The full review is available here. Let me present you with an equation that doesn’t balance: matte PVD black coated titanium case + sapphire crystal with an AR coating + Miyota 8215 automatic + 3 straps + a pelican style case = $239… If your reaction isn’t WHAT?! Then you are either really frugal, really jaded…
or you already know what watch I am talking about: the Obris Morgan Branco. If you frequent PMWF or WatchUseek, you might be familiar with this somewhat mysterious brand. Their name sounds European, their aesthetic is one part military, one part vintage and their prices are dirt-cheap. Well, in fact they are entirely Chinese owned, designed and manufactured, the name seemingly unrelated to anything, but they are dedicated to affordability while maintaining an interesting aesthetic.
While their offerings to this point have certainly peaked our interest, not until the release of the Branco have we felt like we had to get out hands on one. The Branco is simply cool looking with aggressive lines reminiscent of brands like Kobold and a unique sandwich dial that come together for a very masculine watch. Throw in the unbelievable price and, abstractly at least, you have a sure fire winner… only an in person encounter can tell if it comes together or not.
The Branco ships in a package that is very similar in style to a Pelican case, or otherwise over-built plastic shell meant for surviving small disasters. The hard and seemingly durable shell envelopes an interior of dense foam and egg carton foam, which in turn do their duty to protect the watch and extras that accompany it. The case itself is cool looking, and clearly protective, though the quality of the clasps is a bit iffy… they don’t like to snap into place, but when they do, they are secure. Along side the watch, there are two additional straps, a smattering of paper work and an extra screw-bar.
Taking the watch out of the case, it is immediately apparent that it’s decently made, while not perfect. The weight is fairly light; thanks to the titanium case and slim build, but substantial nonetheless. The black PVD coating is dense and super matte, as it is over a sandblast finish, giving the watch a super-stealthy look (it is available in other finishes, but more about that in the review) that contributes to the attitude the watch exudes. The quality of the coating, though in density in very nice, is not totally consistent around the case, with some spots that seem a bit “greasy” around corners and one slight blob on the bezel. The dial is gorgeous, very different, and well executed as are the hands. The watch comes mounted to a thick matte black Italian oil-leather strap with contrasting stitching, as well as arriving with a second leather and a rubber strap. The quality here is really quite nice. The strap is supple, comfortable and looks right with the watch.
Off the bat, the Branco makes an impression. It’s got looks that will certainly garner attention, it feels good on your wrist, but the main question is whether or not at the price if it is a quality watch… $239 dollars is certainly very cheap for an automatic with a sapphire crystal, titanium case and PVD coating, but it’s not money one wants to spend haphazardly. In the review, I’ll go over every little detail so you can decide for yourself if it is money well spent… but I’ll say this upfront, occasional issue aside, I do like wearing it.
by Zach Weiss