/or vintage inspired pieces, lume junkies, and people who want a relationship with a brand.
>Best characteristic of watch: Overall package and mono-pusher design. Price better aligns with the value proposition as a microbrand. Still the best execution of molded Super-LumiNova.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The mono-pusher is a divisive complication amongt watch enthusiasts and the asymmetrical case could cause OCD overload.