The age-old question--is it fashion or serious?
Up for review today is the Milleret XXL quartz chrono:
This one was loaned to me by a noted collector who described this watch as a daily wearer and was pretty up on the brand--a brand, I confess, I knew very little about. I thought it would be fun to mess around with the watch for a little while and write some impressions of it.
Milleret is a genuine Swiss brand that, it seems, is a resurrection of an old one. Looking at their website (milleret.ch) it seems to be more of a fashion brand, catering mainly to women, than a serious watchmaker--although serious watchmakers are generally out of my price range these days or are owned by guys smart enough not to lend them to me. It seems that Milleret, in at least their men's lines, use some fairly good ETA automatic movements, like the 7753 or 2834--they've also offered some pretty skellys using Unitas movements. It also seems that most of Milleret's B&M ADs are located in Asia, the Middle East, and maybe some parts of Latin America. In the USA they seem only available through gray-market dealers.
This one is the XXL model, which, in today's fashion-watch world, isn't really that XXL, at least when compared with TV brands. The case measures just under 43mm across, 11mm tall, and 52.3mm top-to-bottom. The lug width is 21mm. The case, made of stainless steel, is well-milled into a sort of tonneau style. The finishing is quite good:
The dial is a pretty rose color, with gold-tone numerals. The hands, which contain no lume, are nicely beveled and finished as well. The Big Date at the twelve:
Is a nice addition, and the parked chrono seconds hand doesn't block it. The movement inside seems to be a Ronda 5040B, with a 1/10 seconds register at the six o'clock that doubles as a 10-hour totalizer after 30 minutes of timing, a constant-small-seconds at two o'clock and the 30 minute totalizer at ten; this is one of the better cheap quartz chrono movements, with 13 jewels and a repairable metal geartrain. The dual-rotor Big Date self-corrects after the 31st of the month back to the 1st of the new month. The problem using this movement on a watch that's got such a big dial is the sub-dials look all smushed around the cannon pinion; there's a lot of unused space out towards the bezel.
The back of the case shows a creditable lack of information:
Making it a great gift watch if you want to have it engraved.
The strap is thick oiled brown leather, and it seems well-made and comfy on the wrist. One issue is that it comes supplied with a butterfly dual-deploy clasp, which was, of course, invented by some appalling minion of Satan. I suppose it helps extend the life of the strap, but to me, straps were made to be changed, whereas I have only one wrist. I've never worn a leather-strap-butterfly deploy clasp that didn't chaff my skin like Michael Davis's Ohio-issued handcuffs, and the Milleret is no different.
On my 6.75 inch wrist the Milleret looks OK, although a little too large for my tastes:
So what exactly is the Milleret XXL? Is it a fashion piece, or does it hold some interest to the average WIS? I think it's a well-made, attractive watch--although it doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me. The case measurements aside, this watch wears big--not as big, say, as an Orient Saturation diver, but it's too big for my tastes. The finishing and milling on the case is impressive, it uses a good movement, and it's got a sapphire crystal--I'd contend that it's a workmanlike, decent Swiss-product. The street price of this watch seems to be around $500, with some pretty good discounting available gray-market, which is about right for a good Swiss-made quartz chrono; it would make a good gift for a non-WIS, or a good grab-and-go daily wearer for a guy with bigger wrists than me.
The Milleret XXL--a little fashion, a little serious. A nice combination!