Mercer Watch Company (MWC) is a great example of a microbrand done right.  The company was started by Scott Vuocolo in central New Jersey.  The company mission is clearly defined to produce quality time pieces at a fraction of what many of the big names charge for their watches without scrimping on design, components, materials, finish, attention to detail and quality control.  Essentially, Mercer sells directly from their website.

Mercer is not new to MBWW, you may recall Nick’s interview with Scott last year.  The Mercer name comes from the county the company is located in, named after Brigadier General Hugh Mercer of the Continental Army.  A close confidant of George Washington, he died at the Battle of Princeton, just a few miles from MWC.

The current line of watches from MWC include the Airfoil, the Voyager II, the Brigadier and the Brigadier Chronograph.  The Brigadier Chronograph is available in four versions; navy, rose, slate and white.  The watch in this review is the rose, finished with a white face.  The other models are all polished stainless steel with navy, slate and white faces.  The 42mm 316L case is a very good homage to the new 43mm Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Chronograph Perpetual Calendar,  a 21 jewel manual winding timepiece of impeccable pedigree (price not disclosed).  Both the VC and the Mercer are beautiful designs, in my opinion.

The Brigadier Chronograph measures 42 mm across the case, 13 mm front to back, 22 mm between the lugs and 50 mm lug to lug.  Each lug is about 4 mm across and their downward curve is both substantial yet graceful.  The strap is a typical leather strap with an alligator finish and white stitching, tapering to 19mm at the clasp.  The clasp is polished stainless with  a sword design that appears to be very similar to the sword on the watch face toward the 12 o’clock position, just above “MERCER Watch Co”.  The watch is comfortable to wear and quite light, in my opinion.  Above the 6 o’clock date window is the word “BRIGADIER” in small block letters. The watch is rated 100 meter for water resistance and has a screw down crown and back, which is not common in dress chronographs in this class.
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The beveled bezel is polished rose, the lugs and center portion of the case are brushed rose and the lower portion of the case and the back of the lugs are polished rose.  The embossed star onion crown and the curved rectangular pushers are polished rose. The custom punched screw down case back is polished and textured stainless steel giving it outstanding detail and depth.  The white watch face is rose gold for all the raised markers and the two sword subdial hands.  The 3 o’clock subdial reads the hour in a 24 hour format.  The 9 o’clock subdial reads accumulated minutes for the chronograph.  The rose gold hour and minute hands have a sliver of lume in them and the black tapered needle thin chronograph second hand has a sword tail.  The slightly domed sapphire crystal with internal A/R works perfectly with this face

All of the minute/second markings, the tachymeter markings and the two subdial markings are perfectly executed in black.  The 6 o’clock date window is also black on white.  What really stands out the most to me are the various levels of the dial face, starting with the tachymeter numbers, going down to the beveled second and 1/5 second markings, the subdial markings and the date window, which carefully cuts through two layers of the dial.  In addition the guilloche concentric circles on the two subdials and the guilloche squares on the lowest portion of the face, really add a rich finishing touch.

The movement in this watch is the same Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz movement as I previously reviewed in a Helgray Silverstone watch.  Seiko says this movement should be accurate to +/- 20 seconds per month. The hybrid of a quartz movement with a mechanical chronograph is just a great idea, because it allows the chronograph to work in 1/5 second intervals, rather than one second intervals as in a standard quartz chronograph movement.  When the chronograph is reset to zero, the second hands snaps back just like a mechanical chronograph should.  I only wish Seiko offered this movement with a running second hand or a small seconds subdial, but it would likely shorten it’s estimated 3 year battery life.

The Mercer Brigadier Chronograph is a wonderful dress chronograph that takes full advantage of the Seiko Meca-Quartz movement.  By selling directly, MWC has full control of every aspect of their watch business, and it shows.  I highly recommend you examine and consider their growing line of high quality, high value watches.  $329; www.mercerwatch.com

Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.