Meccaniche Veneziane Review

Initially this seemed like a great Italian watch microbrand to partner with, the two brothers running the brand hailing from the Venice region of Italy, the straps handcrafted in Tuscany, and the solid walnut presentation boxes being hand made in Italy too. With several successful Kickstarter campaigns behind them, and a recent GMT watch campaign having over 800 backers on Kickstarter, it seemed Meccaniche Veneziane were poised for success. Instead we've found that we've had to drop this brand like a hot potato, and refund most of our customers who pre-ordered the GMT model.

Problems began when the brand started a classic game of bait and switch. First switching from the advertised top grade movement to the lowest grade possible in the GMT, an elabore grade movement, but one they then promised to "regulate to top grade specs" with an average accuracy of no worse than 4 seconds per day. Then after payment was collected, Meccaniche Veneziane switched from the ETA movement backers had paid for to a less expensive Sellita movement. At the end of the day, when our first batch of GMT watches arrived extremely late, despite the promises (even on the warranty certificates) that the movements had been regulated twice over, none had been and we were in receipt of watches that varied in accuracy far worse than top grade specifications, obviously unregulated, and with a lower amplitude than would typically be expected from a new movement. We also initially received none of the extra straps that were invoiced and paid for with each watch. (These arrived months later after a lot of badgering from us since MV refused to send them at first.)

We like to be candid with customers so gave our customers a frank explanation and a choice. A couple opted to take the watches as they were, and we'd send the appropriate extra straps to them later at our cost. The rest went for full refunds, which we immediately paid on the spot. We did keep a few watches and sent them off to our watch maker. Some had factory markings showing that the movement wasn't newly manufactured and was a year or two old. At any rate we paid to have the watches regulated to around 0 to 2 seconds per day accuracy, something they should've been in the first place.

Many other backers (an unusually large percentage) have been very dissatisfied with Meccaniche Veneziane due to numerous QA issues. Quite a few folks have had misaligned GMT hands for example. The lack of QA has been very noticeable. On other models we received from them, we had to reject around 30% from our own testing, and another microbrand watch retailer wrote about a staggering 95% rejection rate. (They also stopped carrying Meccaniche Veneziane as a result.) Sending a watch in for repair or replacement also has been problematic. We did send in a 3 hand watch with a simple issue, such as a disconnected hand. After fighting to get it back repaired, we only got it back quickly after six months when we "went legal" on Meccaniche Veneziane. Needless to say when it did come back, it wouldn't run properly and we had to send that off to our own watch maker to service. If this is how a microbrand treats a bulk purchaser and their authorized dealer, then you can imagine the pains for individual customers.

It's not normal to expose dirty laundry in the watch business but we want to help our customers make informed decisions so we're making an exception here. We're often asked when will we be carrying the next Meccaniche Veneziane model from folks who've fallen for the good looks but have no knowledge of the antics this microbrand gets up to. As the saying goes, don't buy the watch, buy the brand.