ManchesterWatchWorks is one of those brands that we have gotten to watch grow over the past year or so, and we have sampled quite a few of their watches. We have of course taken a look at both their TatoskoQ and TatoskoK, as well as the more recent Westminster and Vergennes. While the more recent watches were trench watches, for this new release, MWW is getting back to where they started – a dive watch. So, let’s have a look at what the newest ManchesterWatchWorks Armada has on offer.
When I was looking through the photos of the ManchesterWatchWorks Armada, there were two things that really struck me. The first is the case design. At first, I thought that the lugs were angling up from the bezel, but that was just a combination of angles. They actually come out in a flat plane (parallel to the bottom of the bezel) and then angle down. There are additional angled surfaces on the sides of the lugs, which is what gives this optical illusion. On the sides of the case, there are unexpected recesses, which seems to me to indicate they’re spreading their wings a bit. The simple (and less expensive) design would not have these recesses, and it’s an interesting cue. As is the anodized crown tube (in red or blue).
I should note that in some of the pictures, this tube seems rather long, but that is because the crown was pulled out to stop the seconds hand for the photo. That said, they do note in the project page that they will be shortening the tube a bit, so you should just have a small splash of color by the crown.
The other part of the design of the ManchesterWatchWorks Armada that caught my eye was the dial. There are some subtle layers to it, with the the outer chapter ring actually setting on top of the main dial surface. On top of that ring, we have raised (and lumed) indices. So, not anything crazy in terms of stepping, but it does give some variation and dimensionality to the design, which is nice. Another item they call out as being changed is the date wheel. While the prototypes have just a white disc with black numerals, they will have an inverted one for the production models (I assume just on the black dial). Always good to see the color-matching occurring, especially with the smaller brands who may otherwise may want to avoid that cost.
On the whole, the ManchesterWatchWorks Armada is a clean interpretation of a dive watch from the 60s or 70s. Albeit, with modern materials and movement (in this case, the Seiko NH35). This is not as common (at least, these days) from the indie brands, which seem to skew towards Miyota, so again, it’s great to see some variety in the mix. And of course, the Seiko is still a known (and reliable) quantity. For those looking to get in on the project for the ManchesterWatchWorks Armada, pricing seems very attractive. It starts off at a reasonable $240 on a strap, goes to $270 on an H-link bracelet (which is intriguing as well), and tops out at $290 for the bracelet, strap, and an additional rubber strap. There is also a slightly more curious tier, which gets you two examples of the ManchesterWatchWorks Armada (with the straps and bracelet) for $540 – so, consider that tier a sort of mini group buy. Regardless of the level, the ManchesterWatchWorks Armada looks to be a tidy vintage-inspired diver, and based on what we have seen of MWW’s previous watches, this should be another success. The Kickstarter project page just went live, with funding closing out on April 2nd. ManchesterWatchWorks.com
- Brand & Model: ManchesterWatchWorks Armada
- Price: Starting at $270
- Who we think it might be for: You like your divers vintage, but your materials and reliability modern
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Likely not – while I appreciate the design, I am fairly set when it comes to divers (especially for not actually being a diver)
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The case design, further enhanced by the bracelet
Tech Specs from ManchesterWatchWorks
- Seiko NH35 automatic movement
- 41mm 316L stainless steel case; brushed and polished surfaces; 12mm thick
- 200m WR Rating
- 20mm lugs
- Double-domed sapphire crystal with AR coating
- 120-click uni-directional bezel (lumed at 12 o’clock position)