Benarus Moray - A Review

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default Benarus Moray - A Review

    Benarus Moray - A Review

    I’m not sure if its just because I’ve been looking or if they’re only just emerging (in comparative terms) but I’ve started to notice the work of a number of smaller independent internet based “dive watch” producers, who have achieved recognition and notoriety through the numerous web forums. They cater for a diversity of tastes and budgets and each seem to be developing their own strong brand following.

    Benarus are one such company. Their “Moray” model, a collaboration between Ralf Schreiner (company founder) and Steve Laughlin (designer), particularly caught my eye. The Moray is a 500m rated dive watch. However, whilst I was attracted to the design, the case size, which at 44mm is over what I consider to be my ideal size of around 40 - 42mm, held me back. The Moray was produced in limited numbers (I believe only 50 of each dial colour) and by the time I’d convinced myself that I should give it a try, they had sold out.

    However, I recently spotted one being offered for sale, identified that it was the dial design that I wanted and struck a deal with the seller. Having paid (280), I was hit by that wave of excitement and anticipation that you inevitably get with any new purchase. It’s like being a kid at Christmas all over again.

    My parcel duly arrived ……

    and I proceeded to unwrap it. It was very well packed.

    First Impressions - To be entirely honest, my first impression on unpacking the Moray (no. 44/50) was that this is a very large watch, much too big for me, accompanied by that feeling of disappointment when all is not what you‘d hoped for. But hang on…….. my second thought was the pleasant surprise at both the build quality and abundance of accessories accompanying it, which I hoped would help with its immediate resale. But until I find another buyer, I might as well try it out a little!!

    Technical Specs:
    Width - 44mm
    Lug spacing - 24mm
    Height - 15mm
    Weight - 236g
    Crystal - Double doomed sapphire
    Lume - C3 Superluminova
    Water Resistance - 500mm
    Movement - Miyota 8215 automatic
    Case & bracelet - 316L stainless steel

    Dial - The textured dial is approximately 34mm in diameter. Initially I wasn’t to sure about the textured finish, but it is growing on me. However, what I do like is that the dial is uncluttered by superfluous writing (it carries only its manufacturer’s name, the fact that it has an automatic movement and its depth rating on the dial) which makes it easy and comfortable to read. Although described as black, the dial appears to be more of a very dark grey, which i think is, at least in part, an illusion or affect created by the textured finish. This is particularly noticeable against the white on black date wheel, which is the only complication and is situated between the 4 & 5 hour markers. I like this as it seems less intrusive here than at the more usual 3 o’clock position, but it’s there if you need it. A nice finishing touch for me would have been to rotate the numerals on the date wheel so that the date sits horizontally rather than at an angle. However, I suspect that cost may have been a limiting factor here. The Moray is fitted with a steel outlined hour hand and orange minute hand. The orange is not as rich as some photos show which was a slight disappointment to me.

    Luminescence - The dial markers, hands and bezel triangle are painted with C3 Superluminova which provides excellent visibility in the dark.

    (Picture sourced from Google Images. If you are the owner and wish it to be removed or to be credited to you, please let me know.)

    Case - The case is cushion shaped and very reminiscent of the Panerai watches. The lugs, spaced at 24mm apart, are angled to follow the natural contour of the wrist, which helps seat the Moray to the wrist and means that despite its weight, it fits very comfortably indeed. The case appears to be have been designed narrower at the bottom which helps draw the watch into the wrist and gives it a slimmer profile when being worn. The case back is engraved with the Benarus 3 dolphin logo, although an alternative case back design has been produced for the watch depicting a Moray eel.

    Crown - I’ve found the crown, which is approximately 7.5mm in diameter and again decorated with the Benarus 3 dolphin logo, very easy to operate. This may be because it is unencumbered by crown shoulder guards. When un-screwed there is a slight amount of play, but no worse than many other watches I’ve owned. The crown “screws down” to help prevent water intrusion, taking approximately 3 full turns to lock it in place.

    Bezel - The bezel is a 120 click uni-directional diver’s elapsed time bezel, designed to track dive time. This is a big plus for me. Many models (in this price bracket and higher) only have a 60 click bezel. Though I can’t offer a rational reason why, I much prefer the 120s. The bezel itself is firm with no discernable play in it and which again is perhaps indicative of a watch in a much higher price bracket. With firm pressure it rotates smoothly and with a positive click. My only criticism, and it is very, very small (and picky), is that on mine the bezel is a quarter of a click out of alignment. Moray’s were fitted with a stainless brushed steel bezel, however, Benarus do offer an alternative bezel with black insert.

    Movement - The Moray is powered by a 21 jewel Miyota 8215 movement, with a 45 hour power reserve, manufactured by Citizen. I know nothing about movements, so I did a little net based research. General strength of opinion seems to suggest that it may be perceived as less desirable than its Swiss ETA counterpart, but it nevertheless has a reputation for being robust and reliable. The movement is non-hacking, although for those that want to set their watches with “to-the-second” accuracy, it is possible to hold the second hand in place by gently winding the crown backwards. As for accuracy, mine is currently running at about +5 secs / day, which in my opinion is more than acceptable.

    Bracelet - The Moray came fitted with a stainless steel bracelet with solid end links. The end links themselves are very well fitted with no play that I can see whatsoever. They are secured to the case by screwed bars. The bracelet, which fits very comfortably around the wrist, is secured with a deployment clasp. The clasp is finished off with the Benarus 3 dolphin logo etched into a “coin”, which when closed is recessed into the clasp.

    Accessories - Instead of the more usual watch box, the Moray came complete with a leatherette watch roll. The surprise here is the number of accessories provided inside the roll, 2 screwdrivers to enable strap adjustment, a rubber dive strap and a leather strap, both with Benarus engraved buckles, a diver’s bracelet clasp, a polishing cloth and the Benarus 12 month guarantee. A point worth mentioning here is that, unlike some manufacturers, Benarus guarantee the watch and not the owner, which means that the warranty transfers to the new owner if it is sold on.

    Conclusion - I've overcome my initial reservations and have to say that I am extremely impressed and pleased with my Moray. Off the wrist, it still looks massive, but once on the wrist it seems to develop new proportions. It fits very comfortably and feels smaller, possibly because of its lower profile and the build quality is in my opinion excellent. I’d have no problem recommending them to anyone, and in fact have done, with my brother now being a proud owner of the same model.

    It has also taught me a valuable lesson. Watches wear very differently and you should try them on to see how they look and feel and not to automatically reject them because they might be too big (or too small.).

    Despite the criticisms I’ve commented on, I still love this watch. And perhaps that’s the point, if you still enjoy something despite the niggles, then it must be good.
    And finally - I hope you enjoyed reading this review. Please remember that all comments are my own personal observations and should be regarded as such. If you notice any inaccuracies, please let me know and I’ll correct them.

    Now I'm off to enjoy both of these .........

    Last edited by onespeed; 19-02-2011 at 11:34.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Great review, this tempts me greatly!

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