We introduced you to micro brands in earlier articles here on Fratello Watches. Dutch distributor FORaSEC supplied us with a watch from micro brand Melbourne Watch Company. This Australian owned and operated brand has been founded in 2013 and since then have released watch models Flinders an Hawthorn by using Kickstarter to fund these collections. Their third and latest project was Portsea. The watch that I have on my wrist today. The Melbourne Portsea comes in three flavors, two stainless steel watches with either blue or a white dial and a rose gold version with a white dial.
I received the Melbourne Portsea with the blue dial which comes on a blue leather strap. The watch was nicely packed in a small leather box with a white carton ‘sleeve’ to properly protect it. According to the Australian watch company, the Melbourne Portsea watch has been inspired on those old marine chronometer clocks, using two sub dials. Although the sub dials on a marine chronometer are used to indicate seconds and power reserve (very important on those hand-wound clocks), the Melbourne Portsea uses two sub dials for the month and day feature. The date is indicated in the little aperture at 6 o’clock. The second hand has a big ‘M’ on the short-end, the official logo of the Melbourne Watch Company.
The dial of the watch is quite stunning, as it uses a dial that creates a wonderful depth due to the use of different layers. The mid-part (sub dials and numbers) is made of ceramic. The 40mm diameter stainless steel case is comfortable on the wrist and has these beefy lugs that reminds me of some vintage watches from various brands. A very nice design feature that makes the Melbourne Portsea an attractive watch. The watch has no crown guards (I am no fan of crown guards on a dress watch) and the crown is very easy to operate.
When you turn the watch around, instead of having a display back showing the movement, the Melbourne Portsea shows a beautiful nautical theme scene as you can see below. The solid stainless steel case has been stamped rather than the traditional engraving or embossing.
As you can see on the case back, the Melbourne Portsea houses the Miyota caliber 9120 movement. This self-winding calendar movement has a month, day and date indicator as I’ve mentioned earlier. This movement has a power reserve of 40 hours and ticks at 28,800 beats per hour.
The Melbourne Portsea watch I am wearing has proven to be a steady timekeeper over the last few weeks. I haven’t worn it on a daily basis, but when I did not wear it, it was on my winder to keep the calendar going without having to correct it each time I picked up the watch.
I’ve found the watch to be a good companion for more formal occasions due to its size, case shape and leather strap. As you can see below, the watch is nicely shaped with curved lugs bending towards the wrist. The stepped case has a polished finish which makes it quite a shiner. The bezel has been polishes as well, so from all angles this watch catches light. The lower photo also shows the layered effect of the dial when you look at it from an angle.
I’ve found this watch to be an incredible value for money piece, given the price of just € 629 Euro. Is it perfect? No, of course not. Only few watches come close to being perfect. But the Melbourne Watch Company does show that being creative pays off and makes it able to design and produce a watch that has nice aesthetics and a mechanical self-winding movement with a triple-calendar. If all parts would have been Swiss or German made, the price would be much higher of course. The fact that this Melbourne Portsea uses a Miyota movement is simply a smart thing to do. For this price, there is no reason (except for taste) to not consider this watch if you are in the market for a sub € 1000 Euro timepiece with a mechanical movement.
The level of detail in this watch is definitely overwhelming though. The dial is beautifully designed and shows a lot of information without being cluttered. The hands are very elegant and sleek and are very legible on the blue dial. The case is also very detailed, has a case back that has been fitted with 4 screws and the crown has the M-logo engraved. The designer(s) of this watch probably had a good time doing so and I wonder whether they thought about technical possibilities and solutions while they were in the process of designing the Melbourne Portsea. It was probably not easy to have a dial like this realized with a supplier.
No downside at all? Of course there are. If you want to put a watch in the market with a € 629 Euro price tag you have to make choices. The leather strap has a croco grain instead of being a real crocodile or alligator strap. Something I am not very fond of personally, but this is something you can easily swap for a different strap if it bothers you. I also found the stamped case back to have a couple of sharp edges. Not that my wrist was hurt by it, but you can just feel that it is a bit too sharp when you touch it with your fingers. I wasn’t bothered by it when wearing the watch though.
I applaud all these initiatives by watch fans that decide to start a (micro) brand of their own to come up with inspiring designs and interesting mechanical pieces. As long as the watches have a unique angle or at least their own design to it, which this Melbourne Portsea clearly has.
More information and ordering details can be found here.