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ISO: Racing Chronograph

So...long time away from the forums. One of the watches I've always wanted to own is a chronograph. As a big racing fan, adding in a tachymeter just makes sense to complete the connection. But, I'm also quite....let's call it FRUGAL. Even if I DID have the money to drop on a Rolex Daytona, I'm fairly certain doing so would make me puke for 3 days. Then I'd never wear it for fear of it being damaged.

Anyway, long story longer, what I'd really like to see in this watch is:
  • Tachymeter bezel (either spelling is fine)
  • Panda styling (light colored face...not evil panda)
  • 44mm MAX, but prefer smaller (I own and wear a couple 44s, and they really are the MAX I feel comfortable wearing)
  • Center second hand functions for the stop watch (why bother with a tachymeter bezel if the small seconds is the stop watch?)
  • Strongly prefer a "smooth" central seconds
  • Date window is a plus
  • Price sub $200 USD.
Some I am considering:
  • Various Seiko Mecha-Quartz. All seems good, but typically right at that 44mm.
  • Alpha mechanical chronograph. Fits almost all the boxes. But curious about upkeep costs of the mechanical movement. Would I be looking at yearly maintenance fees of another $200-300 or more? Not sure I'd be up for that.
  • Various Daytona "homage" watches. Specifically Pagani Design or Parnis. Seem the best bang for your buck option...but not sure on how ethical the companies are.
  • Stuhrling Formulai. Only if it's on sale. But mecha quartz, panda styling, date window, and 42mm for sub $200 regular price.
Any other options I should consider? Any thoughts on the considerations I mentioned above? I REALLY like the Dan Henry watches as well (1962 and 1964), but those are a little spendier than I'd like. Thanks for any constructive feedback.

Evan
 
So...long time away from the forums. One of the watches I've always wanted to own is a chronograph. As a big racing fan, adding in a tachymeter just makes sense to complete the connection. But, I'm also quite....let's call it FRUGAL. Even if I DID have the money to drop on a Rolex Daytona, I'm fairly certain doing so would make me puke for 3 days. Then I'd never wear it for fear of it being damaged.

Anyway, long story longer, what I'd really like to see in this watch is:
  • Tachymeter bezel (either spelling is fine)
  • Panda styling (light colored face...not evil panda)
  • 44mm MAX, but prefer smaller (I own and wear a couple 44s, and they really are the MAX I feel comfortable wearing)
  • Center second hand functions for the stop watch (why bother with a tachymeter bezel if the small seconds is the stop watch?)
  • Strongly prefer a "smooth" central seconds
  • Date window is a plus
  • Price sub $200 USD.
Some I am considering:
  • Various Seiko Mecha-Quartz. All seems good, but typically right at that 44mm.
  • Alpha mechanical chronograph. Fits almost all the boxes. But curious about upkeep costs of the mechanical movement. Would I be looking at yearly maintenance fees of another $200-300 or more? Not sure I'd be up for that.
  • Various Daytona "homage" watches. Specifically Pagani Design or Parnis. Seem the best bang for your buck option...but not sure on how ethical the companies are.
  • Stuhrling Formulai. Only if it's on sale. But mecha quartz, panda styling, date window, and 42mm for sub $200 regular price.
Any other options I should consider? Any thoughts on the considerations I mentioned above? I REALLY like the Dan Henry watches as well (1962 and 1964), but those are a little spendier than I'd like. Thanks for any constructive feedback.

Evan
am selling some watches right now on bst.
 
Welcome back! I remember your user name. You might want to check out Momentum's Flatline Chronograph. It hits most, but not all, of your requirements and is on sale for $190. Good luck on your search, and hope to see you posting again!
 
This doesn't really met your wants, but the Christopher Ward C65 AM GT Limited Edition is interesting in that the quartz movement is accurate to 10+/- seconds per year and the stopwatch minutes/seconds counters are big hands on the main dial. So it is easy to use as a "regular" watch and to time things.

I did not follow what you meant by having both a central & smooth seconds. As I would otherwise think you would want a discrete hand that jumps second to second to improving accuracy when reading the elapsed time.
 
Welcome back! I remember your user name. You might want to check out Momentum's Flatline Chronograph. It hits most, but not all, of your requirements and is on sale for $190. Good luck on your search, and hope to see you posting again!
Wow, impressive memory! I'm sure I'll be back to posting a bit more. Especially as I begin this search. And thanks for the recommendation. If that had a tachymeter bezel, it'd be a great option!

