A few years ago, Tudor came up with a refreshed range of 70s inspired Heritage chronographs. An affordable alternative is the Vratislavia Conceptum.
Vratislavia Conceptum – Long Term Review
If you are looking for a cool-looking chronograph with a real 70s feel, then as well as Straton and Tudor you should add the Vratislavia Conceptum to your shortlist. It’s not so easy to get hold of these days, but it’s a really affordable way to get that blue and orange look on a budget.
Built around the Seiko VK64 meca-quartz movement, the Vratislavia Conceptum offers quartz accuracy with the smooth sweep and instant reset of a mechanical chronograph. All that in a well-balanced case with a cool colour scheme. The case is of the quality you’d expect from a quality microbrand, and the pushers and crown operate with a satisfying tactile feel. The only negative for me is the OEM strap, which is a little on the cheap side and is best replaced with a higher quality leather option or – as I did – a mesh or NATO strap for the ultimate in retro cool.
The positives for me are that cool case shape with short lugs for wearability and a vintage vibe, the coloured bezel (surprisingly rare in the chronograph world, most are steel or black in my experience) and the dial, which has a satisfying sunburst blue and just the right amount of depth. It’s the next best thing to a Tudor Heritage Chronograph at about a tenth of the price!
What’s it like to live with? I found myself changing straps more often than I expected – not to change up the look but to try and get comfortable. The generic strap is not great quality, but I never quite get on with a NATO strap. I think finding the right strap to complete the look is a key part of the ownership of this watch. It ended up moving on because I liked to look at it with the NATO but wear it with the mesh. An OEM bracelet would have finished the package off nicely. It’s a nice watch but, it turns out, just not for me.
Buy a Vratislavia Conceptum Heritage Chrono
Since the Vratislavia Conceptum Heritage watches were limited edition, you can no longer buy them new, but they do pop up on the watch forums and eBay from time to time. Of course, you could really splash out and buy the similar-themed Tudor Heritage Chrono from eBay or elsewhere, but that will cost you a lot more money!