Whereas contemplating methods to describe this new watch finest, I acquired sidetracked enthusiastic about what number of vintage-inspired and retro-looking modern editions had been so common and unanimously accepted. What constitutes their attraction? Why can we maintain saying how stunning they’re? Advertising efforts and nostalgic points apart, one practice of thought steered that the watchmaking enterprise that flourished within the Sixties and the Seventies produced wristwatches with comparable designs, and in massive portions, imprinting in our collective reminiscence pictures of lovely objects – watches, stunning by default, for what they represented. We, the individuals, carry the image of this best watch design in our heads involuntarily. And after we see a up to date, well-executed watch that instantly recollects the blueprints, we concern the “stunning” tag. I achieve this after spending a while with the brand new Méraud Antigua Chronograph.
Méraud Watch Co. is from Belgium and is one in all many Kickstarter start-ups with a passionate particular person behind the concept of turning into an impartial watchmaker. Méraud and its proprietor, classic watch collector Stijn Busschaert, is without doubt one of the few making it. The Méraud Bonaire collection, three variations of a handsome retro dive watch launched in 2018, are all bought out. February seventh marked the beginning of pre-orders for the brand new Méraud Antigua Chronograph, with two dial choices powered by restored, new previous inventory (NOS) Landeron 248 actions.
Landeron 248 Inside
The Landeron 248 motion is an integral a part of the general attraction of this charming Méraud Antigua Chronograph, and since quite a lot of our consideration is drawn to this, allow us to spend a while with the motion first. The concept of constructing a hand-wound chronograph with a design rooted within the Sixties took quite a lot of work to implement. Stijn Busschaert says it took him two years to search out the Landeron actions wanted to hold out the plan and talks of the “thrill of the chase“.
The Landeron 248 is just not your regular “grail calibre” because the Lemania 231 can be. It’s way more mundane. Between 1937 and 1970, Landeron produced over 3.5 million examples of those actions. They pop up on occasion, utilized in heritage and vintage-inspired collections (the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Landeron, to call one). Nonetheless, the Landeron 248 is a well-appreciated motion nonetheless.
Le Landeron is a spot within the Canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland the place an organization was shaped in 1873 underneath the title Charles Hahn & Cie. It was a profitable household enterprise, producing award-winning watches and actions, and by 1923 was an skilled producer of chronographs. It additionally occurred that Charles Hahn & Cie. would develop into a founding member of Ebauches SA in 1926 (later often called ETA) Landeron was producing column-wheel chronograph actions, just like the calibre 11 and calibre 13 and the distinctive Calibre 39. And it additionally was the first provider for Breitling and crammed orders for navy and aviation. Column-wheel chronographs had been costly and fragile, making the navy not so comfortable. An effort to not lose a significant consumer led Charles Hahn and Marcel Dèpraz to a brand new cam-switching approach.
The primary cam-actuated Landeron Calibre 47 had three pushers – one to begin, one other to cease, and a 3rd to reset. This motion was improved to develop into the two-pusher calibre 48, and the Landeron 48 collection grew to become some of the well-known chronograph actions ever. The Landeron 248 is yet one more enchancment and matches properly into the Méraud Antigua Chronograph philosophy. Flip the Antigua over, and the Landeron 248, engraved with the Méraud Watch Co. emblem, is on show in your viewing pleasure. Flip it again and revel in the remainder of the Méraud Antigua Chronograph.
The Antigua Chronograph
The Antigua Chronograph is offered in a 39mm stainless-steel case, measuring 40mm on the bezel. The case options completely different ending methods, together with linear, round, high-polished and brushed finishes. The drilled lug holes and a dodecagonal caseback remind me of the design options already seen within the Bonaire version. The Antigua is just not a skinny watch, with a 13.50mm top, nevertheless it appears slimmer. The scale lets you simply function this time instrument when on the wrist – pushing the buttons and enjoying with the rotating bezel – with ease. The bezel edge is polished and has a scratch-resistant black sapphire “bakelite-like” insert with luminous numerals and markers.
The sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective remedy tops two completely different dials, although I can’t resolve which I desire – the gloss black or the grainy cream, two variations with their very own attraction. The dials are two-layer, with a tachymeter scale on the outer ring, pushed to the sting by the legible minutes observe. The hour indices are faceted, polished and utilized to the dial with pretty corresponding “Outdated Radium” Tremendous-LumiNova dots on the minute observe. The identical luminous coating is on the massive dauphine-shaped hour and minute palms. The lollipop on the pastel-orange central seconds hand is to shine at the hours of darkness, too.
The sub-dials are recessed and, at first, could appear designed in a different way from the remainder of the Antigua Chronograph – maybe on function, to carry a up to date factor into the vintage-inspired design. Nonetheless, the extra you look, the higher they “age” and mix into the Sixties really feel of this watch. The working seconds pastel-blue hand at 9 o’clock has taken the form of a nautical compass needle, whereas the massive 45-minute counter acts to help the Méraud Antigua’s final function – to rejoice the well-known Antigua Traditional Yacht Regatta, a chic however difficult competitors, the luxurious way of life and the occasion’s racing spirit.
The bottom color of the 45-minute counter with a round end is both black for the “Gentle Sand” model or silvery for the “Miho Black”. The 2 5-minute sectors are achieved in pastel-blue and pastel-orange colors matching the tones already seen on the sub-counter throughout the dial. The sectors flip the counter right into a regatta timer, making the watch an ideal companion for the skipper – and the case is 100m waterproof, ought to one discover themselves overboard. The regatta timer is simply what you could simply and rapidly perceive how a lot time is left earlier than the race begins. It’s used to depend down the time remaining earlier than the members are allowed to cross the beginning line – an imaginary straight line between two buoys. Crusing yachts can not, like racing automobiles, stand initially ready for a sign. They need to manoeuvre, attempting to take essentially the most advantageous place consistently. Normally, the decision to start such manoeuvres is given 5 minutes earlier than the beginning.
The Méraud Antigua Chronograph is a really good watch with a well-thought-through design and delicate touches throughout. Just like the leather-based strap made from top-grain buffed nubuck by a Brussels strap maker Molequin, paired with a tropical rubber strap – simply interchangeable. A stainless-steel bracelet is on the market individually when you want to add weight to your new possession.
Availability & Worth
The Méraud Antigua Chronograph can be produced in a restricted collection of 100 items per dial possibility, a limitation compelled by the amount of Landeron 248 actions sourced. The asking value is EUR 1,750, taxes excluded. Is the watch price it? Hell, yeah, increase the sails!
For extra data or to pre-order, please go to www.meraud-watches.com.