Hands-On With The MAEN Greenwich 38 GMT

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Earlier this year we got our first look at a new GMT watch from the Swedish brand MAEN called the Greenwich. While the inspiration is clear at a glance, this was a watch that lingered on the mind longer than it had any business doing. Crisp case finishing, a trick rubber strap, and an automatic GMT movement for under $800? Yeah, that’s got a nice ring to it. But is that ‘inspiration clear at glance’ bit a little too clear? This is not an homage, nor is it trying to look like something else at a glance, but what it does feature heavily in will certainly raise a few eyebrows, depending on the company you keep. 

Now, let me be clear, I’m not here to stir up drama around which features and traits belong to which brand, or who used what first. The landscape of modern watches is awash with great ideas and features built on an existing foundation and framework formed over hundreds of years prior. Let’s keep that pandora’s box closed for this discussion.

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$760

Hands-On With The MAEN Greenwich 38 GMT

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Swisstech S24-045
Dial
Close du Paris, Enamel
Lume
X1 Superluminova
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Rubber, Fabric
Water Resistance
10 ATM
Dimensions
38x46mm
Thickness
12mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw Down
Warranty
Price
$760

The Greenwich 38 GMT is a classically proportioned steel tool watch, with a dial structure that is anything but. As the name implies, a 24 hour hand is present, but this doesn’t read as a GMT watch at a glance, with no bi-color bezel in sight with which to use it. In fact, the numbers that do appear on the dial do a pretty good job of tucking themselves away from view when not needed. As straightforward a watch as this is, I had a tough time nailing this one down. A few design cues take the brain in very different directions here, and to see this watch for what it is, a bit of dissociation is required. 

The case is what initially drew me to this watch, and in the metal it remains a favorite feature. It measures 38mm in diameter and 46mm from tip to tip, making it a great size on wrist, and inline with what we’re seeing from more and more brands these days (mercifully). The lug design flows beautifully from the dial opening, with brushed surfaces intersected by a polished chamfer, like an old school 6542 case from Rolex. I reference that specific GMT as it lacked crown guards as well, leaving the case with pure, organic form that was lost on the 1675 references. It’s a line that feels intentional here, even without a rotating bezel assembly and colorful insert.

While no bezel is present, there is a solid polished ring that frames the dial inside the case, and feels like a separate piece in and of itself, serving as a step between the case and the crystal. Total thickness is a mere 12mm, so it’s not a large step, but it does break up some of the height to keep the case wall manageable both in appearance and in use. 

The dial itself is offered in 4 different variations, either without texture, or containing a Clous de Paris pattern that very much evokes a certain watch hailing from Le Brassus. This review unit has the pattern, and while it’s interesting to behold, I don’t think it’s necessary here, and I’m happy to see it offered without. Not that I have anything against Clous de Paris, or textured dials for that matter, but more because of the design of the hour bars. 

I’ll be blunt here, the hour makers of the Greenwhich 38 GMT are brutal in their form and in their size. The cardinal hours in particular feature massive rectangular plots that seem to span about 3 minutes worth of space. In this example, their aggressive size and placement clash with the pattern on the dial, creating a somewhat claustrophobic experience. Between the hours you’ll find a robust minute track, broken only by the 24 hour markers that sit atop the hour markers. The 24 hour numerals are easily lost amongst the large personalities found elsewhere on the dial.

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The dial is unique, if a bit brash, and the oversized markers do bring an air of originality to the otherwise derivative dial texture. Practicality suffers a bit as there’s not much precision to be found here, and the 24 hour readers are tricky to find. However, in total this dial is a trip to behold, and rather ironically, won’t be mistaken for anything else. 

The other dial options include an orange tipped 24 hour hand, a black glossy enamel dial, and even one with bright red hour markers. 

This brings us to the other somewhat familiar looking feature, and that is the rubber strap affixed to the watch. It’s a black, waffle texture unit that fits snuggly up against the case with a small flush fit clasp. It looks quite a bit like the one you’d find fit to an Aquanaut 5167, clasp and all. It’s a nice design, and certainly comfortable, but again, this is a detail that jumbles the experience of the watch at first. It’s fit to a 20mm lug span however, and is easily changed to any number of straps that will look pretty good with this case.

MAEN is using the SwissTech S24-045 automatic GMT movement for the Greenwhich 38, a caliber we’ve seen pop up recently in the likes of the Isotope GMT 0º and Straton Tourer GMT. The movement offers 40 hours of reserve, and a 24 hour hand which can be set via the crown. No, the hour hand is not independently adjustable.

Despite the name, the manufacturer is based in Hong Kong, and produces a range of movements that you could call ETA alternatives. For what it’s worth, they claim this movement is made in Switzerland. Perhaps not fancy, but with a closed caseback and in-house regulation on the part of MAEN make its use here, at this price point, perfectly acceptable.

Greenwich 38 GMT is priced at €639.20, or about $760 at the time of this writing. On the whole, I’d call this an original watch composed of a few non-original components, but, these days, not much isn’t. Most importantly, it’s a well executed watch with practical complications and daily-wear-friendly dimensions. The finishing is above average at this price point, and the case alone makes this watch worth a look. For my money, the enamel dial and a fabric strap push this watch into more palatable territory, but either way, it’s a strong concept I hope to see evolve. MAEN.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent the past decade covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seikos to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for classic cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.
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