Preview: Benarus Megalodon

Devotees of TLC's Shark Week are no doubt familiar with the Megalodon, a prehistoric shark that grew up to 60 feet long. Savor that fact for a moment. That is a shark about the size of an eighteen-wheeler with jaws that could crush a whale's skull. It made the Tyrannosaurus Rex look like a pussy cat. Captain Quint would have taken one look at this monster and said, "Damn, you're right Chief. We do need a bigger boat. Let's get the hell out of here!" It was, quite simply, the baddest mofo that ever lived.
With that introduction, allow me to present the Megalodon dive watch from veteran micro brand Benarus of Overland Park, Kansas. For a landlocked company, Benarus has turned out some remarkable divers and this brute is perhaps their most distinctive. Like its prehistoric namesake, the Megalodon is a monster. It measures 49mm across, 53mm long, and 19mm thick. If you make a dive watch this big, it has better be seaworthy and Benarus does not disappoint. The whole thing is gloriously overbuilt with specs like you might expect from a Trident submarine. The case back and domed sapphire crystal are each 4.5mm thick. The screw down crown is sealed with three gaskets, and the case back is sealed with two. If you care to take it on your next commercial saturation dive, you put its helium release valve to use. Water resistance? Only 2500 meters. That is the depth of the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, where the water pressure is roughly equivalent to the weight of an African Elephant. 

Of course, all this security would be worthless if it wasn't protecting a quality movement. Inside the vault is a Miyota 9015, a high beat automatic that should be familiar to all micro brand devotees. It is a respected, reliable unit with a 28.8k beat rate, 40-hour power reserve, and hacking and hand winding capabilities. 
Now that we have established its technical bona fides, we get the subjective question. Does it look cool? I'm going to give an emphatic "yes" on that one. For such a beast, it has a fun and well-considered design. This is the third incarnation of the Megalodon case, and to my eye, the best of the bunch. It is thicker through the midsection than the previous model, which allows it to accommodate the 8mm crown and large, drilled lugs. It is also the first version to wear a luminous sapphire insert in its fat, gear-toothed bezel. The case is bowl-shaped, not slab sided, which should go a long way to making more wearable and less "blocky" on the wrist. Its 24mm bracelet is appropriately sturdy, with solid, screwed links and a signed, adjustable divers clasp with two sets of push buttons for release and for opening the wetsuit extension. The Megalodon is offered in 316L brushed stainless steel and, in a first for this model, CuSn8 bronze with a titanium case back.

The layered dial has a printed minute index and signature applied "shark tooth" markers on an outer ring. The lower center surface features three lines of text (brand, model, and water resistance) and a color matched date wheel at 4:30. That last one makes me a very happy man as nothing disrupts a dial like a glaring date. The hands are straight and broad, reinforcing the heavy proportions of the watch. The markers, hands, and bezel insert are all treated with BGW-9 SuperLuminova for a white appearance in daylight and a potent blue glow at night. It is bold, brash, and highly legible.

Buyers can choose from several different color combinations including a black, white, orange, or blue dial; brushed or DLC black bezel; black or blue insert; and a black, brushed, or orange minute hand. It ships with a bracelet and a natural rubber strap. The bronze edition has a bronze bezel. It's dials are black, blue, or my personal favorite, the aptly named "Shark Mouth Red". There is no bronze bracelet option, but it comes on a rubber strap with a signed bronze buckle.

As this is merely a preview and I can't comment on the Megalodon's wearability. It's size pushes the physical limits of my 6.5" wrist so it might threaten to tip me over. On the other hand, the dimensions are nearly identical to that of the Citizen Ecozilla on Suppa adapters I am wearing now, so I might just get away with it. Frankly, this brute looks so cool I probably wouldn't care. 

Early backers can still get the steel version for $780, or a bronze for $900. The watch is not exactly cheap, but over $100 less than full price, and you are certainly getting a lot of watch for your money, and I'm not just talking about size. The Kickstarter campaign ends July 5, 2015.

Pictures courtesy of Benarus Watches.









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