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A watch like this is proof that details are important. An extension of the Regattare line of watches, the new Moana Pacific limited edition watch from New Zealand watch maker Magrette is a fun, fashionable, and affordable retro inspired timepiece that is an easy purchase to justify. Just ask anyone who has – if you can find one. That is the beauty of a watch like this. Only 500 will be made, and of those the first 100 are the most special. With buyers all over the world, you’ll be part of a special club of owners and quite possibly never meet another person who has one. Try saying that with your Casio, or Tag Heuer, or Rolex.

I discussed the Magrette Moana Pacific watch when it was first announced here, where I discussed all the important details of the watch. The watch is in steel, about 44mm wide, and has a Miyota automatic mechanical movement. With all the style and charm, it is a fantastic value at $315. For the first 100 pieces, such as the one I have here, you get a special caseback for the watch that is really quite cool. In fact, I would say that the story is almost more cool that the caseback itself – and you’ll enjoy telling it to people. I discussed it before, but here it is in a nutshell. It has a small plank of engraved Ancient Kauri wood and is individually numbered.  Kauri is a tree species on New Zealand. This variety is only found on New Zealand, and they are currently protected. They are among the most ancient trees in the world and grow to massive sizes. Like all trees they can live to legendary ages – thousands of years. The caseback of the Moana Pacific watch does not have wood from modern Kauri trees.

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Instead the wood is known as “Ancient Kauri” and is collected in Northern New Zealand underground. There, is located a series of swamps where Kauri timber is somehow preserved underground in perfect condition being there for as long as 50,000 years. The trees that have been preserved lived for about 2000 years before falling into the swamp. Extracting the wood is apparently a very difficult process and quite expensive. Though, it is necessary as living Kauri trees are protected, and thus not legally allowed to be cut down. So there you have it, you have a true piece of New Zealand’s ancient history in the caseback of 100 of the first Moana Pacific watches. In addition to just the wood, the Magrette logo in inlaid with paua shell that is similar to black mother of pearl. Just really cool overall, and a great conversation piece once you take the watch off to show it around.

The style of the dial is similar to other Regattare watches, but with enough differences. You have a thinned out dial, meaning the indicators are slimmer and more sleek looking, you also have special hour and minute hands, and a needle style seconds hand that is highly polished. I find that I really like how the title of the watch is written in cursive, and appreciate just how legible the dial really is. While the style of the watch makes it look perfect for boating, it is not a diver’s watch – but no worries about getting it wet with its solid case and screw-down crown (which has a nice Magrette logo engraved in it).

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A domed sapphire crystal over the case completes the slight bubble look that I have come to enjoy in Magrette Regattare watches. I previously reviewed the Magrette Kupe’s Voyage watch that shares the case design. Unlike the Kupe’s Voyage which has beautiful ornate engravings on the bezel, the Moana Pacific has a more simple polished case – that I understand some people actually appreciate more. For me each watch is nice in its own respect. Actually, it surprised me how seemingly little details like hands, straps, and dial designs can drastically alter the feeling of a watch. While I keep the Kupe’s Voyage watch on a black strap, the Moana Pacific is on a nice light tan strap (you can also get it on a black strap or darker brown strap). The leather strap is really great. It is thick and wide (24mm), and very supple feeling. Aside from being very comfortable, it has a really nice “substantial” look to it – but it also feels very soft to the touch. The polished steel buckle is Panerai style in design and as wide as the watch case itself. It makes for an interesting and unique look where the buckle is as wide as the watch – again enhancing the large instrument-like feel that accompanies the character of the Moana Pacific timepiece.

The retro feel of the watch is enhanced by the tan strap that together with the highly polished case and matte black dial make for a good look all around. It is easy to forget that the watch is essentially a entry level timepiece at just over $300. Certainly a much higher level of character than most other watches in this price range, and it is nice to have an automatic movement. One thing I like about the particular Miyota movement inside the watch is that unlike some less expensive Japanese automatic movements, this watch can be hand-wound if you wish – an important feature for me. There are a couple of little things I would have liked on the watch including AR coating on the sapphire crystal as well as lume on the dial as well as the hands. Again, I am mindful of the value pricing of the watch and realize that in all, this is a fantastic value.

If you’d like to get a Moana Pacific watch, try not to wait too long as this is a limited edition watch of just 500 total piece and just 100 with the Ancient Kauri wood in the caseback of the watch.

Learn more about the Moana Pacific watch at Magrette here.

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