While watch shoppers are certainly spoiled for choice these days, there are also quite a few “me too” brands out there starting up that rehash the same tired and uninspired three-hander design. So, when we have a company that we’ve never heard of before contact us about their watch, we are understandably a bit cautious on what it is we going to be taking a look at. Fortunately, we do have some gems popping up when we have these sorts of contacts, and that leads us to running into pieces like the Corniche Heritage 40.
Right off the bat, I could tell the Corniche Heritage 40 was something different. For starters, it was not a three-hander. No, instead, they went for a clean and elegant two-hand execution. When those hands take the form of sword blades (as we have here; of note, these are also known as dauphine hands), this instantly puts me in a mindset of viewing the watch as a dress watch. Frankly, that is what the watch is, and how it worked for me. This is primarily due to the fact that the sample we had in featured a black dial (which is made of ceramic, surprisingly enough) and a black leather strap (croc embossed). Tuck all of that in a case that is plated with a rose gold tone finish, and you have yourself a dress watch.
That then, sensibly, carries through to the dial of the Corniche Heritage 40. On the aforementioned ceramic base, you have polished indices at the hours (in the same rose gold), with a simple railroad track around the outer edge to mark out the minutes. Text on the dial is subsequently kept to a minimum as well, with the brand logo up top, and the model name down below (could probably strike the 40 from that, though). This leads to a very clean look, and one that made reading the time a snap (except in the dark of course, as there is no luminous paint). The dress watch look continues on with the remainder of the watch as well.
For example, let’s take a look at the case of the Corniche Heritage 40. Coming in at 7mm thick, you have the thinness that many (myself included) look for in a dressier piece; the better to slip under a tight shirt cuff. There are some nicely polished surfaces on the case (the bezel and the lugs, primarily, as well as the crown), with a welcome brushed finish on the sides of the case. This breaks things up a bit, and keeps what is the biggest flat surface of the case from showing off all manner of fingerprints.
Flipping the watch over, and you are greeted with something a bit more fanciful. Paired with the alternating finishes, you have an embossed feel for the text that appears, as well as the Mediterranean pine tree. While somewhat more artistic, it still is cleanly done. The solid caseback also belies the fact that you have a quartz movement (a Miyota 2025) ticking away, rather than something mechanical. And you know what? For something that is perhaps not worn as frequently (such as a polished dress watch like this), I am good with a quartz movement. You can leave it running, pick it up every week or two, and not worry about setting the time, it’s just grab and go.
The quartz movement also helps with that thin case profile, along with keeping the weight down to a very reasonable 86g. This makes for a watch that won’t be weighing you down, or have you wondering if its still on your wrist. In other words, a very happy sort of medium, unless light weight is the top thing you look for in your watch. While I did wear the Corniche Heritage 40 to the office, this really did feel like it more suited to, well, a suit. Some of the other colorways (particularly those with the lighter dials) would work well in a casual business environment. For the one we tested, in the full black and rose gold regalia, that lives firmly in dress watch territory for me. Not a slight against it, it is just that you need to understand the setting that works best for a watch.
And that’s where we are left – the Corniche Heritage 40 is a capable dress watch, one that will be plenty accurate no matter how much (or little) you bust it out of the watch box. Sure, at $345 you might think yourself getting into mechanical territory, but I do not think you would find a mechanical dress watch (unless you went the vintage route) that would give you this level of styling. So, yeah, it’s a bit more expensive than you might want for a quartz, but think about how much more a suit costs than a pair of jeans and a sweater. In other words, I’m not so concerned about the price tag here. For what you’re getting, and it’s intended use, I think we’re in the ballpark. And, if you the style calls out to you, then that’s what matters. It’s an interesting early offering from the young Swedish brand, and we’re curious to see what comes next. cornichewatches.com
- Brand & Model: Corniche Heritage 40
- Price: $345 ($420 for the LE yellow gold version)
- Who’s it for?: You’re looking for a clean and classy dress watch with a flash of gold to it
- Would I wear it?: Sparingly, but yes, I would
- What I’d change: The simplest thing would be to drop the “40” from the dial
- The best thing about it: It wears smaller than the 40mm might suggest, which is perfect for a dress watch
Tech Specs from Corniche
- Case Size: 40 mm
- Case Thickness: 7 mm
- Dial: Ceramic with hand-applied polished markers, in black or cream
- Case Material: Rose gold plated stainless steel or stainless steel
- Glass: Sapphire glass
- Strap: Genuine leather with a beautiful crocodile pattern
- Lug Width: 22 mm
- Movement: Miyota 2025 Quartz
- Clasp: Butterfly-style
- WR: 5 ATM
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