Magrette just announced the release of two chronographs to their line of watches. If you are unfamiliar with the brand, I recommend checking out Blake’s review of the Magrette Regattare 2011 for a primer. But basically, they are a New Zealand based watch company that makes a mix of cushion-bodied watches ranging in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Their new chronograph models continue the sport and racing aesthetic of their watches, add in an interesting movement, and manage to maintain an attractive price point.
The two models are the Moana Pacific Chronograph PVD and the Regattare Chronograph. They are very similar watches, but have some distinct aesthetic differences. Both are built on the same 44mm cushion body, but the Moana has a black PVD treatment, while the Regattare is stainless. They have very similar dials, the primary difference being that the Regattare has a Tachymeter index on the outer edge, while the Moana has a minute index. Both utilize the styling seen across the brand for the rest of the dial, with large twelve and zero-six numerals, as well as large hash marks. The largest visual difference, other than the PVD, is that the Moana has a black ceramic dive bezel, where as the Regattare just has a broad ring of steel. Both have sapphire crystals, C3 lume and 500m water resistance.
But the most interesting thing about these watches is the chronograph movement inside. Magrette chose to us the gorgeous, hand-wound Seagull TY-2901 (ST1901). We’ve seen this (or a very similar) movement before in the Seagull 1963, and it is a true eye-catcher. It is based on the Venus 175 movement, which was a Swiss caliber designed in the 40’s, the tooling of which was sold off. The ST1901 is heavily decorated with Geneva stripes, blued screws, gold gears…everything you want to look at. It features two registers, second and a 30-minute counter, making it a very basic, but still functional chronograph. I applaud Magrette for this choice as it is an underused movement that offers something different to a saturated market. Obviously, people don’t have the greatest faith in the Chinese movements, but if you buy one from a brand with integrity, who will stand behind their work, then you should have confidence in the purchase. Though I can’t speak to their reliability from experience (I only had the 1963 for a couple of weeks on loan), I for one would have no reservations about getting one.
The Moana Pacific will run $545 and the Regattare will go for $498. Both are available for preorder on Magrette’s website. And stay tuned in the coming months for a hands-on with one of these very cool watches.
images from Magrette.com