Second time’s the charm?
A popular brand found in the pages of KickStarter (KS), Meccaniche Veneziane (MV) is a young, hot brand out of Italy that is doing everything it can to break free from the KS sales model and into their own fledgling franchise. They currently have retailers spread throughout Europe and are attempting to make their way globally. Because they are relatively new to the market, they continue to, at the time of this writing, experience various growing pains as they endeavor to establish themselves as a legitimate company and not just a fashion micro-brand.
MV is currently set to launch the Nereide version 3.0 as well as their GMT models and because of this I decided I would do a detailed review of the outgoing model, version 2.0, in anticipation of both of these releases. With this in mind I tracked down an example on eBay and imported it from US seller.
Who’s it for? The Nereide 2.0 is for someone who either wants a Rolex Submariner but doesn’t want the actual Submariner, or simply can’t afford one, but wants the Submariner dive watch design. It’s also for someone who wants a durable “sport” watch but plans on doing more “drinks on the beach” and the occasional cliff jumping than deep sea dives and therefore wants a little bit of sexy good looks thrown in.
TWC Paid: $670.50 CAD (exchanged from USD 499.00) incl shipping & duties
| Meccaniche Veneziane |
Model: Nereide (2.0) “Ardesia”
Reference: Discontinued (New Model 1202014)
Case: 42mm 316L Stainless Steel, PVD
Height:14mm Length: 49mm Lugs: 22mm
Bezel: 120-click Uni-Directional Rotating, Enameled Aluminum Insert
Movement: Caliber MV135 (modified Seagull ST16), 21J (21,600 BPH), 40 Hour Power Reserve, hacking, solid brass rotor
Crystal: Anti-Reflective Domed Sapphire
WR: 20 ATM – 20 Bar – 200m – 660ft
Lume: Yes, C1 Super Luminova
Strap: Hand-made Italian Leather / Silicon
MSRP: $599.99 Euro + Tax
|Finding this watch… |
The outgoing Nereide is becoming more of a challenge to acquire as stock is drying up and microbrand retailers await the release of the 3.0. I was able to import one from a reliable dealer in the US through eBay, but even that is becoming difficult and I observed some “questionable” listing when sifting through eBay. Take a look but do your research and BUYER BEWARE…
eBay “Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide”
Amazon stock currently only available in the US
Just happened to come across one at a micro-brand store in the US. Don’t know them at all but again you’ll find these floating around like anything but in small numbers.
The Cross Shop:
Costco.ca – $1,499.99 CAD – Baume & Mercier Clifton 10388 – Looks wise I don’t think it’s close, but Baume & Mercier is an underrated brand and the Clifton is a simple, quality choice.
Rolex – $10,000.00 +- CAD – Rolex Submariner 16610 – With modern features such as 904L steel and sapphire crystal this version ran from 1987-2010. Look for models on or after 1989 and you’ll likely be happy with a submariner and it’s sleeker last-gen case. If you import it, you’ll pay duties and if you find one in Canada you’ll likely pay sales tax, so expect to get screwed one way or another.
The soul of the Nereide, and the MV lineup, lies in its simple beauty. While the Nereide is by no stretch an original design, let’s be real it’s another sub, their take on the classic diver I think is seductively well executed. For my tastes it is perfect! That’s right PERFECT… in my eyes… this doesn’t mean I can’t find the flaws and points to improve in it, but from an style / appearance aspect this watch is perfect for me and the MV line-up as a whole continues to whisper to me (except the Arsenale… you can keep that one…).
So, with this in mind we have a few questions that we are going to have to answer and you can decide for yourself how you feel about the Nereide and the Meccaniche Veneziane brand as a whole.
In a bubble, how does the Nereide stack up on it own? Is it “really” Swiss Made, and do you care how they’ve achieved the designation? Is Meccaniche Veneziane a brand worth your commitment? How do you feel about their current growing pains and growing customer outcries?
1. Packaging / Presentation
When you receive the Nereide you are treated to nicely finished wood box and upon opening it you receive a “join us on Facebook” marketing card along with a certificate of authenticity. This certificate is well made and harkens back to an era prior to the plastic loyalty cards of today. The watch itself sits firmly in high-density foam along side the extra strap and it’s nice that there is a place for each of these. I personally think that the use of foam is cheap and that a cushion system, the more common method of packaging used by luxury brands, would have been a better choice here. This being said, being that this is a sub-$1k watch, I think that you are getting much more presentation than you should at this price point and if it were a gift it would make for a positive opening.
