The Héron Marinor is a classy Canadian dive watch with a tough secret The Héron Marinor is a classy Canadian dive watch with a tough secret

The Héron Marinor is a classy Canadian dive watch with a tough secret

Jamie Weiss

“Héron didn’t start out as a watch brand, so much as it started out as a weird, pandemic-induced fever dream,” the Montréal-based brand explains on its website. But unlike many COVID-era watch microbrands, Héron’s gone the distance – and that’s because they make watches that are actually worth the loonies. Their debut model, the Gladiateur, impressed us with its design and build quality. Now, they’ve followed up that dive watch with the Marinor, an even more capable model with a tough little secret.

Héron Marinor Caribbean Blue closeup

What’s that tough little secret, you may ask? Well, the Héron Marinor’s 316L stainless steel case and bracelet have been treated with a proprietary hardening treatment, giving it a hardness of 1,200 Vickers. For comparison, that’s about 6 times as hard as regular 316L stainless steel, or about 3.5 times as hard as titanium. Indeed, 1,200 Vickers is comparable to ceramic. Because of this, Héron claims that the Marinor offers “a virtually scratch-proof experience”.

Héron Marinor Caribbean Blue caseback

You’d never guess that looking at the Marinor, which is actually quite retro in its appearance, with its subtle fumé dial, boxed sapphire crystal and sapphire-topped diving bezel. Héron is open about the fact that the Marinor is a tribute to 1950s dive watches such as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Rolex Submariner (although its hands actually rather remind me of a Rado Captain Cook – which isn’t a bad thing). Yet it’s a very dapper design that doesn’t come off as some pastiche or parody.

Héron Marinor Caribbean Blue lume

In terms of technical bona fides, the Héron Marinor is water-resistant to 300 metres and is powered by a Miyota 9039, the same movement that powered the Gladiateur. One of Miyota’s more premium movement offerings, it promises a 42-hour power reserve, features hacking seconds and beats at 4Hz.

Héron Marinor Caribbean Blue profile

Héron’s attention to detail is noticeable throughout the Marinor’s design. A North Star-shaped marker at 12 o’clock is a nod to its Canadian origins: extra-bright Swiss Super-LumiNova makes the Marinor easy to read in even the dead of night. Its caseback is adorned with a depiction of a bearded pipe-smoking sailor, the sort of salty sea dog you might have found trawling Hudson Bay for salmon back in the day, while its screw-down crown features an old-fashioned ship’s helm motif.

Héron Marinor Caribbean Blue bracelet

Personally, I think the best detail of this watch is its bracelet. Many microbrands treat bracelets like an afterthought and they’re often pretty average. Not the Marinor’s. Thin, tapered, slinky and comfortable, it’s a pleasure to wear. It’s also got a quick release and features a robust clasp decorated with the Héron… Well, heron, logo.

Héron Marinor Caribbean Blue range

The model I had the chance to try on was a versatile ‘Caribbean Blue’, but Héron plans to produce the Marinor in a wide range of colourways across five different collections, with four of those collections to be reserved as exclusives for Kickstarter backers. One collection, the Carbon Collection, will feature models with black DLC coatings.

Héron Marinor pricing and availability

The Kickstarter campaign for the Héron Marinor launches on the 24th of October. The full retail price will be US$620 – however, there’s a -30% off early bird special (US$435) and a -25% off Kickstarter special (US$465) for those who want to get in early.

Brand Héron
Model Marinor
Case Dimensions 39mm (D) x 12.9mm (T) x 47mm (LTL)
Case Material Hardened 316L stainless steel, 1,200 Vickers
Water Resistance 300 metres, screw-down crown
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Fumé, indices filled with Swiss Super-LumiNova, sapphire bezel
Strap Steel bracelet
Movement Miyota 9039, automatic
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, unidirectional diving bezel
Availability Contingent on Kickstarter campaign
Price US$620