Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide Watches & Crystals “Argilla Crema” Limited Edition – Quick Check Comparison

How Special is a Limited Release of 20?

I wasn’t aware of Meccaniche Veneziane’s (MV) plans to release limited run editions in partnership with their retailers until I received an email about their first collaboration with Watches & Crystals (W&C).  If you are not up to speed with the MV Nereide 3.0 diver make sure to read my detailed review of the entire Nereide 3.0 line-up.  Today we will only be looking at what differences there are between the Nereide 3.0 diver and the W&C special and find out which version does it better.

Special thanks to Stefano of Watches & Crystals who is not only a superb vendor but also a great gentleman.  Thank you for taking the time to respond to all my questions and long-winded emails in a thoughtful and personal manner.  If you are looking for a designer watch or a Meccaniche Veneziane Watches & Crystals has you covered. 

This very limited release can only be bought directly from W&C so to secure a modest first day discount I placed an order quickly upon their initial release.  

Who’s it for? The Nereide line-up is a dive watch best suited for the office, a classy restaurant or the side of a beach as it is decidedly more beauty than brawn.  The W&C version takes this one step further with this by furnishing the Nereide with a visually more upscale appearance.  Overall, the Nereide line-up offers a great deal of versatility for any buyer and the W&C is for someone who is looking for a more fashion designer look.  I think this is an interesting alternative to the Rolex Yacht-Master in terms of fashion and style.

TWC Paid:   W&C $994.00 CAD (exchanged from £599,00 pound sterling) shipped + $40.00 CAD duties

Left: Nereide Watches & Crystals, Right: Nereide 3.0 Black
Meccaniche Veneziane  
Model: Nereide 3.0 Watches & Crystal “Argilla Crema”
Reference: N/A
Origin: Italy
Case: 42mm 316L “Surgical” Stainless Steel  Thickness: 14mm  Lug-to-Lug: 49mm  Lug Width: 22mm              
Bezel: 120-click Uni-Directional Rotating, Enameled Aluminum Insert
Movement: Caliber MV285 (modified STP 1-11), 26J (28,800 BPH), 44 Hour Power Reserve, hacking, gold plated rotor
Crystal: Anti-Reflective Domed Sapphire
WR: 20 ATM – 20 Bar – 200m – 660ft
Lume: Yes, C1 Super LumiNova
Strap: Hand-made Italian Leather
MSRP: £769.00 Pound Sterling
Website: WatchesAndCrystals.com
Meccaniche Veneziane  
Model: Nereide 3.0 “Classico”
 
Reference: 1202007 (Black)  
Origin: Italy  
Case: 42mm 316L Stainless Steel
Thickness: 14mm  Lug-to-Lug: 49mm  Lug Width: 22mm                      
Bezel: 120-click Uni-Directional Rotating, Enameled Aluminum Insert  
Movement: Caliber MV285 (modified STP 1-11), 26J (28,800 BPH), 44 Hour Power Reserve, hacking, brass rotor  
Crystal: Anti-Reflective Domed Sapphire
WR: 20 ATM – 20 Bar – 200m – 660ft Lume: Yes, C1 Super LumiNova  
Strap: Hand-made Italian Leather  
MSRP: €829.00 Euro + Tax  
Website: MeccanicheVeneziane.It
Photos taken from the Watches & Crystal website.

Finding these watches:

If you are looking for a Nereide there are few different options available.

  1. Direct – the simplest way is to just order one directly from MV.  If you sign up for their newsletter and wait you will eventually get a discount code for your order, just be prepared to wait as they only push these out when they really need to move stock.  One issue with this method is that you are only receiving a single layer of quality control (QC) checking whereas if you bought from a retailer then hopefully, they have checked the watch prior to selling it.  The reason I bring this up is that MV has a severe QC problem, more on that in a bit.
  2. Third Party Online (Retailer) – typically these online stores are branded as “micro brand” sellers and consist of all the Kick Starter (KS) and online only brands that focus on marketing through modern popular mediums like YouTube and FaceBook.  Like any retailer, these sellers will hold physical stock and if you can wait, they will eventually provide a discount to move old stock or just drum up business.  Keep in mind that you order from these retailers regardless of politically drawn borders and my purchase from Watches & Crystals saw the watch travel direct via DHL from the UK to Canada.  If you want to order from the USA, the MicroBrand store is an excellent online retailer to look at.
  3. Brick & Mortar Store (Retailer) – MV has a number of physical retailers and, although most are in Europe, if you happen to be coincidentally co-located with one of these authorized dealers (AD) then you can pop in and try before you buy. 
  4. Used – other than eBay you are not going to find MV products used in too many places like you would mass produced brands.  This said there is usually a couple of used examples of MV watches on eBay, though you need to keep in mind which version you are looking at as the Nereide line in particular has gone through 3 iterations now and one isn’t powered by a Swiss movement.  If you keep watch here, you can pick up a MV for a big discount and even the few MV eBay “retailers” offer good discounts.

