Back in 2015, we reviewed the Mark Carson Ka La GMT (you can see that here), but we hadn’t covered Mark’s watches since then. Sure, he showed up in an interview (here) and then again on our podcast (here), but we hadn’t handled his watches. Well, that changed as of late, where we got to spend some time with the Mark Carson Kailua.


The first thing that strikes you about the Mark Carson Kailua is, well, just how striking it is. Square cases are less common, and even though this one is just 40mm, it has a delightfully chonky presence, visually. This is helped in large part by the starkly angular links on the included bracelet. Even though I would not say they are sharp edges, it still feels like something straight off of a CAD drawing, and ends up creating a look that is much bolder and straight-edged than I would have thought it could.

We’re also less-accustomed to seeing a watch that has both the case and the bracelet done in a full high polish. More often than not, we’ll get alternating finishes where you have the polish for pops of brightness, but then brushed or bead blasted surfaces where fingerprints would be more obvious. Yes, this does suffer from that affliction, but given all of the polished surfaces, this is firmly in dress watch category for us.

The specs

Along with the finishing, there’s another spec that tells you that this is intended more as a dressier piece, either for the office or an evening out – the water resistance. This comes in at 50m, which means it’s good for getting splashed when you wash your hands (or get caught in the rain) but not something you’d likely want on your wrist when you jump into the pool. Just something to consider, as you want to ensure you’re keeping that movement – the ETA 2823-2 in Top Grade – dry so it can keep on doing it’s work with accuracy. For the remainder of the specs, you can check those out down below.

Wear impressions

While the Mark Carson Kailua is big and bold – and all steel – it’s not what I would consider to be an overly heavy watch. I mean, if you’re used to steel divers, this won’t be any problem for you. That said, because of just how much light this catches, your mind wants to think this is a heavier watch. Still, if that’s a concern for you, they’ve also got options in rubber or genuine crocodile, so you’d be able to trim some ounces off.

That all said – once I had the bracelet sized, I found the Mark Carson Kailua to be very comfortable. Throughout the day, if you need a little more space, you’ve got the adjustments in the buckle as well, so you can expand things a little bit more. Reading the time at-a-glance is a cinch, and once your eyes get past the shiny metal, you’ll appreciate the handset and how it contrasts against the textured dial.

Who it’s for

Frankly, the Mark Carson Kailua is for anyone who’s looking for a steel sports watch that leans a bit closer towards the dressier side of that equation, instead of one that’s very sporty and barely scraping by when you try to pair it with a suit. It has a look unlike anything else you’ve got in your watch box, Swiss power, and comes from a state (Hawaii) that again is probably not represented in your collection. You can pick up the Mark Carson Kailua for $1,499 – $1,699 directly from


  • Blue sunray relief dial, applied hour markers with C3 Super-Luminova
  • Silver hands with C3 Super-Luminova
  • Brushed and High Polished Stainless Steel Case
  • Natural Rubber Strap, optionally Genuine Crocodile (black, blue or orangish cognac) or Stainless Steel Bracelet with micro-adjustment buckle
  • Designed in Hawaii by Mark Carson
  • Assembled in Hawaii by a professional watchmaker
  • Unique serial number on each watch
  • Swiss made ETA 2824-2 Top Grade Grade movement
  • Automatic winding
  • Unique Hawaiian Honu (turtle) Petroglyph style winding rotor
  • Stop-seconds time setting (hacking)
  • Date display at 6 o’clock
  • Sapphire Top Crystal with double sided anti-reflective coating
  • 40 mm Stainless Steel (316L) case, 48 mm lug to lug, 22 mm lug spacing
  • 11.3 mm thick case
  • Exhibition Back with Sapphire Crystal
  • 50 meters (165 feet) water resistance
  • 1 year warranty – parts and labor

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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