Hands-On with the Colorful Meraud Antigua Chronograph

Back in 2018 we reviewed a watch from Meraud called the Bonaire, a time-only diver with some stylish undertones that elevated it from mere neo-vintage diver from a micro-brand status. In closing, Ilya expressed excitement about the future of the brand, and how that might manifest in different models. This week, we’re finally getting a look at the next chapter with the release of the hand-wound chronograph called the Antigua. This is a watch no longer content with stylish undertones, instead opting for outright stylish, full stop. The Antigua oozes personality from damn near every angle, and while not without fault, this is a watch that’s not just fun, but unexpected. 

Colorful hand-wound chronographs from small independent brands are certainly enjoying a moment thanks to the likes of Studio Underd0g, Lorier, and Baltic, among others, and Meraud carves their own path with the Antigua thanks to the well considered design (a trait shared by the others cited above), and the somewhat unconventional choice of movement. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the Antigua an anomaly, but it manages a fine balance between safe and comfortable, and quirky and strange, landing somewhere in the middle. It’s the best kind of follow up to a promising start, and I only wish it had come a little sooner, as this is a brand I’d like to see more from.


Hands-On with the Colorful Meraud Antigua Chronograph

Stainless Steel
Landeron 248
Soft Sand, Miho Black
Super Luminova
Domed Sapphire
Molequin; Steel Oyster
Water Resistance
Lug Width
2 yrs

The Antigua measures 40mm at the bezel, but it has a bigger visual presence on the wrist than you might expect. Named after the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta held in the British Virgin Islands, the watch has a certain relaxed flair to it that recalls some classic yacht timer details but in a manner that doesn’t feel overly bourgeois. Both the Soft Sand and Miho Black colorways utilize orange and blue details that lean into a pastel territory, where they’re present enough to make an impact, they don’t overpower the design as a whole. They are used thoughtfully, and invite a closer look to explore exactly how they’re put to use. 

Instead of relegating the colors to only the timing functions of the watch, they’ve been used to achieve balance within the asymmetric dial design. This is a ‘Big Eye’ layout with a large minute totalizer at 3 o’clock, and a running seconds hand at 9 o’clock. The larger sub-dial is the obvious focal point of the design, with a contrasting base to the main color of the dial and colorful sections highlighting the first 5 to 15 minute segments, but the smaller sub-dial at the opposite side is outlined in orange, with a blue running seconds hand that’s been rendered in the shape of a compass bearing. A closer look at that outline will reveal small blue ticks at each 20 second mark of the running seconds. 

This juxtaposition of shapes and use of color provides an effective level of visual balance between the two sub-dials, and subsequently to the dial as a whole. The orange timing hand that splits them makes its own statement with the lollipop design at its end filled with lume. Broad dauphine hands mark the hours and minutes, and each gets a healthy application of lume, as well. One complaint is the reduced constrast of the Soft Sand dial, whose base is near the same value and color as the lume in those hands, compromising legibility.

The polished stick hour markers get small lume plots where they meet the chapter ring, providing a nice nod to throwback applications without calling too much attention to themselves. At the perimeter of the dial, resting under the edge of the domed sapphire crystal, you’ll find a tachymeter scale with a perfectly stylish arrow at its start point. This ties off a slightly busy dial that somehow comes together more cohesively than you might imagine given all the components in play. Overall it’s a very fun dial to experience and I found myself often staring at the watch without ever getting a read on the time. 

As mentioned above, the steel case measures 40mm in diameter at the bezel, and 39mm at the case wall. The long lug design gets a heavy polished chamfer and makes for a 48.5mm lug to lug distance, meaning it maintains a healthy footprint on my 7.23 inch wrist, and the 13.6mm thickness measurement keeps the rest of the watch just enough in check to be a perfectly wearable chronograph. A set of pump pushers operate the chronograph with a push/pull crown between. 

The chronograph itself is powered by the hand-wound Landeron 248 caliber, which is visible through an open caseback design. This is not a movement we see used often in new watches, and Meraud has found a batch to overhaul and rebuild for this project. It also means just 100 of each colorway will be built, by the way. The 248 is a part of Landeron’s storied 48 caliber family, and features a cam switching chronograph which starts with the button at 2 o’clock, and is stopped/reset with the button at 4 o’clock.

The movement is the final and perhaps biggest surprise of the Antigua, and brings an equal sense of drama to the back of the watch as the front. Landeron of course has a varied and interesting history, and if this watch gets these movements and that story in the hands and minds of new enthusiasts and collectors alike, I say it’s a good thing. Putting all that aside even, it’s a nice looking movement to see on display, and while I wouldn’t call it beautifully finished, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. 

Meroud has teamed up with Molequin for the strap offerings here, which pair well with the dial colors. The straps are soft and wear well, however they feel a touch thin for a case this size. Most importantly, though, they are comfortable, and easy to remove if you decide to opt for the oyster style bracelet that’s also offered with the watch. 

Overall the Antigua is a fun, well executed watch from Meraud, and I applaud them for stepping off the well beaten path with this watch. There’s plenty of personality on offer here with a few unexpected curve balls thrown in for good measure. I strongly suspect that 100 examples of each dial will not be enough to sate the interest in this watch, so here’s hoping for a follow up that comes sooner rather than later. 

The Meraud Antigua is available for pre-order right now directly from Meraud, with shipping expected to begin in September of this year. Meroud.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.