The Cross Shop:

Rolex – $8,300.00 USD – Yacht-Master 16623 – if you want an upscale dive style watch then the Rolex Yacht-Master is the perfect choice.  It features a bi-directional bezel which is great for timing how long it takes for your waiter to get you another drink or how much time is left on the parking meter.  They are not nearly as popular as the Submariner line and as such they trade below MSRP.  I personally own a Yacht-Master and I love it and would recommend one to anyone looking for a generational watch that you don’t see every day.  You can find easily find these used whether on eBay, Chrono24 or a secondhand dealer but you can also find these NEW in AD’s in their latest iterations.  You really have a wide range to choose from and the steel and platinum version can be had for under $10,000.00 CAD.

Normally I would include a choice from Costco but Costco.ca has such a poor selection that I just can’t bring myself to recommending anything from them.  If you want something from Costco, then check your local warehouse and you’ll usually find a nice Oris there.

Left: 16622 Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm, Right: Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide Watches & Crystals

Model Comparison…

The Watches & Crystals Limited Edition Nereide [3.0] is a very small batch run of custom dial watches.  In total W&C has commissioned 6 models of 20 watches, 3 in the regular Topazio Crema color and 3 in the new Argilla Crema color.  Only 2 of the 6 versions feature the new white dial while the rest have the standard Nereide black dial.  Finally, each version has its own leather strap and of these the white and off-white versions are truly new styles within the Nereide hierarchy.  Taking all this into consideration I feel that the Argilla Crema is the most unique version both within the W&C line up as well as the overall within the Nereide collection.

If you want to know all the details about the Nereide 3.0 collection, then you should go read my review of the entire line-up as I discuss them in detail in that review.  Here we will look at the differences between your everyday Nereide 3.0 models and the W&C limited edition.

1. Box / Packaging:                       Nereide 3.0

MV’s presentation is typically very good for the price.  The W&C version features the same durmast oak wood box but with a special W&C logo burnished to the front, a nice detail to differentiate the unique model.  Other than this though, the W&C was missing all the normal paperwork and tags you usually receive with any other MV.  Thankfully W&C has been good enough to send out the missing paperwork and I’ll update you with these once I receive them.  Until then I’m going to give this to the Nereide 3.0 as I don’t think there is going to be anything that will really differentiate the W&C edition enough to elevate it sufficiently over the regular Nereide line and make me feel like it’s uniquely special.

2. Case:                                             Tie

There are no differences here as both models use the new 3.0 case.

3. Case Back:                                  Tie

Nothing different here either as both models use a well fitted screwed in case back. 

4. Movement / Functions:            Tie

The MV Redentore, Nereide 3.0 and Nereide W&C are all powered by the same caliber MV285 which is derived from a Fossil made STP1-11.  I didn’t think anything of this and just assumed that a new Nereide is a new Nereide.  Thankfully I own and wear all my watches and one day I just happened to be admiring my new W&C edition when I was struck by the feeling that there was something off about the movement.  Upon comparing it to my Nereide 3.0 I noticed that the W&C was missing the “STP” and “1-11” stamps on the movement.  I was of course concerned given my other observations and immediately pulled out my Redentore Burano and in comparing those two movements I discovered that they were identical.  The current information from MV states that the Redentore line is driven by the STP based MV285 but MV has changed a great deal since the start of the year and MV has used several different movements in their quest to find a consistent supplier.  After confirming that it wasn’t an ETA or Selitta I finally found hint online that there might be a STP stamp above the balance wheel.  While extremely small I managed to find the tiniest of stamps using a high-powered lamp.  With both the Redentore and the W&C edition confirmed as STP1-11’s my first thought was why; why does the W&C have the same movement as the older Redentore while the 3.0 has a newer one?  I reached out the W&C and managed to photograph all of the stamps for them and in doing so the answer, or what I think is the answer, dawned on me.  In researching the STP1-11 earlier in the year I had read thread about how Fossil, in similar fashion to many Chinese manufactures, has several movement factories, and that the production quality between these factories varies greatly.  The thread stated that it appeared that Fossil saved the best versions of their movements for their own product lines while pushing out lesser grades to their outside contracts.  Now the validity of these statements “are what they are” and of course any brand that sources a movement and doesn’t regulate it themselves “gets what they pay for”, but it does explain why the stamping on these two movements are different; one batch is from the “KCA” stamped factory while the other is from the “XLD” factory.  In the end does any of this matter to you? Does it make any difference?  You can look at my real-world performance results here, but the short answer is no, their doesn’t appear to be a definable difference within the range of MV285 movements.

