I’ve been reviewing Magrette watches for almost as long as I’ve been writing about watches and running aBlogtoWatch. Over the years, I’ve seen the boutique New Zealand-based watchmaker experiment and evolve, but never lose their touch. That touch is to produce well-priced dive-style watches with retro-appeal and modern sensibility. The Moana Pacific family of Magrette watches has seen a number of variants over the years as one of the brand’s more entry-level models, with the latest one being the limited-edition Moana Pacific Waterman. It comes in a few versions, and this one is the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman PVD.
The most important thing to mention about the Waterman is that compared to most Magrette watches, the case is a bit smaller. Most Magrette watches I’ve seen are 44mm wide, while the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman is 42mm wide but continues use of the Panerai-inspired thick cushion case. The 42mm-wide size opens up the design to a lot of people who feel that a 44mm-wide watch is just too large for their wrists. For those who feel that 44mm wide just isn’t sensible enough for daily wear, I think that they will really like the size of the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman.
The steel case is water resistant to 200 meters and topped with a sapphire crystal that is domed in a sort of vintage style to look like old acrylic crystals. It does have some glare, but is AR-coated and overall offers a nice mixture of style and legibility. For me, this matte PVD-coated black version of the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman is the best-looking of the bunch, especially in how the case and aluminum black bezel insert go together. Unlike most diving watches with rotating 60-minute timing bezels, the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman has a 12-hour scale on the bezel that can be used for a 12-hour counter or as a second time zone. The “12 o’clock” point on the uni-directional rotating bezel is set with a lume pip.
Most people will consider the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman’s dial design to be its most distinctive feature. It sure is handsome, and looks better in person than the mock-up drawings I first saw on Magrette’s website. Dial is sandwich-style when it comes to the hour markers, which appear to be on a lumed plate under the main dial. The hands are sword-shaped and also filled with luminant. They are a bit shiny which can harm legibility, but the lume inserts in the hands save the high-legibility look I like.
For the Moana Pacific Waterman, Magrette decided to use uniform 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock hour markers. This isn’t bad as they are just double baton markers in comparison to the other hour markers that are single batons. Design is attractive; however, I would have liked the 12 o’clock hour marker to look just a little bit different, as doing so can help ground one’s view of the dial and help you read the time a bit more easily when viewing the watch dial from an angle.
Another interesting design accent is the seconds hand, which is “stoplight-style” as I call it. I am not sure the specific inspiration for this design which uses one red and one lume-colored dot, but it does look unique, to say the least. Otherwise, dial text is kept to a welcome minimum, and the dial is also sans-date in order to maintain pretty much perfect symmetry. Overall, this is a very handsome watch dial design and kudos to Magrette for always continuing the refinement of their new watches.
Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed seeing Magrette get better parts. From the signed crown to the excellent-quality strap buckle, this is a “well-branded” watch that clearly has a lot of love in it – especially for the price.
Inside the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman is a Japanese-made Miyota 9015 automatic movement. This movement is from the Citizen group and is more or less their answer to the Swiss ETA 2824. I’ve been to where the 9015 family movements are produced, and I have to say that it is a very impressive facility. The caliber 9015 movement is an automatic with 42 hours of power reserve operating at 4Hz (28,800bph). It features hacking seconds, and also a shock absorber for the regulation system.
Given the Panerai-style cushion case, watches like the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman will look good on a variety of straps. You get fully drilled lug holes, which can help in that department. The watch comes with a rubber strap that looks a bit like an old fabric strap given the texture. It is comfortable enough, but I think anyone who gets one of these timepieces might benefit from playing around with different strap designs (22mm-wide strap size).
At this time, the two versions of the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman are the PVD model in the all-matte black coated case, as well as the polished steel model that cost slightly less. The former is currently out of stock, which means it might have been fully sold – which is not surprising given the good design, good quality, and good price. Each version was produced as a limited edition of 500 pieces. Price for the Magrette Moana Pacific Waterman in polished steel is $575 and the price for the Moana Pacific Waterman PVD is US$585 (plus shipping). magrette.com
>Model: Moana Pacific Waterman
>Price: US$575 – US$585
>Size: 42mm wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who feels a 44mm wide cushion watch is too large, and who wants a great value for under (well under) a $1,000.
>Best characteristic of watch: Another great value from Magrette in an attractive package. Takes the look of the retro cushion diver in a slightly new direction that is still successful. Has some interesting distinctive features that help it standout in a sea of competition.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Sapphire crystal design arguably attracts a bit too much glare. Would have been nice to have a distinctive design for the 12 o’clock hour indicator, but that’s a minor issue. Hands might be considered too polished.