Hitting Kickstarter on October 11, 2023, is the Montoir MWMOD-01 Dive Watch. There truly seems to be no end to new brands emerging, and though some folks might see this as oversaturation, I see it as just more options and choices for everyone. Speaking of choices, the Montoir will be available in 5 dial color options, use the Sellita SW200-1 movement, and be marked Swiss Made. This is a great example of a skin diver-moderately sized, light, very legible, and of course, that iconic case style that is so comfortable on the wrist. The super early bird pricing will be $375 for the first 50 people, and regular KS pricing will be $435, with a retail price of $750. I have a production sample in hand, possibly an early sample, but this is the blue dial, and the owner, Anthony, put it on an orange tropic rubber for a nice pop of color. This new brand is out of Chicago, but as I said, the production pieces will be Swiss Made.
I have in hand this blue dial, but I do have some of the press photos I’ll put throughout this review, like the black dial/bezel version up top. Now again, I do want to reiterate, that this is a sample, and an early sample I believe based on a few things, but let’s talk a wall around the Montoir MWMOD-01 Dive Watch before I discuss those things. First, this is a very familiar style case, you and I have seen it from many brands over the years, one of the more popular ones right now would be Wolobrook. Now, if we are to compare, the Wolobrok is a very nice watch, but it’s also $400, with a Hesalite crystal and a Miyota 8315 movement. Yes, while the retail price of this piece will be $750, the KS price will be 40-50% off, depending on when you pledge.
The case is all very finely satin brushed, with no high polish chamfers to be found here, just a nice clean tool watch aesthetic, with a 120-click bezel and a 6.5mm screw-down crown. Unlike other skin divers, this Montoir MWMOD-01 Dive Watch has been kept very thin, coming in at only 11.5mm thick, which incuses that domed top hat sapphire crystal. With a 40.5mm case, a large crown, and a thin bezel insert, this watch doesn’t feel too large or small. It’s in that Goldilocks size for a lot of people. Even for myself, someone who prefers a 42mm, I find this to be a very wearable piece on my 7 1/2 inch wrist, so much so that I don’t know if I would want a 42mm version, not without comparing both on my wrist.
The fully indexed bezel insert does remind me a little of Unimatic Watches, but I dig the look, it’s still pretty clean and easy to read, as is the dial. These dials are pretty much standard diver layout. Printed markers in a design we are all familiar with, stick hands, and a contrast color second hand. These models have no date (unfortunately the movement does have the date, so the phantom date wheel is present) and the dial is not overrun with too much text. I will say though, that I found the bottom text slightly too small. It’s so small that you really need to get close to read it, and if that is the case, why is it on the dial at all? Otherwise, the dial has a nice texture, Montoir calls it lightly sandblasted, and it’s a nice subdued look, not too overdone to look like gravel, but not a plain matte dial either. One note on this dial color is a darker blue dial, with a blue bezel, but you will notice on the example I have, that the bezel insert is almost more of a bluish-green color and does not match like the original renderings do. I am not sure which will go into production but I do hope they can match the dial color a little more closely, because as is, it can look grey and almost black at times, and doesn’t pop as much as it should.
On the back, you have a very nice stamped case back, with the diver helmet image, something we have seen before, but I do like that it’s not an exhibition window, and the finishing on the case back is really well done, especially for a prototype. Now, one area I noticed that needs some attention would be the lug areas. Now, keep in mind, this is an early prototype, but I also don want anyone thinking I was glossing over anything either. You can see this area is a little rough and unfinished, and the tropic rubber strap also catches on this area, making the strap kind of stick or kink up. I show this better in the video, hard to show here in photos, but again, this is probably just an issue with this early example.
What were the other issues I noticed? The only other issue I found was the bezel insset is off-center, and the bezel has a little too much play. As I talked about in the video, it’s really hard to discuss quality with these prototypes or production samples, as that’s just what they are, samples, and these things are almost always fixed come production. Two other things of note, this example doesn’t say Swiss Made on the dial, but Montoir told me the watches will be Swiss-made and marked as such, and the FKM rubber straps will have the logo on the inner side of the strap as well as on the thumbnail buckle.
The lume on the Montoir MWMOD-01 Dive Watch is BGW9, and in this early example, the lume is pretty good. Keep in mind, these are printed markers, and somewhat small, so not a ton of room for lume compound, but I think it glows pretty well, and it’s nicely applied. I found it to be good for about 3 hours or so.
When Montoir reached out, I was hesitant, as I am with a lot of watches that go up for preorder or do a Kickstarter campaign these days. With so many trying to become a brand or produce a run of watches, you do have to be careful not to get scammed, and you also don’t want the same old watch that’s been done repeatedly. Yes, the Montoir MWMOD-01 Dive Watch is not a game changer in terms of design, but what watch would be at this price point? No, the design, is familiar, but I think that is the appeal, and with the clean dial, fine brush finishing, the SW200 movement, the domed sapphire, and a comfortable feel on the wrist, I think they are going to be successful with their launch, or at least I wish them well, as they have a good product from what I have seen with my limited time with this production sample.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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