Off the Cuff: Lorca Model No. 1

You could often hear me say that watch brands rarely create something new. Or to be precise, a new vision for horology. And here I’m not talking about creating a funky case shape or flashy dial colors. No. I’m talking about creating a new type of everyday watch, or radically rethinking what popular genres of watches look like and feel like. One might think that Rolex created the archetypal traveler’s watch when releasing the GMT Master I in 1954. One might be true as many brands have imitated Rolex since then, but few have managed to come up with their own successful recipe. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review
Lorca Model No. 1

A few months ago, a new brand came out of nowhere to offer an actual fresh interpretation of the traveler and everyday watch. The brand is called Lorca and the watch is the Model No.1. Borrowing design elements from various iconic models and creating something new at the same time, the Model No.1 is a vintage-looking, modern GMT which was created to be used every day, everywhere, and in every way. While a Rolex Submariner could do the same, not everyone is into 40mm divers that sell in the 6 digits. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review
200m water resistance

Given its mission of working in many situations and flying under the radar, the Lorca Model No.1 needed to be small yet robust. Its case measures 36mm in diameter (37mm at the bezel) 44mm lug-to-lug, 11.2mm thick, and it has a 19mm lug width. This is quite small for a GMT, especially in 2023. Despite its modest size, the Model No.1 comes with 200 meters of water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown and case-back. This makes the Model No.1 the perfect travel watch as it can be used to explore a city, dive, and hike. You know, all of the normal stuff we watch people do.

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review
Double domed sapphire

Aiding in its robustness is the double-domed sapphire crystal and the full stainless steel bracelet. The latter has a 9-link construction and everything is solid there, and what’s more is that the bracelet tapers from 19mm at the lugs to 16mm at the clasp. The clasp is fully milled and comes with a double-pusher deployant mechanism and four holes of micro-adjustments. Lastly, the links are held together with screws. The unique bracelet construction is both pleasing to look at and very comfortable to wear, an experience close to that of a well-made Jubilee bracelet. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review
Powered by Soprod C125

The last important piece of specification you should know about is the movement powering the Model No.1. To ensure, once again, that the watch could be the perfect travel companion, it had to be equipped with a great movement. Indeed, Lorca opted for the Soprod C125 R4, the Top Grade version of this Swiss Movement that runs at -4/+4 seconds per day. And being a Soprod, it can be serviced anywhere in the world by any decent watchmaker. For the nerdiest of you: the C125 beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 25 jewels and 42 hours of power reserve.



Case316L Stainless Steel
36mm Diameter
44mm Lug to Lug
11.2mm Thick
19mm Lug Width
Screwed Crown & Case Back
200m Water Resistance
Dial & CrystalDouble domed Sapphire
Black Gloss or Silver Sunburst
Printed Indices
BGW9 Super-LumiNova
MovementSoprod C125 R4
28 800bph
25 Jewels
42-Hour Power Reserve
StrapStainless Steel Bracelet

Lorca Model No. 1


Of Interest

Lorca was founded a couple of years ago by Jesse Marchant, a New York-based recording artist born from a Swiss mother and Canadian father. As a child, Jesse visited his Swiss family often and had a particular admiration for his Swiss Grandfather. He inherited the latter’s gold watch 15 years ago which initiated his curiosity for all things horology. Although he had been collecting watches his entire life, this particular watch left a deep impression on him. There was something about it that was elegant and timeless, a gentleman’s watch that brands rarely produce nowadays. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review
Black dial

What prompted Jesse to create Lorca was the realization that not one brand was making the type of watch he was looking for. Since had been designing his own album covers and packaging for the past 10 years—therefore acquiring the necessary drawing and design skills—he felt comfortable designing his own ideal watch. Jesse took his time to find the perfect balance between specifications—to withstand traveling the world and exploring cities—and style, for the watch to be both elegant and fly under the radar, but not so much so as to pass the eye of an astute collector.  

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review
Slim profile

The result is a watch that is inherently classic and familiar whilst being different. This is perhaps due to the use of Dauphine hands and stick hour markers which are classic and legible. The hands are brushed except for the seconds hand which is entirely polished. The hour markers are applied and entirely brushed, giving the dial a solid look. These markers seem to be anchored onto the dial, something that indicates they are there to stay. There is a je ne sais quoi about the markers that I am captivated by. This effect is the strongest at the 12 where the batons are doubled. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review

For its part, the GMT hand has a diamond-shaped tip filled with lume that reaches out to the edge of the dial. Its design is unobtrusive and it can be seen whenever necessary. Speaking of lume, each 5-minute increment is marked by a lume dot nestled between the applied hour markers and the edge of the dial. The dot is replaced by a horizontal line at 12 o’clock. Moreover, the minutes are indicated by thin, elongated lines, perpetuating the elegance of the overall design language the Model No.1 is endowed with. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review

Although the lume is applied in limited quantity on these production models, the watch is highly legible in low-light settings thanks to having Dauphine hands, long applied markers, and either a black lacquered dial or a sunburst silver dial. One thing I particularly like about the Model No.1 is the fact that Jesse chose a Serif font for the GMT scale and the date window. This confers a classic and elegant look on the Lorca which graces it with a pedigree that normally is only present on watches made by brands that have been around for several decades. 

Another cool detail is the fact that the numerals on the fixed bezel are straight, making reading the time on the GMT scale much easier and natural. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review


You know me, I don’t like to quarrel and I don’t like to quibble. But there is one thing I would perhaps change on the Model No.1 and that is the lume. Although the brand let me know that lume would be present in more generous quantities in the production models—they are doubling the application—I feel that it won’t be as bright as it could be. However, and to be fair, the design and proportions of the dial do not permit for Seiko-level applications of lume which would have turned the Model No.1 into a mini lighthouse. The Model No.1 is, after all, a watch that can do it all but that cannot claim to be the ultimate tool watch. In order to remain elegant and fly under the radar, this type of watch comes, more often than not, with humble lume. 

Lorca Model No. 1 Watch Review

Final Thoughts 

There is honestly much more to be said about the Lorca Model No.1. Like the excellent finish and simple case profile, again adding to the classical elegance this watch is endowed with. Although this is a personal opinion, I think Jesse did a pretty darn good job at creating something different. Both in terms of design—which is sober and effective—and of its specifications—solid and packaged in a small watch measuring 36mm in diameter. There’s a lot to like about the Lorca and what I hope comes out of this review is the fact that, at last, someone had the guts to create a small GMT that can do it all. 

The Lorca Model No.1 comes in black and silver dials and retails for $1,450 on pre-order which is good through 4 April 2023. Full retail price after that is $1,750. Estimated delivery of November 2023. Check out the brand’s website here for more details. 


Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of You can follow Vincent on Instagram.

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

Please understand that using any links to products on this site might result in us making money.

3 thoughts on “Off the Cuff: Lorca Model No. 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s