When we decide to review a watch, we look at a number of different aspects: the overall look and feel of the watch, the details of the design, functionality, and overall value. We’re always looking for unique finds: watches possessing an ineffable quality that simply stand out. The VAER D5 Meridian Navy is one of these finds. Let’s take a closer look.
VAER: The Brand
VAER was founded in Venice, California in 2016 by Ryan Torres and Reagan Cook. Their aim was to create affordable watches that are perfect as everyday go-to timepieces due to their durability. Before VAER watches became available to the public, Torres and Cook tested the first prototypes in real life settings: these watches experienced free diving, surfing, drop tests, boiling water submersions, even a high altitude exposure in the Himalayas. After years of hard work, the result speaks for itself: in the spring of 2018, VAER’s first batch of American assembled watches were successfully released, providing customers with the most (by far) affordable USA-assembled watches on the market.
VAER slowly gained the trust and support from watch enthusiasts and outdoorsmen. Their growth is supported by customer loyalty, and it played a critical part in avoiding the influence of external funding. We really like the fact that VAER’s sustainable-growth business model prioritizes product value over profit margins.
VAER D5 Meridian Navy: Overview
The VAER D5 Meridian Navy is a serious dive watch with a touch of elegance: the warm-toned gold secondary colors on the dial make this timepiece a perfect choice as an everyday go-to watch as it is easy to dress up or down. Its reliable Miyota 9039 automatic movement provides a 40-hours power reserve. The combination of the sword style for the hour hand and the pencil style of the minute hand is an unusual solution, but they work really well together. The overall angles and ruggedness is counterbalanced with the lollipop second hand to provide the elegance that makes this watch a well-rounded timepiece.
The dial of the D5 Meridian Navy is simple, yet not underwhelming. The navy blue color provides a depth for the watch that is counterbalanced by the warm-toned gold secondary color around the hour indices and hands.
There are no Roman or Arabic numerals on the dial—the hours are marked with alternating geometrical shapes, mainly circles and rectangular shapes with different sizes. The 12 o’clock position is marked by a bigger triangle that we’re used to with dive watches.
The combination of a wide sword style hour hand and the pencil style minute hand is a bit unusual, but it works nicely. This combination has a lot of angles, and this ruggedness is set off by the lollipop second hand to provide the contrast and therefore the shapely elegance that makes this watch a well-rounded timepiece.
In our opinion, the relatively simplistic dial design (there is no date function) is elevated by the classy color combination: the navy blue paired with gold really make this watch feel high-end.
The serrated aluminum bezel is not a surprising design choice, as this rugged dive watch is all about functionality. It’s a 120 click uni-directional bezel, and its navy blue color blends nicely, therefore visually expanding the dial’s size.
The case is brushed stainless steel with a 39 mm width, making it a comfortable wear for most wrist sizes. The lug-to-lug distance is 48 mm, so it won’t look like a small watch on the wrist. The overall height is at 11.6 mm without the crown. With the domed crown, the height is at 13.7 mm, which is still around the average height for sporty watches. The crystal itself is double domed sapphire with internal anti-reflective coating to provide great visibility.
The screw-down locking crown contributes to the watch’s water resistance (200 meters). This locking mechanism is tested by VAER, and due to its reliable nature, no crown guards are needed, as you won’t accidentally loosen up the crown.
Additionally, the exhibition case-back provides a great view of the movement.
The VAER D5 Meridian Navy has an automatic Japanese movement, the Miyota 9039. This 24-jewel movement provides 40 hours of power reserve.
Miyota – part of the Citizen group – has been manufacturing this relatively new movement since 2018. The accuracy range is within +/- 10-30 seconds per day under normal operating conditions.
Stainless Steel Bracelet
Regarding the straps or stainless steel bracelet for the VAER D5 Meridian, the FKM Tropic Strap is the default. It is very durable, great for hot weather and/or salt water. Alternatively, you do have the option to pick either a nylon strap, a leather strap, or an oyster stainless steel bracelet.
Pros and Cons
Let’s take a look at the summary of pros and cons, in our humble opinion:
- The 39 mm case width is perfect for all wrist sizes.
- Classic evergreen design.
- The watch can be easily dressed up or down.
- Simple dial, yet not underwhelming.
- Great color combination with the navy blue and warm gold.
- Be mindful of the strap selection, as the default tropic strap is more sporty, and not the most appropriate for more formal outfits.
- Some people might shy away from new smaller brands – and we hope to help put some doubts at ease.
Summary: Takeaway and Final Thoughts About VAER D5 Meridian Navy
The VAER D5 Meridian Navy is an elegant yet sporty dive watch. The combination of the navy blue as the main color with the warm-toned gold secondary color brings a hint of elegance to the otherwise sporty design, making it a very harmonic, well rounded combination. The sword hour hand and the pencil minute hand union has a very angular masculine look, but this ruggedness is counterbalanced with the lollipop second hand, providing some well-designed roundness. Its reliable Miyota 9039 automatic movement provides a 40-hours power reserve. Last but certainly not least, while still a new brand, they already had a significant impact on American watchmaking, and we wholeheartedly support their efforts!
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