Posted on March 01 2023
That's one of the reasons we're passionate about timepieces. We're inspired by the innovation, by the brand's history and by the backstories behind iconic watches.
So where does that leave the young upstarts? The fresh brands that don't have a long history or a back catalogue of successful watches that offer endless inspiration?
That's the question that I asked myself when I came across Medini Watches - a Dubai-based microbrand that was new to me.
But do you know what?
There's also something satisfying about getting in there early and being one of the first customers to get a new brand's watch on your wrist.
So let's see how I got on with the Medini Celeritas, a handsome and very affordable chronograph from a city famed for its riches and luxury lifestyle.
Medini Celeritas Quartz Chronograph
Medini Celeritas Quartz Chronograph Watch Review
Like the majority of microbrand watch companies, Medini has little in the way of backstory - or at least, there's not much publicly available. Instead, small watch companies usually have a single founder, often a selling point in itself.
You see, as much as I love heritage brands with iconic watches - that could be anything from Rolex and the Daytona to Sturmanskie and its Gagarin model - I also like to be able to talk to the top guy at the brand.
Not too difficult with a one-man operation.
So that's where I jumped in with Medini. I wanted to know who are Medini watches and who is behind the brand?
Medini Watch Company is based in the Emirate of Dubai, UAE. The founder, Ahsan Merchant, is a former Management Consultant who has spent a good portion of his life in the US and UK. Typically, he began with a fascination for watches and then, like many microbrand owners, couldn't resist trying his hand at designing and marketing his own watches.
So far, Medini - it translates as Earth - has two watches available. A classically-styled dress watch named the Sovereign, and this traditional chronograph watch, the Celeritas. Both watches are elegant and modestly priced, suggesting Ahsan intends his watches to be available outside of Dubai, a city famed for its wealth and opulence rather than its accessibility.
So what is my first impression of the Medini Celeritas?
It's a tasteful meca-quartz chronograph that ticks a lot of boxes. It's very affordable, has a timeless design and with additional strap options is a versatile piece. Let's take a closer look.
The Medini Celeritas Chronograph Watch in Detail
Often I'll praise a watch for its unique design or outlandish appearance and at other times I'll enjoy a watch for its simplicity or familiarity.
With the Celeritas, it's the latter.
The Celeritas is a straightforward watch that uses a recognisable design that compares favourably to similarly-styled watches. It's a proven aesthetic that blends tasteful design with chronograph functionality. It's probably best described as sporty elegance.
So there are no surprises here.
Like many good watches - particularly at the affordable end of the market - the familiar design and sound execution give the watch obvious appeal. That's where the Celeritas sits - as one of a number of well-designed and competitively priced quartz chronographs.
Crucially, it has a couple of additional selling points.
The first, and probably the biggest one to differentiate it from rivals, is the customisation process offered by Medini. The website has a section dubbed Atelier De Medini, where buyers can select their watch's features.
Ok, so at the minute there are only two models available, but it certainly shows the intention of the brand. Presumably, the options will expand as the brand does.
Currently, you can select the watch model, the dial, the strap and then the packaging. For the Celeritas there are three dial options - black, a reverse panda dial and a white dial with gold sub-dials. There's also a selection of leather straps to choose from and a similar number of leather cases.
I have the black dial, paired with a black leather strap and packaged in a tan leather case.
Oh, did I mention that each watch also comes with a couple of additional silicone straps? Mine has grey and green variations. As you'll see, I favoured the grey strap.
And what about the watch?
I've definitely followed the recent trend for smaller watches, having sung the praises of the 39mm Enoksen Fly and the 38mm Bulova Hack. At 38mm wide, the Celeritas is another modestly-sized and very comfortable watch.
The stainless steel case features a polished bezel and brushed sides, with short curved lugs that hug the wrist. That comfort works well with the option to customise the watch, offering a watch you really can wear every day. If you want to keep your watch collection down to a handful of watches, a versatile chronograph is always going to be a handy addition.
In keeping with the classic case, the pushers and crown are also well-sized, with the 20mm lugs offering plenty of options for straps.
The black textured dial gives the watch a refined look and has silver indices that don't infringe on the subdials. The only numerals appear at 12 and 6 o'clock. With the horizontal sub-dials, the watch face has a subtle appearance - the black variant being less sporty than the panda-dial option. The sub-dials display minutes and hours.
That get's us to the second feature that differentiates the Medini Celeritas from some of the other affordable chronographs it's competing against. It is equipped with Seiko's VK64 meca-quartz movement.
If you're not familiar with the movement, it's worth noting the main features.
The VK64 is a hybrid movement that combines both quartz and mechanical elements, in theory giving you the best of both worlds. The meca-quartz design means that it combines a traditional quartz crystal oscillator with a mechanical module. This gives the timekeeping accuracy of a quartz movement, but with the tactile feel of a mechanical chronograph.
It's a good choice for a watch in this price range and is noted on the case back text.
The leather strap oozes quality and looks great on the watch. However, as a personal preference, I wear the watch with the grey silicone strap - it's both more comfortable and more sporty than the leather. Importantly, both options have a time-saving quick-release feature so can be swapped out in seconds.
The Celeritas - it means Speed in Latin - is presented in a handsome leather case, with the watch lying flat inside. It's a small touch, but a handy one. The compact leather case sits within a bulkier card case giving you the option to tuck the watch away or box it for protection.
And that is Medini Watch Company in a nutshell.
There's always a choice. Pick your own dial. Select your strap. Choose your colour. Quartz or mechanical movement? Have a bit of both.
It's a versatile watch from a versatile brand. Let's hope that there are more models on the horizon.
Sometimes it's the familiarity of a design that we like. We don't want Cherry Coke or a new line of Fanta. We want the original recipe that we've come to love.
That's how I see the Celeritas from Medini.
It utilizes a recognisable classic chronograph design and works because we already like this style of watch.
Where Medini differentiates itself is in giving the customer the opportunity to customise the watch. To pick your model, select the dial of your choice and finish it off with a variety of straps. They'll even let you choose the storage case.
That makes the Celeritas a great choice if you're a fan of this design and fancy a personalised watch from a young and up and coming brand.
And of course, it's always nice to receive a parcel from Dubai.