The case is fully blacked out and feels soft when you run your finger along the side of the case. Like many finishes it has the potential to feel like plastic but the Nereide is so distinctly weighty that you simply won’t mistake this soft PVD finish for a plastic case. Unlike our last black-out review, the Xeric Evergraph, the Nereide only has one PVD texture and I think it works well.
The only other observation here is that the Nereide 2.0 is built around a 42mm case, which for my wrist works well, but is outside the more mainstream 40mm diameter that is much more common. I suspect that in their push for mainstream legitimacy, that MV is decreasing both the case size and lug width to more common sizes in order to attract as many customers as possible while streamlining their product line with interchangeable parts. If this is the case, I’d like to see screw down crowns become a common feature across all their lines like Rolex does.
3. Bezel & Rehaut
Bezel inserts can be a contentious issue, especially with enthusiasts. Personally, I think that the bezel and it’s insert used here work well and are perfectly acceptable for the price point. On a more expensive watch I’d be more inclined to expect a ceramic bezel insert, but at this price point an aluminum one is perfectly acceptable and this one I feel looks good. Of course, the more you wear the Nereide the more likely you will start to accumulate scratching but at least it won’t crack and MV is working on selling replacement bezel inserts with are infinitely less expensive than ceramic ones. I know there are brands that have diver’s with ceramic bezel inserts within this price point and if that’s so important to you then just get one of those but I’d argue that those watches are few and are much more tool style watches where as the Nereide is much more a sexy cocktail watch with diver features.
Printing on the bezel has been done well and all the indices line up. It’s not a big deal but I’d be interested in seeing the bezel indices done in gold or gold outline white in order to closer match the dial indices. The 12 o’clock moon is encased in steel and features a red triangle that has all been well executed and looks great when surrounded in all black.
The bezel itself has been affixed well and is tightly affixed to the body and isn’t going get changed without you purposefully changing it. The clicks between detents are loud and satisfying while the grooving cut into the bezel has been done only along the top half of the bezel to minimize it catching on things.
Overall the bezel here stands out well and I for one am happy with it.
Given the case size and type of watch you would expect that the lugs here would be quite bulky and you of course would be correct; however, because of the 42mm case size, the lug length has actually been minimized so they don’t overhang your wrist, and because of this, when viewed from the side look rather stubby. On the back side the tips of the lugs have been flattened so they won’t scratch or catch, always a nice little detail.
As should be expected from this style, the Nereide features a screw down crown that is easy to operate and doesn’t protrude excessively from the body. The crown also sits flush with the case body which so many other watches ignore and it’s always nice to see the small detail.
Now I buy my watches like any everyday consumer and after reading all the marketing and all the fanfare I cannot tell you if there is, or isn’t, any rubber gaskets helping to seal this watch up. I would hope there was at least one somewhere but I cannot visually see any and I can’t find any information on this so I will error on the side of caution which means there isn’t which is unfortunate. Long term I would love to see the brand move to screw down crowns for the entire brand to support the sporty side the brand supports.
The sapphire crystal is softly domed and is well enclosed by the bezel, all of which should protect it from dings over the long-term.
Just as the blacked-out bezel draws your eye so too do the sexy lines of this superbly finished matte black dial. This dial really stands out with its combination gold, beige and white that all stand out in stark contrast to the black background. The applied gold MV Venetian cross is a nice touch compared to being printed like Rolex does with it’s sports watches. Especially in a watch that isn’t fully a tool watch, many expect certain additional luxury touches, like an applied logo. Judge for yourself but many have complained in the past of this nitpick in the Yacht-Master.
I am also pleased to say that the print on the date wheel is a unique font that matches that used around the bezel. One thing you won’t un-see after reading this is that the flat white background used for the date wheel contrasts the other colors used and
Overall, I feel that the dial here has been done exceedingly well and my only complaint
The hands are big, with the minute hand being of equal width as the dial indices and the stubby hour hand being wider. While the minute hand covers 2/3rds of each hour marker as it passes, the hour hand skims along the inner edge within a millimetre of each marker. Interestingly, the minute and second hands are the same length, yet the second / minute track is along the outer edge of the dial. I would be interested to see a longer second hand that swept the inside of the outer track and that would also see the second hand lume plate skim the inside edge of the hour indices.
Like the dial indices, the hands are gold trimmed giving them a very attractive appearance that is congruent with the rest of the dial.
Like any watch within this price point the lume is strong and bright and lasts for less than a minute and doesn’t light up at all without being specifically charged with direct white light. Since the Nereide is more about fashion than function this is entirely ok for me, but you can be your own judge of this.
