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A la Havana with a little Marvin that packs a big punch

Le 8 February 2016

We all know and recognize the watch brand Marvin, from close up or afar, and their distinctive crowned logo. Most of us probably became familiar with the brand through their renaissance in 2002, and their new collections in 2007 with the red details on their watch dials and their contemporary forms. Not all of us however are probably familiar with the beginnings of the manufacture, founded in 1850 in Saint-Imier by the illustrious Didisheim brothers, nor with the golden age of an innovative manufacturer which celebrated its centenary in 1950 and at the time was employing 300 people. This is what we’re here for today…

By now you’ll have understood that the vintage gold nugget of the week is none other than a Marvin watch. It’s a 1950s bi-compax chronograph that we absolutely love, and you’ll find out why pretty quickly.

Marvin chronographe Bi-compax

It’s a chronograph with a diameter of almost 37mm. That’s a rather large case size  with a beautiful presence on the wrist. Fine blued dagger hour and minute hands and two counters are present on the dial. The seconds counter is at 9 o’clock and the 45-minute counter is at 3 o’clock.

The dial has acquired a beautiful tobacco/honey patina on which large black arabic numerals pop out, along with a fine minute and seconds scale (also black) and a faded red tachymetric scale which has almost disappeared in certain spots. This discreet touch of color, coupled with the blued hands works… very well.

Concerning the case form, we have all the dearly loved elements that characterized the chronographs of the 1950s, such as the three-part construction, the super-convex plexi-glass and the rectangular pushbuttons.

Marvin chronographe Bi-compax

Also worth noting is that the serrated crown is quite large for the size of the case. It’s an efficient functional choice that not only makes the winding of this mechanical caliber a piece of cake, but  also a real pleasure. The index finger manages to get a good grip and one can wind it without even having to use two fingers… Too easy.

Marvin chronographe Bi-compax

Where can I wear it ?

You’ll love wearing this gem on a trip to Cuba, where the patina of the dial will remind you of a young tobacco leaf. While in Havana, following in the footsteps of Hemingway, you’ll stroll around the old district on a humid evening in your white linen dress shirt, sleeves rolled up. You’ll make your way to El Floridita, at 153 Obispo street, the famous American writer’s favorite bar who was partial to Cuba, and you’ll order a “Papa doble” à la Hemingway, daiquiri, no sugar and a double dose of rhum. We’re in Havana, at the heart of the historical district, we must stay coherent…

Marvin chronographe Bi-compax

After this necessary but touristy cultural experience, you’ll go get lost in narrower streets. After a few stops in salsa clubs where you’ll have broken a sweat with the likes of Ibrahim Ferrer, Celia Cruz and Arsénio Rodriguez, you’ll finish off the night calmly at the billiard table with your new friends, in a bar where the thick smoke of your H. Upmann cigar (J.F. Kennedy’s favorite) will gently yellow the stitches of your leather watch band. Once your inflated ego takes over at the billiard table however, try not to lose your watch in a bet on who is going to win the game… after the rhum, your watch could very likely stay in Cuba…

However, if you have no more air miles, fear not. You can also wear this watch everyday at the office, with your tailored suits that it’ll elegantly and discreetly complete. Steven, the company’s commercial hotshot, will probably be clueless as to the significance of your watch, it’ll be your job to explain it to him the minute you see a spark of interest in his eyes. I’m counting on all of you to participate in the spreading of discussion of substance, this world needs to rediscover a little bit of elegance… and that is done through education.

So I’ll finish with a quote of a famous actor, director and screenwriter who not only knew the art of formulation but who also understood the difference between two completely different and often times mistaken notions…

“Luxury has to do with money. Elegance has to do with education”.
Sacha Guitry