Appeared in DIVER January 2006

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REGULATOR  Mares Metal Limited Edition
LIMITED EDITION PRODUCTS ARE ALL THE RAGE. However, I would caution the buyer in that, with mechanical products, sometimes the advantages of long production runs and the bugs that get ironed out in the process can be preferable to the kudos of owning something that others do not.
     The Mares Metal Limited Edition regulator was part of a range of regulators, fins and BCs that Mares launched worldwide last year. Only 2000 examples were made.
     In the UK, these products were limited to sale through certain preferred dealers. However, Mike of Mikes Warehouse was kind enough to lend me an unsold one from his stock. Knowing Mares as I have done over the past 15 years, I cannot believe that the company would produce a product in limited numbers if there was a demand for it and it was any good. So watch out in the coming months for a regulator very similar to the one I am going to tell you about now.
     Both first and second stages of the Mares Metal Limited Edition are exceedingly compact. I would say that the first stage is probably the most compact balanced-diaphragm design available in the world to date. Made of forged brass, it has the lightness normally associated with titanium.
     The layout of its four medium-pressure and two high-pressure ports is similar to the V32, the Ti Planet and the MR22 Abyss first stages before that. It seems that the Mares designers have simply pared away extraneous metal to make it smaller and lighter still.
     Not only that, but now the Mares Dynamic Flow Control system functions with any port, so your choice of hose-routeing is unlimited. DFC minimises pressure-drop in the intermediate hose during the course of breathing.
     The other good news is that the transmitter for my integrated computer could be fitted without obscuring the route of any other hoses.
     The second stage is reminiscent of that of the sibling Proton Metal, only finished in a scratch-resistant metallic black.
     It has the usual Mares venturi by-pass tube that affords a routine performance without need to make any manual adjustments, a finned heat-sink at the point where the metal joins the mp hose, and a deep yet narrow exhaust-T that is effective in dispersing exhaled gas without it obscuring ones view by passing bubbles up in front of the mask. If I have a criticism here, it is that the metal has become quite flimsy in the quest to keep it light in weight. After a few days the first dent appeared, and I put this down to robust handling by the boat crew when refilling cylinders.
     Under water, the unit appeared to deliver air in as sublime a way as any other of the top-of-the-range Mares regulators I have used, and that includes some time spent at depth in and around the Red Sea wreck of the Rosalie Moller. The grid position in front of the pressure-sensing diaphragm of the second stage was effective in preventing unwanted free-flows when face-on into a current.
     I liked the mouthpiece, too. It was a refreshing change from those Mares mouthpieces that always seem too small and floppy for me.
     Everyone on the liveaboard admired the look of the regulator. The fact is that most of these limited-edition regs are already in the hands of their proud owners and they might prove hard to locate if you want to buy one. However, watch this space. There might well be something similar on its way.
     Mike has this one back now, so first come, first served!
The Mares Metal Limited Edition costs£415.
  • Blandford Sub-Aqua 01823 663849, www.blandfordsubaqua.co.uk


  • Divernet Divernet
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    + Top-of-the range performance
    + Unique limited-edition package


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    - Second stage prone to denting if abused