The Melbourne Burnley
The Melbourne Burnley is a new model from the Australian based company that is inspired by one of Gerald Genta’s famous designs, but at a much cheaper price than what you would expect to pay for a Genta design. Now, as always, some people are against homages or inspired pieces of any kind, and it does get exhausting as most microbrands (not all) are homages of some kind, and I get it, but many people look for affordable alternatives to the big brands, and this is another of them. The Burnley does have the basic design of the Ingenieur, but this is more than just a straight-up copy, and beyond that, I am here to review the watch for what it is, so allow me to just get to it.
Melbourne Burnley Specifications:
- 42mm Wide
- 10mm Thick
- 48MM Lug to Lug
- Sapphire Crystal
- Vertical Brushed Dial
- Miyota 9015 Automatic Movement
- Stainless Steel Bracelet
- 50m Water Resistant
- Price $600
The 42mm stainless steel case of the Melbourne Burnley is mostly brushed, with a few high polished accents and chamfers, most notably on the bezel area, top sides of the case, and the H-style bracelet links. As with the watch that inspired it, you are going to be relegated to the bracelet only, unless Melbourne decides to offer a rubber or leather strap option in the future. Despite this, the case and bracelet do wear comfortable, though the bracelet could probably benefit from a bit more hang down from the case, but more on the bracelet in a bit.
There are quite a few things I really like about the Melbourne Burnley, most notably the dial. I still can not understand why more watches do not use a vertically brushed dial. One of my all-time favorite dive watches, the Aegir CD-1, used a similar vertical brushed dial. That one was more of a grey dial, compared to this dial I have in hand, which in most light comes off as light black, but when the light hits it and catches all those vertical lines, it appears more grey. I am not sure why they chose to call it black, as it comes across as more of a charcoal grey but again, it all depends on the lighting, and maybe they didn’t want to advertise it as grey and disappoint their customers. I have not seen any of the other dial colors in person (blue, silver, or green), but I imagine they are just as striking. Something I really appreciate is how they went with a very clean dial, void of any unnecessary text. Wanting to set the dial off just a little, you will notice the word automatic is red on each model, giving just the slightest color pop.
At 10mm thick, or thin I should say, the Burnley is quite a svelte watch. Despite this, this is a solid watch, weighing 190 grams. That is quite heavy for a watch of this size, but most of the weight comes from the very heavy solid H link bracelet. This is another downfall of a lug/bracelet such as this. If you were able to easily change out the bracelet for a strap, it would reduce the weight significantly, but that would also change the design greatly if it had standard lugs. Maybe if the Melbourne should have included at least a leather strap, or offered one at the very least for an added purchase option. I love how thin this watch is, but the bracelet is so thick and heavy, it is almost like two different design options butting heads.
There are a few other things of note here, one being the lack of a screw-down crown and the low water resistance. I am not sure what to classify the Burnley as. It is obviously not a dress watch, a dive watch nor a field or pilot, yet, I wouldn’t call it a sport watch either, as the water resistance is only 50mm, with no screw-down crown, this is not a watch one wants to take on an adventure in my opinion. Looking on the Melbourne website, it is listed as business-casual. I did not know that was a designation for a style of watch these days, but I guess it is. I know the case is thin, but I do think this watch could have really been more wearable/functional if it had 100m of water resistance and a screw-down crown.
I thought about all this for a bit, and in the video review, I do say this is not a watch I would put into my regular rotation. That is still true, but the more I thought about business-casual, the more I realized that if you are someone that has an office job and does not like a traditional dress watch, this could be a good watch to pull double duty. I do not go to an office each day, and I have one specific watch when I need to dress up, so really not for me, but the Melbourne Burnley does lack any real lume as well, so I wonder if this is just missed opportunity to beef this watch up with a few more features, features that I do not feel would have hurt the design aesthetic they were going for.
The Burnley does have a well-regarded movement with the Miyota 9015, which you can see through the exhibition case back, and the bracelet is easy to size and includes half links, something very necessary with a dual deployant clasp. A sapphire crystal is standard as with most watches at this price and overall, I can not deny this is an attractive watch and does have a lot of nice features for the price, but maybe they missed the mark just a little, at least for me. This is a watch I can not take in the water, I can not see the time in the dark and of course can not change the bracelet out for a strap (at least not yet). All these things make it unsuitable for this guy, but for those with very large collections and if you love the design, I can see the appeal.