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Benarus Megalodon 500 Review

Review | 11.28.2012

To be perfectly honest, I approached the Benarus Megalodon 500 with some degree of skepticism  A combination of the outrageous size (47mm x 16.5mm) and unique appearance brought into question just how wearable the watch would actually be.  Having spent some time with the piece however, it is clear that Megalodon is a well-made watch that combines the skill of superior manufacturing with an attention to detail and sense of style.

Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Dial: Black with white markers
Lume: BWG9 Superluminova
Lens: 4mm domed Sapphire
Strap: Five link stainless steel bracelet and rubber srap
Water Res.: 500M
Dimensions: 47mm
Thickness: 16.5mm
Lug Width: 24mm
Crown: Two 8mm x 5mm, one screw down
Weight: 300g (2 links removed)
Warranty: 1 year factory warranty
Price: $850

As its name suggests, the Benarus Megalodon is inspired by the prehistoric megashark.  Estimates have these monsters measuring upwards of 20 meters, with teeth over 6 inches long, but don’t worry, they haven’t been around for at least over a million years.  The connections to the Megalodon 500 design should be obvious – the spirit of the super shark are seen from the size of the watch to its dial. A previous iteration of the Benarus Megalodon had a depth rating of 2,500, living up to its real life counterpart’s dominance underwater.

But what’s most important about the Megalodon, isn’t really whether it reminds us of a shark, but rather how the design and aesthetic of the watch has been executed.  Its one thing to make an enormous watch and throw some teeth on the dial and call it a day.  And like I said before, the pessimist in me was worried that that is what I was going to encounter with the Megalodon.

But based on our experience, we can say with confidence that the Megalodon is one hell of a watch. On the one hand it perfectly captures the spirit of the Megalodon shark, but in an surprisingly tasteful way.  Add to this design robust and well-executed manufacturing, a swiss automatic movement, and high quality components/accessories, and you just may have yourself a watch that defies expectation.

Case
As noted, the case of the Megalodon 500 is a sizable 47mm in diameter and 16.5mm tall, making it larger than many watches, even by today’s standards.  The stainless steel case feels very sturdy and well manufactured.  The unit we reviewed features a brushed finish throughout and with the steel bracelet included with the watch installed, the total package exceeded 300g.  For most however, you should be able to get this down to below 300g once you size the bracelet for your wrist.

The shape of the case is simple and compact.  The main body of the case is circular with the lugs jutting out at 90 degree angles. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact the geometry of the watch is a constant theme in its design, and is only reinforced by the lug positioning.  Spaced 24mm apart, the lugs themselves are thick and rectangular, and make a sharp curve downward as the move away from the main body of the Megalodon case.   This is a distinguishing characteristic of the watch, and one that serves the purpose of limiting the watch’s lug-to-lug with, which measures 55mm.  Should the Megalodon have had straight lugs, it likely would have been unwearable for most people.

The sides of the case are rounded slightly, giving a soft appearance to the Megalodon without appearing bloated or overly robust.  The gentle curve of the top of the case also transitions very evenly into the 4mm thick domed sapphire crystal.  On the left of the case you will find a helium escape valve, and on the right are the two crowns for adjusting time and the rotating internal beel.  Each of these crowns is rather large, measuring 8mm in diameter and 5mm off the case.  Each feature a geared texture for easy adjusting, and both feel very nice in your hand.  The lower crown for adjusting the ETA 2824-2 movement is screw-down and is sturdy and smooth.  Meanwhile, the crown for adjusting the inner bezel is free moving, but with a resistance and precision that is really outstanding.  Frankly, this is one of the nicest feeling non screw-down crowns we have used.

Moving now to the back of the case, you will see a very cool Megalodon jaw etched into the steel.  This iconic image that is widely recognized as a symbol of the Megalodon’s prowess, and I am really happy Benarus chose to go with this design rather than just a shark.  Around the jaw you will also find some information about the watch including its name, manufacturer depth rating, etc.  The entire back is screw down.

Dial
Moving now to the dial of the Megalodon, the most prominent design feature is of course the non-numerical “tooth design” of the hour markers. Designed to resemble the iconic Megalodon jaw, the look of the dial is much more sophisticated than that.  The stark white color of the tooth markings is evenly and cleanly applied, so while they resemble the shape of a shark tooth, their clean application gives the dial a stark, geometric appeal.  Further, the tooth at 12 o’clock is slightly larger than the rest.  The Megalodon dial actually reminds us quite a bit of the Kaws x Ikepod watch, which has a decidedly more contemporary bent, and distinctly higher price tag, coming in at $14,000.