This doesn't really met your wants, but the Christopher Ward C65 AM GT Limited Edition is interesting in that the quartz movement is accurate to 10+/- seconds per year and the stopwatch minutes/seconds counters are big hands on the main dial. So it is easy to use as a "regular" watch and to time things.

I did not follow what you meant by having both a central & smooth seconds. As I would otherwise think you would want a discrete hand that jumps second to second to improving accuracy when reading the elapsed time.
That's a beautiful watch...just a bit outside of my price range. :) Regarding the central & smooth seconds hand, you have a good point about the accuracy. TBH, I really just enjoy the visual of the multi-tick/second movement. Also, it's not like a tachymeter is THAT accurate anyway. It's probably more likely it'll stop somewhere between the markings and you're left fudging the speed anyway. It is probably lower on the priority for me though. With that in mind, perhaps a Tissot Quikster is an option....

Does anyone have the Alpha who can speak to the maintenance cost?
 
The Alpha uses a Seagull ST19 chrono movement, and they are essentially disposable, meaning it wouldn't make sense to service it. You would just wear it until it dies and get a new one. It's still a nifty movement and probably the only mechanical one you would find in a watch at your price point. I would probably go for the Alpha myself.
I also attached a picture of a great watch, but it doesn't have a Tach scale on it, which I know you want. Still, I wanted to put it out there to show you. $240 from Amazon. And Orients are excellent watches. Good luck!

 

Attachments

Yeah, I've seen that Orient on a lot of "budget panda chrono" threads. It does look like a great watch...if only it had that tachy....
Thanks for the feedback on the Alpha. Yeah, I was a little afraid of that with the movement. Definitely something to consider.
 
The Alpha uses a Seagull ST19 chrono movement, and they are essentially disposable, meaning it wouldn't make sense to service it. You would just wear it until it dies and get a new one. It's still a nifty movement...
I was thinking about this part of your comment. Another watch I'm considering strongly getting (and may get before my racing chrono) is a Seiko 5. The ones I like are more field watch in style, and can be found on Amazon under $100 right now. But would their movements also need servicing to the extent that they become "disposable"? Or since they are automatics rather than mechanical, do they tend to last better?

Sorry, I've only ever really owned quartz (aside from a Fossil "twist" that I'm currently wearing). Never had to worry about maintaining a watch other than a battery change. And my Google-fu has yet to find any good resources on maintenance for "budget" watch movements....
 
I was thinking about this part of your comment. Another watch I'm considering strongly getting (and may get before my racing chrono) is a Seiko 5. The ones I like are more field watch in style, and can be found on Amazon under $100 right now. But would their movements also need servicing to the extent that they become "disposable"? Or since they are automatics rather than mechanical, do they tend to last better?
I've had a Seiko 5 for about five years and have never serviced it. It still runs fine. That's probably not best practice, but...

Seiko has a bunch of chronographs that you could look at. Try an online store like Jomashop. Another option could be the wide variety of Timex chronographs. You could look at their Waterbury or Expedition line. I have an Expedition chronograph and love the look of it. I can't speak to how well it times anything because I don't use it for that.
 
I was thinking about this part of your comment. Another watch I'm considering strongly getting (and may get before my racing chrono) is a Seiko 5. The ones I like are more field watch in style, and can be found on Amazon under $100 right now. But would their movements also need servicing to the extent that they become "disposable"? Or since they are automatics rather than mechanical, do they tend to last better?

Sorry, I've only ever really owned quartz (aside from a Fossil "twist" that I'm currently wearing). Never had to worry about maintaining a watch other than a battery change. And my Google-fu has yet to find any good resources on maintenance for "budget" watch movements....
As best I can tell, Seiko 5 movements have a reputation for providing long use without needing servicing. Given their price point it would be more expensive to service rather than to replace. The Seiko 5 lineup is getting revamped so who knows if Seiko will still produce the current movement in 10-20 years. Personally I like their current/older line. The movements do not have a very long power reserve and often need adjusting for accuracy when new, but are generally robust and some have reported them lasting a long time without breaking.
 
