Video Review: Mercer Durham

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The Mercer Durham is a 41-millimeter, cushioned cased timepiece that Mercer readily admits is inspired by watches from the catalogs of both Heuer and Nomos. Heuer, of course, references the Camaro’s case, and Nomos, I think, refers to the German brand’s bold use of color. At first glance, the Durham appears to be a relatively straightforward watch, and yes, a bit referential. But after spending some time with it, the inspirational elements blend together quite seamlessly to create something that, to my eye, appears to stand on its own. And, for the price, which is $629 direct from Mercer, the execution is notably high.

There are four dial variants in total, and today we’re looking at Cobalt.

For our full thoughts on the watch and to see it in action, be sure to watch the video below.

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$629

Video Review: Mercer Durham

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
STP 1-11
Dial
Blue Sunburst
Lume
Super-LumiNova
Lens
Sapphire
Strap
Shell Cordovan
Water Resistance
30m
Dimensions
41 x 47mm
Thickness
11.5mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Push/pull
Warranty
Yes
Price
$629

Despite its given size, the Durham wears quite a bit smaller, largely because cushion-cased watches like this often have stout lugs and smaller dial diameters. That’s not to say the watch is without presence. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s also quite comfortable on the wrist, and the 11.5-millimeter thickness allows the Durham to slip comfortably under a shirt cuff.The case has both brushed and polished surfaces. My favorite little detail on the case is the polished bezel running along the the edge of the mid-case, which has an attractive radial brushing along the top and is polished on the sides. The lines breaking up the case are sharp.

The dial is especially well done. It has a casual sporty feel—something almost dress-diveresque The printing is precise, and the colors are eye-catching. The construction is also worth noting, with an inner dial stacked on top of a chapter ring. My only point of criticism would be the date window, but despite its placement it’s not really that obtrusive.

Flip the watch over and you get a clean view of the STP 1-11 movement. Manufactured in Switzerland by Fossil, the STP 1-11 is an effective ETA 2824 clone, so you can expect reliable performance here. The movement is also nicely decorated with perlage, blued-screws, Côtes de Genève, and a custom rotor. One detail worth noting about this movement is how smooth it is to hand wind. Granted, these movements aren’t really meant to be wound up by hand, but the grittiness often seen in 2824s isn’t here. Adding to the value proposition here is the accompanying shell cordovan strap (there are a couple of different strap and bracelet options being offered, but we opted to look at the shell strap). Shell cordovan is a high-end leather produced by just a handful of tanneries around the world—some better than others—and the execution here is excellent. The leather feels premium, and the finishing is top notch. Altogether, it’s a really nice strap, and you won’t be rushing out to swap this one out.

Overall, the Durham is a solid offering from Mercer and an excellent followup to the Lexington chronograph that’s become quite the fan-favorite among collectors. Here, I’d argue that Mercer steps up its game by using a reliable Swiss engine and by focusing on finishing. The result is an elevated product, a stylish design, and a watch that I think has broad appeal. Mercer

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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