The Arsène Lippens Visionario references your grail 1940s chronographs, with an unexpected movementPietro Pilla
- A Geneva-based trio honours their grandfather with a 1940s-inspired two-register chronograph
- The 39.5mm steel case brings it up to modern specs, with drilled 20mm lugs to facilitate strap changes
- Unusually, the watch is powered by an automatic La Joux-Perret L113 chronograph movement, as opposed to the more common Sellita SW500
Arsène Lippens is a brand in its infancy, a brainchild of three young entrepreneurs – Dries, Alberto, and Stijn – with a very clear mission in mind: making watches able to connect people and communities. The name honours Dries’ grandfather, as the Geneva-based brand focuses on the philosophy of “a new sense of belonging”. They’ve produced two watches so far, one of which is the Visionario Terracotta, a relatively affordable mechanical chronograph with a vintage look and funky details, and today’s subject. The brand tries to make each watch highly personalised, with engravings on the back to celebrate important events, communities of various kinds, and personal ties.
The polished stainless steel, 39.5mm case brings back vintage aesthetics while having more modern proportions. While the double-stepped bezel is inspired by the front grille of the 1941 Pontiac Streamliner, the shorter lugs span out to 45.5mm, helping with the wearability of this piece. The 20mm lug width makes it a suitable candidate to play around with straps, also helped by the fact that and they are drilled. It stays true to vintage form when it comes to water resistance though, limited to 30 metres only. As the Visionario is equipped with an automatic chronograph, the overall height is a not-insignificant 13.5mm, though it’s by no means excessive when put into perspective of some modern chronographs.
This particular model has a burnt orange dial, inspired by the Dubai desert at sunset when the sand turns to warm, yet subtle colour. There is also a myriad of other colours available, all inspired by different natural paysages, from the forests of Switzerland and slopes of Mont Blanc, to the aforementioned desert.
All the different iterations share the same tasteful dial configuration, with applied indices, and a wide pulsometer scale on the outer part of the dial to correctly measure heart rate. The indices are a mixture of arrow and dots, with Breguet numerals at 6 and 12. This may seem a little busy at first, though it’s not overly distracting. Two subdials are symmetrically positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock, the first being a 30-minute counter, while the latter is the small seconds indication. The overall look is very much that of 1940s chronographs, particularly the Patek Philippe ref. 1463, better known as the Tasti Tondi.
Arsène Lippens decided to partner with the renowned movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret for the chronograph movement inside their watches. It’s finished to high standards with perlage, côtes de Genève, blued screws and a blued column wheel, delivering quality while maintaining a reasonable price. The exact movement is the chronograph calibre L113, a two-register (or bicompax, if you will), unidirectional winding automatic movement with 60 hours of power reserve. The whole movement is visible through the sapphire case back, from which it’s possible to admire the custom AL-signed rotor, which once again demonstrates the attention to small details.
The watch comes on an elegant taupe Saffiano leather strap with a deployant clasp and, as a gift, the buyer will also get an additional black nubuck strap with a pin buckle for a more vintage look. Both straps are made in Belgium and come with curved spring bars to complement the roundness of the case shape.
There is also the option to choose a stainless steel beads of rice bracelet, also with a folding deployant clasp. The complimentary nubuck strap is still included and allows you to choose different looks depending on the situation.
ArsèneLippens Visionario Terracotta pricing and availability
The Arsène Lippens Visionario Terracotta is available now on Kickstarter. Price: CHF 1,650 (leather, pre-order), CHF 1,750 (bracelet, pre-order), CHF 1,950 (leather, RRP), CHF 2,050 (bracelet, RRP)
|Case Dimensions||39.5mm (D) x 13.5mm (T) x 45.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||30 metres|
|Crystal(s)||Box-domed, AR-coated sapphire front, sapphire caseback|
|Strap||Taupe Saffiano leather, steel deployant clasp
Steel beads of rice bracelet, steel deployant clasp
Complimentary nubuck black leather strap
|Movement||La Joux-Perret L113, automatic, column wheel chronograph|
|Power Reserve||60 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph|
|Availability||Now, for pre-orders|
|Price||CHF 1,650 (leather, pre-order)
CHF 1,750 (bracelet, pre-order)
CHF 1,950 (leather, RRP)
CHF 2,050 (bracelet, RRP)