Retro and vintage remain hot topics within the watch industry, as there are tons of good-looking watches available based on popular designs from bygone eras. Within this highly competitive segment of the market, Belgian brand Méraud has slowly but surely found steady ground. Méraud, founded by Stijn Busschaert, strives to find the horological sweet spot between retro designs and modern mechanics, all the while aiming for a very sensible value-for-money proposition. Earlier in the year, we’ve seen the gorgeous Antigua Chronograph, but that’s not all Méraud is bringing to the game in 2023. The Bonaire, Méraud’s rather popular retro diver introduced in 2018, now enters its second chapter with the new Bonaire MKII. Not only is the design more refined, but the whole watch is a big step up for Méraud, including the new movement!
Considering the fact the new Bonaire MKII is very much a retro-styled dive watch, reminiscent of popular designs from the 1960s, the dimensions are pleasantly in check. The case measures only 39mm in diameter, which extends to 40mm at the knurled outer edge of the bezel. Even the lug-to-lug measurement of 48.6mm is quite decent, meaning it will fit most people without any issues. The case has a 200m water-resistance rating, so it can take more than just a leisurely splash in the pool.
Crafted from stainless steel, the case is finished with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. A nice touch is the tapering polished bevel on the edge of the lug. The Bonaire MKII is fitted with a unidirectional rotating bezel that has an acrylic bakelite-esque insert with a domed profile. In terms of colour, it matches the dials and has a vintage font for the 60-minute diving scale. The top-hat sapphire crystal and the sapphire crystal caseback have an anti-reflective coating. As prototype watches, it’s worth noting that the Méraud signature on the screw-down crown will be more pronounced, and the underside of the lugs will be polished in the final product.
Three dials are being introduced for this new Bonaire MKII. First up are the glossy Moss Green and the sunray-brushed Marine Blue dials. These feature polished applied indices and hands finished with Super-LumiNova that emits a blue glow at night. The third option is the Onyx Black, which has a glossy black dial and gilt markers and hands – also finished with Super-LumiNova, but this time around the Old Radium variant, this one glows with a green tone in low-light situations. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are paired with a lollipop seconds hand, and while it’s nothing revolutionary in terms of design, the combination simply works. To finish off each dial, there’s a printed minute track, the name of the brand and model, and its water-resistance rating.
Over the last year and a half or so, we have been seeing more and more brands adopt the La Joux-Perret 100 series of movements. Whether it’s the manually wound D100, the chronograph L100 or the automatic G100, they’re welcome alternatives to the industry standards provided by ETA, Sellita and so on. And what’s best, the G100 series is fully compatible with ETA 2824 casings.
Méraud has opted for the G101 to power the Bonaire MKII. This gives it a frequency of 28,800vph and a running time of a very comfortable 68 hours. The power reserve is an area where the SW200/SW300 series from Sellita is lacking a bit, so the LJP option is a very sensible choice. The watches we received for this first look had undecorated prototype movements; the final models will feature a signed tungsten rotor and Côtes de Genève.
It’s remarkable how much ‘substance’, for lack of a better word, Méraud has been able to pack into the new Bonaire MKII. The design, the finishing, and the movement all add to the appeal of the Bonaire MKII big time! Factor in the tropic-style rubber strap in black, blue or green or the riveted stainless steel bracelet that comes with an adjustable folding clasp, and the Bonaire MKII becomes a real winner. And you get all of that for a very respectable EUR 925 on the rubber strap or EUR 1,025 on the bracelet (both excl. VAT). This will surely give some of the established retro-styled divers a good run for their money!
For more information, and to put in your pre-order, please visit Meraud-Watches.com.