Along with being totally obsessive about high-end, mechanical watches of the Swiss selection, Quill & Pad’s common reader Quentin R. Bufogle is a contract author, former contributor to the previous Las Vegas CityLife, occasional blogger, and writer of the current memoir King of the New York Streets.
In the event you would’ve informed me six months in the past that I’d move on a Breguet Kind XX in favor of an Omega . . . effectively . . . let’s not even go there. What modified my thoughts? Granted (IMHO), the silver-dial Omega De Ville Chronoscope Chronograph on stainless-steel bracelet is simply plain attractive. By way of sheer aesthetics, it ticks all the best bins (once more, at the very least for me).
Actually, in the event you sat me down on the drawing board – blue pencil in hand – I can’t consider a single component I’d care to alter: from the fragile, nearly Lilliputian utilized numerals on the outsized subdials to the oddly positioned, whimsically formed panoramic date window and the superbly sculpted lugs. All of it simply works. Nevertheless it’s a lot greater than that . . .
In blindly following the siren name of Breguet, I’d someway overlooked the very attributes that had so attracted me to the model within the first place: a historical past steeped in innovation and beautiful watchmaking. In any case, it was Breguet!
One way or the other, a Nineteen Seventies cam-actuated Lémania ebauche motion simply didn’t fairly minimize the horological mustard. Although I’d typically heard the Breguet Kind XX Aeronavale trumpeted as one of many most interesting examples of a cam-controlled chronograph this aspect of the Vallee de Joux, I used to be disenchanted.
This wasn’t the Breguet that had as soon as swept me off my ft. The Breguet of Napoleon Bonaparte, Marie Antoinette, the Queen of Naples, and a complete technology of Russian the Aristocracy. No. The Kind XX with its Lémania retread merely didn’t have the chops, the gravitas, worthy of such a hallowed marque for my part.
As I gazed wantonly on the stunning specimen on the Chrono24 web site, one thing unusual occurred: I’d waited over two years to click on on “purchase.” Now – requisite funds in my cash market account – I froze mid-click. Virtually reflexively, my set off finger retreated from the touchpad. The place I’d as soon as heard the smoldering, constrained ardour of Johnny Money’s “I Stroll the Line,” I now heard the bitter lament of B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone.”
What method of insanity was this? The Kind XX Aeronavale had been the watch I’d pined for – nay, lusted after! It was then I heard the ghost of previous Abraham-Louis Breguet whisper in my ear: “Don’t accept a warmed-over ’70s cam-actuated chronograph, twit! What you actually need is the best, most elegant chronograph motion ever made.”
Sure! Certainly, I did! However this begged the query – the one which has dogged me ever since buying my very first entry-level Swiss chronograph what now looks as if a lifetime in the past: WHICH ONE???
Neglect that high-tech beast that vibrates just like the wings of a hummingbird on methamphetamine beneath the hull of the Breguet Kind XXII or the twin-engine monster that drives the Zenith Defy . . . talking of which: ZENITH! Sure, after all, the venerable El Primero! A really nice chronograph motion with an equally nice story: Charles Vermot defying the Philistines at Zenith Electronics, stashing the machine instruments for the motion in a loft and thus saving that high-beat surprise for posterity (and the parents at Rolex). The world’s first totally built-in computerized chronograph motion (that’s Zenith’s story they usually’re stickin’ to it).
Fact be informed, the El Primero’s 36,000 vph all the time did render it one thing of an anomaly. Even Rolex needed to gradual it down for the Daytona. No. There needed to be a chronograph motion that was much more elegant, stunning, and but technically subtle. Because it seems, there’s.
Some research led me to the Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1185, a much-revered column-wheel, vertical-clutch masterpiece that’s graced the flagship fashions of a few of haute horlogerie’s most interesting: Vacheron Constantin (Abroad), Audemars Piguet (Royal Oak), Blancpain (Leman Flyback). Even Breguet itself used the motion in its dazzling Marine chronograph.
Fairly a resumé! Drawback was, a lot of the items that utilized the motion have been barely past my finances. Then my analysis led me to yet one more caliber: the Omega 3313. Excuse me, did you say “Omega?” YES, OMEGA!
Seems the Omega 3313 – the exact same motion housed inside the De Ville Chronoscope’s elegantly sculpted case – makes use of the marginally extra sturdy, higher-beat inheritor to the much-vaunted Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1185, the 1285.
Throw in a free-sprung steadiness and C.O.S.C. chronometer certification together with Omega’s groundbreaking Co-Axial escapement and – to paraphrase WatchBox’s personal Tim Mosso – you’ve received your self a little bit of indie watchmaking in an in any other case mass-produced providing. A contact of haute horlogerie at a mid-tier worth. The proper union of basic and high-tech.
So I purchased an Omega.
Stumbling upon Breguet a few years in the past marked a turning level in my journey as a collector. Proudly owning the Omega De Ville Chronoscope Chronograph marks yet one more. I feel previous Abraham-Louis would approve.
For extra info, please go to www.omegawatches.com/watch-omega-de-ville-co-axial-chronoscope.
Fast Information Omega De Ville Chronoscope Chronograph (2006)
Case: 41 mm, stainless-steel
Motion: computerized Caliber 3313 (Frédéric Piguet Caliber 1285 base) with Co-Axial escapement and free-sprung steadiness, 52-hour energy reserve, formally C.O.S.C. chronometer-certified, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Features: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph