For long-time readers of our site, Magrette is a brand that needs no introduction. Hailing from New Zealand, their cushion-cased watches have been favorably received, offering a great combination of styling and price. Today, we’ll be looking one of their latest iterations of the Moana Professional, the Vintage Brown. Along with offering a new colorway, it also serves to introduce their new travel wallet.


As should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the brand, the stainless steel case is 44mm, and houses the ever-trusty Miyota 9015 automatic movement (of note, this is the first time Magrette is using this movement). With the Professional nomenclature added to the watch, we see an automatic HEV (helium escape valve) added to the left side of the case – which, should you somehow manage to test out the 500m WR rating, would be of use. For the vast majority of us, that valve likely will never be put into action, other than to speak to the robustness built in to the watch.


As I mentioned, this should all be familiar stuff. The changes to this particular model are more stylistic than anything. The PVD (which is black or dark grey, depending on the light) coating on the case carries a matte finish, as does the ceramic insert on the bezel. It’s nice to see ceramic used on the bezel, as that will resist scratches much better than a resin or metal insert. Tucked inside that insert you’ve got a double-domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal, which covers up a new dial.


Not that the dial layout itself is that new – the fonts (and sizes of) used are familiar, and maintain the brand’s ease of readability. What’s new here is that they’ve got a chocolate brown dial, paired with “old radium” lume and a golden handset. This, of course, is where the Vintage part of the model name comes from. While no one will mistake this for an old dive watch, it’s a good change of pace to get a dial color you might not otherwise expect. The brown and black might at first seem like an odd pairing, but in practice, it actually works quite well.


The watch itself comes mounted on a standard (for Magrette) black polyurethane strap, which is fairly comfortable, and comes paired to a new deployant clasp (also PVD coated). The buckle on this clasp was the first minor issue I ran in to with the watch. While it locked into place properly, and I never felt like it was going to spring loose, the clasp itself (where it clips over the strap) had a bit of play to it that I wasn’t a fan of. Again, it didn’t seem like a safety issue for the watch, but it is one of those attention to detail sorts of things the brand hasn’t overlooked in the past.


The other detail that gave me some pause came from another strap that was included for our review, this time in a brown leather with contrasting black stitching. This is a suitably thick strap (given the size of the watch) in terms of overall size. Personally, I would have preferred to see something a bit thinner (like we had on the Regattare 2011), but that’s largely personal preference. The detail that I want to highlight here isn’t the thickness of the leather though – it’s the color. While it’s close in color to the dial, it’s not close enough, in my opinion, and that’s another missed opportunity. Had the dye been matched to the dial, then it would make for quite a great effect.


Then again, when my quibbles are with the straps included with a watch, you know we’re picking at some smaller details – and ones easily rectified by a search in the aftermarket for a different strap. To balance that out, you’ve got a rather nice travel wallet. The whole kit ships in a zippered case (gone is the pine box and tool roll the watches came in before), with the travel wallet in the upper portion. So, what would you use this wallet for? This is a great place to tuck away a spare strap or two, and a strap changing tool (and, some papers if you like). This is a slim option for travel that I’ve not seen before, and its a good one for those who aren’t on the road with more than one watch.


All told, this is, in my opinion, another solid entry into the Moana lineup at Magrette – especially when you consider the asking price is only $575 (plus $30 for shipping). My issues with the straps aside (my own deal, as I hold them to the levels seen on the 2011 Regattare), I think this is a watch that could find a home on many wrists. Well, not that many – this particular model is limited to 500 pieces worldwide. That means, if this is a watch that’s appealing to your own sense of style, you’ll probably want to move on it sooner rather than later. And if not, well, check out the rest of Magrette’s collection – there’s likely something in there for you (if you like cushion case dive watches), especially if you like a good dose of style and reliability with your next affordable watch.


Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Vintage
  • Price: $575 for one strap, or $610 for both straps  (plus $30 shipping)
  • Who’s it for?: The guy who’s been a fan of Magrette’s lineup to-date, but was looking for something a bit “earthier”
  • Would I wear it?: Yes – though I’d likely be searching for a different strap for it
  • What I’d change: A snugger buckle on the deployant clasp, and a more color-matched leather strap
  • The best thing about it: The combination of the matte finishes on the exterior of the case and the rich brown of the dial

And that grey denim showing up in the background? From the team over at Gustin, of course!

Last Update: April 9, 2014