The dial design is pretty good, but has some quirks to it. The inner part of the dial is rather clean and easy to read with only the date window to interfere with symmetry. This part of the dial I like, although legibility could be improved by actually adding some color or contrast to the hands but this is a minor issue. More important to me is the issue of dial glare. It isn’t a huge deal, but in the light the gently curved sapphire crystal reflects a lot of light, which could have been helped with the application of top-applied AR-coating. The crystal seems to have AR-coating on the bottom, but a top coating would be great as well. With that said, this is a minor point and I bring it up because I like the watch as much as I do.
Staying on the topic of the dial, you’ll see how the face has a peripheral ring with some additional markers on it. For the most part, this is merely cosmetic even though it seems to be relevant to diving. I would call this peripheral ring a style element which reminds me a lot of what Rolex did with the Sea-Dweller Deepsea diver. I am not in love with the dial’s peripheral ring, but it doesn’t really bother me all that much – and quite possibly without the ring, the dial would look a bit too empty. At the least, the ring is an applied element and it is on a plane just above the middle dial – so it helps add some visual depth to the face.
Dial luminant is pretty good and the choice of color is (green) C3 Super-LumiNova. What is particularly nice is that the luminant is both on the dial, as well as painted in the cut numerals on the rotating bezel. This offers a dramatic “night shot” of the Moana Pacific Professional Steel in the dark.
From the engraved crown to the custom strap buckles, rubber strap, and deployant clasp, you get a lot of “Magrette” branding which makes the watch feel more interesting and part of a brand as opposed to being a “me-too” design. With the watch, Magrette also includes three straps, including a rubber strap, a leather strap, and a gray NATO-style strap. Little extras like that make the buyer of such watches feel valued, and in truth, the wearing experience of the watch changes a lot with the strap. Not merely from a visual perspective, but the material and texture of different straps can appreciably modify the wearing experience.
As I said before, I’ve come to trust the Magrette watch product experience over the years after being impressed time and time again. Of great importance for me is that each new Magrette watch I review ups the ante at least a little bit, demonstrating that the brand is keen to keep improving their offerings without appreciably increasing the pricing. If you are looking for an elegant dive-style sports watch from a smaller company with niche brand appeal, then Magrette is going to be on your short list. Price for the limited edition of 500 pieces Magrette Moana Pacific Professional Steel watch is $645 USD (the pre-order price was just $545 USD). magrette.com
>Model: Moana Pacific Professional Steel
>Price: $645 USD
>Size: 44mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Dive watch lover on a budget who wants a lot of bang for his buck and has a soft spot for smaller yet refined timepiece makers. Also anyone who likes to start stories with “this is from New Zealand…”
>Worst characteristic of watch: Sapphire crystal could use AR coating on the top. Periphery ring around the dial is a quirky design touch. Rubber strap looks nice, but the material is one that will age quickly and needs to be replaced in a few years most likely. Critics will still complain that the case and dial design are not original enough.
>Best characteristic of watch: Another great value from the brand in a handsome an durable package. Really shows you how much it can actually cost to make a great dive watch.