When you wake up one morning and you know you need a Chronograph in your life

It is a fair comment to say that Chronographs come in various shapes, sizes and configurations, they have been around for a long time too, allegedly 1816 according to various sources when Louis Moinet invented a Chronograph to track astronomical objects.
 
The quest for a chronograph can be a complex adventure, the first hurdles you need to broach are sub dials. How many would you like? and of what configuration? the configuration is probably going to raise an important question. Is the chrono for aesthetic purposes, or do you wish it to serve a purpose?
 
Bear in mind that a watch lover can always create a reason for a purpose / purchase, for example: I need to time my watch part cleaning equipment as it cycles through stages, I can then leave the equipment and concentrate on other things. Admittedly it has a perfectly good digital countdown timer on it already, but I have to sit and watch that.
 
I could set my phone timer, I could take note of the time on a watch and work forward, or, I could move up a gear and use a diver bezel to measure the time. I could start by rotating the bezel to mark the minute hand when I press the start button. However to please my addiction I could get a chronograph.
 
Now I have justified the purchase and can explain that with conviction when asked, I also know that I need to measure less than 30 minutes. Counting the seconds in between a minute is not overly important, but I love centre second sweep hands, so that’s a must too. 

It is already written for me that I want a Swiss mechanical movement, I can service it when required. 

As for old or new I am not overly bothered, each has benefits and challenges so I can move on to aesthetics.
 
I have owned watches with a Valjoux 7750 base caliber before with it 3 sub dial design and there are many variations within the series, there is a great article on this subject here   Click here 
This time however I have been drawn towards the less cluttered 2 subdial design and my eye has wandered towards the Valjoux 7733 / 7734 or an earlier landeron type movement.
 

However I would not discount movements like the pierce cal 134 with it’s up and down design.

Whilst on that subject of the pierce chronograph there is another great article about how to fix its chronograph cal 134 clutch with what’s lying around, since the author is Roland Ranfft it is worth quoting directly
 

“I disassembled a Pierce 134 recently because I simply was curious how it is

designed. No plastics with one exception: I found a (formerly) soft plastic 

washer within the clutch. First I thought that someone tried to make the chrono function by odd means, and left it out. The chrono worked without the washer, but ran not synchronously with the sub second. 
So this washer was likely applied to provide sufficient friction with low axial pressure. And if it becomes hard, the clutch may slip (like without washer). 

But it is no problem to cut a replacement from e.g. thin silicone-rubber gasket material. As everything in this mechanism is adjustable by screws, even the thickness of this washer is of minor importance.
Else everything is made for eternity, and I guess most not working samples don’t due to misadjustment or missing parts.

Regards, Roland Ranfft “

Click here
 
It should also be noted that Pierce in later watches also used the Valjoux movement
 

 
That then brings me to case design, the case design topic is endless as you would expect, shape, style and so on. A watch that has always caught my eye is the Monaco styled watch made famous by Heuer and Steve McQueen in the 1970’s film “Le Mans”
 

There is a great article about that here
 

Click here

Since I do not own any watches of this shape currently I will come back to that design later I think.

 

Personally I am drawn to round watches at the moment, and I love a watch with a dive type bezel or Tachy ring, The grail watch in this genre is of course the Heuer Autavia, heavily copied / homaged / replicated and the original can cost the earth. Even Tag Heuer have jumped on the band wagon to reissue one
 

 
This brings me to “what can I buy today?” & “What is currently available in the microbrand market of any movement configuration?”
 
*descriptive text from this point on is copied from brand web sites – and not my individual wording
 

The Straton Synco Meca Chrono (Quartz)

Click here

Specifications:
* Case Material – 316L (Surgical Grade) Stainless Steel, Polished and brushed steel – Version E black is DLC coated (Diamond like Carbon) 

* Case Size – 44mm or 40mm 

* Lug To Lug – 44mm case: 49.9mm 

* Lug To Lug – 40mm case: 46.0mm 

* Case Thickness – 14.9mm with domed sapphire 

* Date window

* Movement – Seiko VK64 meca-quartz hybrid 

* Sub-dial description – VK64 left (60 minute Chrono timer) right (24 hour time)

* Crystal – Domed Sapphire Crystal -9Hands – Luminescent Hour Hands, C3 Superluminova 

* Crown – Screw down 

* Unidirectional rotating domed sapphire crystal bezel 

* Strap – 44mm case 22mm width, 40mm case 20mm width 

* Water Resistance – 20ATM/200m 

* Warranty – 24 Months

What is a pre-order? 
 
