Melbourne Sorrento Review

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Melbourne watches has been quietly pursuing their unique timepieces for a few years now. With the boom of microbrands, they have always managed to stay relevant, producing an elegant line of watches with an eye for day-to-day watches that veer towards dress pieces. We’ve looked at several, such as their first, the Flinders, as well as their particularly well executed Portsea models. Based off of the marine chronometer concept, the Portsea mixed a clever use of materials with classic styling, creating something very appealing.

Melbourne’s newest release, the Sorrento, draws on the success of the Portsea, taking the aesthetic in a different, sportier direction. Billed as a dress diver, the Sorrento utilizes the layered, ceramic dial of the Portsea in a bigger dive case, creating a sort of hybrid of the two concepts. It also features a uniquely textured bezel, sapphire crystal and Miyota 9015 movement, making it well rounded package at an MSRP of $830. *Please note the sample reviewed and photographed is a prototype with some wear and tear

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$830

Melbourne Sorrento Review

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Miyota 9015
Dial
Blue
Lume
Yes
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Bracelet
Water Resistance
200m
Dimensions
42 x 49mm
Thickness
14mm
Lug Width
22mm
Crown
6 x 4 screw down
Warranty
yes
Price
$830

Case

Coming in at 42 x 49 x 14mm, the Sorrento is a chunky dive watch, but with not-crazy dimensions. 42 x 49mm is definitely wearable and doesn’t come across as big for big’s sake. 14mm tall, on the other hand, is definitely thick, giving the watch an unmistakeable tool watch profile. Given the thickness, I would have expected a 500m+ rating, so the 200m, while totally serviceable for use, was a bit surprising. From above, the design is very masculine, with broad lugs that look like they can take a beating. On the right side is a reserved screw-down crown coming in at 6 x 4mm that is flanked by large, arcing crown guards that add some bulk and aggression to the overall package.

The bezel is a definite highlight of the case and watch overall. The insert is made of engraved aluminum over an enameled surface, giving it a bit of sandwich look. The engraving is particularly cool, adding a flowing texture of waves that you can literally touch and feel. This isn’t something I’ve seen done before on bezel, though it has a certain Omega-ness to it, that said it’s a great detail for a micro-brand watch. The bezel itself is then quite tall at nearly 5mm in height, with big chunky teeth for grip. It has a 120-click uni-directional mechanism with good action and little back-play.

The case features a mix of finishing with the mid-case being entirely brushed and the bezel being polished. The added glint of light from the bezel goes to the “dress diver” concept of the watch. Flipping the watch over, you have a cool, deeply stamped case back. We’ve seen this before on Melbourne’s watches, and it’s alway a welcome addition. On the Sorrento you have a sculptural vintage diver’s helmet with a pebbled background. It looks great and definitely adds value to the overall perception of the watch.

Dial

The dial draws from the Portsea collection, creating a more unified aesthetic across the brand, but takes it in a different, sportier direction. The dial consists of three layers, a base layer, a mid layer and a chapter ring. The base layer is dark blue and features a horizontal line pattern that clearly brings to mind some well-known luxury sport watches, but in the context of this watch doesn’t feel like an aped detail. In fact, it works very well, adding a background of texture.

The next layer up is a ceramic ring on which you’ll find the primary index. This consists of three large rectangles at 3, 6 and 9, and small circular markers for the rest of the hours, doubling at twelve. The large rectangles are well executed, with steel surrounds and lume filling. They actually cut through the ring, continuing in towards the center of the dial, which is an attractive detail. The small markers then appear almost like set stones with steel surrounds around white lume interiors. I don’t love how they look, to be blunt. They feel too small compared to the rectangles and lack the boldness associated with the dive genre. Also, the area at 12 feels too empty, aching for something on scale with the rectangles.

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The last layer is the chapter ring, which consists of white numerals and marks on a blue surface. This works well and adds some needed sportiness to the dial. The three rings together, plus the markers, create a dial with a nice sense of depth and texture. It has a sculptural sensibility that is a nice change for a dive watch. The sample watch is clearly a dark blue, but I found the layers don’t quite match. The ceramic ring in particular veers towards teal. Admittedly, this is a prototype, so that might be fixed for production.

