Merlin Sea Legend

An Affordable, Mechanical Dive Watch for About $300? Check This Out


August 30, 2019 Watches By
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Yes, yes, we know — you may be rolling your eyes by now. Yet another Kickstarter-based watch brand launching a new watch. Whoop-dee-doo.

But wait. Think about it. An affordable, mechanical watch in several handsome iterations — and introductory pricing is just north of $300? Do you have something better to be doing with your time right now anyway, like checking work emails? Read on.

Merlin is a new Singapore-based watch brand whose first offering, the Sea Legend, is a vintage-type diver available in 5 iterations (2 of which will only be be available as stretch goals). In the spirit of similar boutique brands such as Baltic and Meraud, Merlin has designed the Sea Legend as a sort of amalgamation of different vintage watch influences, it would seem, with the pleasing result that the watch doesn’t look like a direct copy of anything in particular. There’s some Blancpain in there, for example, but the Sea Legend is hardly a Fifty Fathoms clone.

The Sea Legend features a 39mm stainless steel case with 20mm lugs, 200m of water resistance and a unidirectional dive bezel with a sapphire Bakelite-looking insert. It’s 13.5mm thick including a boxed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating and an open sapphire crystal case back, and features the Swiss Sellita SW200 automatic movement with 38 hours of power reserve.

The standout feature of the Sea Legend, however, is the dial, available in the 5 aforementioned variations. Surrounded by the imitation-Bakelite bezel, each model features Super-LumiNova-filled triangular indices. On the respective indices, Arabic numerals 3, 6, 9 and 12 have been superimposed in black — a unique look. Within each dial is then a concentric disc that features a different type of material: meteorite or mother of pearl, for instance. The outer dial rings and bezels are done up in a corresponding color to match the inner rings. This makes for a striking aesthetic that’s difficult to describe but looks decidedly handsome (at least from the images — we haven’t gotten our hands on a prototype yet).

Super Early Bird pricing begins at just $329 for the Sea Legend on a black sailcloth kevlar strap, but there are several leather options available, as well as a cool beads of rice-style bracelet for about $80 more. Best of all, all watches will come with a 2-year movement guarantee, and can be shipped back to Merlin within 14 days in original unworn and undamaged condition for a refund or exchange should you not be satisfied for any reason.

If you’re in the market for a diver that captures the vintage aesthetic without resorting to copping the look of a specific vintage watch, a Sea Legend could be the watch for you. Check out the Kickstarter campaign for more info.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Orient Mako II ($315)
Unimatic Modello Uno U1-DN ($664)
C60 Trident Pro 600 ($795+)
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