When it comes to the shoe and boot reviews we’ve been doing, you’ll note that I’ll often pair it with a watch. This is often times just how things seem to work out in my mind for the matchup, as it’s rare to have an exact link. Sure, we came close with our Helm Boots and Helm Vanuatu reviews / combo, but that was a happy accident (#bobross) more than anything. Well, today, we can’t get more on the nose than with the CLAE X March LA.B collaboration that we’ve been spending time with.
Now, for long-time readers of the site, March LA.B should be a familiar name. While it’s been awhile, we’ve had a look at a few different watches from the French brand with LA connections. That means that this limited-edition version of the March LA.B Seventy is immediately recognizable as being from the brand, primarily due to the angles used on the 36mm case. Also quite familiar is the brand’s use of the color green.
This of course shows up on the dial of the March LA.B Seventy in the form of the logo, but also another spot the brand likes to play with – the date wheel. In this case, the 3rd will show up in a green-on-black scheme, while the other dates are white-on-black. In the past, I was used to seeing the green leather used on the lining of zipper case the watch would come in, but here, it shows up on the backing of the suede strap. Speaking of suede, this is the same suede that is used on the shoes that the watch is teamed up with.
For the shoes, what we have is a limited-edition version of the CLAE Bradley. I cannot say as I am overly familiar with the brand, but LA-based CLAE has turned out something quite nice here. The same olive green suede that is on the strap of the watch shows up here on the sneakers. In terms of profile, this is something that I consider to be a classic look. You’ve got a clean low top, with the pieces coming together and stitched in a way that is iconic, while not feeling outdated whatsoever.
I also appreciate the seeming lack of branding on these CLAE Bradley sneakers. That’s not to say it isn’t there, in fact, you have double-branding, reflecting the collaboration. It only shows up on the insoles (in a gold that mimics the dial of the watch), and then embossed into the tongue of the shoe. That’s it. Well, other than the CLAE logo on the sole of the shoes. In this way, it keeps a clean look, and just lets the eye see the shoes for what they are, rather than focusing on who the maker is.
And what a look it is. Suede on a shoe softens the visuals, and in the olive green here, definitely puts me in mind of fall. Which means that this release came at a perfect time. I will note that the soles of the CLAE Bradley are rather unlike any other sneaker I’ve experienced, with a ridged tread that mixes things up, but still gave some pretty nice traction walking around.
As you might expect, this collaboration is a tight casual option. I found myself wearing the CLAE Bradley and March LA.B Seventy primarily to the office (casual environment there) and on the weekends. While casual, that’s not to say this is untidy by any means. It’s a crisp and clean look that you get from the combo, and they just work well together. For the shoes, the CLAE Bradley were pretty comfortable right out of the box. Suede itself is soft, so there’s really no break-in to worry about there. The one point here is that leather heel accent. As it’s leather, you’ve got a stiffer feel there, and it takes some getting used to, and for your stride to get the shoe accommodated.
Also worth noting are the laces on the CLAE Bradley. Sometimes with low top shoes, you’ll get laces that are not quite color-matched to the uppers, and can end up being way too long (forcing you to double or triple tie them to take up the slack). On both counts here, CLAE did quite well. The olive tone of the laces blends seamlessly into the suede uppers, and the length is just about perfect – definitely not too long, with the resulting tie keeping the loops up off the ground and keeping things neat and clean.
The compact March LA.B Seventy also keeps your wrist neat and clean. At 36mm (and just 58g on the suede strap) this is not a watch that will weigh you down. This might be aimed more at smaller wrists, but I did not think it felt undersized at all on my wrist, with the longer lugs. As I spent time with the watch, I also really grew to like the dial. It has almost a Rolex Oyster feel to it, I think due to the stick indices and hands. I’m not saying that the watch is a knockoff, as it isn’t. It just called that also-classic look to mind, and further cemented the sort of timeless looks we have here.
Variety is the spice of life, and the brands realized you may not always want a leather-backed suede strap. To that end, the March LA.B Seventy also comes with an olive perlon strap, perfect for warmer weather. Popping the suede strap off is easy (with the quick-release spring bars) but you will need a springbar tool to put the perlon on, as the included springbars for them are of the standard variety. Not a major thing, to be sure, but for someone who’s coming at this from the shoe side of things (rather than watches) it may be a speed bump.
So, how much can you expect to spend on this particular limited-edition collaboration? The CLAE Bradley will run you $140, and as of the time of this writing, they’re still in stock in all sizes but 14. For the March LA.B Seventy (CLAE Edition), pricing is $295. Unfortunately, this one is sold out. However, you can still pick up the March LA.B Seventy in a couple of different varieties (here is one close to the CLAE version) for around the same price. I’m glad I got introduced to CLAE (and re-acquainted with March LA.B), as this particular collaboration is perfect for fall. clae.com X march-lab.com
Watch Review Summary
- Brand & Model: March LA.B Seventy (CLAE Edition)
- Price: $295
- Who’s it for? You’re looking for a good everyday watch for the fall, and particularly if you’ve picked up the CLAE Bradleys
- Would I wear it? Sure. Not frequently, as gold-tone isn’t my thing, but definitely a good fall time option
- What I’d change: If you’re going to put quick change spring bars on a strap you include, put them on all of the included straps
- The best thing about it: The surprise lume pips at the edges of the indices
- Brand & Model: CLAE Bradley (March LA.B edition)
- Price: $140
- Who’s it for? Anyone who likes sneakers?
- Would I wear it? Yes and yes. It’s a clean, upscale casual look
- The best thing about it: For me, it’s the lack of overt branding on the shoes
- Watch it pairs best with: Well, the March LA.B Seventy, of course!
- Limited edition based on the CLAE Bradley
- Suede upper in olive
- Tonal leather heel accent
- Gold-foil co-branded insoles
- Tonal co-branded tongue
- EVA molded footbed
- Case: 36mm
- Dial: gold tone
- Movement: quartz
- Crystal: raised, mineral
- Caseback: screwed in; branded CLAE
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Each one is numerated up to 50 for quality exclusivity.
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