The hands of the Sorrento are unique and interesting. The hour and minutes are a bold, modern style that are sort of coffin-shaped. They are widest at the central axis, tapering back and forward, and featuring faceted corners. They also have a cool mix of finishes, featuring matte sides with a polished strip down the center. The seconds hand is then a stick with a lumed square and an “M” counterweight.

Straps and Wearability

The Sorrento comes on a 22mm steel bracelet with a typical three-link design and solid endlinks. It’s a robust bracelet with a sturdy feel, a slight taper down to 20mm, and a mix of brushed side and polished center links. Though I don’t love polished links on bracelets, as they can be a bit tacky, they do feed into the polished bezel and add to the dress-diver concept. As such, it makes sense on the Sorrento, riding between rugged and elegant.

melbourne_sorrento_wrist_1

On the wrist, the Sorrento wears better than expected. It sits comfortably on top of the wrist, not looking too big by any means. The 42mm diameter mixed with the broad lugs makes for a very solid, masculine watch. The height is where it feels big. At 14mm, with an exaggerated bezel height and slab sides, it does sit high, towering over your wrist. This is not unheard of for a dive watch or tool chronograph, but given the dress-diver concept, feels too big. As is, it’s not going to fit well under a shirt sleeve. That said, the Sorrento does have an overall appealing look, mixing textures, depth and color. The bezel is particularly captivating, catching light in interesting ways and having a real, tactile quality. It’s not an aesthetic one typically finds in a case this size, so it stands out.

Conclusion

With the Sorrento, Melbourne has created a unique watch that builds on the aesthetic they created with the Portsea. The layered dial, textured bezel, use of interesting materials and techniques gives the Sorrento a distinct look that speaks to the brand. This I really like. The Portsea watches were a very successful play on a marine style that has a signature look Melbourne can own. It makes sense for them to utilize that aesthetic in other lines, creating a cohesive catalog of watches.

That said, the dress-diver concept is a curious one that I think is hard to pull off in general. It has to balance size with aesthetic elements, and stay true to two conflicting concepts. Dress watches want to be small and understated, dive watches want to be larger, and rugged. Finding a middle ground that works for, or as both is tough as it’s a game of compromises. The Sorrento is one approach, which takes a tool-watch sized diver body and adds some elegant elements to make it dressier. Another approach would have been to take a dressier body and add dive elements, like a bezel and bolder markers, and perhaps forego a typical dive water resistance. This might have been more successful aesthetically in the end.

melbourne_sorrento_case_7

As is, what you have is a watch for those who want something bigger and bolder with the aesthetic elements of the Portsea, and as that the Sorrento is successful. Coming in around $830 MSRP, $605 pre-order (prices change depending on strength of USD) the Sorrento is on the high, but still acceptable side for a Miyota 9015 powered automatic. I know people will disagree since there are kickstarted brands with no margins selling them for less, but in reality, that’s a fair price. So, if you’ve been looking for a bigger, sportier Melbourne, the Sorrento has you covered. It’s also available in all black or white with a blue bezel, for more conservative options.

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Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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  • Qntn Strln

    This is a great review and as a pre orderer, I will pay extra attention to mine …
    I have to say though, you might be confused between usd and aud, which substantially lowers the prices quoted in the article. Might be wrong though.
    Keep on w/ the great content Zach, you create addicts everywhere!

    • Sujain Krishnan

      Thanks for your business! We’re still on schedule for delivery 1st week November as promised, so looking forward to hearing from you with what you think. And yes, Zach does do great content!

      Regards,

      Sujain Krishnan
      Managing Director – Melbourne Watch Company

  • error406

    I have to say, I’m disappointed. I liked what Melbourne was doing, I just felt their designs lacked refinement the way many microbrands do. But I was hoping for them to soon hit the sweet spot.

    This is completely the opposite. It’s a random mishmash of design elements, all of them poorly executed. It looks like someone’s first attempt ever to design a watch.

