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If you’re a watch collector, the appeal of 1970s racing chronographs is easy to appreciate. They have the charm of vintage watches and make the wearer feel like a race car driver in the coolest era. Despite this, they still look contemporary when worn today. However, if you’ve ever tried to buy one, you probably know that it can be quite difficult. Reliability and service history can be questionable, and popular models can cost thousands of dollars. It is for these reasons that modern watches inspired by these pieces from the past are very attractive to watch collectors. Fans of this kind of timepiece themselves, the new M&W Watches chronograph collection should be on the list for anyone considering a watch like this.
As the brand launched in 2021, it has no back catalog to draw from. For this reason, the watches are not direct homages to particular watches made by another legacy brand. It’s quite appealing, though, as they use MT&W’s unique designs that use styling cues that would make them fit in nicely at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1972 (or 2022, for that matter). Domed K1 mineral crystals and 40mm case diameters give them the silhouette of a watch from 50 years ago. Combined with the thickness of 13.5mm (including the crystal) and the distance between the lugs of 48mm, the watches will be quite comfortable. Strongly styled lugs and tachymeter bezels ensure there’s no mistaking their conceptual genesis. Plus, MT&W takes the vintage aesthetic one step further. Each of the dials is treated with a chemical process to create the look of patina that develops on vintage watches as they age. Each of the dials is handcrafted in this way to ensure that no two are the same.
Six dial color variations of the MT&W Chronograph will be produced. The Eclipse uses black sub-dials on a dial that has transitioned to an off-white color via the patination process. Red hatching on a black ring at the edge of the dial adds a splash of color to this racy combination. The W Panda takes a similar approach but offers a more subdued color scheme. Its white patinated dial is interrupted by gray sub-dials with black tracks and a gray zone at the circumference.
As the name suggests, the Racing Green variants have a dark green sunburst dial that evokes images of British racing cars of the era. The white sub-dials are recessed in the middle with the same aging process applied to them. The Oceanic Vintage takes the same approach, but with a matching rich blue dial color for a boat racing theme.
The Panda colorway uses a black dial but has a large amount of weathered white surface. The sub-dials and outer ring of the dial on this model have both had the process applied. Steel Gray takes a monochrome approach. The outlines of the main dial and the sub-dials are black, while the centers are grey. The patina is the most subtle on this darker dial.
All models have the same brand logo printed on the dial, polished hands and applied indexes. Black tachymeter bezel inserts are fitted with legible white text, and the chronograph minute counter is marked with numerals at 10-minute intervals. The 24-hour running dial features markings every two hours and numerals every six, and there is also a running seconds display with stick markers on all five. The watches include two straps, with optional calfskin or nylon NATO straps. The watches can then be stored in an included leather pouch or a vintage-style leather watch box.
In the interest of improving robustness and precision, as well as reducing costs, MT&W uses a Seiko VK63 Meca-Quartz movement in its new chronographs. It offers the smooth sweeping seconds hand and instant reset that owners of vintage mechanical chronographs love, without the delicacy or need for expensive maintenance. The watches also feature 30m water resistance. Unlike a vintage chronograph, owners shouldn’t worry about water splashing on their watches.
At a pre-order price of around $188, MT&W offers a chronograph with a reliable movement at an excellent price-performance ratio. With six eye-catching color options and a comfortable 40mm size, there’s likely to be a watch in the collection that any vintage chronograph enthusiast will love. The final prototypes of the MT&W Eclipse collection have been completed and are available for pre-order now on Kickstarter. The brand expects production watches to start shipping to customers in September this year.
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