10. Movement / Functions
Now there is a lot of information out there and how much of it is accurate is something you can decide upon yourself; but, from what I’ve discerned The Nereide 2.0 was offered with a Chinese movement that has been imported and improved up. From what I can tell the base Seagull ST16 (TY2806) has been improved with a Swiss hairspring, escapement and a brass rotor. With this, the power reserve is increased from 36 to 40 hours from the original design. The original ST16 features 21J, as does the MV135, however in comparison there is the Zodiac CL888 movement which, while in design is very similar, features only 18J but maintains the original’s 36-hour power reserve. Finally, the ST16 movement may be interchangeably found from other Chinese factories such as the Nanning NN38 movement though I was unable to find much to substantiate this.
So, if the Nereide is powered by a Chinese based movement what is the definition of “Swiss Made”? In accordance with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) Guide to the use of the designation “Swiss” for watches, version 5, 13.09.2018, the definition of a Swiss watch is,
Art. 1a Definition of the Swiss watch A watch is to be regarded as a Swiss watch if:
a. its technical development has taken place in Switzerland;
1. in the case of exclusively mechanical watches, at least the mechanical construction and prototyping of the watch as a whole,
2. in the case of watches that are not exclusively mechanical, at least the mechanical construction and prototyping of the watch as a whole, together with the conception of the printed circuit or circuits, the display and the software;
a. its movement is Swiss;
b. its movement has been cased up in Switzerland;
c. final inspection by the manufacturer took place in Switzerland and
d. at least 60% of the manufacturing costs is generated in Switzerland
Regardless of their history and ancestry, the majority of brands use an “in-house design” combined with a sourced movement (ETA, Sellita, Ronda, Miyota, Seiko, Seagull, etc…). Now the biggest players such as Swatch and LVMH benefit from sourcing their parts (hair springs, barrels, etc…) from companies that they own, and that are internal to their overall corporate umbrella; however, at the end of the day all of the sub brands from these massive companies still technically source their parts and no one brand really makes EVERYTHING from scratch “in-house” (obviously there are few exceptions to this but as a generalization this is true). The argument that a “micro-brand” lacks legitimacy because its movement isn’t fully sourced from Swiss holding companies or that it lacks the heritage that a company that has been operating for longer has doesn’t hold up for me. If we boil down what this industry truly is today, I suspect it would be classified as “luxury goods”. Want a true tool watch, you don’t need a $$$ expensive analog watch, get a GPS timed digital watch. We’ve moved beyond the past and like it or not the fact that Rolex continues to move their line-up of what were once tool watches towards being luxury watches illustrates this whole point.
I should highlight that as MV as a company attempts to normalize as a standalone brand that they have gone through numerous movements and, to date (May 2019), are currently sourcing Sellita based movements for their most recent GMT line after a great deal of growing pains surrounding the sourcing of reliable ETA movements (check out my review of the MV Redentore Burano for the details). Because of this, I found one website that claims that they sell a version of the Nereide with a, “21 jewel Swiss Made custom movement based on the technical design drawings of the 6r15 with modifications”. I compared all the photos and I feel like this may be based on different information and, being more recent to the brand and a regular consumer vice industry participant, I may just not be read-in on it or it may just be incorrect because lets face it, if you say something is Chinese anything you can likely kiss any continental US sales goodbye.
If you look at the original Nereide project on KickStarter you’ll find that the brand started with a caliber MV044 which was a modified Miyota 821A. While not as accurate as their more recent movement choices, the characteristics have generally remained the same throughout, beat rate, power reserve, jewel count, winding abilities, etc… Although I have yet to track down a copy of this version 1.0 that back then could be had for a mere 229 euros ($344 CAD / $256 USD) + shipping. Heck of a deal back then.
Regardless I personally don’t think it is a big deal either way, and this transitional movement has now been replaced with the Nereide 3.0 that will be powered by a caliber MV285, also found in the MV Redentore line, which from what I can tell will be a “Swiss Made” STP1-11. If you’re interested in the heart of the watch then click on the STP1-11 link I’ve embedded as it’s really well written by Wes Kwok and was meticulously researched. From my own reading, it looks like the quality of this movement is going to come down to the brand’s ability to QC the movement pre-production. Again, read my review of the MV Redentore Burano as to why the brand has moved away from ETA movements.
If you’ve read this far on movements then bravo! So, let me pose to you this question: at what point does any of this movement business really matter? At what point is a sourced movement enough? Is a base model ETA enough to convince or does it need to be a premium Swiss sourced movement? Or does a brand have to design and make their movements in house for you to acknowledge them? Or are we okay with long lasting movements such as Seiko? Keep the conversation going on any of our social media forums!
