The MAGRETTE Moana Pacific came in a lovely little eco pine wooden box with a sliding lid. Inside and carefully rolled up in high-grade New Zealand canvas was the watch along with an additional black rubber strap. The watch came very much as one would imagine it to have been presented back in the 50s if it’d been bought from one of the great outdoor supply stores of the time. A lovely beginning to my vintage inspired Moana Pacific experience!
A 1950s style case in brushed steel, a clean black dial and simple handset; there are some notes of Panerai and others who were producing these kinds of watches back in those days, but not so much so, as it could be called a homage. In fact the Moana Pacific achieves its classic good looks by blending both vintage and modern elements.
DIAL An elegant matte black dial with a minimalist layout. The single digit Arabic numerals have been preceded with a ‘zero’, a nice modern twist that reflects Magrette’s DNA. A 24hr time scale has been subtly placed above the hours and markers, the font a dark almost burgundy red, you know they’re there but they aren’t crying out for attention. I love the scripted ‘Moana Pacific text in yellow, it has a surfy / beachy quality that takes me to a remote coast-line off New Zealand’s North Island, which is being pounded and battered by heavy swells, not a bad place to be, even better with the Moana Pacific strapped to my wrist! ;)
HANDS The Moana Pacific has been fitted with a very simple handset of the type typically used in the 50s. The minute and hour hands apart from their length are much the same, however they still remain distinguishable from each other. They are in no way overpowering, quite the opposite in fact, they go a long way to maintaining the overall balance of the dial. Both minute and hour hands have been applied with luminous material, but the second hand lacks any lume or a colored pointer.
The case recalls those dive watches of the 1950’s with its beautiful clean lines, bulging case sides, that are so characteristic and so appealing, and those lovely wide spaces in-between the lugs, just begging for multiple strap changes. The sides of the case have been brushed whereas the upper portions of the case and lugs have been polished. The polishing gives the Moana Pacific a dressier feel; I don’t dislike this, but I’m in all honesty more a fan of all-brushed cases. The case measures 44mm.
BEZEL The Moana Pacific’s 120-click bezel creates a lovely feeling of contrast. The polished coin edging works beautifully against the matte black bezel insert. The bezel features an elapsed dive time scale, which has been marked out in bronze / metallic with 15, 30, 45 markers. There’s a triangular marker at 12 o’ clock with a circular lume pip; the lume pip is a little off center, not so much as to upset me, but it does fall a little to the right of the triangle. The bezel is lovely and firm, its movement however a little stiff and awkward.
CASEBACK The Moana Pacific has large brushed stainless steel screwdown caseback. Its design again is clean and minimalist. A large portion of the it (its center) has been finished in satin and engraved with a bold brushed Magrette logo. The outer perimeter has been engraved with the watch’s specifications and limited number of 500. It also proudly sports the text ‘New Zealand’.
CROWN An oversized polished screw down crown proudly juts out from the side of the case. The polishing compliments the tops of the lugs and case, whilst contrasting with the brushed sides. The crown is signed. The crown stem suffers from a very slight wobble, not terrible, but not quite as sturdy as I like on sports watch let alone a diver, room for improvement, but certainly not a real cause for concern. Remember folks when it comes to crown stems I have issues! ;)
GLASS The Moana Pacific has a thick double domed sapphire crystal. I’m not sure of the exact thickness, but would guess it’s between 3.5 or 4mm thick. The inside of the crystal has been applied with an anti-reflective coating.
The Moana Pacific has a respectable 500m or 1650ft of water resistance. There’s something very reassuring about a 500 meter depth rating especially when you consider this isn’t a really a tool watch.
The Miyota 8215 powers the Moana Pacific; this is 21 jewel automatic movement with hours, minutes and seconds, this one is not utilizing a date function. Aesthetically the dial does benefit from the lack of date, but I have to admit I have really missed the date function this week. The 8215 is non-hacking, which means that the second hand continues to sweep even when the crown is extended
The Moana Pacific sports a black textured leather strap with contrasting red stitching; it complements the 24hr scale and text on the dial as well as its sporty red underneath. The leather is soft and supple, which makes it extremely comfortable to wear. Because of its suppleness the strap doesn’t suffer from the kind of stress that is usually caused from bending thicker leather. The additional rubber strap again is extremely soft and comfortable, it serves brilliantly as means to dress-down and sport-up the look of the watch.
BUCKLE A lovely solid brushed stainless steel buckle, which has been signed with the Magrette logo. The buckle has been thoughtfully attached to the strap with screw pins that tighten from one end, whereas the lugs use standard pins. I pay a fair amount of attention to buckles, so am happy to report that the Moana Pacific buckle fairs pretty well.
Hours, mins, secs. 120 click divers bezel with elapsed dive time scale. Superluminova applied hands and markers, AR coated glass and a clean dial layout offer much of the functionality required of a divers watch. The Moana Pacific does however lack a date function and as mentioned before there’s no lume on its second hand.
The watch itself has been constructed from 316-L stainless steel, it has a sapphire crystal. Mechanical movements can be passed from generation to generation, so it will no doubt out last its owner. The only things I’m not too sure about are: how well the bezel insert will hold up over time and how tough the leather strap is, will it hold up to water? These things are usually pretty easily and cheaply replaced though.
The hands and markers have been applied with green C3 Superluminova. The lume isn’t particularly bright, but is really quite long lasting, so thumbs up! I would rate it, average to good. There’s some lume on the bezel pip at 12 o’clock.
485USD plus 30USD for worldwide shipping. The Moana Pacific is a Limited Edition of 500 pieces. I think the watch offers exceptional value for money. There are no bells or whistles on this watch, but what you get is a nicely made diver that offers classic good looks for a very modest investment. There’s no doubt about it, the Moana Pacific looks far more expensive than it actually is!
ALSO CONSIDER BENARUS Moray II
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS The Moana Pacific is (as far as I know) New Zealand’s first ever divers watch, novelty aside this is a great achievement and one that fellow Kiwis should be proud of. MAGRETTE have produced a cracking watch that exudes charm, sophistication and elegance and at the same time fairs pretty well as a diver.
Many thanks to Dion for arranging such a pleasurable watch to review.