Get the Panerai Look Without the Mortgage
The venerable Italian watchmaker Panerai has a long storied history of making some of the finest dive watches. Bold in style, Panerai watches were the choice of the Marina Militare (the Italian Navy) and stayed on the wrists of fascist frogmen who succeeded them. While some Panerai watches do have a very reasonable depth rating per dollar (about three dollars per meter), the fact that many, like the Mille Metri, can go to 1,000 meters deep can plunge them into some extremely expensive depths. But if you're into that Italian look, check out Maranez.
The Maranez Bangla borrows many of the classic Panerai design elements from the Mille Metri. First off, the case isn't stainless steel. Instead, Maranez has two different options: brass and titanium. This is key, since these fellas are a whopping 47 millimeters wide — (though small compared to some of the Panerai offerings like Sly Stallone's 60 millimeter monster.)
With that big honking case comes some very respectable diving chops. While it can't go mille metri under sea level, it can go mille piedi (that's 1,000 feet if you don't speak Italian). Inside that case is a Seiko automatic movement, hidden behind a blue or black dial with two different dot/numeral/digit options.
The Maranez Layan is much like the Bangla, sharing the same movement and case material, but with a less aggressive look and smaller 43 millimeter size. At a glance, Layan's brass styling makes it incredibly unclear what time period it's from, which we love, and the patina that the brass will develop will only augment that look. It's available in green, blue, black, red, and brown California dials.
A little more expensive than its siblings, the Maranez Racha looks a little more like a classic dive watch. At 44 millimeters wide, its stainless steel and bezel evokes the classic Seiko dive watches of the 1970s. Oh, and this one goes the full mille metri. Let's go over that one more time. That is a full kilometer below sea level.
Maranez may not have the history or name recognition of Panerai, but it should tide you over until you have pockets mille metri deep for the iconic Italians. Like the classic Panerais, these Maranez watches are diving tools, so if you're in it for the utilitarianism, these might just satisfy.