Dive watches are the go-to for many watch collectors. They outstrip the standard “tool watch” moniker with, usually, enhanced specs, such as better water resistance. As a result, dive watches are usually aimed at those professionals for whom they are designed. You know, divers. These days, this results in an instantly recognizable aesthetic that is often “function over form.” That said, dive watches were typically smaller and more reserved 50–60 years ago. We only have to look at the classic Rolex Submariner as an example. The watch I have before me today certainly errs toward the classic sensibilities of the Submariner while not aping its oft-copied aesthetics. Say hello to the Milléchron Monarque M, a high-specced, high-end watch that is hard to classify in any particular niche.

Don’t read that last sentence as negative. It’s meant as an interesting observation because the Monarque M adapts elements of various watch styles and effortlessly combines them into one harmonious concept. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a jack of all trades, but I would say it doesn’t pick one style to master and make its own.

The Monarque M is pure fantasy

Founded nearly a decade ago by watch enthusiast Benjamin Chee (who also owns Celadon and BCHH), Millésime, now rebranded as Milléchron, has transitioned its focus to upscale timepieces. The Monarque M design draws inspiration from mid-20th-century dive watches but incorporates modern design elements. Described by Chee as “fantasy vintage,” it combines classic aesthetics with contemporary appeal. The watch has various colorways — Saffron, Azure, Grey, Stealth (currently sold out), and the Racing Green version I had to try.

Collaborating with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier for the micro-rotor movement and Philippe Cattin for assembly, Milléchron ensures high-quality components and finishing. The watch undergoes chronometer certification, reflecting the brand’s commitment to precision and reliability. Looking at the spec sheet, the Monarque M is undoubtedly a dive watch at heart. It features a 42mm × 51mm × 10.4mm 904L stainless steel case manually finished with alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces. The dial shines with bright SLN-adorned hands and hour markers. A unidirectional 120-click rotating bezel allows the wearer to track elapsed time, and a 200m water resistance rating means it can handle pretty much anything a recreational diver could throw at it.

Powered by Vaucher

The Monarque M runs on the Vaucher 5401/32, an automatic movement with a micro-rotor and a 48-hour power reserve. Vaucher, known for supplying calibers to high-end independent brands, ensures superior craftsmanship and reliability. The 5401/32 movement features a gold tungsten micro-rotor and solid bridges finished with traditional Geneva stripes and perlage on the base plate. It’s lovely to look at, as you’d expect from Vaucher. This may not be a proprietary movement, but it’s undoubtedly high-end and the quality you’d expect for a watch at this price (more on that later),

As a default, the Monarque M comes fitted with a natural rubber strap with a bespoke diamond pattern. Unfortunately, the prototype I received for the review came with a strap that was far too big for my wrists. Instead, I had to fit an alternative from my strap box. I chose a nice nubuck leather strap initially, which perfectly complemented the racing-green dial. Ultimately, I leaned into the sportier side of the Monarque M and wore it on a Khaki Green Hydroflex from Artem Straps. While I didn’t wear the OEM strap, the rubber felt nice and supple and featured a beautiful signed deployant clasp. The clasp is milled from 904L steel and features an extendable diver’s extension with a nice internal perlage finish.

A dive watch with an accomplished résumé

Of course, visually, this watch is a dive watch. With the instantly recognizable rotating bezel and 200m water resistance, this watch was designed with water in mind. However, my wearing experience featured no water except for the inevitable rainy Manchester weather. But, thanks to the slimness, it felt like a great daily companion. I dislike the term “desk diver,” but it’s appropriate here. On the leather strap, the watch was quite smart and dressier than your typical watch might tend to be. I’d put this in the same category as a Rolex Submariner in that regard. I’m not directly comparing these two watches, but there’s some crossover in the wearing experience and what they achieve on the wrist.

Milléchron embraces the challenge

Priced at  SG$15,240 / CHF 9,950 the Monarque M faces challenges as a watch from a relatively untested brand. However, Milléchron mitigates this risk by offering a trial program that allows interested people to test a prototype before making a purchase decision. This initiative is somewhat unique in the watch industry. Still, it aims to instill confidence in potential buyers and should help collectors alleviate any potential buyer’s remorse.

Of course, at this price point, there’s a ton of competition from more established brands. It can be challenging to justify going with a small independent brand when you could easily get one or two other watches for the same price from the likes of Tudor and Longines. However, if you’re thinking along those lines, perhaps this isn’t the watch for you anyway.

Not your everyday watch but a worthy contender to be just that

Having a watch that few others have is quite the thrill for some. I fall into this category, so I can understand it. I prefer having something from a smaller independent, knowing I’m unlikely to bump into someone else wearing the same watch. Of course, quality is always essential, but you can rest easy with the Vaucher movement inside. The rest of the watch holds up to the same quality. So, if the classy and demure appearance of the Monarque M appeals to you, then you can’t go far wrong. If you’re tempted, take the brand up on the trial to help you make your mind up! You can find out more about Milléchron and the Monarque M on the brand’s official website.

Watch specifications

Monarque M Racing Green
Deep green with sunburst finish, applied indices, Super-LumiNova X1, and sub-seconds
Case Material
904L stainless steel with sapphire bezel insert
Case Dimensions
42mm (diameter) × 51mm (lug-to-lug) × 10.4 (thickness including crystral)
Double-domed sapphire with AR coating
Case Back
904L stainless steel and sapphire crystal
Vachuer Manufacture Fleurier 5401/32: automatic micro-rotor caliber, 21,600vph freuquency, 48-hour power reserve, 29 jewels, variable-ineratia balance wheel, finished by hand, Vaucher CLA chronometer certification, Côtes de Genève, perlage, and rhodium plating
Water Resistance
200m (20 ATM)
Green natural rubber (20mm width) with bespoke diamond pattern and 904L stainless steel clasp with diver's extension (not pictured)
Time (hours, minutes, second) and 60-minute, 120-click dive bezel
CHF 9,950 / SG$15,240