Beast or Burden?
Ever since I discovered the beauty of California dials, I have always kept my eye out for new brands and models with these dials, whether they be new or old. Maranez is one brand that has been on my radar for a while now, but this is the first time that I have decided to pull the trigger on one of their new ceramic dial California models. You can imagine my surprise when the hands down largest watch so far in my collection showed up on my desk; the Bangla is larger than even my Panerai and its size really took me off guard!
A quick search of the Google shows that back in 2014 there was a wave of reviews for that generation of Bangla and I’d guess that this was the introduction year for the model. Since then however, there has been nothing more written or filmed on the line-up, other than a single unboxing on a household floor, which I think is very unfortunate as this brand and this watch should be receiving much more love than they do! Now I’m not going to pretend to be a diver of any sorts, I’m a land ops SME but I’m more than happy to leave the sub-surface work to others, so this review will be from the perspective of the uninitiated general consumer.
For this detailed review I purchased the Bangala direct from the Maranez website. Shipping was very prompt and baked into the cost which is always great.
Who’s it for? Of course, the primary target market for the Bangla will be diver’s and underwater enthusiast alike. Outside of that if you want an extreme heavy-duty beast of a watch that can double as a knuckle duster then the Bangla is a phenomenal beast for you to tame.
TWC Paid: $500.00 CAD (exchanged from $349.00 USD) + $30.00 CAD duties
Model: Bangla 47 “Ceramic Green California”
Case: 47mm Blasted Brass, Titanium case back
Height:16mm Length: 58mm Lugs: 24mm Weight: 187g with rubber strap
Movement: Seiko NH-35 Automatic, 24J (21,600 BPH), 41 Hour Power Reserve, hacking, hand-windable
Crystal: Flat Sapphire, inner AR coating
WR: 30 ATM – 30 Bar – 300m – 1,000ft
Lume: Yes, Super Luminova Light Orange
Strap: Rubber Divers Strap / Brown Leather Strap, Blasted Brass Buckles
MSRP: $349.00 USD
The Quick Take…
When I purchased the Bangla I had this vision of a beefed up Layan Brass. I can tell you now that the Bangla is definitely NOT anything close to that misperception! The Bangla is a purpose-built watch that I think understands the realities of the modern context that it resides within. Do divers, professional or otherwise, require an analog dive watch today? From what I’ve been told and read, no. In my world we say, “2 is 1 and 1 is none”, which implies that you always want to have a back-up to everything. I see analog dive watches as falling into this back-up category. If all of your instruments fail, then at least you still have your no-fail analog dive watch. I think that Maranez knows this, as I would guess any decent brand does, and so the watch needs to be both functional AND look good.
I won’t spoil the rest of the review for you here but I hope my quick take of the Bangla helps you make an educated purchase, or not!
The Question Today:
How functional is the Bangla and does it have a purpose in your life?
- Sustain: EVERYTHING. The whole presentation is phenomenal at this price point. The leather watch wrap, the high-quality leather strap with changing tool so you can go from water to land with ease. Maranez even prints a plastic warranty card for you which looks great!
- Sustain: Where other more traditional dive watches are more about the bezel, here we find a watch that is all about the case. Now there’s no helium release valve here but the Bangla is designed to be worn on a wet suit in the water and not in a diving bell or other dry sub-surface environment. With this in mind you get 300m of water resistance which should be more than enough for anyone in the water. The case being brass will develop a nice patina over time and the more you use it the more unique the coloring will be. Although brass is the soft, cheaper cousin to brass, it will still be more corrosion resistant to salt water than steel, an important factor obvious in a watch with this purpose and in a dive watch with a rotating bezel, a part that will corrode from within.
- I’ll note as well, that the crown guards are proportionally sized to the rest of the case and lugs and nice and rounded to match the head of the crown and prevent snagging.
- Improve: I’m not a diver but if you are please write in the comments how you would improve the Bangla.
3. Bezel & Rehaut:
- Sustain: Saltwater dive? Worried about corrosion around the bezel? Use your Maranez supplied tool to remove the 3 screws around the bezel and take the whole bezel right off for cleaning! With normal surface gloves the turbine style bezel is easy the manipulate so I would imagine that if needed to you could use it in the water.
- Improve: To reiterate, I am not a diver. Maranez has a little statement that, “The Maranez Bangla is a vintage inspired diver watch.” Are bezel indices other than the 12 o’clock important? I’m going to say not so much since there are none to be found here but if you’re a diver let me know in the comments what you think.
- Sustain: The watch is just so large that on my naked wrist the lugs just barely sit on my wrist. This said, they do form to the shape of a wrist and are relatively soft to the touch on the outside at least.
- Improve: The inside, between the lugs, is cut sharply.
