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Lōcí Pacific Coast Highway Monterey Bay

The Microbrand You “Shouldn’t Be Sleeping On”

I laugh (and cry) whenever a popular YouTuber claims that “this Rolex is the most underrated model from the Swiss giant” or “this is the luxury brand collectors should not be sleeping on.” As if “discovering” a rare and expensive watch was something that would change the world for the better. While Rolex, as a nonprofit-registered entity, does a lot to support record-breaking ventures and good causes, it can do so because it sells luxury goods. And nowadays, brands that do “good” are those that make watches with cases, dials, or straps made of recycled ocean plastic. That’s good if you like the way the end product looks. I for one don’t see myself wearing a multi-colored plastic case watch just to say I did something good for the environment. 

But that’s just me. 

So what else is there to do then for those of us who love watches and the environment? Well, you can buy a good watch from a brand such as Lōcī which not only makes quality timekeeping devices but also donates 10% of all sales to local (to them) non profit organizations that aim to protect endangered natural habitats and ecosystems. The model we’re going to look at today is a robust, everyday quartz-powered watch that comes with its own design language and set of holistic specifications for a rather good price ($675 USD.) Lōcī was founded by Trip Henderson who has extensive experience in the nonprofit and disaster-relief sectors. (He’s also a navy vet which makes him even more interesting.) 


But before we talk about why Trip created the brand and this first model, we shall talk about its specs. Just earlier I described the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH for short) as being a robust everyday watch. It is so indeed and this fact can immediately be illustrated by looking at its dimensions: 39.5mm in diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug, 10.8mm high and a 20mm lug width. These are the type of dimensions that will fit many wrists, and coming with a rubber strap, it’s also lightweight. Despite all of this, the PCH comes with 100 meters of water resistance (screw-down crown and case-back), X1 SuperLuminova on the hands and applied markers, as well a piece of boxed sapphire crystal complete with anti-reflective coating. So far, so good. 

Inside the well-proportioned case beats a Ronda 715 quartz movement which comes with a stated 60-months (five years) battery life which is quite practical. (Note that this model also comes with an automatic Sellita SW200-1 caliber for a reasonable premium.) What is further of note is the fact that Lōcī assembles and pressure-tests the watches in the United States, as well as quality-controls them (A detail that matters to some.) The lume, which I mentioned above, is evenly applied in a way that endows the PCH with a true versatile nature. I opted to review the quartz version because I liked the idea of having a lighter watch and a robust movement. 

One of the highlights of the Pacific Coast Highway to me is the overall comfort of this timepiece. Not only the choice of movement and dimensions help in that area, but also the perfectly flat case-back which guarantees that the watch sits snug on the wrist. (For reference, my wrist has a circumference of 6.50”/16.5cm.) Moreover, the brand went for a custom-made FKM rubber strap which integrates perfectly with the case and which is soft to the touch. I think that a bracelet would have created a weight discrepancy especially on the quartz variant. 


The star of the show here, as we like to say, is the dual-layered wave pattern dial which evokes the 12,000-foot depths of Monterey Bay in California. I would say, actually, that the dial is bisected by a section that is recessed and which encompasses the lower half of the applied hour markers. This section is further highlighted by the fact that the wave pattern is painted in a darker shade of blue compared to the rest of the dial. A neat detail is the fact that the wave pattern extends to the periphery of the dial where we find a simple minute track where the minute hash-marks are highlighted in white. Note the additional accents of white color found on the logo and text printed below the pinion. 

The fully polished pencil-style hour and minute hands are easy to see and their finish matches that of the multi-faceted hour markers, where the inclined sections facing the inner dial are polished and the top sections are brushed for maximum legibility. A tiny detail which I didn’t catch at first is the fact that all hour markers, save for the one at the 12, are bisected in the middle. This means that the marker at the twelve has a slightly larger application of lume so that it's easier to spot the north side of the dial. The seconds hand has a more daring design compared to the hour and minute hands as it is painted green and the counterbalance is of the shape of the brand’s logo. 

Furthermore, we find a discreet and unframed date aperture at the six o’clock for added functionality. Lōcī chose to have a white date disc and black printed numerals so as to create symmetry with the logo above the pinion. (At least, that’s what I imagined their intention was and a small detail that I find interesting.) The other star of the show for me is the geometrical case profile where we find prominent vertically brushed upper sections and large polished chamfers that run from outer edges of the lugs to the other side. The case flanks are also brushed, so is the majority of the fixed bezel safe for the bottom edge which is polished. 

Visually, my heart goes to the crown which I found well-proportioned in relation to the case as well as being handsomely designed and machined. It comes with the sort of knurling that is deep and at an angle, making it easy to grip, unscrew, and set the date and time. Furthermore, the outer edge of the crown is decorated with the brand’s logo and overall, this little piece of stainless steel comes with an interesting and refined alternation of polished, brushed, and what seems like bead-blasted finishes. The devil here is in the details. 

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of the matter is the fact that Trip created a watch for a good cause that one can actually afford to buy and enjoy wearing. More often than not, it seems that such creations are either made of ultra specific materials (i.e. recycled ocean plastic) which translates—visually—into a timepiece that is not necessary “easy” to wear. Or, in the case of luxury brands, their “good” watches cost a fortune and as such, the only benevolent action one takes is to spend the money and not necessarily wear the watch. That’s not what we find here with the Lōcī Pacific Coast Highway as it is a proper everyday watch with the specs to boot. 

As mentioned in the introduction, Trip has extensive experience working for nonprofits and in the challenging sector of disaster relief around the globe. By creating Lōcī, he wanted to connect his life-long mission of protecting the environment with his passion for horology. What I particularly like about his first collection is the fact—as you may have noticed already—that the PCF is a watch we can wear everyday regardless of what we do. In a sense, your commitment to protecting the environment and endangered ecosystems becomes part of your daily life experiences. 


Even if you were to not care for Lōcī’s mission, you can certainly appreciate the watch for what it is—both from a technical and visual perspective. It’s robust, versatile, and the wave pattern dial endows it with a unique personality. The model presented here, called Monterey Bay, is just one of the three variants available within the PCF collection. The black and yellow Big Sur nods to the beautiful highway itself, which runs alongside the California coast, while the Surfrider Beach and its sunburst dial the color of which goes from almost white to a dark tan makes reference to—as you may have guessed—a famous beach for surfers.

It should be further noted that each variant can be had with either a quartz or a mechanical movement. The quartz, as we know, is powered by the Ronda 715 and retails for $675 USD, while the mechanical one is powered by a Sellita SW200-1 (which beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and has 38 hours of power reserve) and retails for $1,050 USD. All in all, the Lōcī Pacific Coast Highway in either version constitutes a good value proposition which makes it possible for us watch enthusiasts to get a bit more involved with the protection of our endangered environments without breaking the bank. 

Just saying. 

You can learn more about Lōcī here and the model featured in this review here

Thanks for reading. 


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