I recall being floored by a photograph of a prototype 1979 Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona reference 6263/6265 with a surprising purple “panda” dial. By no means put into manufacturing, solely a handful of examples have been made. Thought of a connoisseur’s prize by collectors, one had bought for over $400,000 at a Geneva public sale again in 2003. Now right here it was on my wrist — reincarnated as a 42 mm Tudor particular version!
But it surely wasn’t simply the dial. That splendidly pliant, thickly bolstered built-in black calfskin strap with purple stitching and single-fold deployant mounted with ceramic pins and secured by a clamshell clasp — it seemed and felt wonderful! Superb too was the winding and setting motion of the transformed Valjoux 7750. Taut and crisply exact, there was not one of the ropiness or extra play I’d skilled in a number of the watches I’d owned. The tactile sensation it offered made the Ducati Fastrider a pleasure to each wind and set.
There was just one drawback. Although I look again on it with a smile now, the $4,500 retail worth was one thing I simply couldn’t justify on the time. $4,500 appeared like some huge cash to spend on a watch. I needed to cross on the Ducati. (My, how issues have modified!)
A pair years later, I noticed a like-new, pre-owned Fastrider Ducati on Chrono24 with field & papers for considerably lower than the one I’d been tempted by in that Tudor boutique. This one an all-black model – each dial and strap. Stark and sober, it had the understated cool its extra exuberant, purple dial cousin lacked. This time, I didn’t hesitate to drag the set off.
Okay, so why the detour down reminiscence lane? I inform you this solely to guarantee you I’m not precisely a neophyte on the subject of the topic of chronographs. I’ve paid my dues and upped the ante, buying items with extra subtle and stylish actions all through the years. Studying the excellence between modular and totally built-in; column wheel and cam actuated; vertical and lateral clutch; flyback and rattrapante. Which brings me to the topic of this text …
The world’s most underrated chronograph?
Although I’ve heard many a self-proclaimed watch knowledgeable sing its praises, the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec was a chronograph I merely refused to contemplate. What enterprise did a producer of superb writing devices have turning out watches – and an in-house chronograph with a real GMT operate, no much less?
No, no, no! It merely wasn’t attainable! It had taken Rolex practically 100 years to provide its personal in-house chronograph motion, whereas the Trinity itself had routinely used ebauche actions bought from JLC and Lemania fairly than taking up the monumental activity; the daunting funding of each time and capital required to provide a bon a fide, totally built-in computerized in-house chronograph motion – an enterprise that had practically bankrupted Zenith in producing the El Primero.
No! This needed to be a boondoggle of epic proportions! Montblanc has merely slapped a Dubois-Depraz module atop one of many entry-level ETA actions it’s usually utilized in earlier choices …. Or maybe a modestly embellished Valjoux 7750 with some engine turning and some blued screws (dyed, not fired) put in with a elaborate, gold-plated customized rotor simply to make all of it look sorta haute-horlogerie-ish?
In spite of everything, Frank Muller had used a modified 7750 base in a few of his $20K plus treasured metallic chronographs! What would you anticipate from the maker of pricey fountain pens?
I have to admit. Ideas much like these entered my thoughts on the mere point out of the Nicolas Rieussec. I’m happy to admit, I used to be improper.