Beautifully Bicompax: Comparing Chronographs

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Beautifully Bicompax: Comparing Chronographs

Post by koimaster » January 12th 2021, 3:08pm

We compared three elegant chronographs from Frederique Constant, Stowa, and Staudt. Visually, they all benefit from a symmetrical dial layout and lack of a date window, but are they more than just pretty faces? Find out in this review from our archives, with original photos by Olaf Köster.

Elegant chronographs belong to a very special category of watches that combine sportiness with a noble demeanor. Think of them as Riva speedboats for mere mortals. Chronographs are particularly handsome when their counters are positioned at 3 and 9, in a symmetrical arrangement called “bicompax.” If the chronographs also make do without a date display, as is the case with our three test watches, then they offer the best prerequisites for creating pure and convincing styling.

Frederique Constant: Classic Design
Frederique Constant takes the sportiest route of the three watches we tested with its Vintage Rally Healey Chronograph. This is an automotive-inspired watch with a perforated-leather racing strap made in collaboration with former sports car manufacturer Austin-Healey. The large numerals at 12 and 6 as well as the applied and luminous indexes create a dynamic effect. This is the only one of our trio of test watches that shows the time in the dark. And that is by no means the only interesting detail of this model’s dial. Bordeaux red distinguishes the minutes ring, the elapsed-seconds hand and the two small hands for the elapsed minutes, and the continually running seconds. The subdials and the ring for the elapsed seconds and fractions of a second are printed in dark gray, while light gray is used for all numerals and scales. Our other two candidates have taken a simpler approach.

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