The term ‘diving watch’ has become a standard descriptor of a waterproof timepiece. However, March LA.B’s seaworthy models are anything but ordinary. Precise, practical and with a unique retro-influenced style, these are more ‘surf watches’, designed to take you seamlessly from hitting the waves to relaxing on shore.
This lifestyle comes naturally to founder Alain Marhic. The entrepreneurial Frenchman grew up in Nantes, Brittany, and in the early 1990s founded two windsurfing academies in the region. His love of sports continued as he relocated up the coast to Biarritz, where he worked at the nearby global HQ of Quiksilver, the surfing and snowboarding brand.
‘I was 27 when I started there,’ says Marhic. ‘I worked my way up from being a shop manager to a retail manager, then on to a sales representative and then a product manager, division manager, and business manager… I was learning everything: from sales and the market, to products and marketing.’ It was his final position as director of operations for the eyewear and watch divisions of the company where he gained valuable experience in product development. This would prove useful when he took the plunge in 2008 to develop his own watch brand, drawing from his passion for classic 1970s design to fill a gap in the market. Today, March LA.B brings this heritage inspiration to life through a contemporary lens, offering clean, considered designs backed up with reliable and affordable timekeeping. These are watches with personality, each with their own compelling story to tell.
The tale behind the Bonzer, one of the watchmaker’s latest releases, starts with Duncan and Malcolm Campbell. They revolutionised the world of surfing in the 1970s, and the watch takes its name from one of the duo’s most influential creations that has come to be considered an archetype of the modern surfboard. Their Bonzer was fast, manoeuvrable and easy to ride in every wave. And likewise, March LA.B has brought this same bold, innovative spirit to the fore with this timepiece.
With this model you are able to choose from a number of options to create your own look, including a selection of dial and bezel combinations in a sleek ocean-inspired palette of deep blue, green, silver and black. The design itself combines angular detailing across the indices and hands with the curves of the case to form a harmonious final look.
Just as much attention has been paid to its underwater credentials. The sturdy 41mm case includes a rotating notched bezel, a key timekeeping feature for any waterproof timepiece. Meanwhile it is well protected from the elements, with a screwed-down crown to seal the watch, as well as a water resistance of 100m. It comes on a number of strap options, from more formal leather or stainless steel to a rugged silicone band that can take you seamlessly from beach to boardroom.
From £1,065; march-lab.com
Photography: Christian Hagward, César Angle-Hansen, Drew Kampion