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The Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise is the second watch from the revived French watch brand that I had the pleasure of testing. Paying homage to the first movement from 1969, the functional diver has some exciting details in store that I would like to show you.
La Brestoise – the second watch from the Parisian manufacture
Le Forban Sécurité Mer entered the international stage for the first time in years in 2019. The successful revival of the traditional French watchmaker was accompanied by the Malouine, the first new watch in a long time. The Le Forban Sécurité Mer Malouine was also the first timepiece from the French company that I was allowed to wear. During my test, the diver could convince me with its loving design reminiscent of old divers, a good quality and with an attractive price of only 490 euros.
Now the second diver of the watch company from Paris appears. The watch, which follows the Malouine, is called Brestoise. A functional diver, a real “tool watch” – that’s how Le Forban Sécurité Mer describes its latest model. The timepiece is intended to recall the first watch that Le Forban Sécurité Mer released in 1969.
The two unequal sisters
While the two are not official sister models, they are at least cousins – or unequal sisters? Well, that is my impression when the Malouine and the Brestoise lie side by side on my desk for the first time. In fact, there are many similarities between the two models. This already starts with the naming. The Malouine ist named after the port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany, whose history is strongly influenced by shipping. As you can already guess, the Brestoise is named after Brest, also a port city and just about 200 kilometers away from Saint-Malo.
The two watches look similar – at least at first glance. I particularly liked the compact dimensions of the Malouine in the first review. The Brestoise is the same size. This means that both models buck the prevailing trend of huge divers, which I personally find incredibly refreshing.
At second glance, the Brestoise is a bit more functional and sporty than the Malouine, which is mainly due to the very large and legible hour indices on the black dial. This makes the term tool watch much more tangible. The original design was especially adapted to the requirements of the French Navy. So, the sporty-functional look with the black silicone strap is no coincidence.
The Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise on the wrist
On the wrist, the just 39 millimeters look very nice. The fairly flat height also makes the watch look very sporty. Itselegance, which I already admired on the Malouine, is nevertheless not neglected. The Brestoise is made to be worn not only with a diving suit, but also with a suit or business shirt. I like its pleasant restraint. In theory, the diver is wearable as a ladies’ watch due to its compact diameter, too. However, due to its rather sporty appearance, the Brestoise is a men’s watch in my opinion.
Its home is the office, pool and coral reef. The Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise is, at least visually, a real all-rounder that seems to adapt perfectly to any new situation. However, how functional and high-quality the French diver’s watch really is I want to find out in detail.
Solid and functional: the case of the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise
In terms of basic construction, the cases of the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise and the Malouine are almost identical. The case of the Brestoise is classically round and very solidly built. The manufacturer’s Paris workshop uses only high-quality materials. 316L stainless steel is used for the case of the Brestoise. This is particularly durable, especially when the watch is frequently exposed to salt water. 12.75 millimeters in height makes together with the diameter result a very harmonious appearance.
The unidirectional bezel is made for diving. It can be used to set “countdowns” that indicate how long you can remain underwater. With 120 clicks, you can set a countdown that counts to a maximum of one hour and is accurate to within 30 seconds. As with the Malouine, I really like the finish and the feel when operating the bezel. Overall, it is noticeable how narrow the bezel is.
The watch crystal appears very classic, and Le Forban Sécurité Mer opted for very resistant and high-quality sapphire for the material. This is not a matter of course for a watch in the mid three-digit segment. The sapphire crystal has a very strong curvature, reminiscent of the historical diving watches of the 20th century. Compared to many other divers, the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise thus exudes a very special charm even in business, at a meeting or at a business dinner.
A steering wheel in the case back
Anyone who has had difficulty distinguishing between the two French watches will notice a serious difference when looking at the six-screw case back. In contrast to the engraved diving helmet of the Malouine, the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise has an engraved steering wheel in front of stylized waves, which gives the diving watch even more individuality. Personally, I am a big fan of these maritime details that make the Brestoise a special diver’s watch. The circular part in the center of the caseback is recessed into the case, adding texture to the watch. The Brestoise’s specifications are neatly engraved on the rim.
On the surface of the screw-down crown is the iconic anchor, Le Forban Sécurité Mer’s signature trademark. The crown itself is fluted and therefore appropriately easy to operate. In everyday life, it is enclosed by a discreet crown protector, which is why it does not interfere.
Thanks to the screw-down case back, the screw-down crown and the high-quality material selection with sapphire crystal and stainless steel, Le Forban Sécurité Mer can guarantee its Brestoise a water resistance of up to 150 meters. This is certainly not the absolute top in the diving watch comparison. But let’s be honest – who among us amateur divers will ever reach depths beyond 150 meters?
Equipped with an automatic caliber
Inside the Brestoise works a Japanese automatic caliber, whose efficiency and longevity are more than solid. The Miyota 8215 can boast a frequency of 21600 vibrations and a power reserve of an absolutely sufficient 40 hours. Its functions are quickly summarized: Hour, minute, second and date. Exactly what you really need.
Priority: Functionality – the dial
In my opinion the dial is the most successful part of the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise. Even at a cursory glance, you can tell that this is a true tool watch, whose top priority is functionality, i.e. easy readability.
The eye is immediately caught by the large, thickly applied Arabic numerals, which are identifiable even from a distance. Moreover, Le Forban Sécurité Mer has coated their surfaces with luminous material, which guarantees perfect readability and functionality, especially in low-light conditions underwater. The inner ring structuring the dial has disappeared. Even here, the design includes only the most necessary. The large hands in retro style give the watch a certain charm. Its workmanship leaves nothing to be desired.
What else does the functional diver’s watch in a chic business look need? A date window. This is rectangular and located at 3 o’clock. You’ll find the playful model name Brestoise above 6 o’clock, as with other watches from Le Forban Sécurité Mer.
A bracelet like in the 60s
The Brestoise is equipped by Le Forban Sécurité Mer with the well-known Tropic bracelet. This rather bulky bracelet with a lug width of 20 millimeters is black and is nowadays made of silicone. Already towards the end of the 60s, it was an essential part of functional diving watches, including the ancestor of the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise. At that time, however, it was made of rubber.
The sporty bracelet has a kind of wave pattern on the inside. This not only looks maritime, but also serves its purpose. On the wrist, it ensures that the Brestoise sits firmly and does not slip off under wet conditions. Consequently, the wearing comfort was very good during my test days. The thorn clasp made of steel looks outstanding.
My conclusion on the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise
There is no end to the revival of retro-look diving watches. How could it? After all, there are diving watches like the Le Forban Sécurité Mer Brestoise, which are very popular with customers. However, the reasons for this are not only the classic noble design with the special characteristics of a functional diver’s watch. The workmanship as well as an attractive price are decisive, too.
The Brestoise has quality in any case! Its materials are well selected and impeccably processed. In addition, you should consider how inexpensive the diver’s watch is in comparison. The recommended retail price that Le Forban Sécurité Mer quotes for the Brestoise is 490 euros.
Unlike the Malouine, the Brestoise is only available in a black design. Nevertheless, there is no “better” watch among the two. If you appreciate elegance, you’ll go for the Malouine. If you prefer something more functional and straightforward, you should take a closer look at the Brestoise.