New Zealand-based watch brand Magrette is best known for its divers, and they have turned 10 years old in 2017. To celebrate the occasion, the brand has launched a new dive watch called the Moana Pacific Professional Kara. This is the first watch from Magrette with a titanium case. Kara is the Maori word for “flag,” and was used here in conjunction with a color scheme inspired by the New Zealand flag – red, white, and blue.

The Moana Pacific Professional has been a well-received watch first introduced in 2013 followed by an update – including a new Swiss movement – late last year. While almost all of Magrette’s offerings start off with a cushion case, the Magrette Moana Pacific differentiates itself by being the only watch from the brand with an outer diver or GMT bezel. The brand uses the word Professional at the end of the name for watches that are rated to 500m of water resistance.

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The case of the Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Kara remains identical in proportions and design to the original Moana Pacific Professional. However, instead of steel, Magrette has employed grade 5 titanium for the first time. So while it measures 44mm by 15.3mm, it should wear lighter thanks to titanium’s lower density. You also gain the upside of titanium’s higher tensile strength. The bezel for the display caseback is steel, however, and I’m not sure of the reason for this.

The screw-down crown has a safety feature that Magrette calls the “safety alert collar.” Essentially, the inside rim of the crown is painted red so if it is unscrewed, you can tell immediately. This part disappears into the caseband when the crown is screwed down completely, as it must be during normal wear. The bezel on the Kara is ceramic with a matte finish and all markers are filled with Super-LumiNova BGW9. This is a nice feature for those who use the dive timing bezel for things like timing their parking meter (if you need to read off the elapsed time in low light conditions).

This is the first time that a Moana Pacific Pro watch has been equipped with a display caseback. Some of you who follow the brand’s developments may recall that Magrette updated the Moana Pacific Pro with a new movement last year, the STP1-11 which replaced the previous Miyota 9015. The STP1-11 is essentially a clone of the ETA 2824 produced by Fossil Group and found in watches from their group companies such as Zodiac. At 28,800bph and with a 42-hour power reserve, this is a familiar, reliable movement and a good choice for a tool watch. The rotor is black in color, with Geneva stripes and the Moana logo engraved onto it. While there isn’t a whole lot to see in the movement, the fact that Moana can achieve 500m of water resistance with a display back is quite remarkable given the pricing of the watch.

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As mentioned earlier, the colors on the dial and bezel are inspired by the New Zealand flag. With a blue dial and bezel and white markers, legibility is no issue. All the hour markers and hands are also filled with identical lume to the bezel. I quite like how Moana prints the water resistance rating along the chapter ring at the top right. Finally, the date window has been removed, and there is no date display. As someone who doesn’t really like them – I personally welcome this decision but it may bother others.

The Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Kara represents a nice evolutionary step for the brand with the use of titanium and a few minor updates – like the safety collar and ceramic bezel. While I’m not sure if there’s a time limit after which you can no longer be considered a microbrand, Magrette is continuing with their practice of opening for pre-orders first with deliveries scheduled for the end of the year. At $685 (plus shipping) there is a premium over the standard Moana Pacific Pro for the titanium and the display back but it still remains a strong value proposition for someone looking for a good-looking tool watch. The Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Kara ships on a blue rubber strap and can be pre-ordered online at their website.

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