The teeth hour markers are  actually on a slightly raised plane on the outer rim of the dial. In the center of the dial is an identically colored black plane slightly below the outer layer.  Printed at the 12 o’clock position is the Benarus logo, at 6 o’clock are the words Automatic and 500M and between 4 and 5 o’clock you’ll find a small date window with white text on a black background.  We always say it, but matching date wheels to the dial is really a must.  It almost always looks best.

The hour and minute hands of the Megalodon are large steel fence post style with white lume filling along their outer two thirds.  The second hand is a needle with lume filled diamond on its tip.  The hands are perfectly proportioned to match both the robust size of the case and balance with the simple, clean design of the dial.

Lastly, along the very outer rim of the dial you will find the rotating internal bezel, featuring simple hash markings at each minute/second.  Each five minutes is indicated with a slightly bolder marker, and the 60 minute/second is in the shape of a small triangle.

We love the unique, minimal aesthetic of the Megalodon dial, but appreciate that some of you may not.  In fact, in some ways, the dial is a bit out of sync with the rest of the watch.  The Megalodon is built to be worn in the water, and Benarus is a company known for making a good diver.  It features 500M water resistance, 4mm thick sapphire crystal, helium escape valve and great lume.  All the makings of a diver’s diver.  Not to mention its really big, a characteristic that we’re pretty sure mostly appeals to dive watch enthusiasts.  Meanwhile however, the dial of the Megalodon lacks any numerical markers, color, unique indicators or anything else that may be useful in a dive setting. And the markings of the internal bezel are hard to distinguish given their shape, size and coloring.  We’re sure this will alienate some dive watch enthusiasts, ruling out the Megalodon as a potential purchase.  That said, we think the overall look and feel of the Megalodon is executed so well, and achieves such a unique aesthetic, it will attract just as many new Benarus fans, us included.

Straps, Accessories and Wearability
The Megalodon comes with one metal bracelet, a rubber strap and one very handy hex screw driver for unscrewing the watch lugs.  The metal bracelet included is very nice.  It features a five link design and brush finish to watch the finish of the watch case and measures 24mm in width throughout.  Further, it is secured using a deployment clasp that has a very nice feel to it.  Where the two ends of the strap lock together the words Benarus and Megalodon are etched.

The rubber strap included is also nice on its own and is molded to fit the Megalodon case.  It too features a signed buckle.  However, when attached to the Megalodon, given the shape of the watch lugs, the strap comes directly off the watch at almost a 90 degree angle. For someone with smaller wrists, this shouldn’t be a problem, but on my wrist (7.5 inches) the rubber strap dug into my skin and was rather uncomfortable.

Lastly, the Megalodon comes with a small but quality feeling hexagonal screw driver for unscrewing the lug bars. What makes this tool so handy is that it actually is two screwdrivers in one. The two screwdrivers are attached, but come apart easily, making it a breeze to quickly remove the lug bars without having to keep track of two separate tools.  One important thing to note is that no flat head screwdriver is included with the watch, which is a shame because one is required to add or remove links from the metal bracelet.

The Megalodon wears surprisingly small, though its weight is inescapable. As noted, the design of the lugs prevents the watch from sitting too large on your wrist.  However, as I wore it primarily with the metal bracelet, the weight of the watch can be taxing.  I’me sure its something you get used to over time, especially if big watches are your thing, but it is certainly a consideration.

Conclusion
The Megalodon is a very well made watch.  In fact, right behind its distinct looks, we think its the most notable feature.  Its dive credentials on paper are hardly lacking, but the overall aesthetic of the Megalodon is distinctly more design oriented.  We were very pleasantly surprised by the Megalodon, and have thoroughly enjoyed having it in for review.  In fact, that seems like an apt summary of the Megalodon – it’s a fun watch.  It looks great, its size has some novelty to it, and it just feels great in your hand.  So if that sounds like the watch for you, then you may want to head to the Benarus website and pick one up for yourself.

by Blake Malin


  • http://www.benarus.com Steve Laughlin

    Great write up and excellent photography. Thank you.