Mercer Watch Co. Brigadier Chronograph — hands-on
Mercer Watch Company is among the microbrands I keep an eye on and I report from time to time on what they are up to, but this is the first time, I had the opportunity to try on a Mercer watch. The Brigadier Chronograph is a follow on the Brigadier Automatic, one of their first models that had great backing on Kickstarter.
As you can see from these pictures, the Chronograph is borrowing several design cues from the Brigadier Automatic: the bold bezel and lugs, the pumpkin crown, and many more details from the multilayered dial, but it is also exploring new ideas.
The watch arrived in a packaging that is more on the conservative side, a rather practical approach, without trying to be luxurious. The blue case inside the dark grey cardboard box, could really handy when traveling with an extra watch.
After opening the box, I was rather surprised when I strapped on the Brigadier Chrono, it looked a lot bigger than I was expecting from a 42 mm watch, mostly because of the proportions of the case. The polished bezel takes up a significant part of the watch and while it offers a great surface for the light to play on, I would have preferred it to have the tachymeter engraved on it. Not that I would keep my speed under control with a tachymeter, but as it is on the Brigadier, printed with tiny fonts on the chapter ring, for my eyes, it’s rather useless.
I find the rest of the dial really attractive, with quite a lot of subtle details that make it a lot of fun. The flat top layer holds the stainless steel applied indexes and the numeral at 12 o’clock. At 6, we have the date window while at 9 and 3, we have the 24-hour subdial and the 60-minutes chronograph counter. These subdials are decorated with a very fine concentric guilloche that creates a sunray effect. The bottom layer is decorated with tiny squares, vaguely reminding me the sophisticated AP guilloche dials.
Mercer changed the hands on the Chronograph, the stick hands of the Brigadier Automatic had been replaced with dauphine hands… The original stick hands gave a more modern look to the watch while the dauphine hands give a rather classic allure. The slim chronograph seconds hand is dark blue, the only coloured accent on the watch, besides the brown strap.
One of my favourite aspects of the Brigadier Chronograph is the slightly domed crystal that brings, even more, depth to the dial. To see the distortion, you’ll have to tilt the watch quite a lot, but when it kicks in, it’s like looking at the dial with a loupe.
The surface of the lugs and the side of the watch is brushed, creating a nice contrast with the polished parts. The rectangular push buttons go nicely with the overall design of the watch while the pumpkin-shaped crown is a nice hint at the historical inspiration of the Mercer brand — Hugh Mercer was a soldier and physician, a close friend of George Washington.
The screw-down case back of the Brigadier Chrono is decorated with an engraving representing Hugh Mercer in front of the U.S. flag, encircled by the brand name, the model name and two swords, borrowed from the MWC logo. The same sword we’ll find again engraved on the stainless steel buckle of the strap.
The Brigadier Chronograph is definitely an interesting timepiece that has a lot to offer. During the past days, as I was wearing it, I would keep discovering new details; as watch nerds would say, it grew on me. I’m glad to see that MWC achieved its target on Kickstarter, I’m sure it will make the backers really happy to have a nice quartz beater.
– 42mm case diameter, 11mm thickness at its thickest point
– Seiko VK64 mecaquartz chronograph movement
– Sapphire crystal front with antireflective treatment, engraved case back
– Screw down crown
– 100-meter water resistance
– Luminous dauphine style hands
– Croc patterned leather strap with contrasting stitching and signed buckle
– One year limited warranty
At the time of writing this review, the Kickstarter price starts at $219 with international shipping included. You got 11 days before the campaign ends and to pre-order it on Kickstarter, go to http://kck.st/1SuZbMT.
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