Jump to content
  • Current Donation Goals

seanf

The Chronodeco 1968 -- coolest retro watch ever?

Recommended Posts

Cut and pasted from the GUG (Gens Under a Grand) section on RWI:

Even if you haven't heard of the company Chronodeco, there's a pretty good chance you're familar with at least the look of the Chronodeco 1968. Why? Because, in one respect, Chronodeco has taken the art of legal rep (or homage) making to a whole different level.

I first heard about Chronodeco in an article in the Aug. issue of International Watch. Chronodeco (http://www.chronodeco.com) has been around since about 2001. The main guy behind Chronodeco, S. Craig Bergsma, began as a watchmaker and focused primarily on servicing and reconditioning old chronograph watches (and he still services watches today, and for pretty reasonable prices).

Bergsma had an interesting idea-- he had come into possession of a lot of old cases and movements from the 30s and 40s. So he built a very limited run (as in 35 watches) of watches using nothing but NOS (New Old Stock-- that is, old stuff that is new in the sense it has never been used) based on Art Deco designs. So, beginning in 2001, Chronodeco put out their first watch. After an article in International Watch showcased his stuff, he sold out in a month.

Since 2001, Chronodeco has put out several series of watches, all with limited numbers, based on the 30s and 40s Art Deco period. But in 2008, they did something very different. And very cool. They decided to go with a retro watch again, but this time, based on the chronograph look from the late 60s and early 70s. And the Chronodeco 1968 was born.

Using the famous "cushion case" from the late 60s Heuer Autavia and Camero, Chronodeco came up with a watch that is, in my view, one of the most beautiful pieces out there. And again, everything in the watch is authentic from the 1960s. They have two different "Styles" available.

Here are the pics and specs from their Style I watches:

Style I:

- Limited to 30 pieces

- New Old Stock cushion-style cases purchased from Germany. Heavy polished chrome finish with a stainless steel screw on back.

- Valjoux cal.7733 movement, one of the best ever built. All rebuilt with new mainspring installed.

- 5 different dial styles available.

- Your choice of small hand colors in red, white, black or day-Glo orange.

- Black, perforated high quality leather strap purchased from France.

- 6-month warranty.

MVC-004S.JPG

MVC-007S.jpg

MVC-008S.jpg

MVC-009AS.jpg

MVC-010S.jpg

And here are the pics and specs of the Style II watches:

Style II:

- Limited to 5 pieces

- New Old Stock tonneau-style cases purchased from Australia. Heavy solid stainless with a stainless steel screw on back.

- Valjoux cal. 7736 3 register movement. I would have liked to have built more of these but the movement is nearly impossible to find today. All rebuilt with new mainspring installed.

- 2 different dial styles available.

- Your choice of small hand colors in red, white, black or day-Glo orange.

- Black perforated high quality leather strap purchased from France.

- 6 month warranty

MVC-011S.jpg

MVC-014S.jpg

I told you that you'd seen these watches before. In case you're wondering, these watches are patterned on a couple of different chronographs from the 1960s and 1970s. The most obvious reference is the Heuer Autavia, as you can see here:

876f_3.JPG

And the Heuer Camero, like this one:

pic_id10132_no1_xl.jpg

One other source, at least in terms of the design of the dial, is likely the Wakmann Chronograph (made by Breitling):

e3b4_12.JPG

Today, a Camero or Autavia in good condition retails for around $3,000 to $4,000. If you can find one, that is. Whereas you couldn't have given a Camero or Autavia away ten years ago, people have rediscovered them in a big way today, as they're one of the few vintage designs that cater to the modern trend of big watches. Although sizes varied, a watch based on the Autavia or Camero design (and there were LOTS of knockoffs of them in the 60s and 70s) could range from 38mm to 42mm. So they've become a very popular collectors' piece today.

Back to the Chronodeco 1968. Since all the parts are from the 60s, these are very limited production pieces. How limited? Try 30 pieces of Style I and 5 pieces of Style II. And two of the Style I models are already sold out. Given all this, I would expect that these things would retail for well into the $4000 or $5000 range. But shockingly, you can get a Style I for $895 and a Style II for $1195.*

Now, in full disclosure, I probably won't be ordering one of these myself (because $900 is still a lot to spend on a watch, anyway you want to look at it). But the Chronodeco 1968 inspired me to start trawling the Web for a good deal on an authentic cushion case Chronograph from the 1960s. And the coolest thing? If I do get one, I can send it to Chronodeco for a full servicing for $125.

But if you're tempted to get one of the 1968s, you'd better contact this dude like right now. Methinks those things are going to go fast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw that IW article too & the watches look great, but I think the case design works better with the bi-compax format. Alot of people (myself included) think tri-compax watches are too cluttered looking, which is why Daytonas used to gather dust on retailers' shelves until they became the iconic status symbols they are today (which is why so many people now love tri-compax 'clutter' - myself included).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw that IW article too & the watches look great, but I think the case design works better with the bi-compax format. Alot of people (myself included) think Tri-compax watches always look too cluttered, which is why Daytonas used to gather dust on retailers' shelves until they became the iconic status symbols they are today (which is why so many people now love tri-compax 'clutter' - myself included).

I agree with you 100%. There's something really classic about the bi-compax. Once you put three subdials on there, the dial gets cluttered, particularly when you have a lot of color on the dial like these. Plus, I like the cushion case better on the Style I bi-compax.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

where can i get a good chronodeco?

 Best to start with contacting the guy (Craig) in the link in the OP mate...

 

 I am sure he will be able to help....

 

Other than that try Vintage wtach forums and eBay etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really digging the one in the first photo Series I.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...