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.
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.
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.
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.