June 30, 2017
by Ariel Adams
New Zealand-based Magrette watches as a brand is almost akin to a close friend. The brand started around when aBlogtoWatch started, and a Magrette timepiece was one of the first watches I reviewed for aBlogtoWatch, almost 10 years ago. Magrette has been there all along, steadily making better and better watches and continuing to sell out of limited editions which are comfortable on the wrist, well-made, a good value, and most importantly…nice to look at. Today I take a look at the Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Dive watch, a newer model that has at least two batches of watches already sold out, and that includes a few minor upgrades and updates from past Moana Pacific Professional watches.
This model family goes back to 2010 when Magrette first released the Moana Pacific Diver (review here). In 2013, Magrette released an update on the Moana Pacific Diver with a watch called the Moana Pacific Professional [Diver] which we reviewed here. The most recent versions of the Moana Pacific Professional are the Professional Steel and the Professional Black. Each of these models came out around the same time, and only differ in terms of the bezel color.
As the name of the watch model implies, the Moana Pacific Professional Steel has a brushed steel rotating bezel insert, while the black uses a DLC-coated black steel bezel insert. The choice is really up to aesthetic taste. What both of these models primarily offer which is a bit of an upgrade from previous Moana Pacific Professional watches is the movement – along with the handsome monochromatic color palette for the case and dial.
Replacing a Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic movement, this newer Moana Pacific Professional Steel watch houses a Swiss STP caliber STP1-11 automatic movement. Realistically I am not sure if the Swiss movement offers vastly better performance than the workhorse Miyota, and from a tech spec perspective the movements are both automatic, both operate at 4Hz (28,800bph) and both have around 44 hours of power reserve. STP is the Switzerland-based mechanical movement factory which is owned by the Fossil Group.
Compared to the Miyota, the STP movement is going to cost a bit more, be more nicely decorated, and come with a bit more prestige value. Most would agree that it is an upgrade, but one that will not affect most owners in an appreciable manner, especially since you can’t even see the movement through the solid case back. With that said, the price of the Moana Pacific Professional Steel with the STP movement is within about $50 what the price for the Miyota-based model was (it isn’t produced any longer anyways), so it isn’t really worth a discussion comparing the two. Bottom line is that Magrette wanted to offer a bit more for this version of the Moana Pacific Professional dive watch, and they did.
As a guy who knows about watches, it is never lost on me that Magrette’s watches tend to be an aesthetic melding of Panerai and Anonimo – with a bit of a South Pacific twist to them. With that said, where Magrette lacks some design originality, they more than make up for it with value and an attention to detail. There are very few brands out there which can offer such an enjoyable and high-quality watch wearing experience for this type of money. Compare the Moana Pacific Professional Steel watch to many other timepieces at double, triple, or even quadruple the price and you’ll see where Magrette shines. Let me put it this way, the average Panerai is a really decent watch, but also costs most than 10 times as much as the Moana Pacific Professional Steel.
On paper, the Moana Pacific Professional Steel is a capable timepiece with a 44mm wide brushed steel case with 500m of water resistance, an automatic helium release valve, and a thick sapphire crystal. It is a large watch, but one that wears comfortably thanks to the curved lugs and the fitted rubber strap.