Today, we’ll have a look at a new diver from a fairly new brand out of Thailand, Maranez. It wasn’t until recently that I had even heard of the brand, and once I saw some information, I contacted them, and they were kind enough to send over this review sample.
The watch in question is their Racha, and at first glance, it shares styling cues with both Benarus and Magrette – a very good thing in my book. Of course, these days, a new dive watch hitting the market isn’t notable in and of itself. So, before we get into the build and design, let’s have a quick run-down of the specs:
- Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic
- Case: 44mm stainless steel, 15.5mm thick; 24mm lugs; screw-down crown
- Weight: 160g (on leather strap)
- Crystal: double-domed sapphire, AR-coated on the inside
- Dial: ceramic-coated, C3 lume
- WR: 1000m (that’s not a typo – it has a 1000m rating) with HEV
- LE: 50 pieces each of date/no-date
As you can likely guess by the movement used here (which is a solid performer, of course), this will be a more affordable model (and we’ll cover that later). Past the limited edition nature, the specs don’t necessarily separate it from the rest of the pack. What makes the Racha stand out?
For starters, you’ve got a very solid design. The cushion case is well executed, and the finishing on it is spot-on. It’s brushed surfaces contrast nicely with the high-polish you get from the dial and one of the included bezels – and yes, this includes two bezels. The first bezel is black with a sapphire inlay, and has lume on the underside. The second bezel is a machined and polished bezel, with a single lume pip at 12 o’clock.
For daily wear, I really like the sapphire bezel (of course, I’m a sucker for those). That said, the machined bezel really does change the nature of the watch up quite a bit – it lightens up the watch (in terms of color), almost softening it a bit. These bezels are held in place by four screws (yes, those screws in the bezel are actually functional), and are easily loosened by the included screwdriver.
Once you loosen each one up, the bezel will pop up (no prying needed), and installation is the reverse – press the new one into place, holding it down until you have the screws tightened. They also include a second screwdriver, which fits perfectly into the lug hole for unscrewing the bar, allowing you to swap in a different strap.
When the watch ships, it comes on a semi-distressed leather strap (quite thick), which complements the heavy steel watch nicely. They also include two different rubber straps (one with a Pre-V buckle, one with a thumbnail buckle), so you can swap things around to your liking, or whatever activity you find yourself engaged in.
This means, between the tools, straps, and extra bezels, you need a place to store all of this – and perhaps a work surface. Capping the whole package, Maranez has included a five-slot tool roll which holds everything in place, as well as providing that nice surface to protect the watch while you swap things around.
As you can tell, there’s a lot that’s been included in here – and I’m sure you’re wondering what it costs. Surprisingly, for a limited-edition watch of this nature, and all the add-ins, it’s only $599 (plus another $50 for shipping) – which adds up to quite an interesting value proposition for a low-volume automatic diver.
While Maranez is a new brand without an established track record, this watch feels (and acts) really solidly put together. Past that, it (and the add-ins) share enough similarities with other, more proven, brands I’ve reviewed that I’m tempted to say they’re getting built in similar factories. That doesn’t guarantee anything, of course, but it could ease the mind.
In the end, I think this is a great option for someone looking for a beefy diver to head to the beach or pool with this summer – and I’m looking forward to what they come up with next. Let me know what you think of the Racha in the comments, and if there any other boutique divers you feel are getting overlooked.
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