MICRO MONDAYS: The Maen Manhattan 37 delivers an integrated-bracelet watch at a bafflingly great priceD.C. Hannay
In case you haven’t received the memo, stainless-steel, integrated-bracelet watches are white-hot. Scratch that: more like a Texas-sized asteroid flying straight into the centre of the sun-hot. Over the past several years, models like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak have gone from finely crafted-yet-anachronistic curiosities of ‘70s watch history, to the absolute must-have accessories of today, coveted by the glitterati, sports superstars, and watch nerds alike. Predictably, finding one at anything resembling retail price is a fool’s errand. At this point, your chances of becoming a pop star or an NBA power forward are better (even if you have no discernible talent and/or are five-foot-three). At least then, you might get on the list for that Patek. That’s where the Maen Manhattan 37 comes in.
Sadly, Tik Tok stardom doesn’t appear to be in my future, but no matter. Not only are other brands blowing the dust off their archived designs (like Zenith’s reissue of the original Defy, and the wildly successful Tissot PRX line), waves of new watches are rolling in, from high-end houses to microbrands aimed at the decidedly less-well-heeled (like yours truly). And we can add Maen, a purveyor of some very handsome, very well-priced timepieces to that growing list.
Available for pre-order now at a very tempting €479, Maen’s new stainless-steel Manhattan 37 fits squarely (or octagonally, if we’re being nit-picky) into the category, but some distinct design cues separate it from being a me-too facsimile. Yes, the bezel is an octagon like the towering Royal Oak’s, but its different-length sides give a taller, more rectangular visage. The bevelled, vertically brushed bezel top is familiar, but thankfully, Maen has forgone the faux screws of the RO and others for a cleaner look, with an attractive combination of brushed and polished surfaces.
Additionally, the 37mm case will wear like a dream compared to some of its more outsized competition, and a surprisingly trim 9.3mm case height and 47mm lug-to-lug keeps everything in proportion. Size-wise, it’s almost as if it time-traveled directly from 1976, and looks all the better for it. The signed octagonal crown does not screw down, keeping water resistance to a so-so 50 metres, but that can be forgiven due to the slim dimensions.
Moving onto the bracelet, again, the finishing is much better than you should expect from this price segment. The brushed solid links are nicely chamfered and polished along the outer edge, lending an upmarket feel. There are no micro adjustments, but the links are small enough and screwed in, so sizing shouldn’t be too much of a wrench. The hidden twin-button butterfly deployant clasp is milled, lending a nice little touch of luxe.
Just about every aspect of the Manhattan 37 is pretty stellar, but special mention should be made of the dial, which is way too visually rich than it has any right to be at this price. Available in your choice of four colours (Midnight Blue, Anthracite Black, Ice Grey, and Salmon), there’s something for both conservative and more daring tastes. There’s a definite 3-D quality to the dial by virtue of the Côtes de Genève-style finishing, which shifts colour and reflectivity depending on the light and angle of view. The blue is probably the popular default choice, but I’m partial to the salmon, which is less pink than you might assume, leaning more toward warm coppery bronze, solidifying that ‘70s vibe without any remorse. You should be able to wear it anywhere from the sunny streets of Monaco to the slopes of Gstaad with equal ease.
The crisply faceted applied indices and modified baton hands are well-lumed with Swiss Super-LumiNova, glowing green just like the tritium from back in the day. The minute track is printed, and a discreet date aperture resides at 3. The dial is available in both date and no-date versions. As a fan of symmetry, you can probably suss out what my choice is going to be. All of those visual delights are protected by a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.
Behind the screwed-in solid stainless caseback beats a true Swiss movement, the automatic-winding Ronda R-150, a nice touch at this price point. With a rate of 4Hz, this 25 jewel caliber should deliver a power reserve of 40 hours, which is perfectly adequate, if not outstanding. Its 4.4mm height, 0.2 less than the comparable ETA 2824-2, helps keep the overall case height trim. The Ronda also features Incabloc shock protection, and both hacks and hand winds. It’s a solid choice, and a nice surprise that a watch that costs around $500 features something other than the usual suspects from Seiko or Miyota, not that there’s anything wrong with either of those choices.
The Manhattan 37’s value proposition is excellent. There are cheaper integrated bracelet watches to be sure, but you’ll likely be left wanting, due to the feel of the case and bracelet on some lesser watches. But really, it’s the dial that’s a game changer in this market segment. All the colours are fine choices, but without a doubt, I’m leaning hard into the salmon variant. Competition in this under $1,000 category comes from the fantastic Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 line, and perhaps the Citizen Series 8, which to me throws off a bit of a vintage Zenith vibe. It really does come down to preference. If you love the look, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better combination of looks, feel, and specs in an integrated bracelet model at such value.
Maen Manhattan 37 pricing and availability:
The Maen Manhattan 37 is available now for pre-order from the Maen website. Price: €479 pre-order, €559 after launch
|Manhattan 37 Date/No Date
|37mm x 9.3mm x 47mm
|Polished and satin-finished stainless steel
|Integrated stain-polished steel with butterfly clasp
|Ronda R-150 automatic, ~40-hour power reserve
|€479 pre-order price, €559 after launch