Review: Marloe Watch Company - Tay Collection

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TheJohnP
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Review: Marloe Watch Company - Tay Collection

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This review will be cross-posted on our review blog, Wristwatch Talk - https://wristwatchtalk.com/2023/02/11/r ... ollection/

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BACKGROUND:

Not too long ago in our MoT Discord, someone shared photos of a new release by Marloe, the Tay collection. At 35mm, it was certainly in my wheelhouse for sizing and piqued my interest. I reached out to Marloe to see if it would be possible to check one out. They were generous enough to loan me a couple of sample Tay models, so I get to review two of the three available versions.

For this review, I was sent both the Itten and Sail models from the Tay collection and was given a choice of strap on each, so I went with the embossed grain yellow strap for the Itten and the Milanese bracelet on the Sail. I spent a solid week wearing them both and switching each out every other day.


INTRODUCTION:

Marloe is a microbrand from the UK that doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves. Generally when anyone talks about microbrands from Great Britain, you only hear about Christopher Ward or Smiths. Anything further and you might get Farer or Mr. Jones. But Marloe has been producing watches since 2016 by focusing strictly on mechanically powered (manual or automatic) watches that are well designed and engineered.

As they write in their About Us section:

It takes inspiration, craftsmanship and patience to make a beautiful mechanical watch. We put those same qualities into everything we do, from meticulous design research to lifetime customer service. When you first unbox your Marloe watch and feel its heart ticking in your hand, we think you’ll agree that it’s well worth waiting for.

We know the value of time. We know how fast it can speed by, and how easy it can be to fritter away. In an age where everything is instant and disposable, we want to create something enduring: a Marloe watch isn’t just about keeping time, it’s about spending it well.


Their name is inspired by one of the co-founder's hometown of Marlow on the banks of the River Thames. They're now based in the other co-founder's homeland of Scotland - on the banks of Loch Leven in Kinross.


PRODUCT OVERVIEW:

Why the Tay? Well, back in 2020 when we were naming this project we were stationed a stone’s throw from the River Tay in Perth, a place synonymous with one woman's struggle to make it in a male-dominated world. Victoria Drummond MBE was the very first female marine engineer in the UK and the first woman member of The Institute of Marine Engineers.

(W)e wanted the Tay to have sensational wrist presence for such a small watch. As such we have affectionately called this our “little tank” owing to its robust appearance, but diminutive dimensions. Despite its diminutive size the Tay still features a generously proportioned crown, allowing easy winding and quick time-changing, and 10ATM water resistance, giving you peace of mind against ingress.


The Tay is available in three versions, the Itten, the Sail, and the Marine.

The Itten is named for Johannes Itten, who created the Farbkreis color wheel in 1961 to simplify and identify the colors that both complemented and contrasted with one another. Itten features the use of the three primary colors of yellow, red, and blue, to solve for any legibility issues in a smaller dial and make it easier to read the time.

The Sail's solution to legibility is with a more monochromatic approach. With the only pop of color, being the red tip to the second hand.

https://www.marloewatchcompany.com/collections/tay

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SPECIFICS:

Marloe Tay Itten, with embossed grain yellow strap.
Marloe Tay Sail, with Milanese bracelet.


Price is $385

- Movement: Miyota 9039
- Diameter: 35mm
- Lug to lug: 40mm
- Thickness: 10.5mm
- Lug width: 18mm
- Case : Stainless Steel 316L bespoke case design
- Crown: Push/pull
- Caseback: Exhibition
- Crystal: Sapphire crystal with dual side anti-reflective coating
- Dial: Multi-layer dial with luminous markings
- Hands: Aero cross-section hands with luminous fill and hairline seconds hands w/counter-weight
- Strap: Leather or Stainless Steel
- Weight: On leather strap (55g) or Milanese bracelet (80g)
- Water resistance: 10 ATM


FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

I will admit that my first impression with the Tay collection was how well everything was boxed up when it arrived to me from the UK. Both watch boxes were carefully and securely packed for their trip overseas. And that care and attention to detail seems to be a thread throughout my experience with Marloe. For instance, instead of a standardized manual, Marloe gives you a booklet specific to the Tay featuring the inspiration behind the model and the brand, the design process and details, much better photography than I'm able to provide, and yes, how the watch functions work.

