Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono
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Thread: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

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  1. #1
    RPF
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    Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    This watch has a loooooong thread on the public forum: Pilot Watch A-13A

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    It's not advertised as a HAQ but it uses the ETA 251.264, the thermocompensated version of the ETA 251.262.

    Basically, it is the Certina DS Podium Chrono without the subdials. You lose the small seconds, and 12 hour plus 1/10 second counters.

    It's a very closely followed homage to old pilot clocks.

    Damasko also hit on a similar formula with their DC80 mechanical homage:

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    The A-13A is a bit pricey but I have to say it's one of the best quartz chrono designs in a long while. Have a look if you're interested.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by RPF View Post
    This watch has a loooooong thread on the public forum: Pilot Watch A-13A

    It's not advertised as a HAQ but it uses the ETA 251.264, the thermocompensated version of the ETA 251.262.

    Basically, it is the Certina DS Podium Chrono without the subdials. You lose the small seconds, and 12 hour plus 1/10 second counters.

    It's a very closely followed homage to old pilot clocks.
    . . .
    The A-13A is a bit pricey but I have to say it's one of the best quartz chrono designs in a long while. Have a look if you're interested.
    I'm a huge fan of the A-13A, but sadly the production model uses a standard accuracy model of the 261.264, not the thermocompensated version used in the prototype, as ETA would not sell Paolo the HAQ movements in bulk. He discusses that in the original thread, but it's easier to find in this interview from Worn and Wound.

    Although I sometimes pine for the thermocompensated movement, without running seconds the need is minimized, for it takes a long time for the watch to drift from its maximum displayable precision.
    Last edited by watchcrank; December 26th, 2018 at 16:57. Reason: Edit: Initially thought I might have been mistaken, so changed my post. Researched some more to confirm my initial thought.
    - Stephen

  3. #3
    Member Hans Moleman's Avatar
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by watchcrank View Post
    as ETA would not sell Paolo the HAQ movements in bulk.
    You've saved me half an hour of searching. OK, two hours.

    That is just ridiculous. ETA should use meaningful model numbers.
    No doubt it is very clear, to them, by stamping the movement with a 0.5 mm mark.
    Last edited by Hans Moleman; December 27th, 2018 at 08:27.
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  5. #4
    RPF
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by watchcrank View Post
    I'm a huge fan of the A-13A, but sadly the production model uses a standard accuracy model of the 261.264, not the thermocompensated version used in the prototype, as ETA would not sell Paolo the HAQ movements in bulk. He discusses that in the original thread, but it's easier to find in this interview from Worn and Wound.

    Although I sometimes pine for the thermocompensated movement, without running seconds the need is minimized, for it takes a long time for the watch to drift from its maximum displayable precision.
    Does it have the thermocompensation circuitry?

  6. #5
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Moleman View Post
    You've saved me half an hour of searching. OK, two hours.

    That is just ridiculous. ETA should use meaningful model numbers.
    No doubt is is very clear, to them, by stamping the movement with a it a 0.5 mm icon.
    Yes, it's absurd. They sell the same model number in Flatline, Powerline (not sure what that is), and Thermoline guises, and they all share a details page on ETA's website where "COSC feasible" shows as "y," yet evidently they won't sell the "COSC feasible" models to independent brands.

    Quote Originally Posted by RPF View Post
    Does it have the thermocompensation circuitry?
    All I have to go on is Paolo's experience and ETA's exceeding vague public doucmentation, so I have no idea myself. If so,it must be disabled in firmware. But what I meant was, without a seconds hand, the maximum precision displayable on the dial is dictated by the minutes hand alone, and it takes a long time for a standard accuracy movement to be wrong about the minute. So it doesn't bother me. I feel a bit of a traitor to my f9 roots, but I wear the A-13A more than I wear my DS-2 Precidrive, though the later will be getting a lot of wear in January.
    - Stephen

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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    I have 2-hander non-HAQ Citizens. Their minute hand moves, IIRC, once every 10 seconds...which would be 1 degree. I think, it's been a while. It's definitely not jumping minute. That said, that's still several weeks' worth of error.

    And yeah, ETA's numbering could use some clarifications. They only care about B2B, tho...and mostly only within the Group, I think. Or perhaps with long-term customers. Certainly not with peons.
    The truth is rarely pure and never simple.

    Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

  8. #7
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    It's not quite as obscure as it may appear. If you visit the ETA site here: https://secure.eta.ch/CSP/DefaultDes...dex=1&tabid=28
    and find this calibre in the drop-down list, you see a range of 251.264 options, some of which are PreciDrive + PowerDrive (PRD), while others are PowerDive (PWD) only. ETA produce a number of movements with this classification, and PWD is used in all cases, while PRD is an option for this family. Quite clearly, the 251.264 is available (whatever that means) in either form, and in a variety of configurations. Look at the Manufacturing Information documents for detailed information.

    I can't see any disadvantage in omitting PRD from the A-13A, since it has no useful seconds display.

    Further thought: ETA has absolutely no obligation to clarify the configuration of their calibres for the benefit of the end-user. Their (ETA's) only customer is the watch manufacturer, who may or may not feel any need to explain anything.
    Last edited by chris01; December 27th, 2018 at 14:59.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by chris01 View Post
    It's not quite as obscure as it may appear. If you visit the ETA site here: https://secure.eta.ch/CSP/DefaultDes...dex=1&tabid=28
    and find this calibre in the drop-down list, you see a range of 251.264 options, some of which are PreciDrive + PowerDrive (PRD), while others are PowerDive (PWD) only.
    . . .
    Further thought: ETA has absolutely no obligation to clarify the configuration of their calibres for the benefit of the end-user. Their (ETA's) only customer is the watch manufacturer, who may or may not feel any need to explain anything.
    Good find. I didn't come across that page from an external search, nor from the first level links on the pages I did find, so I'm bookmarking that now.

    I agree they're not under any obligation. Still it is curious to reuse model numbers for markedly different products, and it will cause no end of problems for end users and their watchmakers after ETA ceases future support for these movements.
    - Stephen

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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by watchcrank View Post
    Good find. I didn't come across that page from an external search, nor from the first level links on the pages I did find, so I'm bookmarking that now.

    I agree they're not under any obligation. Still it is curious to reuse model numbers for markedly different products, and it will cause no end of problems for end users and their watchmakers after ETA ceases future support for these movements.
    Yes, ETA have a small goldmine of useful info there, and it goes back to some fairly interesting and elderly items. One worthwhile addition would be references for the manufacturer-specific calibres, like the new VHPs. Not very likely, until they become generally available.

    I don't think it's too unreasonable to use a single movement number, with suffix letters. The point of the PreciDrive/PowerDrive technology is to provide base movements that can be reprogrammed to offer various formats and complications, and to offer TC if required. The larger, more complex movements like the 251.264 are very versatile and of course offer economies in manufacturing over the older approach of a complete new movement for each configuration. If only they provided independently adjustable hour hands on all the PRDs, plus perpetual calendars. And, of course, end-user regulation!

  11. #10
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    Re: Beautiful ETA 251.264 chrono

    Quote Originally Posted by chris01 View Post
    I don't think it's too unreasonable to use a single movement number, with suffix letters.
    On reflection, I have to agree. The problem is caused more on the side of the watch brands and parts sellers, who are prone to quote the model number without its suffix.
    - Stephen

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