Let’s just get this out of the way…the Turret Marine Chronograph is a real looker. There. It’s been said. Victor, over at MMI Watches, has been setting them up and knocking them down since the launch of the Dumbo Diver (admittedly an unfortunate name) in 2019. Their second watch, the Turret 300M, is completely sold out. And it looks like the same thing is about to happen with the Turret Marine. With less than 48 hours left in their Kickstarter campaign, the Turret Marine has almost doubled its initial funding goal. If you want one, you’ll have to act fast–numbers have been limited to 250 pieces.
It’s easy to see why the this funky dive chrono has been a hit. To begin, it builds on the success of the 300M by employing the same case–which is reminiscent of the popular Seiko Samurai, but in a more compact 40mm package. The timepiece also comes in at a comfortable 47mm lug to lug. The case, inspired by the innovative gun turret on the USS Monitor, allows the 120-click unidirectional bezel to be seated partially within the watch, thereby reducing the overall thickness to 12.3mm (including the subtle double-domed sapphire crystal).
The chronograph is rendered in 316L stainless steel and is largely brushed. However, there are numerous polished bevels and chamferings throughout, including the outside edge of the watch, the interior of the lugs and, surprisingly, on the top and bottom of the crown guards. The caseback and crown are screwed down, and the watch is rated to 100m of water resistance.
The bracelet, like the case, is predominantly brushed and tapers from 22m to 20mm at the clasp. It is a quick-release, true articulating H-link–solid and screwed. The clasp is a simple fold-over with push-button release, but it is milled and has five levels of micro-adjust. At first, 22mm lugs might seem excessive on a 40mm watch, but I find the larger bracelet adds a certain robustness to the overall design.
In spite of the attractive case, the highlight of the Turret Marine has to be the dial. There is a lot going on here–particularly when you incorporate the dive bezel. The watch has a tachymeter printed on the angled black rehaut, a noteworthy Rota-wheel date complication, a chapter ring with printed minute markers, applied hour indices, and three sub-dials (a running seconds, a 60-minute timer, and a 12-hour tracker). You could easily take a wrong turn at Albuquerque here, but the design is flawless.
Recessed square sub-dials was an inspired choice, as was balancing them with dark colours at 12 and 6, with a dial-matching third at the 9 o’clock position. This last sub-dial is further balanced with the brand logo and printing at 3. I find the addition of the orange hands–a colour repeated in several other elements–to be particularly fetching on the white reference featured here. However, there are five colourways in total. Grade X1 C3 Super-LumiNova is liberally applied everywhere, including on the bezel and the crown.
Driving all of this dial functionality is the hybrid VK67A from Seiko. The meca-quartz calibre is an increasingly popular choice among microbrands, as it offers quartz accuracy with certain benefits of a mechanical chronograph, such as a flyback action.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
47mm Lug to Lug
22mm Lug Width
120-Click Unidirectional Bezel
Screwed Crown & Caseback
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Double-domed Sapphire|
Rota-Wheel Date Complication
C3 Swiss Super-LumiNova (Grade X1)
|Movement||Seiko VK67A Meca-Quartz|
|Strap||Stainless Steel H-Link Bracelet|
/w Milled Clasp
Intriguing innovations–like the abovementioned turret case–have been a part of MMI since the beginning. With the Dumbo Diver, it was the hidden crown system. With the new Turret Marine, it is the unique rotary date wheel on the dial. Similar in function to a pointer date, the Turret Marine uses a hidden wheel (rather than an extra hand) which rotates into place every 24 hours, highlighting the date with an orange indicator visible through the sandwich-style dial between the rehaut and the hour markers. The effect is subtle but really adds a unique dimension to the watch.
MMI do a good job of maintaining legibility through the use of colour and element placement; however, with limited dial real estate, the printing is necessarily small. This is most evident on the tachymeter. The steep rehaut where it is inscribed does not help.
As I said from the outset, the Turret Marine Chronograph is an attractive watch. It pulls on design language from various eras. When combined, these elements make for an eccentric, refreshing composition. On wrist, it has weight and heft. Its construction is robust. But it is more than just a pretty face. The VK67A is a capable chronograph movement and the Rota-wheel complication is a nice touch. If you are looking for something functional and fun, this just might well be it.
The Turret Marine is still available for the Kickstarter price of S$437 (approx. $320USD). After tomorrow, any models left will retail for $460USD. For more information, visit the brand website or Kickstarter.
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