As I teased back in our overview article on the MWW Beluga, we were working on getting in a review loaner. No surprises here, we did get one, and today we’ll give you our take on the watch. Of note, while there is an option for a more traditional dive bezel on the watch, the loaner we got in has the controversial Ascent bezel on it. On to the review of the MWW Beluga!
Presumably, the first thing you want to know about with the MWW Beluga is that Ascent bezel, right? Well, here’s the thing – I’m not a diver, so I am in no way qualified to really speak to it. I will say that it being a clockwise rotation is a bit jarring, as we’re used to them turning the other direction. So, that means if you’re going to use it to try and time something (say, how long the kids are brushing their teeth), you need to look at it as a “count up”, rather than countdown, bezel. Past that, though, I can use it like I’d use any of these bezels – mark the start time with the arrow, and go about life (and, more often than not, forget that I’m using the watch to try and time something).
I will say that the lumed sapphire insert on the MWW Beluga is quite lovely. It gives a nice glossy shine to the top surface, of course, and glows brightly with crisp outlines. This then works quite well with the lume colors on the handset (green on bezel and hour hand), which then switches colors (to blue on the hour hand and indices). I also like the use of multiple lume colors. Again, I’m not sure how great that would be on a dive, but on land, it works.
The bezel of the MWW Beluga also calls attention to the proportions of the watch. The eye can’t help but be drawn to that large glossy circle, which makes the dial feel small. And that’s a shame, because the proportions on the dial are sharply done. Normally, I’m down for a smaller dial that works with the movement sizing. Here, along with the proportion thing, the smaller dial undersells that maelstrom pattern that the dial has. When you get it catching the light just right, it’s a fun visual treat. And, with the smaller dial, that forces a smaller cutout for the date window, so you’re not quite as alarmed by the non-color-matched date wheel. But, that’s a pet peeve of mine, I suppose.
Back to those proportions, as there was another thing that bothered me a bit on the MWW Beluga. When it comes to dive watches (particularly those measuring in at 43mm in diameter and 50mm lug-to-lug), we expect a big, beefy bracelet. And, we do have a sturdy steel bracelet here. At first, I just rather liked that it didn’t feel overly heavy. After viewing the watch in profile a bit, though, I realized that the bracelet–while functional–feels off in relation to the case size. Coming in at 20mm, with a taper down to 18mm, it just looks too narrow against that case profile. I think if it jumped to a 22mm lug, or had the first links flaring out to the width of the lug horns, could remedy that a good bit.
Given these last two paragraphs, it would seem like I’m damning the MWW Beluga with faint praise. That’s not quite what I was going for, but with how well-sorted the prior watches from MWW have been (at least for my tastes), these proportional issues seem to be surprising misses. It’s not that they make the MWW Beluga a bad watch – it’s just not as good as it could have been. One might surmise that a lot of focus was given around the bezel and it’s new way of doing things, and then some of the other details didn’t quite get the love and attention they may otherwise have.
But you know what? With an ETA 2824 inside and a price tag of $810, I would be surprised if the 300 pieces had a hard time finding new homes (though one wonders how many will opt for the more traditional bezel insert; there’s also word of a plain steel insert in the offing). And that’s a good thing, because that opens up the door for a 2nd gen of the MWW Beluga. And, as we saw with the earlier watches, the brand is not afraid to change things up and improve the models for better traction. There was, of course, some pushback on the forums with the bezel, and the brand reacted quickly to that. Small brands do rise and fall on the sales of their new stuff, but they’re also able to pivot quickly. That means, while the MWW Beluga may not have been quite a home run for me, I still am looking forward to seeing what comes next from the brand. manchesterwatchworks.com
- Brand & Model: MWW Beluga
- Price: $810
- Who’s it for? You like divers, you like Swiss movements, and you’re not afraid to try out a new way of measuring elapsed time
- Would I wear it? Probably not – now that my eye has caught the proportion discrepancies, it would bother me as I wore it
- What I’d change: First adjustment would be flaring out the bracelet to match the lug horn width. Past that, slim the bezel a bit and enlarge the dial some.
- The best thing about it: A great (and new) texture on the dial, along with generous use of luminous paint.
- Ascent Bezel TM*:
- Patent pending bezel indicator with 120 click clockwise unidirectional bezel
- Ceramic bezel insert fully lumed with Superluminova C3 to match the minute hand
- Bezel diameter of 43mm for easy gripping
- Watch Head:
- Brushed and polished solid 316L stainless steel case with a 41mm diameter and 50mm length and 13mm height (including crystal)
- 500m water resistance with helium escape valve
- Screwed down caseback with double Viton gaskets; screwed down crown with double gaskets – Raised and beveled sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating
- 24 hour brushed steel outer dial ring
- Signature microengraved maelstrom patterned dial with Superluminova BGW9
- Minute hand lumed with Superluminova C3 to match the bezel insert
- Hour hand lumed with Superluminova BGW9
- White seconds hand lumed with Superluminova BGW9
- Drilled through lug holes
- Swiss made ETA 2824-2 timed and regulated to 3 positions
- Hours, minutes, sweep second. Self-winding mechanism with ball bearing. Date, corrector. Stop second device. Regulator system ETACHRON and regulator corrector. 28.800 vibrations per hour; 4 Hz. 25 Jewels. 38-40 hour power reserve
- Custom made solid, brushed finish 316L stainless steel strap with screw bar link adjustments, machined solid endlinks and stainless steel clasp with solid bridges
- Included sand colored custom made ‘seatbelt’ nylon dive strap with extra spring bars Included Accessories:
- Steel strap changing tool
- Canvas travel roll custom made to fit watches up to 50mm in diameter
- Microfiber watch bag/cleaning cloth