5. Lugs:                                             Tie

As you guessed no change!

6. Crown:                                          Tie

The crown itself remains unchanged and is well executed.  As seems to always be the case, the W&C Nereide has an unfortunate QC problem.  When I received the W&C the crown was in but unscrewed from the case, which isn’t a problem.  Once I manually charged up the movement, I went to screw in the crown only to find that I couldn’t full seat the crown.  Now the threading on the crown stems that MV uses are typically somewhat rough this was something different.  Upon closer inspection I observed debris that I can only describe as “manufacturing byproduct” built up on the case body and all around the stem.  I could only guess what this is from, but it prevented me from securing the crown to the case.  I cleaned enough of it off with a cloth so that I could get the crown screwed on but have left some for photos so you can see the issue.  If you’ve read any of my previous MV reviews, you’ll see that there is a clear problem with their QC checks.

7. Bezel & Rehaut:                         Tie

The “Argilla” bezel insert is presently a unique color within the Nereide line-up, though the W&C can be had with the “Crema” insert color which is not new.  I like the more subdued, metallic taupe hue of this insert and think it works well here.  Like all new Nereide divers, the W&C suffers from a lume pip at the 12 o’clock that catches on everything.  It’s not as bad as the one found on the Nereide GMT but its still noticeable enough to warrant mention. 

On MV’s release page for the W&C they list that the model features a ceramic bezel but, on the W&C product page it shows that it features the older aluminum insert.  I conferred with W&C and they confirmed that the bezels for their models were in fact enameled aluminum.  Thankfully MV has recently started to sell accessories and you can now buy more dive and GMT bezel inserts for 25 euros a piece.

8. Dial:                                               Nereide W&C

The most obvious difference between the generic 3.0 and the W&C version is that the writing on the W&C is unique and tells you that it is “limited edition” without being in your face about it.  Unlike the black dial, the flat white dial used by the W&C here is unique to the limited edition and is well matched with the other colors here.  The off-white tones matched with the white dial and minimal yellow gold touches make this version feel more upscale than the sportier 3.0 line.  The Nereide line-up tends to be classier already and the W&C just takes it one step further.  I would like MV to take this a step further and offer a yellow gold DLC or PVD bezel but I’m sure that will come in time.  I’ll highlight here that the dial of the Nereide style wise is very well done and the gold accents work extremely well and come off as very impressive.  The white lume fill and the white dial are color matched perfectly in the W&C which I feel is better executed here than in the much more common black dial versions.

My personal favorite is still the Doppio Drago green dial with white accents but because the W&C version is so well done, I’ll give it the nod for the sake of this review.

9. Hands:                                          Tie

No change here either.

10. Lume:                                         Tie

As can be expected for this price point, the C1 lume works as well as any application of C1 lume does.

11. Crystal:                                       Tie

This well protected and domed sapphire is the same in both models.

12. Strap:                                          Nereide 3.0

MV makes some very good leather straps and all of my previous ones have been very comfortable right out of the box.  The one found on the W&C reminds me more of the “water resist treated” strap found on the Spinnaker Hull California than the normal soft and supple MV leather that I have become accustomed to.  The execution on the W&C strap isn’t quite up to the normal MV strap standard either as you can see the poor finishing touch of blending the buckle end of the leather to the rest of the strap.  It’s noticeable compared to all their previous straps but it is entirely possible that this could just be a one-time thing and I just happen to be unlucky one to receive it.  We will see how this strap breaks in and I will post an update about it in the future.  

Interestingly my W&C also features the buckle from the last generation Nereide and not the newest one from the 3.0.  It’s a small difference but I wonder if MV had some of these old buckles lying around and thought that this small production of W&C’s would be a great opportunity to move some stale inventory.  Whatever the case I contacted W&C and they assured me that only a small percentage of their special edition Nereide’s have this older buckle and the majority do in fact have the newer one.

