Today, we’ll be taking a look at the second James McCabe model that was sent over for review. While the first one we reviewed was a bit of a mixed bag for me, today’s model I found to be a better option – at least for my tastes and wrist size. As we saw before, James McCabe doesn’t go in for fancy names on their lineup. This watch line is known simply as the Master; our specific reference for the review is the JM-1011-03.


This watch is another dress piece, there’s no doubt about that. You’ve got a polished case (this time in a rose gold tone; 43mm x 12mm), croc-embossed strap, polished numerals and indices, and the sword-style handset. Fortunately for my wrist, they went for a more conventional lug design and geometry, so this one fit on my wrist a great deal better – so we were definitely off to a better start. As with the Lurgan, we do have a cutout on the dial exposing the balance wheel, which is partially obscured again. In this implementation, though, it wasn’t as big of a deal in my eyes.


That’s because you can actually see vast portions of the Sea Gull TY 2809 movement (customized a bit for the brand) through the translucent dial (in this case, in a shade of brown). This is one of the more intriguing, and readable, methods that I’ve seen for implementing a skeleton watch. On one hand, you can see a majority of the movement through the dial, and on the other, you’ve got a dial that’s very easy to read at a glance – no searching for the handset (which can sometimes be hard to pick out on a skeleton watch, as I’m sure you’ve seen).


This just made for a rather interesting look – giving you some great visual interest when you want in, and an otherwise mostly brown-toned (the outer ring is black) dress watch for when you didn’t. Flipping the watch over, you see a good-sized exhibition window, which further exposes the skeletonized bits of the movement (and the rotor). Unlike the Lurgan, the Master also seems appropriately sized for the movement that it contains.


Wearing the watch was without an issue. The sizing was spot on for me (though, it does have a generously long strap, so it should fit larger wrists), and slipped easily under a cuff. With the overall color scheme, it seems pretty much aimed at the office environment, though it would easily work with a suit or sport coat, should the need arise.


If you couldn’t tell, this was definitely my favorite of the two watches James McCabe sent over. There’s no word on what the movement is, precisely – but since it’s not called out, my guess is that it’s of Chinese origin. Not that that’s a bad thing in my book, it’s just an educated guess. When it comes to affordable skeletonized movements, China is where the brands seem to go.


In the end, this is another affordable option from the folks at James McCabe. Should you not like the earthy color palette used in this example, they do have a few other options (you can see them here). Coming in at a price of around $333, direct from James McCabe, this is a rather unique implementation of a skeleton watch that would probably be one of my top recommendations for someone looking for this style of watch. mccabewatches.com
Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: James McCabe Master (JM-1011-03)
  • Price: ~ $333
  • Who’s it for?: The guy looking for an easy-to-read skeleton watch that’s ready for the office
  • Would I wear it?: I’m not sure how much time it would get in the rotation, but I could definitely see wearing this one now and again
  • What I’d change: Well, let’s get clever here. How about a polarized layer that you could rotate to slide between completely obscuring and fully displaying the movement?
  • The best thing about it: The slick implementation of displaying a skeletonized movement


Backgrounds courtesy of Gustin

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