11. Case Back
A strange oversight, MV has neglected to PVD the case back and instead used one of the stainless-steel ones they clearly already had in inventory. Does it really matter? Well when you view the Nereide from the side you can clearly see that the case back does not match the black PVD of everything else. The Xeric Evergraph in all black, for example, was able to ensure that the case back matched the body and it clocks in at almost half the cost, so this shortcut is just a lazy move. This all said, on the wrist it isn’t as noticeable, and I feel like it is likely just corporate laziness vice cost cutting. I would guess that the next generation 3.0 won’t have this issue but we will find out once we receive our order of them.
12. Strap / Bracelet
Although MV has a limited selection of steel bracelets, all their watches come firstly with vintage Italian hand-made leather straps. Now I’ve discussed my thoughts on the current generation of 20mm straps found on the MV Redentore, but I have to say the 22mm strap on this discontinued generation is massive! It features a rough, suede like finish on the inside and outside that both looks and feels great but also seems to be wearing smooth quite quickly. It is again, VERY heavy duty and is a few millimetres thick and long enough to fit my wrist with enough length left to secure the tail. The blackened buckle says “NEREIDE” and I personally would have preferred it to have simply featured the MV Venetian cross logo.
This version also comes with a rubber strap for water time and is almost identical to the of the StrapsCo blue rubber strap that I have on the Redentore Burano for the summer currently. The rubber strap here is heavy duty and is provided with a matching black buckle just like the leather strap. My only complaint with it is that there are raised selections that protrude from the body and in black the edges of these look worn, unlike the blue (just look at the photo to see what I mean here). The inside of this strap is also contoured in order to wick sweat and water, a nice detail for any rubber strap.
Personally, I think the leather works that MV has produced to date are very good and it will be interesting to see how the upcoming 20mm size works on the Nereide 3.0 in comparison with this 22mm beast.
13. Gravitas / On the Wrist
The very first day I worn the Nereide my wife commented on how sharp it looked and my mother, over insta-skype video, even asked about it and said that it looked really good over the video feed. For a not Rolex, non-fashion watch, I feel like this is pretty big praise for the watch and its good looks. Compared to its younger sibling, the Redentore, the Nereide is heavier and bulkier, and wearing one after the other you’ll notice the weight and size difference. Tracking time passed on the street I noticed that the bezel is firmly secured to the Nereide, especially when compared to the smooth, easy to rotate, bezel of the Yacht-Master. Admittedly the Yacht-Master’s bezel is designed for yachting and is therefore bi-directional, but I suspect it spends more time tracking parking meters then yacht race starts. But that might just be me!
14. The Wife Check
Her initial impression was very positive when she first witnessed me wear the Nereide and I feel that at a glace or passing the Nereide will positively stand out for anyone wearing it. Given the opportunity to full inspect and judge the Nereide however, my wife picked out a number of aspects that didn’t call to her sensibilities but many that still did.
Check out our full dialog on the Nereide 2.0 here!
With regards to MV as a brand, there is a mounting movement, pun intended, of dissatisfied KS backers who are displeased with the way MV has handled the KS campaign for the Nereide GMT. Personally, I still haven’t received any word in any way about when I can expect my watch and the time since they announced that the watches were being shipped continues to pass. I’ve discussed the issue in greater detail in my Redentore Burano review and if you’re interested you can go in the KS page comments section and MV’s various social media sites to find out more.
At this price point I want a reliable, well pieced together watch that stands out in a unique way. Now it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should achieve the main task it sets out to achieve. In this regard, the Nereide 2.0 is extremely successful and has exceeded my personal expectations for it. I didn’t expect the gold trimmed accents to be so attractive and I am excited to see how the Nereide 3.0, in its more mainstream size, compares to this larger beast.
I believe that there are some Rolex designs that are best done by Rolex, the Yacht-Master for example, but there are also some Rolex designs, like the Submariner, that I feel have been taken by other brands and given exciting new life through their variations, like the Nereide, and I personally prefer the Nereide, aluminum bezel and Swiss Made Seagull design and all, over the Submariner. But that’s just me and I’m sure by saying this, the die-hards, fan-boys, and grumpy traditionalist trolls will have their say on all of this.
Whatever conclusion you come to about Meccaniche Veneziane, or Nereide, I hope you at least give this gorgeous diver a chance; I think it might surprise you…
I am very excited to receive the GMT and 3.0 steel & PVD versions of the Nereide when they are finally produced and for now I am very happy with both of my Meccaniche Veneziane watches.
While we wait to receive our versions of the Nereide 3.0 and GMT check out our other reviews and post your thoughts and requests in the comments!
Keep reading by checking out my wife’s take on the Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide 2.0!