Alexander Shorokhoff New Planet Hand Wound Chronograph
Today we get to look at yet another brand that has flown under the radar for too long, Alexander Shorokhoff. Specifically, we'll be examining their beautiful hand wound chronograph, the New Planet.
The IntroductionClick any image for a hi-res version.
A lot of you won't be very familiar with Alexander Shorokhoff, a German brand with a confusingly Russian name. Actually, Shorokhoff is one of relatively few modern brands that have a direct relationship with their namesake--in fact, Mr. Shorokhoff still runs the company.
As you might expect, Shorokhoff is Russian--so speaking broadly, the company's watches are Russian designed, German made. The inspiration for the watches and watch lines is distinctly Russian, as can be seen by the names, honoring national greats from the past. They feature a variety of movements, from Russian supplier Poljot, to which Mr. Shorokhoff used to work, all the way to Swiss ETA movements. The one in the new Planet is, confusingly, both. But more on that later.
If there is a single element that distinguishes Shorokhoff from the competition, it's their dials. AS is absolutely committed to never being boring--they have an obsession with avant garde design which makes them among the most distinct watches in the world. This New Planet is a great example.
This watch is gorgeous. AS makes a lot of very cool watches, but this is definitely my favorite in terms of looks. I adore the blued hands against a material that is hardly ever used in watchmaking, silver twill.
The silver twill has an almost 3D effect depending on how you move the watch in the light. It appears to be interlocking bands of fabric, something akin to carbon fiber. It's gorgeous and utterly unique.
The subdials tastefully contrast with the silver twill with a fine guilloche pattern.
The hands are also one of the best feature of this watch. They are intensely blue and have great contrast against the dial. This is not just for looks--this is good design. For instance, all of the main hands (hands not used in the chronograph) are bright blue, helping to keep your eye from getting confused with the chronograph. The chronograph is color coded with stainless steel, making the watch very easy to read as the chronograph function takes a backseat to the much more visible blued hands.
The huge applied 60 at 12:00 is a trademark of Shorokhoff design. It's starkly and intentionally out of place given that it's a minute marker taking precedence over the all-important 12:00 hour marker. Shorokhoff doesn't have a rule book and no design element is sacred. While illogical, it's extremely bold and looks great. I think Shorokhoff watches are really ideal for the seasoned watch collector who has been looking at watches for decades--for guys like us, breaking the rules is a breath of fresh air, logical or not.
The date window has a nice black border, making it easy to locate. However, as you can see, the aperture is relatively high up on the dial. It doesn't look bad, thanks to the hour marker at 6:00, but I would like to see it a little lower personally.
I absolutely love the applied numerals. The font looks great and they hold lume. They look even better at night.
This is some of the coolest lume out there. The numerals are so easy to read and the hands are much brighter than you'd expect for their thin strip of lume. Certainly, it won't compete with divers, but just in terms of coolness, I'd put it up against any watch I've tested.
Put simply, this is just one extremely cool looking watch. It's not blingy, but neither is it subtle, and I expect you would get a lot of compliments on this one. This is one of those watches that you don't need to know anything about watches to get it--just by looking at the dial or the movement, you know this watch is awesome. The Case
If the dial and movement are wild, the case is relatively sedate--but this is actually a good thing. For one, the watch wears really, really well. These days most chronographs are simply too thick, but because AS used a hand wound 3133, and because it's a relatively large watch at 43.5mm, it just sits so flat on the wrist--it actually wears thin, if that makes any sense.
I really like the crown. Being a hand wound watch, it of course doesn't screw down. But because it's well thought out, the crown is huge, making it very easy to wind. The pushers aren't actually blue, that's just a protective sticker.
The sides of the case are simply brushed. I appreciate that they used a relatively simple case--you can't have a wild case AND a wild dial, that will look out of place--you have to pick your battles. Also notice that its thickness, relative to length, is in line with modern 3 hand movements--it sits flat on the wrist.
The case back is beautiful, the steel stepping aside to let you enjoy the beautiful hand finished movement. The Movement
As I mentioned before, Shorokhoff uses a variety of movements but they boil down to a few sources: Russian Poljot movements, ETA movements and movements with Dubois Depraz modules. This movement is the first two. Let me explain.
The specific movement is the Russian Poljot 3133 hand wound chronograph. Yet, it's also a Valjoux: it's the Russian version of the 7734. So this Russian movement, surprisingly, shares some of the heritage of the most prolific chronograph maker in the world, Valjoux, the company behind the ubiquitous 7750. The Russian version is extremely similar to its Swiss counterpart, but the Shorokhoff version is much prettier.
Confusing heritage notwithstanding, it's a very pretty movement, especially at this entry level price point. Gold plated parts are interspersed throughout, each hand embellished in Germany.
This balance cock is a great example. The embellishment is beautiful and has a great AS logo on it. I don't own any non-Shorokhoff 3133s or Valjoux 7734s photos for you to compare, but Google it and you'll see that the difference in finishing is absolutely night and day. The Shorokhoff version is far prettier.
The basic specs of the movement are quite simple: it's a non-hacking, non-quickset date rated for 42 hours power reserve. In reality, though, I have read that these movements get far longer power reserves than that, although I wasn't able to test it myself (maybe I'll update this in the future).
The lack of a quickset date is not nearly as annoying as you might think. For one, the seconds hand keeps running while you move the main hands since it's non hacking, so it won't mess up your accuracy (although you might not be able to get it right on in the first place due it not hacking). Second, and more importantly, this isn't one of those watches where you have to take the hour hand back from 1 AM to 7 PM and back across over and over again. Basically, taking it from 1 AM to 10:59 PM and back across midnight advances the date, so you can advance the date 5 or 6 days quite easily.
Ultimately, the movement's history and finishing is as eccentric as the dial, and I like that. It's quirky, but that gives it personality. The price point is also very low for an attractive chronograph, and hand wound chronographs are altogether too rare at any price point these days, so I think this is actually pretty competitive. I also like that there's no rotor to get in the way of the finishing, which has the nice side effect of keeping the watch surprisingly thin for its diameter. The Conclusion
In the end, there's really not much to say about the New Planet because just looking at it tells you everything. It looks awesome. There's nothing else like it on the market, and too few hand wound chronographs out there period. I can't overstate the importance of that--chronographs are often too thick, so it's time for hand wand chronographs to make a return.
Keep an eye on Alexandar Shorokhoff. If you're like me and you've seen and worn every watch out there and you want an affordable mechanical to mix it up stylistically, they've probably got something for you. The Video
Get a quick glance at the Alexander Shorokhoff New Planet in action with our video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DY_...ature=youtu.be