A few weeks ago we took a look at the Maranez Layan, a brass (yes, brass) cushioned case watch with familiar but classic looks, decent components and a hard to resist price of $250. Today, we’re going to take a detailed look at the Layan’s more robust sibling, the limited edition 1000M Racha. The Racha has several stand out features that make it stand out from the heard of dive watches falling in the under $1000 range. To name a few; it has a mighty water resistance of 1000M (which we assume has been tested by the brand), it has a proven and reliable Miyota 9015 automatic movement at its heart, it has a thick domed sapphire crystal, and handful of extra straps and perhaps most interestingly, two interchangeable bezels. For $599 plus $50 shipping, the watch offers a lot of value. That being said, the case and dial designs are very common. So the question remains, are there enough unique and interesting things going to warrant buying the Racha?
Movement: Miyota 9015
Strap: Leather, 2x Rubber
Water Res.: 1000m
Dimensions: 44 x 53mm
Thickness: 15.5 mm
Lug Width: 24 mm
Crown: 8 x 6 mm screw down
Weight: 160g on leather (brand measure)
Warranty: 1 yr
The Racha has a typical cushion case design that measures 44 x 53 x 15.5mm. Essentially, if you’ve ever seen a Panerai-inspired cushion case before, you know what’s going on here. From the top it has the appearance of an inflated square, hence cushion, with short, but sturdy lugs. From the side, the design becomes quite dynamic, with various smooth curves and rounded elements. It’s an attractive design for a masculine sport watch, hence its regular usage. The Racha also features a HEV at 12, which is an interesting location for it, as it minimizes its visibility. Typically, HEV’s are shown off by being at 9. The lugs feature single-side screw in lug bars, which is a great feature as they are very sturdy and secure, yet easier to remove than double sided screw bars, and there are no small screws to lose. The whole case has an even brushed finished.
At 3 is one of the largest crowns I’ve ever seen (well, it’s the same as on the Layan). Measuring 8 x 6mm, this screw down behemoth makes a statement. It’s also very easy to grasp and turn, though the size does come with a downside, which is the obvious potential discomfort of pushing into the back of your hand. The most unique feature of the case, and the watch as a whole really, are the interchangeable bezels. The bezel mechanism itself is quite respectable. It’s a snappy 120-click unidirectional bezel that is also precise, which is all you can really ask for.
The watch comes with two thick and nicely made bezels. One has a sapphire insert and vintage military styling, and the other is all steel with polished markers. The procedure for changing the bezel is quite simple. There are four screws located around the bezel, which you loosen with the included screwdriver. Once they are all loose, you don’t have to fully remove them, the bezel will pop off. Place the other bezel over the mechanism and simply press down and tighten all of the screws around. Each bezel actually has its own set of screws, which is great for those of us who can’t ever find a screw once it has fallen on the floor. One thing to note, do test the bezel out by turning it a few times to make sure it is properly attached before putting it on and going outside, I did have it pop off once, though luckily I was not far from my screw driver.
The Racha has a simple dial with roots in divers from the 1950’s. It goes without saying that there is a Panerai-ness to the whole watch and dail, but I also see hints of the Fifty Fathoms in the included bezel, which is a welcome influence. The dial is a deep gloss black with a primary index of numerals with large 12, 3, 6, and 9 in a very attractive rounded font. On the outer perimeter is an index of white has marks for the minutes/seconds and lume dots every 5 minutes or for the hour. This immediately made me think of tritium dots on watches from the 50’s – 60’s, which emphasized the mid-century military aesthetic. At 4.5 is a small circular date window, revealing the white on black date disk beneath. There is very little text, just the brand name below 12 and “1000m” above 6. The whole dial is very clean and legible.
The two bezel options have very different effects on the overall look of the Racha. The sapphire bezel has a vintage mil aesthetic that combines with the dial to create a very legible and functional watch. The additional black of the bezel extend the dial, increasing the general perceived size of the watch and therein giving it a more aggressive edge. This bezel also has lume for every marker, which when combined with the potent lume of the dial and hands, makes for a very bright and readable watch in the dark.