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March Lab AM2 Millésime Mars 2024

A Yearly Celebration of Distinct French Watchmaking

France was once one of the major European centers for horology. That was before Switzerland took the crown and for many it seems as if the former continues to exist somewhat in the background. And I for one would argue that the opposite is true: in the past ten years French watchmakers, designers, and collectors have been hard at work to once again shine the spotlight on its heritage thanks to the creation, development, and sometimes explosion of a few French micro and independent brands. The kind of brands which, as you know, I relish writing about. Those which bring a new and different vision to the hobby (or as I sometimes describe it, the obsession.)

And today is no different except that this will be the first time we take a look at March Lab, a brand founded a little over twelve years ago by two watch enthusiasts and collectors and a renown Los Angeles-based designer. If you’ve heard of March Lab before it’s probably because French President Emmanuel Macron wore one of their models when he first ran for office. And for a long time, this was the only connection I had made in my narrow-minded mind about what the French watch brand was. Naturally, I was wrong and I feel a bit ashamed to admit it. That is now to be corrected at once as I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the people behind the brand and to get my judgmental fingers on their annual, commemorative piece—the AM2 Millésime Mars 2024. 


Regardless of the brand name stamped on the dial or the type of watch we’re looking at, it’s always a good thing to start a review by discussing the specs. Because not all watches are born equal and more often than not, the how of a watch matches the why to perfection. And again I would argue that the March Lab AM2 Millésime has a few tricks up its sleeves, starting with its intriguing case shape and dimensions. The case is indeed a hybrid between a rectangle and an octagon, and although it measures 39mm across and 11.5mm in thickness, it commands a strong visual presence on the wrist. And this presence is mostly visual and does not translate into heavier weight—as a matter of fact, the whole package weighs a mere 91 grams. 

Indeed, the case of AM2 Millésime Mars 2024 is entirely made of grade 5 titanium, so is the bracelet, two novelties of this year’s celebratory model. (As you might have gathered from the brand name, March is an important month, something we will get back to later.) So the case and bracelet are light and robust, and I would have honestly not known it was made of titanium as both look like stainless steel, complete with delicate polished and satin-brushed surfaces. The combination of the titanium case and bracelet, the dimensions of the watch, and its case design (with the crown nestled at the 4 o’clock,) means the AM2 is comfortable to wear on my skinny 6.50”/16.5cm wrist. 

Besides the outstanding material used for the case and bracelet, the AM2 Millésime also shines for what beats inside: a Franco-Swiss La Joux Perret G100 caliber that ticks at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with a whopping 68 hours of power reserve. Dots of SuperLuminova can be found outside the applied hour markers and on the art déco-style hour and minute hands. Furthermore, the crystal is a flat piece of sapphire complete with anti-reflective coating, and the links of the bracelets are held together by two screws (a long one in the form of a tube and a tiny one that screws into the latter on the other side of the link.) The bracelet also comes with quick-release spring bars because, why not? 


Besides its compelling specs, what makes the March Lab AM2 Millésime Mars 2024 stand out from the busy crowd of micro and independent brands is its design. As we already know, an imposing case profile which is yet very light and comfortable to wear, and a h-link style of titanium bracelet that perfectly matches the angularity of the case. The AM2 almost appears like a horological interpretation of brutalist architecture given the case shape (I know, I’m talking about it a lot and this for a good reason) as well as the way the brand decided to lay out the dial: rectangular hour and minute hands that showcase a small slit at their tip, and multifaceted applied hour markers which come with two interesting details. 

First, is the fact that the markers at the 1, 5, 7, and 11 are horizontal in regards to the dial, and that all other markers seem to each have unique dimensions. Second is the fact that each hour marker is incised in the middle where black paint was lodged which helps in making the hour indices stand out and be easier to read. (This is something I saw on vintage Seiko’s from the 1970s/80s and which I thought always looked quite good.) The geometrical and sculptural aspect of the AM2 Millésime can also be found in the applied logo and the guilloche pattern engraved on the dial—which is a repetition of March Lab’s logo. 

All of this combined give the AM2 Millésime a unique look and wrist presence, being at the same time bold, elegant, and unique. The uniqueness of the design was further studied into the smallest of details, for example the customized date wheel which showcases a bold typeface for the Arabic numerals. (A design trademark of March Lab.) As well as the discreet branding above and below the pinion and the titanium-gray color of the dial which blends in oh so perfectly within the case. Note also that the crown is made of titanium—something we don’t often see—and that the knurling on the latter also echoes the look of the brand logo. 

It’s all in the tiny details with the March Lab AM2 Millésime Mars 2024 which I hope you can see in the photos of this article. 

The Heart of the Matter


At the heart of the matter is the fact that March Lab designed a wholesome watch that comes with its own character and that is superbly thought-out and made. As far as my modest horological experience goes, I’ve never come across a watch like this one. One that uses this particular combination of hands and applied hour markers, distinct branding which is echoed on several parts of the watch and bracelet (did you notice the branded clasp?) without ever being over-the-top, a customized date wheel, and some seriously good materials—the grade 5 titanium, the sapphire crystal, and more importantly here, the La Joux Perret G100 caliber with its 68 hours of power reserve. 

Naturally, so much technical goodness and visual uniqueness come with a certain price tag: $2,150 USD. In my subjective opinion, I feel this price tag is reasonable given what you get. March Lab definitely went into the tiniest of details when designing this model and selecting the materials and components that will accompany the design, truly making it indeed a millésime timepiece celebrating the brand’s unique history and modern heritage. Speaking of which, this is what you should know about March Lab: a veteran of the watch industry partnered with a renown eyeglass designer and his best friend, all of whom were particularly fascinated with bold and sculptural design from the 1970s. 

Green is the brand’s color which makes a discreet appearance here on the seconds hand and one word printed on the dial below the pinion. Before using higher-end movements, March Lab used Miyota which are, arguably, very good calibers, and here they decided to pair a better movement with some interesting materials. All of which combined make for an interesting package that is both unique in its appearance and meticulously crafted and assembled. 


Being a good old broken record I would say this: it’s not everyday that we come across watches that look different and that are made with such a high level of attention to detail. But here at Mainspring we like telling you about these kinds of horological gems. However you feel about the case design, the dial layout, and the overall looks of the March Lab Millésime Mars 2024—which are of course personal to each and every one of us—, we can certainly agree that it looks different and that it is objectively a solid piece of horology. The brand’s catalog includes more affordable models but this one is a special one indeed, celebrating the brand’s particular and unique heritage (one thing I haven’t mentioned is the fact that all brothers from one of the key partners were born in March.)

So who says special edition means special watch, and this is exactly what we have here. If you want to learn more about this model and the brand, I suggest taking a look at March Lab’s website here and the Millésime page here

Thanks for reading. 


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