A pre-order is ordering your watch and then manufacturing takes place. Manufacturing of the watches started the middle of March 2017, manufacturing takes approximately 3.5 – 4 months and should be complete first week August 2017 and deliveries to start in August, so if you order between now and then your watch will be delivered middle to late August 2017. 
They have launched 3 watch designs this way and every customer has received their watch and the feedback has been outstanding. 

Please sign up to their Straton newsletter which will be sent out every +- 4 weeks so you will be kept updated on the manufacturing/delivery progress.”
 
Leyden Chronograph Panda – quartz

Click here

The Leyden Velox is the ultimate affordable tool chronograph. The watch is powered by a hybrid movement, which combines the beautiful sweeping seconds-hand of a mechanical movement with the accuracy and reliability of a quartz movement. Add to the mix the usage of high quality materials such as 316L stainless steel and scratch resistant sapphire crystal and it is easy to see the Leyden Velox is a great watch at an even greater price!

SPECIFICATIONS
CASE

* Material: 316L stainless steel

* Water Resistance: 200 m/660 ft/20 ATM

* Diameter: 42 mm

* Thickness: 13.3 mm

* Lug width: 22 mm

* Lug to lug: 48.5 mm

* Screw down crown, pump-style pushers

MOVEMENT
* Seiko VK64 ‘meca-quartz’ chronograph

* Instant zero reset

* Accuracy: ± 20 seconds per month

* Battery life: Approx. 3 years
 

Marloe Lomond chronoscope (pre order hand wound)

Click here

The Classic Panda dial features the same pearlescent white paint from the Classic White dial and applied to a sandblasted surface to give the same beautiful paper like texture with a semi-metallic sheen. 

The sub-dials are the inverse of the dial, or Panda as it’s called. The outer ring minute markings are red, with dark grey 1/5th seconds markings. The hour blocks are polished to match the hands, as are the main and sub-dial hands, whereas the Chronoscope hand is painted red to match the outer markings.
 
The case, crown & pushers are mirror polished with a matt black ceramic bezel, Telemeter scale engraved and paint-filled white. The Panda is fitted with a matching Grey leather strap.

43mm diameter x 11mm (13.6 to crystal zenith)

Ceramic bezel engraved and paint filled

Custom profile high-dome acrylic crystal

Exhibition case-back

Sea-Gull ST1901 column-wheel manual movement (21,600bph)

Gilt with blue screw, swan neck regulator

30-minute Chronoscope function

5 ATM / 50M water resistance

C3 Superluminova to hands and dial

 
Manchester Watch Works – The Morgan Quartz


Click here
The ManchesterWatchWorks’ Morgan chronograph watch is a tribute to the 60’s era of fierce sports and engineering rivalries. 

Named after the Vermont state horse, the Morgan shows off our take on the “panda” dial with 3 versions: the blue-eyed panda, the brown eyed panda and the all black panda. Each dial has a slate finish with sunburst finished subdials. 

Specs:

– 40mm diameter 316L stainless steel brushed and polished case
- 48.5mm lug to lug length

– raised and beveled sapphire crystal with inner antireflective coating

– 100m water resistance

– 20mm lug width

– choice of date or no date dial

– slate brushed finished dials with sunray finished subdials

– white lume on dial and hands that glows blue (BGW9 Swiss Superluminova)

– quilted pattern black leather strap included (nylon fabric strap is NOT included) 

– Swiss made Isaswiss 8371 chronograph movement with up to 5 years battery life. end of life indicator (battery change), click feeling pushers, sweep central chrono hand (5 steps/second) and running seconds subdial

Pairs well with our custom “tire burn out” patterned nylon fabric strap for sale in our ‘STRAPS’ section (as seen in some pics; sold separately).
 

Mercer Lexington Manual Wind Chronograph

Click here

The Lexington is a classy chronograph available in two vintage colorways.  Under the hood is a manual wind chronograph movement derived from the highly regarded Venus 175, a 23-jeweled column wheel movement. 

