One of the hottest trends in the watch world is vintage-inspired style, particularly from the colorful chronographs of the 1970s. Instead of bucking the trend with modernism, many brands have been going with the retro flow, releasing altogether new watches with vintage looks, and reviving some of their old references. Today we take a look at two eye-catching chronographs — in two very different price brackets — that could have very well made it here by way of a time-traveling DeLorean.
Tudor Heritage Chronograph Blue
If you’ve been paying any attention to the watch industry over the last few years, you’d know that Tudor has been on the warpath. From the mid-90s up until 2010, Tudor was in a bit of a Dark Age. They sold enough watches for Rolex to keep the doors open and the lights on, but Tudor’s design direction deviated from Rolex’s tried and true method of incremental adjustments from generation to generation. In an attempt to revive their lineup, Tudor released the Heritage Chronograph in 2010, effectively marking the beginning of their one-eighty turnaround.
Following a host of vintage-inspired watches such as the Black Bay, Pelagos, and Heritage Advisor, the Heritage Chronograph Blue ($4,425) has been arguably their biggest hit. Modeled after the reference 7169 from the early- to mid-1970s, the HCB is a faithful re-edition: 12-hr rotating bezel, screw down pushers, date function at 6:00 and a stunning blue theme. The only major differences between old and new are the increase in case size from 40mm to 42mm, the removal of the date magnifier and a flip-flop of the chronograph registers due to the transition from a hand-wound ETA 234 to a Dubois Depraz chronograph module sitting on a self-winding ETA 2892. With Rolex-level case finishing and a dependable movement, the Heritage Chronograph Blue is a serious contender.
Steinhart Race Timer
Steinhart is a well established internet boutique brand predominantly specializing in homage pieces. While most of Steinhart’s design inspiration comes from well regarded timepieces, they often add their own flair to set their watches apart. The Steinhart Racetimer ($1,000) is no exception; it clearly displays common ground with the Tudor, but the overall styling is pure 1970s design.
Powered by an elabore-grade ETA 7750, the Racetimer differs from the HCB with a 6-9-12 chronograph layout. You’ll notice the Tudor-like trapezoidal shapes around the top and bottom registers — which was actually a fairly common look for 1970s chronographs, and not purely a Tudor creation. While it captures other HCB details like applied stick markers and screw down pushers, the Racetimer sets itself apart with a titanium case and optional titanium bracelet. It’s details like utilizing high grade movements and case materials that highlight the value Steinhart provides at its price, which clocks in at about a quarter of the Tudor’s.