    You’re being way too mild Zach, and you know it. Although we may respect the attempt, this is a bad execution of something that may not have been a very good idea in the first place.

  • Никита
    • Sujain Krishnan

      Wow, you got a new Longines Hydro Conquest for $415USD?? You really should share where you got that, as after some searching, the best price I could find for a new one was over $700USD and new, they are well over $1000USD. Sounds like an amazing deal to me, which I’m sure many would love to get on board with!

      Cheers,

      Sujain Krishnan
      Managing Director – Melbourne Watch Company

      • Никита

        I bought it locally where I live. But there are regular sales on Longines watches, I just accidentaly found such.

        • Sujain Krishnan

          Yes, there are regular sales, which take the price down to around $700USD. You really got a good deal there, so it’s a shame you can’t give more details for others to get on board as well!

          Cheers,

          Sujain.

        • Sujain Krishnan

          Sure, but the MSRP on the Longines is $1000USD (to the best of my knowledge), so you managed to get it at nearly 60% off retail, which is rare. I think it’s a bit disingenuous to compare that to the MSRP on our watch, particularly as we’re offering them at 605USD now at pre-order pricing.

      • Никита

        I see you deleted your another comment I was going to reply. “shame you can’t give more details for others to get on board as well!” – I don’t want to be shameful, but I bought it in Singapore’s shop. I also saw offers on Longines happening on Jomashop/Amazon/etc, but currently cannot find. So you may consider me shameful, I’m okay with that.

        • Sujain Krishnan

          Actually, I just wanted to re-phrase, so you can see my comment below. The cheapest pricees on Amazon and Jomashop are both around or over 700USD, so perhaps you should clarify the point you are trying to make by saying you got one at $415USD??

          • Никита

            The point is that I don’t see where comes the price of your watch. It is really really expensive for what it is – China-made watch based on Miyota workhorse (no offense here, just facts). When there are so many watches based on same 9015 and usually costing below 400$. I mean no offense, really, just liked what you did before starting charging premium. For you pre-order pricing of 605$ there are many dive watches from mature brands housing ETA2824 – like Certina, Mido or great Japanese watches even cheaper – like Seiko Sumo.
            http://www.jomashop.com/certina-watch-c013-407-11-051-00.html
            http://c-watch.co.jp/ww/sbdc031.html

            And many more.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Once again, you are comparing discounted prices to our MSRP. The link you’ve posted shows something that is 36% off MSRP. Furthermore, you are comparing us, a microbrand, with a very large Swatch group owned brand, who have significant scale assisting them.

            As I always say, if you don’t like it, we’re not forcing you to buy it. But please don’t just pass negative judgement on us in the public arena when you’re really comparing apples and oranges. If you have a problem with us that you need to discuss, please contact me directly, I’m more than happy to discuss your concerns personally – [email protected]

            Cheers,

            Sujain Krishnan
            Manging Director – Melbourne Watch Company

            Oh – and yes, I deleted and reposted a few times there, because of spelling mistakes!

          • Никита

            Isn’t it OPEN discussion? I have no problem with you or your brand, I
            simply express my own opinion. Why cannot I express my opinion here? I
            felt like W&W comments section is open to public opinions and views.
            I just don’t find your offer competitively prices that is all.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Sure, it’s an open discussion mate. As such, I’m just stating the facts, that you are not being fair with your comparison, which I’ve proven multiple times. I don’t need to defend our pricing. We’ve got many happy customers, which is why we’ve been in business for 3 years now as of this week.

            As I’ve stated in an earlier comment, we price based on our desire to stay in business long term and provide great after-sales service. Since this clearly seems to bother you, I figured we could take it offline.

          • Никита

            I demonstrated that there are greater watches at cheaper prices. Not only than MSRP of yours’, but also than its pre-order price. And now you say it is irrerelevant since I compare with discounted watches. But why? It is simply about what I pay and what I get. I don’t care whether it is macro or micro, is it discounted or msrp or qwer or any price – since I find the watch competitively priced.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            No, every single example you posted was for a watch with a higher MSRP than we we’re offering, but with a big discount to make the price lower than ours. I’m sorry, but that’s completely disingenuous and fundamentally incorrect.

