As we’ve stated already on many events, there are mainstream manufacturers, after which there are so-called area of interest manufacturers which can be largely identified by seasoned collectors… However don’t suppose this makes them much less essential. The truth is, this may give these smaller, usually undervalued historic names much more resonance and attraction. One in all them may ring a bell: Excelsior Park. A model based in 1866 and referred to as one of many pioneers of the chronograph, it fell into oblivion till this 12 months. Because of Guillaume Laidet, the person behind the resurrection of Nivada, Excelsior Park presents its inaugural assortment… And sure, these are vintage-oriented, charm-packed, hand-wound, attractively priced chronographs that can actually converse to a seasoned viewers.
Concise Historical past of Excelsior Park
Excelsior was born in 1866 within the small however fairly well-known (a minimum of if you happen to’re into watches) city of St. Imier, Switzerland – additionally the hometown of Longines and the birthplace of Breitling. Based as a watch motion firm by Jules-Frederic Jeanneret, it might turn out to be Excelsior Park in 1891 (to enchantment to English-speaking markets) and shortly turned a distinguished model for chronograph actions and devices. For years, it continued constructing its legacy by growing its personal calibres, producing chronographs for each sort of sports activities, and offering actions for different manufacturers equivalent to Girard-Perregaux, Gallet and Zenith, amongst others. Though it was much less well-known than Zenith or Omega, the model was of significance within the discipline of stopwatches and timing devices for sports activities.
Throughout the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties, Excelsior Park claimed to be some of the essential Swiss sports activities chronometer producers. The vary consisted of tachometers, pulsometers, split-seconds, devices for soccer, rugby, water polo, hockey, with ringtone for boxing, others for management with a rotating bezel and even for canoeing, motorsport, decimal stopwatches, others measuring the hundredth of a second… And naturally, the model additionally began to construct chronograph wristwatches and to supply these smaller actions to famend Swiss manufacturers. The vary included some specialised fashions such because the 1964 Yachting or the Excel-O-Graph, a chronograph equipped with a bidirectional bezel and slide rule. However what most will take into consideration are the Forties/Fifties bi-compax chronographs with elegant designs which can be at present the bottom for the resurrection of the model.
Like many Swiss producers, Excelsior Park didn’t face up to the quartz disaster of the Seventies. Between 1983 and 1984, the corporate lastly succumbed and disappeared. Fume, a German provider of watchmaking instruments, tried to resurrect the model and purchased the rights to the title in 1986. It manufactured a small collection of chronographs bearing the title Excelsior Park. Specifically, the Monte Carlo mannequin, outfitted with the Valjoux 7740. That episode didn’t final lengthy and in 2020, after a brief American interlude, Excelsior Park is again on monitor, and with a group of cool-looking chronograph watches (after all…) For extra particulars concerning the historical past of Excelsior Park, you possibly can take a look at this part of the model’s web site.
The 2021 Excelsior Park Hand-Wound Chronograph Assortment
For this new venture, Guillaume Laidet had a barely totally different strategy than Nivada Grenchen. Whereas the latter is constructed round trustworthy recreations of previous, emblematic fashions – equivalent to the Chronomaster, the Depthmaster or the Antarctic Spider – the primary assortment of Excelsior Park is just not a lot about recreating a particular mannequin however extra about taking the aptitude of historic watches and designing a watch that seems like a part of the model’s heritage, but with fashionable execution. It’s extra about classic inspiration moderately than classic re-edition, if you happen to can spot the distinction. Does it diminish the cool issue and enthusiasm? Not a lot, really, as the gathering of 5 hand-wound chronographs (similar base, totally different dials) is fairly convincing.
