We love motoring watches here at WRUK, and also chronographs. Combining the two with a vintage twist is a Kickstarter campaign from Germany: Can the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Chronograph knock the venerable Seagull 1963 off its perch?
Introducing the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Chronograph
The Introducing the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Chronograph has a tough task – as a mechanical chronograph watch with (in at least one configuration) a cream dial with blue and gold highlights, it is going to be compared with the most popular watch in this website’s history: the Seagull 1963. It even shares a similar movement, albeit the Vintro Le Mans 1952 has an automatic winding feature added.
If the price difference makes you baulk (the German made Vintro Le Mans 1952 with ST1940 movement costs about double the price of the Chinese Seagull) then you can switch to a Seiko VK64 movement and rebalance the books. And that Seiko movement is barely distinguishable from a mechanical movement to the casual observer anyway, apart from the lack of ticking seconds.
There are three different variations of the Le Mans 1952 chronograph; stainless steel case with a white/silver dial, rosé-gold with a black dial or yellow gold case with a crème coloured one. The gold/cream combo is our pick, although each one looks great. Unfortunately, you can’t mix and match so if you would like to see (as we would) steel and cream mixed together then it’s hard luck.
It’sá familiar vintage dial design, of course, but that didn’t prevent us from singing the praises of the Newmark 71. The oval pushers are nice, more modern than the circular ones on the Seagul 1963, and the 40mm case with sapphire crystal resolve our two biggest grumbles about the Chinese piece. The ST1940 movement is derived from the Venus 175 just like the standard ST19 but has the added convenience of automatic winding. It’s an unusual choice which we would like to see more often, most self-winding chronographs use the expensive – and relatively thick – ETA/Valjoux 7750. We’re not quite sure how thick this watch is, but will get the micrometer out when we review it.
If quartz – or cost-effectiveness – is more your thing then you get the choice of a Seiko VK64. We’ve seen this, among others, in the Undone Urban and Newmark 6BB and the verdict is that it’s a great compromise between cost, accuracy and that mechanical “feel”. For our money, it’s got to be the mechanical option, though!
Buy a Vintro Le Mans 1952
The Vintro Le Mans 1952 is currently live on Kickstarter but will be available direct from the manufacturers afterwards. We’re getting sent a watch to review within the next week or so so expect our verdict by the end of the month. Pricing (on Kickstarter) is €359 for the ST1940 and €159 for the Seiko movement. That is a big chunk of cash, although your price comparison ought to be with German-made automatic-winding chronographs rather than the hand-wound Chinese-built Seagull 1963 which makes the Vintro pretty good value for money if the self-winding feature is important to you.