Speaking of the watch boxes, they are a tasteful presentation without seeming overly done. The only knock I'll give it, is they do seem a tad large for the watch in hand. The 35mm sizing really stood out once you came to the reveal.

But the watches themselves draw the eye once you glance at them. The Itten especially, with such bold use of color. But the blueish AR coating of the Sail would appear or disappear as you moved it around, offering another playful aspect to an otherwise conservative appearance. And the high polish bezels reflecting the lights also catches the eye and captures your attention.

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FURTHER IMPRESSIONS:

This is the second watch that I've recently reviewed being 35mm. As that's pretty much my sweet spot, I was on board as soon as I read the dimensions. But I know that size alone will turn away a good portion of potential buyers. And I will admit that the Tay felt more of it's size than when I reviewed the Kuoe. In fact, later on, you'll see a closer comparison betwixt the two.

The stainless case is polished throughout. The case feels very angular and industrial with mostly flat surfaces , even the beveling along the outside lug edges and perimeter of the bezel is more of a faceted approach. And though it appears to be a straight surface down the case sides, it actually recesses ever so slightly from the bottom to the top, as they describe as "inverse tapered case sides," making a slightly bowl shape.

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The sapphire crystal is also flat, yet raised just a touch above the bezel. And with the flat crystal in a bezel that rises higher than the case and lugs, it produces an effect that the watch is taller than it is. Even though it is 35mm and only 10.5mm thick, it looks to be much taller than the dimensions would portray. What came to mind is what I'll call a "Top Hat" like effect on the wrist.

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Both crystals feature AR coating, but it is more apparent in the Sail, with the blue showing more often depending on the angle and lighting conditions.

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The crown is the only aspect of the case that has any distinct curvature with a concave center and stem that flares out to the bottom edge of the crown. Very easy to grip and manipulate. And impressive that they're able to provide 100m of water resistance with a push/pull crown. It is also signed with a Marloe M.

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The dials are similar in style, but distinct in execution. They each share a depth created by an angled rehaut. They both are two toned. They both have lume pips on either side of the 12 marker. And they're each printed with "Marloe Watch Company" above the pinion and "British" and "Design" flanking the 6 marker.

The Itten being the most unusual colorway to much of what you see today. Though to me it had a very Bauhaus feel, especially with the use of yellow, red, and blue. The center of the dial is white with a faint pattern that Marloe calls a "map-line motif," but I see more of a ship's helm. The hour markers are red dots and those are surrounded by an angled rehaut with a blue chapter ring followed by a yellow ring with the hour numerals.

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The Sail takes a simpler approach with a lightly textured cream dial, black markers and chapter ring. And a black ring with with minute numerals.

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The hands on all the Tay watches are a rounded cone shape and filled with lume. On the Itten, the hour hand is red to tie to the hour markers, while the minute hand is blue to match the chapter ring. The second hand is yellow and extends to the bottom edge of the yellow portion of the rehaut. Whereas both hands on the Sail are black with a white second hand featuring the only color with a red tip.

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The lume starts very bright but I didn't find it to last that long. I was very dim after I returned from my 20 minute dog walk test.

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The caseback is also high polished and another area where you find some welcome curves in the notches to unscrew it. The exhibition crystal is also a flat sapphire and features "Marloe Watch Company - Tay - Designed in Great Britain" along the outer perimeter. It also exposes the surprisingly undecorated Miyota movement. I wondered why Marloe didn't offer a custom rotor, but at the price point, maybe that's too much of an ask?

The movement is the Miyota 9039, so neither date nor ghost position. During my time wearing each of the watches for a week, I tracked the Itten at around +5/+6 per day and the Sail at around -4/-5. Either is more than acceptable for an unregulated movement.

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Straps are an abundant offering from Marloe. When you purchase your watch, you can configure it with any number of straps. In fact, the number of straps you can pick for the Itten is a total of 10, while the Sail offers you more of a choice with fourteen different options! As I was able to pick which strap to pair with each watch, I had to choose the embossed grain yellow for the Itten. If you're going to go, go all the way. And I was curious to try their mesh Milanese bracelet option, as it doesn't add any additional costs when configuring.

