Crowdfunded retro watches are increasingly commonplace, so startup Méraud Watch Co. sets out to be different by approaching it with the eye of a collector and getting the details right.
The company was founded by vintage watch enthusiast Stijn Busschaert, and makes its debut with the Bonaire, a dive watch priced just over US$700.
For starters, the case size is near perfect in relation to the retro styling. The stainless steel case measures 39mm in diameter and 12.5mm high, making it smaller than a majority of dive watches in the market. It features a screw down crown, along with a depth rating of 200m.
And the case also has a profile reminiscent of 1960s dive watches, with slim lugs that are finished on top with circular brushing and a mirror polish on the bevels. While one would hardly disparage it as a “desk diver”, the Bonaire manages to be elegant thanks to its case, aided by the sapphire bezel.
Undoubtedly, its most striking feature is the bezel, which is covered in sapphire. A feature most commonly associated with the modern day Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (but also found on a handful of other watches), the scratch-resistant sapphire ring is intended to mimic the appearance of the clear and fragile Bakelite bezels found on watches of the 1950s, most famously the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542.
It is amongst the handful of modern dive watches to have its elapsed-time markers executed in SuperLuminova – another being the Tudor Pelagos – an incredibly practical feature.
The dial is available in three colours – black, blue and grey – topped by a domed sapphire crystal that echoes the curved sapphire bezel.
All dials have a minimal amount of text, along with applied hour markers. The black dial has a glossy finish with faux-aged “lume”, making it the most vintage looking of the trio. In contrast, the blue and grey dials have a metallic, sunburst finish matched with white Super-Luminova.
Underneath the screw-down back featuring a skin diver in relief, the Bonaire is powered by the automatic STP1-11, installed in its no-date configuration.
It is essentially an improved ETA 2824, produced by Swiss Technology Production, a subsidiary of American watch conglomerate Fossil that specialises in low-cost, Swiss made movements. The movement is regulated to five positions and has a 44-hour power reserve.
The Bonaire is available with either a leather strap or rivet-style steel bracelet. However, each watch is sold with a comprehensive package that includes a strap tool, a “Tropic” style rubber strap, as well as a fabric NATO-style strap.
Price and Availability
The Méraud Bonaire is priced between €635 and €655 and is available for pre-order.
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