I was thinking about this part of your comment. Another watch I'm considering strongly getting (and may get before my racing chrono) is a Seiko 5. The ones I like are more field watch in style, and can be found on Amazon under $100 right now. But would their movements also need servicing to the extent that they become "disposable"? Or since they are automatics rather than mechanical, do they tend to last better?

Sorry, I've only ever really owned quartz (aside from a Fossil "twist" that I'm currently wearing). Never had to worry about maintaining a watch other than a battery change. And my Google-fu has yet to find any good resources on maintenance for "budget" watch movements....
I would call Seiko movements neither "budget" nor "disposable", but I wouldn't worry about servicing them at all. I have never had a watch, quartz or otherwise, simply fail, and I have never serviced a watch. You will hear "every five years," but unless it is a very expensive watch that is unnecessary. I have had two watchmakers tell me to service when the watch starts to not run properly. It's not like an oil change in your car. Also, if you buy new, any failure within a year or two would be covered by the warranty. Personally I would take the notion of servicing out of your equation. It simply isn't a factor at the price point you are looking at. Just get what you like and enjoy it. Good luck!
P.S. Fossil and the like do use cheap quartz movements, but higher-end quartz watch movements are excellent. I would say Seiko movements are really good and solid, even though I am an Orient guy :)
 
This is mine. Obviously not a light colored face...
Looks great! What diameter is it? The only reason I want a light colored face is that I have a Casio Duro with the black face. I'd like to change it up. There are a lot of really sharp dark faced chronos out there though. I hadn't seen this one.

... I would say Seiko movements are really good and solid, even though I am an Orient guy :)
I thought Orient was owned by Seiko....
 
....
I thought Orient was owned by Seiko....
It is hard to keep track of all the mergers and acquisitions. I do believe both Seiko and Orient are owned by Epson. As far as I know their operations are separate and they essentially function as separate companies....at least that has been the case in the past.
 
Looks great! What diameter is it? The only reason I want a light colored face is that I have a Casio Duro with the black face. I'd like to change it up. There are a lot of really sharp dark faced chronos out there though. I hadn't seen this one.



I thought Orient was owned by Seiko....
It is, but is independent.
 
Just curious if anyone has experience with this version of the Alpha chronograph. It's a PVD coated case, and appears to measure 42mm rather than 39mm like the non-coated chronos. Same Seagul movement. It states a "domed hardened mineral crystal" rather than the acrylic. I sent an email to Alpha with 3 questions, but the responses were not very reliable (in italics below).

1) Is the dial of the 1957 an ivory color similar to the Paul Newman? yes
2) Is the 2mm increase of the 1957 case due to the PVD coating, or is it a completely different case? yes
3) Are the crystals the same between the watches? yes

I THINK this version is supposed to be more of a Speedmaster "homage" rather than the Daytona, but I don't keep up with some of those details. It almost appears to be an "original" Alpha design. I think I like the red accents, the removal of the "chronometer", and the crisper numbering on the subdials thanks to the outer section being flat vs the record player. Just curious if there's an obvious homage reference that I'm missing.

1596485319734.png
 
Just curious if anyone has experience with this version of the Alpha chronograph. It's a PVD coated case, and appears to measure 42mm rather than 39mm like the non-coated chronos. Same Seagul movement. It states a "domed hardened mineral crystal" rather than the acrylic. I sent an email to Alpha with 3 questions, but the responses were not very reliable (in italics below).

1) Is the dial of the 1957 an ivory color similar to the Paul Newman? yes
2) Is the 2mm increase of the 1957 case due to the PVD coating, or is it a completely different case? yes
3) Are the crystals the same between the watches? yes

I THINK this version is supposed to be more of a Speedmaster "homage" rather than the Daytona, but I don't keep up with some of those details. It almost appears to be an "original" Alpha design. I think I like the red accents, the removal of the "chronometer", and the crisper numbering on the subdials thanks to the outer section being flat vs the record player. Just curious if there's an obvious homage reference that I'm missing.

View attachment 1134579
haha, sounds like a toddler was answering those questions. I don't recognize the design as being an exact copy of anything (not that I am an expert on that), but it certainly has the look of a regular chronograph .
 
Racing-inspired and affordable? Consider the offerings from Roue.

I like the meca quartz watches, though I do not own one. The Yema Rallygraf Panda is a little different but also interesting:
 
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