HANDS-ON: The Méraud Antigua is a yachting watch that bobs along on a delightfully retro waveFergus Nash
Having previously owned two vintage watches powered by Landeron movements, I’ve always believed they were unsung heroes in the world of Swiss chronographs. One of the watches I had was a Rotary that dated all the way back to 1937, and the Landeron 47 inside it still worked perfectly and intuitively. Méraud have made my dreams come true by releasing these limited-edition watches. Featuring refurbished Landeron 248 movements inside a bicompax package, the Méraud Antigua is the ultimate option for vintage enthusiasts with yachting style.
We’d usually analyse the case of the Méraud Antigua first, but I just can’t contain my excitement towards the movement enough to be patient. Founded in the municipality of Le Landeron in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, the company which began in 1873 had grown to be an extremely important manufacturer of watches and movements by the 1920s. The Landeron 47 was the first cam-actuated chronograph calibre and was briefly made in 1937 before being succeeded by the Landeron 48, revolutionising the Swiss chronograph industry. Before then, column-wheel chronographs were much more expensive to manufacture and as such were reserved to wealthy customers. Between 1937-1970, the Landeron 48 and its variations found their way into brands like Heuer, Breitling, Baume & Mercier, Doxa and countless others.
The movements used in the Méraud Antigua are all new/old stock Landeron 248 calibres, which are pretty much identical to the 48. They have been meticulously overhauled to remove any signs of age and serviced with modern lubricants, ensuring an even longer life span than Landeron could have imagined back in 1937. Visible from the display caseback, you can see how artfully the movement is laid out, along with the Méraud logo engraved on the bridge. It runs at the quirky frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour, with approximately 41 hours of power reserve. It’s hand-wound, without a screw-down crown to get in your way for the full vintage experience. You start the chronograph with the top pusher as normal, but use the bottom pusher to both stop and then reset the hands. Although these movements were once very common, they have been discontinued for long enough that sourcing replacement parts for them can take some time. You’ll have an easier time servicing it the closer you are to Switzerland, but generally speaking there are still plenty of parts out there.
For its exterior stylings, the Méraud Antigua have chosen a distinctly 1960s case shape with suitable details. The brushed surfaces of the lugs reinforce the sports attitude, while high-polish bevels cut across the lug tips imbue it with a real sense of sophistication. The sides of the case are also brushed, with drilled lugs for ease of strap changes. The bezel is polished, with a remarkable sapphire insert that’s styled to look like Bakelite. The gold markers and numerals, complete by a funky midcentury typeface, are also luminous.
In terms of dimensions, the Méraud Antigua is tastefully upsized from vintage accuracy into something that’s both comfortable physically and aesthetically. The case diameter is 39mm with the bezel flaring out to 40mm, and a lug-to-lug length of 48.6mm. It’s a relatively thick watch at 13.6mm considering the use of a manually-wound movement, but it suits the style of the watch and backs up the 100m water resistance.
Named after the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in the Caribbean, the Méraud Antigua perfectly captures the mixture of lightheartedness and technical perfection that goes along with the yachting lifestyle. The two dial colours are equally attractive, named “Miho Black” and “Soft Sand” appropriately. A compass-inspired double-sided running seconds hand sits at 9 o’clock, while the chronograph’s minutes counter has a “big eye” style guilloché subdial at 3.
The orange and pastel blue colours really pop against their respective black and silver surroundings, while the orange chronograph second hand and all of the parchment-toned lume just warms everything up beautifully. The minutes track is printed neatly with crisp markings below the tachymetre, and silver applied hour markers that gleam in the light. The watch looks just as impressive after dark, thanks to Swiss Super-LumiNova.
By default, the Méraud Antigua comes fitted to a gorgeous leather strap made by Molequin — another Belgian brand like Méraud. The top-grain buffed nubuck leather is a golden honey colour on the Soft Sand dial while the Miho Black version is more of a tan mocha, and each watch is also supplied with a green or black tropic rubber strap respectively. If neither of those options are for you, Méraud also make a vintage riveted style steel bracelet for €125 extra. Alternatively, the 20mm lug width opens up a lot of aftermarket opportunities.
The Méraud Antigua pricing and availability:
Each colour variant of the Méraud Antigua is limited to 100 pieces, with 200 total. It’s currently available for pre-order from their website here, with delivery expected in September of 2023. Price: €1,750 / US$1,910 / AU$2,763
|Case Dimensions||39mm (40mm bezel) x 48.6mm x 13.6mm|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Dial||Miho Black, Soft Sand|
|Strap||Molequin leather and rubber tropic|
|Power Reserve||41 hours|
|Availability||Limited to 100 pieces in each colour, available now for pre-order|
|Price||€1,750 / US$1,910 / AU$2,763|