As you may or may not have heard about the recent kickstarter saga with the brand (Meccaniche Veneziane), here is my insights on the whole scenario judging from the facts and information gathered. I knew about the brand Meccaniche Veneziane when they launched their earlier models – Nereide and Arsenale through kickstarter back in 2017 and successfully raised €170k and €93k respectively. Based on my observation, there were a lot of positive reviews and feedbacks floating around for these 2 models that were fulfilled. Kudos to the 2 brothers (Alberto and Alessandro) for their earlier success.

Sometime in Q2 2018 they created a craze with some amazing marketing of their upcoming model, Nereide GMT (exactly the same as the earlier Nereide version but with a 4th hand function for 2nd timezone feature) but with a top grade Swiss ETA 2893-2 movement, more dial and bezel variations to choose from. Kudos again to whoever they engage to help them on the marketing because whatever they did, it helped them a lot during the kickstarter campaign as they were able to raise a whooping €500k with 805 backers ! One of the few successful kickstarter projects that I know off for a watch that is able to hit such volume…

But… as most projects, sometime they either overrun in schedule or financial or both. This was no different to Meccaniche Veneziane as the Morelli brothers had to overcome both schedule and financial (maybe) due to some unforeseen risk. One of the major reason I assume was the unavailability of the Swiss ETA 2893-2 movement itself, as I heard that it has become very difficult to source them in the market these days and the price of ETA has sky-rocketed due to its’ scarce availability. So, this has caused an unexpected delay and finally the work-around was to provide a different movement brand which is Sellita (still comparable to ETA). However, for all the awesome pre-kickstarter marketing work done, their communication in the post-kickstarter was so poor that they totally ignore the cries and request by some of their backers due to the changes made without any consent. Hence, the backlash of the brand started and here’s a quick timeline and changes summary I could gather from my research :

Brief timeline – Nereide GMT

  • mid 2018 : all the awesome marketing work
  • Oct 2018 : raised nearly €500k on kickstarter
  • … 2018 : some manufacturing updates
  • Feb 2019 : no delivery as promised on kickstarter
  • April 2019 : announcement change of movement
  • May – July 2019 : delivery started depending on which variation

Brief summary changes made – Nereide GMT

  • Swapping the movement from ETA 2893 to SW330
  • Removal of oyster bracelet
  • Changed the minute hand to a split style
  • Changed the GMT hand style
  • Changed the bezel pip to match a different watch style

My thoughts on it… 

I am not one of the 805 backers on kickstarter and because of the above situation, I was able to purchase it at a bargain price (how much ? sorry I cant share but it’s surely lower than the kickstarter pledge price) from 1 of the many unhappy backers with the fact that the watch had a misalignment of the 4th hand (one of the common issue / feedback). Why do I still went ahead and buy, knowing the facts ? Well, the price I bought was surely a factor but it was my curiosity to find out more about the watch (honestly I was quite close to back this project initially).

So, what do I honestly think about the Nereide GMT ?

Case : A pretty common case shape and size with vertical brush finishing on the side. Quality is definitely acceptable as it’s a 316L marine grade standard, so no complains here. There’s an exhibition caseback to showcase the Sellita SW330 movement while featuring the custom gold rotor that engraves the brand, logo, Swiss made and movement type. There’s further engraving on the side of the glass, but it felt a bit rough to my skin though I didn’t feel anything when it’s on my wrist. Comes with a signed logo screw-down crown to meet the 20ATM water resistance. Overall, happy with the case built-up.

Dial & Bezel : Beggars can’t be choosy.  So the version I got was San Marco version (to me, this would also be the option I would go for if I were to back this on kickstarter) and colour combo of the bezel is spot on ! It is inspired by San Marco’s flag and represents a proud tribute to the eminent Venetian tradition. This colour combo is quite similar to a football club in Italy – AS Roma based on Giallo Roma (pantone code : 130C) and Rosso Roma (pantone code : PMS 202C).  The black dial with white hour marker and hands enclosed with slim gold trimming around it gives a classy look and finishing it off with gold minute line markers around it. I like how it matches perfectly with the gold fonts used as well. Only thing I would have if the date scheme would have been the same (black background and gold numerals or vice-versa). I am happy with the lume on the hour markers and hands.

Strap : So it came with 3 straps : genuine leather, mesh and perlon strap. I didn’t have the chance to test the mesh and perlon strap yet as it was always on the leather strap, but I do feel they are just ok quality (acceptable rate) and I had it on my own personal mesh strap by Hadley Roma. Basically, the leather strap is better than average, but definitely not the best as compared to what’s available in the market today. I would have hope it was better since it’s made in Italy and I always have high expectations of straps coming from there.

Conclusion to my review : 

For the price I paid, yes definitely worth every single cent. However, if it was the retail price of €1,249 definitely a “NO” and if it was the kickstarter price of €515 then it’s a “MAYBE” from me… only if better QC and more effort in customer service is in place. To me, I had no issues chatting with Alessandro Morelli about the 4th hand misalignment issue and was compensated as promised (€30). Got it repaired at my regular watchmaker in Singapore (~ 10-15 minutes job) and it runs fine till today. Been wearing it regularly to my workplace, once for a business trip to Cebu Philippines and overall, I have enjoyed every single moment with it. Does the brand Meccaniche Veneziane deserve a 2nd chance ? From my honest opinion, I would say yes because they do have potential to create nice watches based on their previous models and current.

But moving forward, someone from the brand Meccaniche Veneziane needs to look into repairing the damage of their branding and start looking into ways to provide better communication moving forward if they want to produce more watches and continue to grow in the Microbrand World. Signing off this review with the full & detailed technical specifications from The Microbrand Store, which offers a better detailed information as compared to their official website

Technical Specifications :

  • Reference / Colour Scheme: San Marco
  • Water Resistance: 20 ATM / 200 meters / 660 feet
  • Diameter: 42mm, excluding crown guards and crown
  • Lug-to-Lug Length: 49mm
  • Lug Width: 22mm
  • Height: 13mm excluding crystal
  • Case: 316L marine grade steel case with brushed finish
  • Case Back: 316L marine grade steel screw down exhibition case back featuring a decorated movement and custom rotor
  • Dial Type: Matt black dial with applied diamond-cut indices.
  • Dial Glass: Scratch resistant domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Bezel: 120 click red and yellow / orange root beer style unidirectional enamelled bezel
  • Lume: Swiss Super-Luminova C1 lume
  • Straps Included: 22mm hand-crafted Italian vintage leather straps
  • Movement: In house MV297. (A 25 jewel Swiss Sellita SW330-1 elabore grade GMT automatic movement with Côtes de Genève and perlage decorations, plus a custom decorated rotor)
  • Oscillation: High beat 28,800 BPH (8 ticks per second)
  • Hacks: Yes
  • Hand Winds: Yes
  • Automatic Winding: Yes
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours