Monday, May 22, 2006

Centre Minute Counter Chronographs Live

Having been brought up on a diet of conventional, illegible, counter-intuitive, arbitrarily subdivided subdials, you get used to accepting that it takes a moment to get your bearings as to how many minutes have elapsed on your chrono. Until that is, you try a centre minute chrono for the first time and BOOM, you never want to go back. The advantages of a centre minute counter are astonishing and you realise the advantages of having a brain programmed from birth to recognise the time by hand position in a microsecond.

Sinn 157 with Lemania 5100.
Read like a regulator in a snap despite the grim jpeg: 1 hour 37 mins 22.5 seconds. Now, compare:

Patek Philippe 5970.
Despite englargement:.....Errrrrr, Friday? Maybe the next generation will have evolved to read this quickly.

Once you've used one, you wonder how it can be done any other way. The problem is there are plenty of vintage options, but there aren't that many about these days new. There's still one source of the once ubiquitous Lemania 5100 in Tutima guise (below L), but not for long. One could also consider GP's Laureato Evo3 with a Dubois D├ępraz 2070 module (below R):

or Sinn's recent revamped 142 St II with the same 2070 module (below)

Breguet now also do a centre minute version of their XX (above), though this now departs from the original purist 15 minute counter divided into five 3 minute intervals (see above comments about illegible, counter-intuitive, arbitrarily subdivided subdials) that was continued from the original 50s version requirement to have 5% of an hour.

And finally, if you're really desperate you could always put up with the TAG Aquagraph (ETA + DD module again) but I wasn't going to mention it. If anyone knows of any others I can add, please let me know.


Speedmaster said...

Great post and pics, thanks!

daniel said...

I looked at the sinn catalogue and didn´t find the 157. Is it no longer in production? Can I still buy it? What would be some other recomendation? Thanks

Velociphile said...

Yes, the 157 with 5100 is discontinued. You may still get the 142 D1 in some dealers as another Sinn option. Otherwise my 2nd choice would be the Tutima for a tool watch - oh, and in the lesser known tachy + timer bezel spec.

daniel said...

Revue Thommen has a beautiful center minute chronograph. But, like all lemania 5100s, it has been discontinued. Now, with the valjoux, it lost the center minute...

Velociphile said...

Now also add the Breitling Skyracer