Melbourne Avalon MK2
Melbourne has released the new Avalon, an update to the original model, now dubbed the Melbourne Avalon MK2. While I never reviewed the original, taking a look at photos online I can say this version is much better looking, more refined and overall just a no-nonsense pilot style watch. Coming in at roughly $620 USD, the highlights are a Bead Blasted 42MM case, Sellita SW200 Automatic movement, and a sapphire crystal. My favorite feature would have to be the textured dial and overall this is really a great watch and a nice change from the diver and field style watches that are offered by everyone else.
Melbourne Avalon MK2 Specifications:42mm Bead Blasted Case
- 42mm Bead Blasted Case
- 11mm Thick
- 22mm Lug Width
- 50mm Lug to Lug
- Sapphire Crystal (Domed)
- Sellita SW200 Movement
- 50M Water Resistant
- Calf Leather Strap
Price $620 USD
The Melbourne Avalon MK2 is a simple watch that just gets a lot of things right. The case size is one of them. The 42mm width is a great size for many but the best attribute is that 11mm thinness. The overall dimensions make this a very wearable watch but being that thin will allow this to be slipped under almost any shirt or coat sleeve. It also makes it wear nice and flat on your wrist and just won’t get in the way of whatever you are doing. On my 7 1/2 inch wrist, it not only looks great but you barely notice it is there. While it is stainless steel, it only comes in around 80 grams, so it feels like you are wearing titanium.
The dial of the Melbourne Avalon MK2 is the showstopper here though, as not only does it come off as more of a charcoal grey due to the dial texture and slightly domed crystal, but they managed not only a beautiful piece to look at, but also kept it simple and clean, and of course, that date placement. Oh yes, the 6 o’clock date placement that many of you long time readers know I love. Another nice touch and something you would think would be done with most watches in this price range is the white on black date wheel. This makes the date seamless and does not look like an eyesore on the dial. Not going the cheap route, Melbourne chose applied markers and for just a pop of color and contrast, a red-tipped second hand.
As watch collectors or enthusiasts, depending on what you like to be called, we all have our quirks and things that we look for and deal breakers just the same. Over the years, like many of you, my tastes have changed multiple times and these days I appreciate when a watch is not blingy or shiny, so this matte bead blasted finish is right in line with what I prefer. No, this is not a dress watch, and for the most part, it probably will not garner a lot of attention from non-watch folks, as it is not big and shiny or overly complicated. On the other hand, it wears well, has a nice subdued look and feel and is a fine bead blasting, meaning it will hide scratches and marks a lot better than a high polish or satin finish.
Many people like when a watch back shows off the movement and as I have discussed here many times, I am not enamored with that unless it is a really unique or high-grade movement or has some elaborate decoration to it. In the case of the Melbourne MK2 showing off its Sellita SW200 movement, while it might not be superbly decorated, it does have a custom rotor and I like that the case back is brushed steel and then laser etched with a cool pattern. It is eye-catching and at the very least, not plain as I see so many brands do. The movement is a clone of the ETA 2824, and for those not familiar is used by countless brands from Tag Heuer, Oris and many microbrands alike. It is good to go.
If I were to have one complaint, it would be the domed sapphire crystal. Normally, a dive watch has a domed crystal as it helps with clarity under water. On a pilot style watch such as this, I just do not think it is needed. A good flat crystal with an excellent internal AR coating would do the job just fine. Looking at the profile below, you can see how the crystal is not only distorted, but a little milky looking. Now, part of this is photography and what part of the watch is in focus and part of it is the crystal itself. Yes, head on, the watch looks very good but can be distorted when viewing from an angle.
As I said at the beginning, this is a true no-nonsense style of a watch, a tool watch if you will, and one that will not break the bank. At just over $600, it has a lot to offer and is a solid and attractive piece. The leather strap is comfortable but I would prefer a nicer leather like Horween, the lume is average, and yes the domed crystal is not for me, but I can see many people loving this watch for what it is, and the reality is this style of watch is timeless, it will never go out of style. I also appreciate that Melbourne updated this model and kept a lot of the same look and feel, but updated and it made it better than the original (at least in my opinion). Melbourne has a pretty diverse collection of watches as well, from casual, to pilot as shown here, dress and even a dive watch, the Sorrento. Something for everyone. The Melbourne Avalon MK2 is also available in all black PVD, if you prefer something even more subdued and shall I say, tactical. It would not be a daily watch for me, but one that would be very welcome in the rotation.