- Sustain: The crown is proportionally sized and operating it is smooth and easy. You can see a single rubber gasket on the threaded tube and I’d guess you might find one in the crown itself as well.
- Improve: Maranez could engrave their diver logo on the head like other brands but I’d say that for the intended purpose of the Bangla that this wouldn’t make sense anyways as it would likely just create a sharp edge and wear off in short order.
- Sustain: Flat sapphire that’s perfectly recessed within the bezel; did you want an acrylic bezel?
- Sustain: While I’d guess that the California dial is no longer the pinnacle of functionality when I comes to dive watch design, I still love them. The functionality of a ceramic dial may be questionable but it at the very least goes back to how much consideration Maranez has put into ensuring that the Bangla is a function first diver watch. This isn’t implying though that the dial isn’t beautiful, however. The dark green background is beautifully executed, and the dial indices appear to have been printed in a tan color and then painted with the orange super lume. It really looks great and gives it a soft vintage look.
- Improve: The other minute / second ring and the “MARANEZ” name are printed in a dark copper tone which can be difficult to see in lower light conditions or if you’re going blind. I have 20/15 vision and am sitting in my unlit living room during an overcast day and I find that it takes a second or two for me to focus on the darker color. On a lighter background you won’t of course have this issue.
- The other observation here is that the orange lume on the hands are a darker shade of orange than the dial indices.
- Sustain: The hands are all in, or trimmed in, a shiny polished gold finish and finished with lots of orange super lume. They match the whole feel of the watch and look great.
- Improve: The lollipop of lume on the second hand is smaller than that used on much smaller watches of similar style and the only thing I can think is that the hands here have been taken from a parts bin. The hour hand doesn’t have much of a track to follow like other dial styles that have uniform circles or rectangles to skim along but the hour hand here touches some part of every hour marker. At the same time the minute and second hands overlap the printed outside min / sec track rather than just skimming the edge. None of these minor quibbles are critical in the purpose of the watch of course but observed nevertheless.
- Sustain / Improve: The superlume here looks great in orange and is very bright after being charged. For a dark environment with unlimited use of white light the lume here should be effective. I still think the every day super lume commonly found everywhere fades to quickly but it’s all about price point.
10. Movement / Functions:
- Sustain: The Seiko NH-35 is a micro-brand go to, and on all of the watches I have with it I haven’t had any issues. Before any mission you should ensure you do a time check and set your watch so accuracy during a dive should never be a concern. Even if you forget your time check the NH-35 is a robust and reasonably accurate movement.
11. Case Back:
- Sustain: In keeping with the practical features theme, the Bangla comes stock with a titanium case back! I’d guess that it is only TA2 titanium but at this price point I am really impressed by this consideration. Interestingly, the Bangla is serialized on the case back which I think is another amazing detail again considering the price point.
12. Strap / Bracelet:
- Sustain: In keeping with its functional nature, the Bangla has screw pins holding the strap ends in place. And these straps are phenomenal. The rubber strap smells of vanilla, as it should, and the leather strap is of high quality. Even though it is a massive wear-over your wet suit watch, it also sits comfortably on the naked wrist and the rubber strap is as comfortable as my IsoFrane and the leather as comfortable as any of my Panerai straps. The buckle for the straps is in matching brass and features Maranez’s little diver logo.
- Improve: The buckle doesn’t have a recess for the pin if that matters… I’m going to wager it doesn’t…
13. Gravitas / On the Wrist:
- Sustain: For such a massive watch it sits comfortably on my wrist and if I was doing lots of diving, I can definitely see myself wearing it both in the water as well as on its leather strap during evenings off. This is isn’t going to be for everyone because of its size but once again if you dive then I don’t think it’s going to matter much.
- The very first thing my wife said was, “For marvel fans it looks like the infinity gauntlet!” We had an impromptu discussion on her take on the Bangla, all of which you can find in My Wife’s Take.
Outside of work or water sport I don’t know where else I would wear this behemoth, but I can tell you that this guy is going to come on every fair-weather vacation I take from here on! Even though only certain people will get it, if you understand what the Bangla offers then I think you are going to be extremely happy with your choice here. I get it’s not for everyone, and that’s ok, but for the right person this is an extremely competitive and compelling watch to choose.
I recently backed the 41mm Yema Superman Heritage on KickStarter, and once I have received it I will do a detailed review of it and include a comparison of that style of dive watch to the Bangla.
There are many bronze diver style watches out right now, but they’re typically very expensive, and there are several brass options from competing micro-brands at similar price points, Helson comes to mind. But if you want a purpose drive dive watch, I believe that the Bangla won’t let you down.
Here is my question to you:
Would you be interested in an…
- A final score associated with each review like out of 100?
- A pass / fail all or nothing?
- A buy, hold, pass?
- Or keep it as is with no score?
Let me know through one of our online comment sections.