[UPDATE 15th March 2019] – Jubileon have announced that they will now be offering a stainless steel case from day 1 – good news for those who love the look but not the colour!
It’s certainly turned a few heads in the week it’s been on test: but is the Jubileon Superellipse Chrono a hidden gem or something only a mother could love?
A Week on the Wrist – Jubileon Superellipse Chrono review
The Jubileon Superellipse Chrono has been making its way to reviewers all over the world for the last few weeks. It’s a pre-production prototype, and I’ll cover the differences in the final version towards the end of the review – but hear it in mind while reading on.
The watch case is 42mm in diameter, with a 51mm lug to lug length. It’s a deceptive one, as although the square-ish cushion case and additional crown makes the watch wear bigger than its dimensions suggest, it actually hugs the wrist rather well thanks to its short lugs. Wearing it reminded me somewhat of the EMG Horizon on the wrist, although the design is totally different. It’s fitted with a Swiss Valjoux 7750 movement, which is probably the most common automatic chronograph movement used by microbrands. The movement has a reputation for being fragile but any decent watchmaker will be very familiar with it. That 7750 makes the Jubileon Superellipse Chrono a thick watch, but it is well-balanced thanks to some thoughful design on the edges of the case so you never see a “slab”
The case is finished in a “vintage rose gold” effect which didn’t really do anything for me – a steel case option may be unlocked if certain funding goals are met on Kickstarter. We have sapphire crystals at the front and back, and the whole thing is held together with some rather attractive screws. It’s well built and wears well.
The unique thing about the Jubileon Superellipse Chrono is its twin crowns: as well as the usual controls for time-setting and chronograph activation it has a second crown at the 9 O’Clock position. This crown screws down, just like the main one, and is used to rotate the internal bezel so you can track a second timezone. It’s a bit of a gimmick and is an interesting way to get around the lack of space on the “correct” side of the watch for an additional crown. However, I found that in practice the crown is fiddly to unscrew and screw back without knocking the bezel and is impossible to use without first taking off the watch. It’s good in the sense of adding some symmetry to the case, but I just could not get on with it.
Dial and Hands
Full marks to Jubileon for the dial colour. Brown is a really popular choice right now and it’s easy to see why. It oozes retro cool and the sunburst looks great in the light. I wasn’t so sure about the blue sub-dials, which initially seemed to clash, but I got used to them. There’s a lot going on here: illuminated cut-off wedges for the hours, an angled rotating inner bezel and a printed Jubileon logo.
I’d rather have seen an applied logo as it gets a bit lost on the dial, and the text above and below the date window was too small and lacked contrast so I couldn’t read it. The date window itself isn’t bordered or bevelled like some other watches I’ve seen recently, so at least that wasn’t there to distract further. The 6, 9, 12 layout is standard for a Valjoux 7750. I found the seconds dial was too cluttered because every number is expressed in two digits. To be honest I rarely read the time to the nearest second so would have been happy with “ticks” or fewer numbers here. The watch is really legible thanks to the stark white, well-lumed hands. A red seconds hand completes the set. It was a very pleasant watch to use as a daily wearer because of its legibility.
Strap and Buckle
Jubileon sent two straps with the review loaner. I understand that the denim one is the standard fit. It’s a really nice quality strap, only let down by its size: I have an “average” 7.5 inch wrist and it only just fits on the smallest setting [note: two extra holes are being added to the production version]. If you have a smaller wrist it’s not giong to work. The downside of the denim strap was that it adds yet another colour to the watch, and I found the mix of brown, white, blue and red was a bit too much.
I preferred the second strap, a brown ribbed leather with hand stitching which matched the watch beautifully. Again it was on the large side, I used the second to smallest hole, but I thought it matched the watch’s character better. Finally, the buckle is in the same metal as the case. It’s a bi, Panerai style buckle with a fat tang – but although it looked like it might dig in it was completely comfortable.
Changes in the Production Model
As I said earlier, this is a prototype. The final versions of the Jubileon Superellipse Chrono will have some changes, some of which are:
- Inner Bezel Numeral “1” Font : The current inner bezel does not align to the hour index of the dial because of the shape of the numeral “1” . It is being changed to a font where the numeral “1” instead appears as “1” (a straight line).
- The buckle logo will be solid engraved rather than outline engraved to make it clearer.
- The sapphire glass at the back will be bigger to reveal the whole rotor and the font size of the “Superellipse Chrono” and “Limited Edition 00/50” text will be bigger.
Jubileon Superellipse Chrono Video Review
What I Liked
- The watch wears well, it’s very comfortable as a daily wearer despite what its dimensions might suggest.
- Full marks to Jubileon for trying something different with the case design. They have a unique DNA which is sometimes lacking in the microbrand world.
- Brown is the new black – the brown dial looks great
What I Didn’t Like
- The left-hand crown was a bit gimmicky, as it’s totally impractical in day-to-day usage due to the need to remove the watch and unscrew it before changing timezone
- The tiny writing on the seconds dial and around the date window makes it feel cluttered, although legibility is very good for reading the time
- The vintage rose gold colour is not for me, a steel case would look a lot cleaner but may not be an option, the standard choice is this or rose gold IP plating
Jubileon Superellipse Chrono – the WRUK Verdict
Full marks for effort to Jubileon. The Superellipse Chrono looks like nothing I’ve seen before. With this unique design comes a Marmite quality: you’ll either love it or hate it. Personally, I was ambivalent about the watch. On paper, it ticks none of the boxes for me – but wearing it changed my mind. If you buy this watch then you are going to get a really well built, well designed (apart from the second crown) case that is superlatively comfortable to wear. If you can get on with its looks, you will not be disappointed with the Jubileon Superellipse Chrono .
Buy a Jubileon Superellipse Chrono
The preorder price for the Jubileon Superellipse Chrono is a bargain at $750. That’s subjective I know – it may not be cheap, but it’s great value for a watch with the Valjoux 7750 movement and that is built this well. Each colourway is limited to 50 units. Preorders get the second, leather strap. There is the possibility of a Kickstarter campaign (at a higher price), but only if the preorders are not met direct from the manufacturer.
Find out more and put down your deposit at https://jubileon.myshopify.com/