Off the Cuff: Benarus Moray 38 “Pac-Man Dial”

The Moray, from Benarus, is a watch of many iterations, dating back more than a decade to the Moray 44. It has since been produced in a variety of case sizes and materials, including bronze, titanium, brass, and DLC. It has incorporated Japanese movements like the Miyota 9015 and Seiko’s NH35, as well as Swiss calibres like the ETA 2824. There is even a chronograph version with the 2894.

While many references in the Moray line have been large divers, north of 40mm–including the massive 47mm titanium diver–those with smaller wrists will be pleased with this most recent version, the Moray 38. In steel, it is available in five different dials, including the referential “Pac-Man,” featured here.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Benarus Moray 38 @calibre321

The Pac-Man dial is based largely upon a 1965 design from Nivada Grechen, and while the brand has recently reissued the Depthmaster, it was actually Benarus who was first off the mark in reviving the dial design in earlier iterations of the Moray. The look is spot on with its funky 60s vibe, in both its bold markers and numerals, but also its handset. The only real deviation from the vintage design is the lollipop seconds chosen by Benarus–which, frankly, fits the aesthetic even better than the original.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Vintage “Pac-Man” dial @calibre321


The Moray measures 38mm in diameter and 13.5mm thick, with a 48mm lug to lug length and a 20mm lug width. It is entirely brushed and looks great as such. The bezel is solid steel, like the case, unidirectional and 120 clicks with a lumed pip at twelve. The lugs are drilled and both the crown and case back are screwed down. It is every inch a tool watch. And can we just spend a moment on that water resistance rating? That’s right. It’s 1000m. Chances are, of course, you will never get the opportunity to test it. But it’s a heck of a bragging right.

However, despite its toolish aesthetic and robust build quality, there is also a dollop of Italian design quality in this austere beast. The cushion case is very much reminiscent of offerings from Panerai, for example. It is gently contoured with refined chamfering along the mid-case. The tolerances are tight. And the inky black dial is something you could dive into.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
A whopping 100m of water resistance @calibre321

Certainly, legibility, is not going to be an issue here. The glossy black really makes the painted yellow indices pop. And beyond the highly stylized numerals, there is not much else to crowd the real estate. Text is limited and the chapter ring is a restrained minute track. Having forgone a date complication, the dial has a fine sense of symmetry and balance. A healthy dose of C3 Super-LumiNova on the markers and hands also allows for a sustained, bright green glow in low light. Of course, you can enjoy all of this through a lovely double-domed sapphire crystal.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Comes standard on a vintage-styled bracelet with a spare leather strap @calibre321

The Moray 38 is powered by the Swiss ETA 2824, which is a proven workhorse. It has 25 jewels, a power reserve of 38 hours, and a smooth 4Hz beat rate of 28,800bph. It will surely offer you years of accurate timekeeping.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Solid, screw down case back and crown @calibre321

The Moray 38 comes standard on a single link, stainless steel bracelet to match its vintage good looks. It is nicely finished in a uniform brushing and has impressive tolerances for this price point. The clasp, however, is simple enough with a fold-over retaining piece. It has several layers of micro-adjust to help you achieve a good fit. In addition, Benarus offers a second leather strap at no charge which has a rugged, handcrafted appearance. The watch also comes in an attractive canvas and suede roll, with plenty of space for other watches and straps.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Long lasting C3 Super-LumiNova @calibre321



Case316L Brushed Stainless Steel
38mm Diameter
48mm Lug to Lug
13.5mm Thick
20mm Lugs
1000m Water Resistance
MovementETA 2824-2
25 Jewels
28 800bph
38-Hour Power Reserve
Crystal & DialDouble-Domed Sapphire Crystal
Textured Dial
Printed Numerals/Markers
Sword and Customized Cathedral Hands
C3 Super-LumiNova
StrapsStainless Steel Bracelet
Extra Leather Strap

Benarus Moray 38


Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Comes in an attractive suede and canvas watch roll @calibre321

Of Interest

As far as microbrands go, Benarus is practically ancient. Founded in Germany, but based primarily in Hong Kong, the brand has been producing watches since 2008. Founders Ralf Schreiner and Steve Laughlin were among the earliest microbrand producers, and if longevity is any indicator, they are also among the most successful. Laughlin, in fact–though he has since left Benarus–is the current driving force behind Raven, another longtime micro. This cross-pollination makes a lot of sense, when you consider the formula responsible for their success–producing over-engineered tool watches with no nonsense designs.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Powered by the ETA 2824 @calibre321

For a while, the two men even ran a spin off division known as Suppa Parts, which builds aftermarket adapters for G-Shocks and some of Citizen’s dive watches. Their penchant for solving engineering problems really shows in watches like the Moray, which has been in a long term state of refinement, culminating in the Moray 38.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Gently contoured cushion case with refined chamfering @calibre321


Given the watch’s toolish intentions, it might have been better to include a NATO or even a tropic-styled dive strap over the current leather offering.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Robust diver with vintage aesthetic @calibre321

Final Thoughts

The Benarus Moray 38 feels just right on my wrist. Despite its small diameter and relatively thick case it balances nicely. I attribute this fact to the long lug design. It is is a watch with surprising refinement and high tolerances, a robust build quality, and a solid swiss movement for well under $1000. It also sports an iconic dial with retro flair. It’s practical and stylish at once. What’s not to like? Oh, and in case you missed it, that was 1000m of water resistance. Dang.

The Benarus Moray 38 retails for $649USD. For more information, please consult the brand website.

Benarus Moray 38 Watch Review
Benarus Moray 38 @calibre321

About the author

Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

Please understand that using any links to products on this site might result in us making money.

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