I found the leather strap to feel well made. It was firm but malleable. Had a nice padding underneath. And came with quick release spring bars. The Milanese also features quick release spring bars and the foldover locking clasp was easy to reposition to fit my wrist. The buckle and end clasp of the bracelet were both signed with the more stylized Marloe M.

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VERSATILITY TEST

For the strap versatility test, I mostly focused on the Itten. How well would such a colorful dial work with a variety of straps. Actually, pretty well it turned out. I didn't find anything to be an odd choice. In fact, was pleased how well my custom Pattini strap paired with the Itten. So if you are leaning towards one, feel safe putting your own straps on it. Now I knew the tuxedo dial of the Sail would pair well with just about anything. But I did try it on the embossed grain yellow strap and had to put it on my own tuxedo strap. That turned out quite nice as well.

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COMPARISON TEST:

As I happened to recently review another 35mm diameter watch, the Kuoe Royal Smith, I was taken aback at how different each wears. The Tay look smaller and appears to wear taller, whereas the Kuoe looks to wear larger and be thinner. Yet both are actually the same diameter (35mm) and thickness (10.5mm), it's only at the caseback where they appear to be of similar dimensions.

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SUMMARY:

Marloe gives you a lot in the little Tay. Especially when you consider the $385 price point. Overall, I did enjoy spending time with both, but found the Itten to be the more appealing of the two. The Sail is as well designed, but perhaps a tad too conventional. The brighter colors and playful nature of the Itten is much more pleasing to the eye while on the wrist.

And though many may balk at the 35mm size, I think the Tay makes for a fantastic option for those who prefer a traditional watch size or a unisex option, especially for those who are tired of only being offered pink or semiprecious stones. And as Marloe intends, also a fantastic entry watch for the younger set to get them hooked in our shared addiction, err hobby.

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PRO:
- The Tay is a great "bang for your buck" option.
- Well sized at 35mm for all: men, women, or kids.
- A very unique colorway with the Itten that stands out from just about anything else out there.
- Classic, legible design for any Tay that you prefer
- Fan of the Miyota 9039, and very good accuracy out of the box.

CON:
- Looks to wear smaller and taller than it actually is.
- Would like to have seen some different finishing than just highly polished surfaces.
- I found the lume to be rather uninspiring.
- The lack of any decoration or custom rotor on the movement was rather disappointing.
- Not the watch, but the watch box was a tad too large for this particular model.

WOULD I BUY THIS?

Yes

I think I would be inclined to buy a Tay. At least, it would be more likely with the Itten.

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Robotaz
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Re: Review: Marloe Watch Company - Tay Collection

Post by Robotaz »

Man, this is such a thorough review that I feel guilty for not seeing more of these reviews.

The time to take and load all the photos is clear. But I’m even more impressed with you reporting how the watches run. There’s a lot going into this.

Thank you for investing all of this time. I will try to be more respectful and participate more.
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CVP33
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Re: Review: Marloe Watch Company - Tay Collection

Post by CVP33 »

Great review and looks to be a quality offering……we need more micro brands pushing the design envelope versus homage stylings.

BTW - The picture with the 2 boxes together………….I won’t tell you what Tay Tay is in our house, but it’s better than WRISTMAGIC.
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TheJohnP
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Re: Review: Marloe Watch Company - Tay Collection

Post by TheJohnP »

Robotaz wrote: Wed Mar 06, 2024 11:58 am Man, this is such a thorough review that I feel guilty for not seeing more of these reviews.

The time to take and load all the photos is clear. But I’m even more impressed with you reporting how the watches run. There’s a lot going into this.

Thank you for investing all of this time. I will try to be more respectful and participate more.
That's very kind of you to say.
Don't get as much opportunities to review as I would like for our group, so try to make the most of those that come around.

Essentially try to capture what I think I'd like to know about a particular watch without being too much of a overall advertisement. Real world experience can be so different sometimes.
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Far and wide I will find 'em and I ride 'em
Bricks and mortar get my licks just for kicks
AD or authorized I don't analyze
Retail, wholesale never fail
Online or offline, I find I don't redefine
Too big to fail or yard sale they all hale
Run or hide just for fun deals I find
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