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Watch Freek
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240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you that are fans of chronographs there are so many different styles, types, and price ranges what is your preference?

Vintage, retro, or modern what is your preference and does it depend on the watch? There are four examples below the first being a modern tri-compax and the other three examples are all retro bi-compax chronographs
Bi-compax or Tri-compax?
Horizontal or vertical layout
Are you willing to pay more for a column wheel Chrono or save money on a cam and lever mechanism?
Do you like monochrome or multicolored dials?
Do you think a Swiss movement and is it is worth spending a thousand bucks more then a Japanese or Chinese? Are you willing to spend more money on a watch's aesthetics like a sweet dial with artisan hands than a more expensive movement, like buying a Seiko NH38 movement at the same price as a swiss 7750? Then what about a Seagull movement?
Watch Analog watch Silver Clock Font

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Watch Analog watch Product Silver Clock
 

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Watch Guru
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4,495 Posts
I am a chronograph super-fan. I love the look for sure but only use one occasionally. So that being said....ARE YOU GOING TO USE IT? Are you going make it a daily wear? Do you need 24 hour timing or is 30minutes enough? are you doing split times? Do you need 10th second accuracy? Can you live with quartz? You need to answer these questions, and the choices will be a lot clearer.

Anyway I like them all, from 50 year old single register Seiko Speedtimers to more modern quartz 1/10 second flyback chronos. So I am not going to be much help to you there. My oldest chrono is this 1965 Breitling AOPA Navitimer, ( these were mostly available at airports. I have original box and paperwork. This had a Venus 178 movement, Panda subdials, and a pilots slide rule for calculating distance, fuel consumption and lots of other things. I think what originally suckered me into these early swiss chronographs was the beautiful complicated mechanical works. Mechanical art for sure!





My most recent Chronos were this pair of Timex ones:





I think these are fun, and don't cost a mint to have and enjoy.

Anyway back to your questions:

Bi or tri? Horizontal or Vert? Who cares, at this point I don't time anything for much over 30 mins to 1hour, either will usually do that. I am mostly going for which one I like the look of price and quality of brand at this point. You are basically deciding on a group of movements when you make this choice because most will not do both. Which one of these circa 1970 chronos looks best? Both Bi, one horz and one vert. I think they both look awesome:





Col Wheel or Cam...usually pay more but I will buy either, I don't wear my watches much (I have so many that they only get picked once or twice a year, so durability and fine accuracy are not big considerations. If this is important to you then pick a movement you like and do a search for it and dozens or hundreds of watches that used it will come up. Go for best looks, quality and deal.

Mono chrome or colored, well I like subdials that stand out, so they should be a different color than dial, I like the Panda/ reverse Panda combo best, but I also like sub dials that are only a little different as well. I also like subdials with unique shapes like Yema shown above or my 1970 Yema Flygraf. (Valjoux 7736). That being said a monochrome with same color subdials can be done well too.



or this 1970s Croton (Valjoux 7734)



Do you think a Swiss movement and is it is worth spending a thousand bucks more then a Japanese or Chinese? I am not a watch snob :)rolleyes:) but I think the Swiss did make a better product in the 60's, I think Seiko caught up in the 1970's. SO usually I look for more vintage Swiss to knock the price down some. Buying a used Chrono can be hard as they are complicated movements, and you need to trust the buyer. I just bought this used Breitling Chronomat (Early 1990's, so 30 years old), for $1600. I was able to touch it and test it before I bought it and I am extremely happy with what I got. I do think vintage one are worth hundreds more (not thousands). I am not sure modern Swiss are worth more than modern Japanese, because they have a price point to make them even. A grand Seiko can cost as much as an Omega, you can buy an Invicta Swiss Chono for the same price as a high end Russian or Chinese...so things are more even today.



Then what about a Seagull movement? I would buy a modern Seagull without hesitation. These are usually very good quality and reasonably priced. Older Chinese stuff is a mixed bag as far as quality goes and I stay away from it.

Are you willing to spend more money on a watch's aesthetics like a sweet dial with artisan hands than a more expensive movement, like buying a Seiko NH38 movement at the same price as a Swiss 7750? Yes and no, depends on how much I like looks. But mostly yes...if I don't love how it looks, I won't buy it regardless of what's inside.