I think it would be nice to see the W&C on the well-executed Milanese bracelet that MV offers and that is supposed to come with this model.  Mine, however, did not ship with one and the one I do own is presently worn by my Nereide GMT.  This said the case brushing of the Nereide 3.0 doesn’t lend itself well to the high polish of the Milanese bracelet in my opinion.  The right steel bracelet has the potential here to elevate the W&C further and you can be the judge of whether the provided Milanese does this for you.

13. Gravitas / On the Wrist:                     Nereide W&C

The Nereide 3.0 line-up offers lots of color combinations and I am again partial to the green on green with jubilee steel.  The W&C offers a new color pathway for you to choose from, one that’s dressier than ever. While the classic black on steel of the Nereide 3.0 “Classico” generally goes unnoticed throughout the day the W&C stands out dramatically and is much more “jewelry attractive”. I don’t think it’s “in your face” by any stretch but its much more a noticeable piece of jewelry than practical tool watch. Now I don’t FEEL like I do when I’m wearing something that I truly believe to be special, like when I wear a classic vintage piece or luxury piece that has personal value to me, but maybe it’s just that I now have a ever growing collection of MV time pieces.

14. Wife:                                                        Nereide W&C

My wife’s answer to which one does it best once again surprised me and she decidedly chose the W&C for it’s sexy fashion sense. The short answer for here is that I was shocked when she told me just why the W&C isn’t just her favorite of these 2 time pieces but of all my Meccaniche Veneziane watches! Read the entire conversation here!

Final Thoughts…

I’ll start by saying that I think the Nereide design is well thought out and executed and has excellent range and potential.  As for the W&C release, I am decidedly skeptical about how special it ultimately is and, other than the custom writing on the dial, there really isn’t anything new here, though if you opt for the Argilla Crema version you do get a dial and bezel insert that are in colors that have not been used in any other Nereide models to date.  There is no mention about keeping either of these colors special in any way, so I’d expect MV to roll out both to the rest of the collection at some point in the future.  I really like the gold accents on white dial, and I feel like the watch overall has a very upscale designer look about it. 

While MV continues to struggle with QC it has still pushed forwards to capitalize on the popularity and success of their current designs.  With the upcoming release of both the Nereide 3.0 Ceramic and much more importantly the Redentore 36mm, MV is setting itself up for continued expansion.  My hope for MV in the future is that they develop a two-tone (TT) Nereide model along with a more sport-oriented version as well.  If they were to take the current Nereide design with white dial and just add a gold bezel and maybe a gold crown and high polish case, I think they would have an extremely successful design.  TT models are particularly popular in South-East Asia, or so I’ve read, and for 2019 Rolex, for example, has released the Sea Dweller in TT and expanded the Tudor Black Bay line to include several TT models. 

On the other hand, the Nereide case’s new screwed in case back, thick rehaut and bulkier proportions make it ready to be further improved upon with the addition of a few more gaskets and seals and, if needed, thicker glass, to create a diver rated to 3-600m and sold to a more tool-watch focused audience.  My point with all this is that MV has even more potential with the Nereide and I just hope that they continue to capitalize on its success while it’s still fresh.

While I don’t feel like the W&C edition is really all that special, I do think that it is unique in the Nereide line-up and that it has a place along side it’s much sportier siblings.  I hope that with the success of this release that MV will put greater thought and effort into differentiating their limited-edition releases in the future so that they do feel more special and “one-of-a-kind”. 

While I am not particularly into fashion or designer anything, I can see how this would appeal to those who are and for my 2020 wedding I will be considering the Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide Watches & Crystals edition as the one watch I wear for it.

Final Score…

The Nereide W&C is one piece in the spectrum of Nereide diver watches and “who did it better” is truly relative.  With this in mind lets see what the points have to say here.

A final note, I won’t be purchasing a Redentore 36mm as I don’t have a place for it on my wrist and my wife as opted out on one and I also won’t be purchasing a upcoming ceramic bezel model as the only difference from the standard 3.0 is the bezel insert material.  If there is overwhelming demand for a review either, I’ll consider changing my mind but for now you’ll have to defer to my review of the Rendentore “Burano” and Nereide 3.0.   

From Left to Right, the Meccaniche Veneziane: Nereide 2.0 Ardesia, Nereide 3.0 Black, Nereide 3.0 Green “Doppio Drago”, Nereide Watches & Crystals Edition, Nereide GMT “San Marco”, Redentore “Burano”

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