            You say “it’s simply about what I pay and what I get” – So, by your logic, If I sold you a Sorrento at 60% off retail, which would be $330USD, it would be OK? As it’s cheaper than the 415USD you paid for a Longines at 60% off?

            I’m sorry mate, most brand owners wouldn’t dare engage with people like yourself on a site like this for fear of bad publicity. I’m not those people. I run a tight ship and we’ve literally thousands of happy customers.

            I won’t stand by and let some anonymous commentator try and drag our name through the mud based off false equivalencies. If anyone reads this and decides they don’t like me and/or the brand, so be it. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

            Once again – feel free to email me if you want to discuss further, otherwise let’s call this a night.

          • Никита

            “I won’t stand by and let some anonymous commentator try and drag our name through the mud based off false equivalencies.” – this is funny. Internet is full of commenters and their opinions. You can’t fight with everyone, its like fighting wind mills. I suggest you concentrate on developing competitively priced products, not on forum wars.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Yep, I’ll do that, mate. I’m glad you admitted you’re comments are basically meaningless air though! 😉

            And I’m calling that a night – feel free to keep insulting our brand, it’s late here…

          • Никита

            Feeling like a champ? You don’t actually care that you are trying to offend me all the time? “shame you can’t give more details…”
            “don’t just pass negative judgement on us in the public arena”
            “I won’t stand by and let some anonymous commentator try and drag our name through the mud based off false equivalencies”

            “I’m glad you admitted your comments are basically meaningless air”

            The last one is just.. too much.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Yes, I am actually, because I’ve clearly hit a nerve. You started out by having a crack at us and after I proved you’re just a troll, you’re deflecting. You can dish it out, but can’t take it.

            Once again (how many times is that now?) – if you want to discuss anything in private with me, send me an email.

            At least I’m not hiding behind an anonymous internet handle.

            Cheers,

            Sujain.

          • Никита

            That’s so easy to call someone a troll. Much harder not to loose calmness.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Ha – I’m perfectly calm. I’m more than happy for the public to see this exchange.

            Cheers,

            Sujain.

          • Никита

            It’s only in your head, buddy. You didn’t do any good for your image here.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Really? I just proved a troll wrong multiple times and stood up for myself and our brand publicly.

            How is that bad for my/our image?

            Cheers,

            Sujain.

          • Никита

            You “proved” it only in your head. And some of your comments sound rude – think about it later.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            Some of my comments sound rude? Oh, the irony.

            OK mate, have a good night.

            Cheers,

            Sujain.

          • Никита

            It wasn’t irony.

          • Sujain Krishnan

            After consideration, I’m taking a moment to apologise to Nikita for our exchange the other night and have removed my comments out of consideration to the W&W team.

            Being a brand owner is mostly fun, but sometimes my passion for our business and products can get the better of me after a challenging day. Those who know me know that I will go above and beyond to keep my customers happy, as is reflected by our great blog reviews (such as on here) and independent reviews on TrustPilot.

            Nikita – if you’d like to help us improve, I’d love to hear from you personally still as to discuss pricing models and gain additional feedback for our future consideration.

            Regards,

            Sujain.

      • Qntn Strln

        That is a quartz hydroconquest
        The auto version usually sells 40-50% higher second hand
        Uses a modified 2824-2

  • Justin Yates

    They’re getting dangerously close to Autodromo levels of (lack of) price awareness.

  • Thomas

    Watch collecting, like photography can be a pretty expensive hobby. At less than $700 this seems pretty inexpensive for being, good looking, and well made. Also Melbourne does not seem to be one of those “here today, gone tomorrow” kickstarter watch brands.

    I like the variety of watches you offer. Any chance of including a type A pilot watch in the portfolio?

    • Sujain Krishnan

      Thanks Thomas – I appreciate the feedback. Not sure about a pilot to be honest, there are already so many great brands doing those, so I’m not sure we would do it justice.

      Cheers,

      Sujain Krishnan
      Managing Director