Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions
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  1. #1
    Member Elvis Silva's Avatar
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    Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    Hello, everyone. This time, I'd like to address to vintage chronograph admirers here in WUS.

    Since I begun collecting vintage watches, this particular complication draw my attention. Abstracting questions concerning the intrinsic utility of such a device (and that of mechanical wristwatches, by the way), I came to simply appreciate the technical feat these watches represent, as well as its aesthetic value and the various solutions envisioned to the problem of chronography. Some guys have a thing with divers; my thing is with chronographs...

    Having gathered some fine vintage dress watches, which constitute my main interest, as these are the fittest timepieces to my dress style for the daily, I decided to indulge in my passion for old chronographs. I've already acquired some: a custom made Valjoux GHT, a Junghans J88 and two Seikos 6139. I plan to expand my collection, adding different calibers to it, as I appreciate variety in my watch set.

    That said, I'd like those who already have been bit by the chrono bug to share their experiences: what drew you into this particular complication? What is your favorite caliber and why (reliablility, versatility, functionality, aesthetics, history...)? Which caliber, in your opinion, should never be out of a collection?

    Your thoughts will be much appreciated, gentlemen.
    "We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
    All art is quite useless."

    Oscar Wilde


    "Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada
    Lá sou amigo do rei
    Lá tenho a mulher que eu quero
    Na cama que escolherei."

    Manuel Bandeira

  2. #2
    Member v8chrono's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    Reliability, Seiko 6139. Aesthetics, Val. 7734. Versatility, Val. 7750. There are more exotic calibers available, but these power many of the vintage chronos we know and love.

  3. #3
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    Zenith Cal. 3019 PHC (aka Cal. 400) "El Primero" for all of the above. Plus it's the very first automatic chronograph in existence. Which is what drew me to it in the first place.

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    Hartmut Richter
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    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    When you say Valjoux GHT, is this referring to a variant of a cal 22? I'll assume the answer is yes, in which case you have two watches with two-subdial (running seconds and minute totalizer) column-wheel movements. If that is the type of watch you like, then it certainly seems like a Venus 175 would be in your future. However, if you wanted to branch out a bit, it would be logical to look for a three-subdial chronograph, i.e. with a minute totalizer. If you wanted to diversify the manufacturers, a Venus 178 would be a good choice for a manual winder, or a Zenith EP as Harmut mentioned.

    Just sticking with hand-winders for the moment (which is generally my preference), there are many other excellent chronograph movements that are less common than Valjoux and Venus, including

    Angelus
    Excelsior Park
    Lemania (leading to Omega)
    Martel (e.g. in Universal Geneve and Zenith models)

    If you are interested in automatic chronographs, in addition to the Zenith EP, you will inevitably consider calibre 11 models (e.g. Heuer).
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  6. #5
    Member Elvis Silva's Avatar
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    Ja, Herr Richter: beloved El Primero will always be on my wishlist. I'll have it on my wrist as soon as I can afford a fine specimen.

    And Dan, I was indeed referring to a variant of Valjoux 22 - to my knowledge, the GHT version was the very early incarnation of this legendary movement. Mine is a monopusher device, only made until 1936. Take a look at Roland's website entry on Valjoux 22. Notice that Herr Ranfft refers to both versions as V. 22 - nevertheless, in all the ocasions I've seen pictures of early Valjoux chronograph layouts resembling V. 22, but with a single pusher, they were labeled V. GHT. Aside the number of pushers and the number of teeth on the column wheel (six on GHT, nine on 22), one must observe that the movements are identical.

    As for my preferences on mechanical chronographs, I'd say I've no prejudice. Column wheel, cam operated, two or three subdials - I think all of these solutions have their relevance on watches history. Hence, all of them deserve, in my opinion, a place in my collection.

    My future purchases, programmed for the next months, include an EP 4, a Lemania 1277 and a Venus 188. You will most probably see the rare and beautiful EP 4 on my wrist really soon. Of those I mentioned, it is the one I crave the most!

    On the automatic chrono arena, I'm eager to add the underrated Citizen 8110 to my collection. Truly a marvel of technology and a permanent source of admiration to me: an automatic chronograph, equipped with a column wheel and a vertical clutch, ball bearing rotor, 28.800 vph, flyback function plus day-date function (quickset...). It is a lot of watch. May not be a looker, but, for sheer functionality, I'd say there's hardly something better.

    Obviously, I plan to add an Omega Speedmaster to my collection. But it would not be a first choice: don't get me wrong, but this one came to be a rather ubiquitous watch (for good reasons, of course) when we talk chronographs. Its fame certainly had some influence on its market price. So, I'd rather stick with less famed specimens (for now) than spend a fortune on a single watch...
    "We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
    All art is quite useless."

    Oscar Wilde


    "Vou-me embora pra Pasárgada
    Lá sou amigo do rei
    Lá tenho a mulher que eu quero
    Na cama que escolherei."

    Manuel Bandeira

  7. #6
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis Silva View Post
    My future purchases, programmed for the next months, include an EP 4, a Lemania 1277 and a Venus 188. You will most probably see the rare and beautiful EP 4 on my wrist really soon. Of those I mentioned, it is the one I crave the most!
    As you probably know, the Zenith 143-6 is an EP movement, so you can keep an eye open for them as well.
    Last edited by badbackdan; December 21st, 2017 at 02:23.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Zenith Cal. 3019 PHC (aka Cal. 400) "El Primero" for all of the above. Plus it's the very first automatic chronograph in existence. Which is what drew me to it in the first place. Hartmut Richter
    Newbees please note, this watch cannot be had for under $500 USD. LOL

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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    There is no real thought behind my collection <sigh>, but trying to get one of every Valjoux movement I think would be really cool.

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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    [QUOTE=Elvis Silva;44829895]You will most probably see the rare and beautiful EP 4 on my wrist really soon. Of those I mentioned, it is the one I crave the most!/QUOTE]

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    EP4 is a very strange animal.
    DragonDan likes this.

  11. #10
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    Re: Vintage chronographs - Preferences and opinions

    If you want to look a little further than the Swiss I would highly recommend the Russian poljot movements especially the venerable okean, I think they are a beautiful watch and are reasonably priced and going up in value. The rotating outer track is an interesting feature.

    My okean


    Of course you have already mentioned the king of Chrono's the classic moonwatch. Here is my vintage 1969. A little patina makes it all the more beautiful.



    Another option to consider would be the old tudor big blocks, they are quite nice

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

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