I’ve got a soft spot in my heart (and my collection) for Magrette, as their Regattare 2011 was the first mechanical watch to enter my collection (oddly enough, just before I started writing here, as well). If you recall, we also brought your attention to some new chronographs they were introducing.
Today, we’ve got a hands-on review of one of those chronos – the Moana Pacific PVD. Right off the bat, you can tell that this watch shares some design DNA with the rest of the collection. Most prominently, you’ve got the cushion case shape, as well as drilled lugs (easier strap changes there) and alternating matte/polished finishes.
Visually, this is a striking watch. Yes, it’s a dark one with the black dial, smooth PVD finish, and ceramic bezel insert, but it’s very readable. This is large part due to the generously sized (and lumed) indices, as well as the 12 and 6 o’clock indicators. It can be a little tricky reading out the chrono seconds, but there is a legible scale on the inner bezel if the light is right. Similarly, the laser etched numerals on the movable (outer) bezel will take some getting used to.
That said – I don’t mind it. I appreciate that those scales are there if/when you need them. But, when you don’t (which is most of the time) they just fade into the background on the watch. The more critical aspects (main time and the subdials) are perfectly legible in the light or the dark. I also appreciate how balanced the layout of the watch is. You’ve only got two sub-dials as a result (main seconds at 9 o’clock, 30-minute chrono at 3 o’clock), but that’s a tradeoff I’ll take. Balancing those, of course, you’ve got the large 12 and 6 on the dial.
Of course, as I’ve said time and again, a pretty watch just isn’t enough for us here. We’re just as interested (if not more) in the hard specs of the movement and the construction. For a movement, we’ve got one I’ve not experienced before – the hand-wound Seagull ST1901 (for a thorough dissection of the movement, check out this WUS thread.) In the limited time I’ve had with the piece, the movement has been flawless. It’s kept accurate time, and the chrono functions work quite nicely – including the “snap-back” you get with the second hand on a good mechanical chrono.
Those functions are controlled by the pushers found flanking the crown; all three of these case protrusions screw down. Of course, the crown screwing in helps ensure the 500m water resistance rating; the pushers screwing in (well, sleeves surrounding the pushers) help ensure they’re not accidentally engaged. These are set into a 44mm case (15mm thick) that has a double-domed (and AR-coated) sapphire crystal set into the 60-click unidirectional bezel.
Finishing the case off, you’ve got short 24mm lugs (drilled, as mentioned earlier) that hold in place one of (4) different straps you can choose from. Our review unit has the chocolate brown strap with light brown stitching, and a PVD thumbnail buckle. I found the strap to be quite comfortable, and the leather on it is excellent (it smells great, to boot). Of course, if you’d prefer a black strap, there are two black leather straps (red stitching or black), or a black rubber strap.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on with this watch that you’d reasonably expect to drive the price up – mechanical chronograph, PVD finish, sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel insert to mention just a few. Here’s where things get really interesting – pricing for the Moana Pacific is only $545 on leather ($535 on rubber), plus another $30 for shipping – and that includes a nice canvas travel roll.
For what you’re getting here, this is a steal in my book. I really don’t think you’ll find this combination of specifications and aesthetics at this price point (and if you think I’m overlooking a model, let me know in the comments). If you want an intersting chronograph to add to your collection, you owe it to yourself to out this 1000-piece limited edition.
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