Peren Nera and the Transylvania Connection [Review]
Digging deeper than Dracula's fangs
While working on this review, the word “Peren” was autocompleted into the word “Perennial”. Not by coincidence, the phrase Perennial Timepiece is inscribed on the long matte black box for the Nera, the second watch produced by this microbrand. Originally launched on Kickstarter, this limited edition piece gets its name from the Nera Gorges in Romania.
“Peren is a brand which does not have a beginning, nor an end, for it was not invented, nor was it conceived.” –Perenniality
Despite having “Transylvania” on the dial, the brand is not actually located in the Transylvanian region of modern day Romania. Peren pays tribute to Transylvania, but the company is based in Biel/Bienne Switzerland. This is also where these watches are assembled with a Swiss made ETA caliber 2824-2automatic movement inside.
The Transylvania connection is from Andy, the founder of the brand, who is a Transylvanian descendant with intern experience in the Swiss watch industry. In 2016, he ventured into making the Peren microbrand a reality and secured crowdfunding for a Dracula themed quartz chronograph. Although the Nera is not a vampire watch, “Transylvania” on anything conjures a mysterious vibe.
At first glance of the dial, in office lighting, it appeared to be black. So much so that if the watch was listed before a proper photoshoot, it would have almost certainly (and incorrectly) been labeled as a black dial. But this is due to lighting type and conditions.
Walking over to the window, a circle of bluish-green reveals itself. It is a nice deep teal color when the light hits it, and you can’t unsee it once you catch a glimpse.
The dial is inspired by a lake in the Transylvania region known as Devil’s Lake. This is not a gimmick or marketing ploy. Pictures of this lake really look like the color of the Nera dial!
The rehaut, or inner bezel, is black with cutouts for the lumed white squares. It has a 3D effect at each hour marker on the dial. The datewheel is also matching the dial. This is a subtle touch that most watch brands overlook.
The bezel is brushed steel with an outer black PVD layer with raised markers. It is a uni-directional rotating bezel, but without numbers or a lume pip, many enthusiasts will feel that it serves no purpose. The symmetry looks great, but if at least one marker was unique, like a different size or shape, then it would capable of more than just producing a clicking sound. It’s too bad because the bezel does have a satisfying click to it.
The Nera has lumed hands and markers, but it’s not the brightest layout compared to other divers out there. This, along with the bezel makes it a bit of a non-diver’s dive watch, but that’s OK! How many dive watches exist and how many are real tools actually used for diving? Put another way: when is the last time you went diving with one of the dive watches in your collection? Truth is, the lake themed dial on this watch gets closer to the water than most dive watches ever will IRL.
That said, if you really want to take it underwater, the screw-down crown and 200m depth rating should have you covered.
The crown is signed with Peren’s logo which is in the shape of a fanged watch strap buckle. This design is said to reference the mythology of Transylvania with an element related to watches.
Peren ships the Nera on a brown leather strap with a huge brushed steel tang buckle. After playing around with different strap options, it was clear that black is the way to go.
If you want to change the strap yourself, the pierced lugs make it easy. Look for a strap of your choosing that fits a 20mm lug-width.
The brown strap is OK, but the dial really stands out against the black strap IMHO. The vintage diver inspired 39mm diameter316L stainless steel case really looks and feels more at home on the pull-through military strap.
While we’re discussing measurement specs, the Nera stands 13.5mm thick on the wrist, with a lug-to-lug of 48.8mm.
Since the launch of the Nera, Peren already announced their third watch: Hintz. Only 200 Nera watches were produced, and at the time of this review, they have 3 Nera watches left in stock. KeepTheTime also has the watch pictured available in our shop.
In conclusion, the Nera is an enjoyable microbrand dive watch that can be worn every day, office or play, with various styles of dress. It’s a classy size, easy to tell the time, different than other divers on the market, and has a cool story. Dracula will no longer be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Transylvania, we’ll be thinking of Peren watches.
Update: There is something else that needs to be discussed here… the packaging. The Nera comes in a flat lay box with a foam insert to hold the watch in place. Flat boxes are nice because they take up less space in the closet and because the strap can be spread out to avoid creases. Pillow boxes are great for bracelet watches, but bad for straps. Even a brand new watch wrapped around a box pillow will get wrinkles from the strap being in use during transport and storage. Being a watch seller, this isn’t fun because it makes the strap on a brand new watch look like it has been worn. The problem with the Peren box is that they didn’t design the inner foam to match the watch – specifically the oversized buckle. This means you have to really push the buckle in to make it stay in place, which causes marks and indentations in the foam – another annoyance as a watch seller because the new owner will think they got a damaged box. Hopefully Peren is already aware of this, if not then the constructive criticism in this review should help them grow as a brand!