The Sea-Gull ST1901 as it is called, is made with the same tooling as the original movement in Switzerland, after being purchased from Venus in the 1960s.  The Lexington also sports a specially designed high domed crystal, common to chronographs in the 50s and 60s. 

However unlike vintage pieces its made with scratch resistant K1 glass. This watch will be assembled, regulated and tested in the US prior to shipment. 

FEATURES:

1. 39mm diameter 316L stainless steel case; 13.5mm thick

2. ST1901 manual wind chronograph movement, regulated and tested in the US

3. High domed scratch resistant K1 crystal

4. Display case back

5. 20mm lug width

6. 20/16 mm perforated Italian calf leather strap

7. 5 ATM water resistance

8. Two year limited warranty
 

The Stuckx Black Bull Chronograph – Quartz

Click here


Description:

The Bull is a tribute to the more daring case designs of the 70’s. Having the crown and pushers on top of the watch gives it a unique “sporty vintage” appearance. Still very reasonable in dimensions, it will fit most customers perfectly. 

The unique design of the ceramic bezel maybe is the biggest eye-catcher of this watch. It has all functionality you expect from a quality watch. The mecha-quartz movement designed and manufactured by Seiko combines the best of both worlds. The benefits of a very accurate, high quality quartz movement with the exact mechanical feel of watches from a different price range. 
The central chrono second hand moves in steps of 1/5th of a second, giving a smooth feel like that on mechanical watches. The action of the pushers is purely mechanical by design. The set-back of the chrono hands goes like “BAM” instead of the more common “Sweep”. 

An awesome movement that will never disappoint. Other features include a water resistance of 200 meters and a sapphire crystal. It is a lot of watch for the money. 

Specifications:

- 42 mm 316L stainless steel case in bullhead style

Height approx 13mm
- Strap size 22mm

 Polished black ceramic bezel inlay, unidirectial turning bezel

VK series Seiko/TMI movement. High quality mecha-quartz movement with mechanical pusher feel and smooth running chrono hand

Sub dial at 9 showing chrono minutes

Sub dial at 3 showing seconds
- Date position at 6
- 316L steel case in brushed finish

Water resistance of 200 m

Sapphire crystal (flat)

Leather high quality strap with signed buckle

Watch comes in a luxury watch box
- 24 Months warranty
 
Helgray silverstone black – Quartz 


Click here

STOCK LEVEL – BACKORDERED (SHIPS IN 2-3 WEEKS)

Specifications

Case Diameter: 40 mm
Case Thickness: 11.5 mm

Lug Width: 20 mm

Lug-to-Lug: 47 mm
Crown: 6×3 mm, signed

Crystal: Sapphire, slightly domed, with inner anti-reflective coating

Case Material: 316L stainless steel

Movement: Time Module (Seiko) VK64 meca-quartz chronograph

Strap: 20 mm, leather, tapers down to 18 mm
 Clasp: 18 mm deployant, signed

Bonus Bracelet: 20 mm, stainless steel, tapers down to 18 mm, solid end-links

Water Resistance: 5 ATM (50 m)

The watch is shipped in a leatherette travel case.
 
EMG DL63 – Mechanical – current status sold out (I spoke to the owner and he confirmed New and extended products in late 2017)


Click here

FIRST 50 WATCHES, DELIVERY EXPECTED EARLY JULY (PURCHASED BEFORE 26-04-2017)

Second run watches delivery date TBC

Case

‘1963’ case: 
Diameter- 42mm
Length – 48mm 
Thickness – 13mm
Lug Width- 22mm

Crystal: 
Mineral crystal (front and display back)

Movement
: Hand-winding ST1901 Chronograph

Dial: 
Matte white dial with recessed matte black subdials

Brushed black applied indices

BGW9 Blue lume

Raised internal tachymeter bezel

Strap: 
22mm tapered to 18mm, single stitch rally strap

 

(*editor note – this is a cool option to see – respect for that)

Returns

If you decide that the watch just isn’t for you and would like to return it, Please do not remove/discard any protective/packaging materials prior to returning it.

Please contact us within 14 days of delivery to arrange a return, 

And so…..

There are a few watches out there, but little currently that would fit my shopping criteria – at least in the new microbrand market. This would suggest that another post may be forthcoming focusing on the second or vintage market.

Do not get me wrong though, any of the watches featured on this page I would love to get my hands on, and if that Straton had a mechanical movement .. done deal I reckon

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