From Paris to the President – The LMM-01 Field Watch Review

If it’s good enough for President Emmanuel Macron, it’s probably good enough for my wrist.

If “thank you” is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “merci” – phew, you’re one of the normal ones. If a field watch was what appeared, welcome to the rabbit hole along with the rest of us – you’re far too deep to escape now.

While I have since learned to recognise their watches, the Merci brand was (initially) completely foreign to me. Literally; I live in Singapore where Ikea reigns as the king of all things furniture (they really should start making wrist watches on top of clocks eh?). “Merci” is likely to draw up images of Delifrance or Paris Baguette (which is actually from Korea), both of which are bakeries, not a French lifestyle brand.

Having never been there before, I’ve turned to the internet for some education. In a nutshell:

  • Merci is a lifestyle brand, with products ranging from furniture to fashion
  • It’s situated in the heart of Paris, with a lovely red Fiat parked in front of the store
  • Being in the store is apparently like being in an editorial magazine. There’s also a used books cafe, a cine-cafe and art exhibitions
Photo Credits: Merci

Words don’t do the brand justice, and I suggest you head on over to their lovely website, where the vibes will wash over you in an instance. Everything just looks so aesthetic – it’s like Ikea, but atas (Singaporean colloquial for fancy/bougie). Clearly, these people know how to design stuff well.

With such a poetic backstory laced with romantic design, taking that step into producing watches leaves me unsurprised, but admittedly impressed. It turns out then managing director, Arthur Gerbi, is himself a watch lover who had always wanted to design his own watches. He didn’t fancy the idea of connected watches – he wanted to be “present”, and thus the LMM-01 was born.

Merci’s original launch had 2 models, one being powered by a Ronda 513 movement while the other being powered by an ETA 2801-2 caliber. The latter was spotted on French President Emmanuel Macron’s wrist. Talk about national pride! The LMM-01 Field Watch featured here today was part of their second launch, the LMM-01 Project Special Collection.

The Case & Specifications

Merci provides 2 measurements for the case size, specifying the “diameter with wheel” as 40mm, and “diameter without wheel” as 38mm. My own measurements of the stainless steel case excluding the crown do match the 38mm mentioned, but with the crown included, it was closer to 41mm.

Factoring the drilled lugs, actual lug-to-lug is roughly 45mm, with a lug width of 19mm. However, the case measures around 47mm from tip-to-tip. The LMM-01 is by no means large, but I felt it wore bigger than its measurements would suggest. This is likely due to the flatter profile of the case shape, with the lugs sloping downwards towards the ends.

The crown is located at 3 o’ clock, with some grooving to improve grip. The crown is of a decent size and is easy to operate. No signed crown for this one though I’ve never been hard up on that before.

The flat profile is evident when viewed from the side. Excuse the camera reflection.

The LMM-01 comes in at roughly 11mm thick, with a double-domed mineral glass contributing to that height. The step case features a polished finish that catches the light nicely in contrast to the brushed surfaces on the rest of the case. This also helps to add a bit of flair to an otherwise military-like aesthetic.

The stainless steel caseback is simple and features an engraved Merci Instruments logo, together with the “PROJECT SPECIAL” label. Small text in french indicates the movement is manufactured in Morioka, Japan i.e Seiko.

There is strangely no mention of the water resistance on the watch itself, nor is anything written on the website. Hodinkee’s review details it as “splash proof”, which I assume means 3ATM of water resistance suitable for daily use.

Despite being named the “Field Watch”, I find the lack of documented water resistance puzzling, and while the field watch aesthetic has clearly formed the basis of the design language here, the robustness has not necessarily translated into all the specifications.

The Dial

While the LMM-01 Field Watch adopts a classic military style dial, it manages to do so tastefully while retaining a modern look and feel to it. The dial is highly legible, with white indices printed on a black background. Merci mentions the font is hand drawn; I find the indices have a retro yet crisp look.

A minute track runs around the edge of the dial, with circular pips to demarcate each 5 minute block. The only text printed on the dial is the model name “LMM-01” found below the 12 o’clock index, giving the dial a minimalist, clean look.

Matching white, syringe hands have been used for the hour and minute hands. The syringe tip of the minute hand stretches to the outer track, and reading the time is done easily.

The syringe hands are filled with super-luminova that glow with a green tinge. The circular pips are also lumed, albeit less so in comparison with the hands.

The Movement

The LMM-01 Field Watch is powered by a Seiko VH31 quartz caliber, and here’s where it gets interesting. The VH31 belongs to Seiko’s family of mecaquartz movements – a fusion between the best elements of both worlds. Despite being a quartz movement, the VH31 mimics the smooth sweep of a mechanical watch while retaining the accuracy of quartz. The second hand sweeps at 4 beats per second; in comparison, a typical automatic movement would have a 6 beats per second sweep. At a glance however, most wouldn’t notice the difference.

The movement is accurate to +/- 15 seconds with an expected battery life of around 2 years.

The Strap

I got this piece pre-owned, and it came on a grey NATO. On the Merci site however, it seems that this grey variant is no longer available, with the watch coming on a default black. I found the NATO strap to be one of the more comfortable ones, with the nylon material offering a soft touch while maintaining its durability. The steel buckles feature a rounder profile, and the strap feels generally well made.


While I did not try out the watch on other straps (I don’t currently own any other watches with a 19mm lug width – why 19mm anyway?), the LMM 01 Field Watch has all the makings of a strap monster. I can see the watch doing well on almost any strap, in any setting.

Merci offers multiple strap options for their watches, and provides a nifty customiser on their site that lets you preview how the watch may look like on a different strap, so head on there for a better idea.

The Price

As at the time of writing, the LMM-01 Field Watch retails at 250 euros (268 USD / 356 SGD), direct from Merci’s site. The price isn’t unreasonable, and seems to be consistent or slightly cheaper than other microbrands that offer mecaquartz pieces. At this price point however, there are quite a few alternatives especially from brands such as Seiko, Orient and Citizen, which may offer better specs.

Given the specifications, my personal take is that the LMM-01 isn’t exactly the best of value propositions – it could do with better water resistance or a sapphire crystal. However, the watch itself isn’t money grab; if you know what you’re looking for, this piece can definitely be something to enjoy.

Overall Thoughts

I’ve always like the idea of a field watch and found them more practical than dive watches – they’re robust pieces ready for all terrains, but with a slimmer profile and subtlety. Born out of function, the field watch has developed its own unique form that remains timeless. In this aspect, the LMM-01 Field Watch has earned its namesake, maintaining the classic styling while adding a modern twist in a package that is ready to go-anywhere-do-anything.

However, for me, the watch lacks in 2 areas: the crystal and water resistance. While it is true that a mineral crystal is probably good enough, and I’ll probably never dive deeper than the bottom of my local pool, it is worth noting that there are other watches out there with better specifications at a similar price. The competition in this price range can get very intense, especially for the big brands.

That being said, you seldom hear of a French watch, much less a French watch worn by the French president. With an interesting backstory, the LMM-01 Field Watch is a representation of Merci’s design ethos and is definitely a welcome addition to the watch scene.

From the desk to the jungles, the LMM-01 Field Watch performs its role dutifully as an everyday piece



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