The watch industry is full of dive watches, which makes sense as the public has shown with their money that a dive watch is what most want. But not everyone wants a dive watch, and while we have pilot watches, field watches, and more, there is another subset of watch styles, which I refer to as the casual sport watch. That brings me to my review today of the Marloe Solent Cardinal, a maritime-inspired watch, that could be worn on a boat or like most of us, just a great weekend watch, or for when we want something sporty but doesn’t bog down the wrist and just stays out of the way while having a little style. That’s exactly what I consider the Solent, a watch you can put on and forget about but when you look down at it, it is not just some boring piece. Of course, Marloe put in a lot of the work into the dial and intended it for use out on the ocean, or while manning a lighthouse, but as usual, I give the perspective of a watch enthusiast, as that is what most of us are.
Now, as I said, Marloe didn’t just design a dial to be stylish, it does have an intended purpose and I will quote from their website below:
The Cardinal dial takes inspiration from navigational buoys of the same name, used in maritime pilotage to indicate the position of sub-surface hazards, such as wrecks, reefs, and rocky-outcrops, by displaying the direction to which you must pass the buoy – either North, East, South or West – using a simple set of triangular marks.
The black, subtly textured dial replicates the main cardinal points at 12, 3, 6, and 9 in Solent signature yellow, with bold white hour markings making time-telling clear and legible. The hidden, recessed signature color ring brings an element of complexity to the dial, with the chamfered upper ring adding depth dynamics – a real treat for the eyes.
What does that mean for me and probably most of you reading this? Not much, but the dial is very lightly textured, almost like it has diamond dust applied to it, and you can only see it at certain angles, otherwise it looks like a nice matte dial. The choice of hands, yellow color against the black dial, and a dateless dial allow for an extremely easy-to-read dial, and it is quite attractive in my opinion. If the black and yellow dial is not your thing, there is another model, the Windward, which is a silver/white dial that does have a different look and adds some Arabic numbers into the mix. One thing of note, if you are looking for lume, this is the wrong watch. Neither of them has any lume applied to the dial indices or hands.
Marloe Solent Windward
If you cant tell above, the two Solent Models also have different case finishes. The Windward has polished case where this Marloe Solent Cardinal has a bead blasted case, and both take inspiration from lighthouses and ocean furniture with the angles and chamfers, and designed to the brutal elements, especially this one as the bead blasting is somewhat unique and a little rough, though not to the touch as it has a nice smoothness to it, will patina over time, and depending on how much you wear it or what you do while you are wearing it, will give it some nice character. The downward lugs and overall thin case allow this watch to be worn very comfortably and this is just a very easy-to-wear wristwatch.
The concave crown face is one area you will see a little high polish, as this was done just to give a little pizzaz to the watch. The crown is easy to grip even with larger hands and very smooth to operate, but unfortunately, it is just a push/pull crown. I understand this watch only has 100m of water resistance but with no crown guards and a watch meant to be used on the ocean, I would have preferred a screw-down crown.
Showing off the Miyota 9039 movement is an exhibition case back, with a nice porthole-inspired design. The movement is as Marloe describes it, utilitarian, and the text that surrounds the case back from Sir Alec Rose reads:
“I had a good ship under me and I felt as free as the birds that circled above. I was king of my little world“.
Marloe offers a choice of 5 different straps for the Solent, 4 silicone rubber straps, and one Horween Ribbed leather strap. I had them send along two to check out, and while I do prefer the leather to the silicone, I have to say, the yellow strap with the black and yellow dial really does look fresh. Both straps easily fit my wrist, and even though the Horween strap was not designed for this watch (which you can see when you look at the fancy engraved buckle), no one would probably notice and you could always swap out the buckle with something a little more rugged looking.
Wristshot on 7 1/2 inch wrist
Wristshot on 7 1/2 inch wrist
I find this Marloe Solent Cardinal to be a refreshing watch, as it is stylish and functional, thin and easy to wear, has a solid movement, and is most of all, relatively affordable. I think having two case finishes and dial options is a great idea, as it does not limit the type of buyer and I just think this is a very attractive watch, though I do prefer this Cardinal over the Windward. The lack of a screw-down crown bothers me more than not having any lume, but with some more wear over the past few weeks, I really didn’t find the crown accidentally popping out like I thought it would and 100m of WR is more than enough or most folks.
Let me know what you think of this Solent down in the comment section, and as always, thanks for reading.
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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