The brand new Excelsior Park Chronograph watches share a Forties aptitude, similar to the golden period of chic chronographs earlier than these watches turned correct devices for racing or sports activities, just like the Speedmaster or the Daytona. These watches had been outlined by easy and well-proportioned instances with a sure refinement, hand-wound actions, good-looking dials with a contact of Artwork Deco affect and, total, not the skilled look targeted on robustness that was discovered within the Nineteen Sixties. And, to be sincere, it’s fairly refreshing to see these watches once more. I really like software watches from the Fifties/Nineteen Sixties, however they’re a bit harder to put on on a weekday. These Excelsior Park fashions aren’t…
As stated above, the concept was to not stay completely trustworthy to an unique mannequin however to carry a aptitude, an evocation of the previous with extra fashionable proportions (however not an excessive amount of), supplies and mechanics. The Excelsior Park Hand-Wound Chronographs are constructed round a slender, restrained and properly dimensioned stainless-steel case that measures a compact 38.9mm diameter. Additionally, with a top of 13mm, together with a reasonably high-domed sapphire crystal, the thickness is manageable, and the lug-to-lug measurement, at 47.5mm, isn’t small however once more, completely manageable for my small wrist.
The case incorporates a very skinny bezel that leaves area for the dial and its indications. The lugs are slim and tapered, and so is the central case. To visually diminish the thickness, the bezel is double-stepped and options brushed and polished surfaces. The case is usually brushed with solely minor polished accents to raise the look – on the facet of the lugs, on the crown and for the properly built-in lengthy pushers. All in all, the case is properly executed with a way of high quality and robustness, but in addition a sure magnificence that solely chronographs from this particular period had. On the wrist, these Excelsior Park are actually current and comparatively heavy, but in addition compact sufficient to be worn virtually like a gown watch. The water-resistance can also be fairly comfy, at 100 metres. And there are two choices for the caseback, both a see-through one or, as proven introduced right here, a screwed strong metal again with an engraving of the model’s emblem – which I clearly suggest because it not solely appears higher but in addition feels extra related on this historic context.
There will probably be no fewer than 5 totally different variations of this Excelsior Park Hand-Wound Chronograph on the launch, which might be divided into two teams. First are 4 dials with a grained texture, raised Arabic numerals, syringe palms with luminescent materials and calculation tracks on the periphery – telemeter and tachymeter. This configuration is obtainable in black, as introduced right here, with white printings and luminous Arabic markers (ref. EP95003). It’s also accessible in white with black printings, numerals and palms (ref. EP95001), or in white with black printings and a mix of crimson and blue accents for the scales and the palms (ref. EP95000). Lastly, this dial can also be accessible in a hotter tone, with an off-white background and lightweight brown numerals (ref. EP95002).
The fifth dial is totally totally different from the others in each show and ending. To me, that is essentially the most engaging of the lot (I really like salmon dials…) regardless that the remainder of the MONOCHROME group prefers the black model. The dial of this model is cleaner since solely a minutes monitor is printed on the periphery. Additionally, the salmon (rose gold) color is paired with a vertically brushed floor and black printed numerals with an plain Artwork Deco affect. Lastly, the palms are non-luminous, blued metal batons. Additionally, no raised emblem or numerals right here, however a sleeker floor.
Below the hood and to maintain the value affordable, these new Excelsior Park Chronographs are going for a tried-and-tested engine, the well-known hand-wound Sellita SW510 – mainly, a Valjoux 7750 structure with out the automated bridge. This motion is comparatively easy but in addition does completely the job on this context. It runs at a 4Hz frequency and shops a cushty 63h energy reserve (Sellita has upgraded its calibres not too long ago). However since this isn’t the prettiest of actions, I’d go for the closed caseback.
These new Excelsior Park watches are delivered on supple and nice leather-based straps with texture and closed by a metal pin buckle. They’re fitted with quick-release spring bars and are available in a number of colors (black, mild brown, honey… relying on the dial).
Availability & Worth
The 2021 Excelsior Park Hand-Wound Chronograph Assortment will probably be supplied direct to clients through the model’s web site. Pre-orders open in December and they are going to be priced at EUR 2,160.
For extra particulars, please go to excelsiorparkwatches.com.