Preview: Maranez Undercover

One of the things I love about micros is that they are often willing to try out ideas that more established companies wouldn't touch. Case in point, the Maranez Undercover. Maranez is best known for their stable of automatic dive watches. They are well made, well priced, and can be a tad offbeat, like the brass and stone Layan, or the mighty 1000 meter Bagala 47 Bronze. Now, they have released their first quartz model and in true Maranez fashion, it is not something you see every day. 
The Undercover is a Miyota quartz in a massive hexagonal case. It measures a whopping 50mm wide to the crown, 48mm lug-to-lug, and 16.5mm thick. At first blush, it would appear to have a crown on either side like the Jean Richard Diverscope but there is only one. The other protuberance hides a hinge. "What for?" you ask. Why, to access the secret compartment, of course. 
Yes, along with more common features like the AR-coated sapphire crystal, 120-click dive bezel, and C3 SuperLuminova, you get a hidden 34x8mm storage area behind the dial. Maranez suggests it might be useful for "some [medicine] tablets, folded bank notes, small USB sticks, sim cards or micro SD cards." the watch is rated for 100 meters water resistance, but I suspect that only applies to the watch movement case, not the stash box.

The dial is conservative, just unadorned black with stick markers and baton hands, although it does boast the tiniest little nub of a second have ever seen. It does not seem particularly useful, but there must be a story behind that. 

For the life of me, I don't know what to make of this watch, or how I would possibly use it, but I am delighted that Maranez was willing to give it a go. The Undercover is available at maranez.com in blasted stainless steel ($179) or IP black ($199), on a 22mm rubber strap. 

Photos courtesy of Maranez




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