In summary I feel the biggest drawback to owning these mechanical Chronos is the eventual service you will need to have. Anywhere from $350 to $1000 or way more for service in Switzerland. More complications is more $$ at service time. Just going for looks, buy Quartz....if you want a watch with a soul and history buy vintage. I can't see buying a new Rolex or Omega Chronograph for $8,000 - $25,000 when so many great quartz and vintage mechanical chronos exist.

Now for some chrono porn to brighten your day:

1977


1972


1969 Pre-Moon


Modern Tissot Quartz


1974 Wakmann (Valjoux 7733)




1977 Heuer Cortina
 

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Super Moderator
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20,205 Posts
Another phenomenal topic Bob ! 🏆 😀

Honestly I was going to say that I like of the different chronograph
types from the get go here. Then I saw what you, Wiggles, and Gary
are showing, and it only solidified to me the fact that literally every
single style is amazing. 😮😉 It doesn’t matter the look, or type,
or the prices to me. I honestly love them all inside, and out. And
appreciate each type for not only how it works, or looks, but also
how it brings another reason to smile with this hobby. 🙂

Thanks a bunch for posting about this Bob, and all of you guys !!!
 

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Watch Freek
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240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, sixtysix thanks for that great reply. There is a lot of things I missed that was added in your response like service and maintenance cost that goes into owning a Chrono, maybe quartz is a cheaper alternative but they have their problems too. As long as the movement is reliable and dependable and does what is expected of it I probably would rather see more money be spent on the aesthetics because that is what you are going to see day in and day out. The one problem I have with most chronographs is the size and weight,
 

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Long Time Member
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733 Posts
I, too, love chrono’s, specially ones with mechanical movements. I also dig special purpose quartz devices.

These are designed to time football matches, apropos as US just took the field in the World Cup.

My favorite, manufacture movement from Ebel.



And this ETA quartz with the main chrono hand timing the minutes and the subdial the seconds.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Watch Freek
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708 Posts
For a different point of view: originally I wasn't going to reply to this thread - but have since reconsidered. I have no interest in a (complicated multiple button) chrono watch as I time nothing of importance (excluding minutes on the grill when burning meat).

I do have a standard wind up pocket style watch (somewhere) from about 35 years back; once used to time runners in a two mile event. Army events, Hooah!

I speculate I'm not the only one with no interest in those sexy complicated chronos - to each their own.
 

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Long Time Member
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585 Posts
I have quite a few chronographs and all except my Heuer Autavia are Quartz. The cost of servicing a mechanical chronograph is now as much or more than I paid for my Heuer when I bought it new in the 1970s. Afraid that I feel that most Swiss watches have gotten absolutely ridiculous in price and with modern CNC parts manufacture and robot assembly I do not see the justification for those prices. BTW NFW has just announced today their new Shumate Chronograph, 1/20 second to 12 hours timing range Citizen quartz movement and 300 meters water resistance.
 

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Watch Freek
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240 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have quite a few chronographs and all except my Heuer Autavia are Quartz. The cost of servicing a mechanical chronograph is now as much or more than I paid for my Heuer when I bought it new in the 1970s. Afraid that I feel that most Swiss watches have gotten absolutely ridiculous in price and with modern CNC parts manufacture and robot assembly I do not see the justification for those prices. BTW NFW has just announced today their new Shumate Chronograph, 1/20 second to 12 hours timing range Citizen quartz movement and 300 meters water resistance.
Yeah for all practical purposes a quartz chronograph makes more sense. Another thing that I would want to stress when you are talking about servicing costs you probably would not want to go with a cheaply made mechanical chronograph or any watch with difficult complications.

As an example two watch brands that have a long history of making chronographs are Brequet and Hanhart which both designed watches for military purposes, they both have focused on chronographs and have a long history of making chronographs, If I am to be concerned about servicing and owning a complicated watch over the long term I would be more confident spending more money and buying from Hanhart than let's say any micro brand. Seiko has a long history as well so it would be another brand that probably is reliable down the road. I would have no problem with the major brands either like Longines, Omega, Rolex, or Oris their reputation is well known but I would be skeptical with maybe a Baltic or other micro brand and if it would be worth servicing ten years from today, might be OK for the short term but are they a piece that I will hand down to my kids? I know Hanhart will be.
 
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