INTRODUCING: The Habring2 x Monochrome Montre de Souscription 1Zach Blass
Collaboration watches are all the rage these days. Some scoff at the saturation, but many recognise the value a second eye brings to new designs. Each brand may have their own design DNA, but combining forces can add extra perspective and attention to detail. That is exactly what we have here today with the new Habring2 x Monochrome Montre de Souscription 1. The limited-edition collaboration, a first for Monochrome, expands upon the Habring2 Chrono-Felix watch – a staple of the brand’s collection, but incorporates added touches from the Monochrome team. The resulting salmon-dialled monopusher chronograph will surely have the watch community wishing it were a standard-production model, but this attractive offering will be a limited edition of 33 pieces sold through a classic watchmaking method: the subscription model.
The 30 metre water-resistant, stainless-steel case will please those who enjoy modern diameters with vintage profiles. The Habring2 x Monochrome Montre de Souscription 1 is 38.5mm in diameter, 12mm thick (exceptionally thin for a chronograph), and measures a rather compact 46mm lug to lug across the wrist. In my opinion these are perfect goldilocks dimensions for a wide variety of wrists. It won’t wear big on those with smaller wrists like me due to its compact lug to lug measurement, neither small on larger wrists thanks to its 38.5mm diameter. The case leverages an entirely hand-brushed finish, driving home a vintage focus on utility while exuding an elegant form. The stepped and radially brushed conical bezel ensures the watch will slide under a shirt cuff with absolute ease.
Now to be clear, there is a copper/salmon dial model in the standard collection, but through added texture and tone Habring2 x Monochrome have created a more dynamic look and feel for this limited take on the desirable dial color. Monochrome explains: “Departing from the characteristic minimalism of Maria and Richard Habring’s watches, we designed a dial that evokes the dials of some of the most attractive chronographs produced in the 1940s.”
The added detailing here creates a more sector style take on salmon, with a vertically brushed central medallion and outer telemeter scale that sandwich a concentric textured ring that displays the hours and minutes. The bi-compax registers of the chronograph take on a darker matte salmon tone, effectively making the dial subtly two-toned, maybe even tri-toned in the right light. Depending on the lighting and angle, the middle ring containing the railroad minutes track and hour indexes and numerals will darken, which creates greater differentiation for the eye to separate it from the telemeter scale. Brushed elements typically stay bright, while the concentric textured ring will darken in a sunburst manner depending on how the light catches the narrow radial channels.
The hours and minutes hands are thin and polished, with a blued pencil-lead thin central chronograph seconds hand. For added ease in legibility, the 30-minute elapsed minute register at 3′ has a blued arrow hand to denote it is for chronograph functionality. The running seconds register at 9′ utilises a steel tone to match the hours and minutes hands. This is another example of added detail through collaboration, as the colour coding of hand functionality is not seen on the standard production models listed on Habring2’s website.
Within this limited-edition offering from Habring2 x Monochrome, buyers are treated to two bundled straps. The first is a supple taupe-coloured nubuck leather strap secured by a stainless steel pin buckle. On its underside, Monochrome has injected some of their own spirit through a signature light-blue leather lining. As an added bonus, the strap can be easily exchanged thanks to the incorporation of quick-release spring bars, which leads me to the next bundled option: a seven row beads-of-rice bracelet.
This is designed with straight end links to underscore the 1940s vibe that Monochrome is aiming to achieve in its design. According to Monochrome, the bracelet features a folding clasp and is suitable for wrists up to 19.5 cm or 7.5 inches. If you were looking to pair your own aftermarket straps with the watch you will be glad to know the case, with a lug width of 20mm, features drilled lugs, making it a breeze to remove additional straps that do not feature quick change tabs.
Beneath the exhibition caseback you will see the caliber A11C-H1, a heavily modified take on the Valjoux 7750. Richard and Maria Habring have extensive experience with the Valjoux movement, largely building upon its design for over 20 years. That being said, the caliber A11C-H1 is effectively an in-house caliber, with zero parts sourced from ETA. The utilised components are either made in-house by Richard and Maria or sourced from independent suppliers.
Monochrome explains: “Maria and Richard’s idea with the A11C-H1 was to improve every aspect of the movement. It is conceived to be robust, easy to service and repair, and is superior mechanically and visually to the Valjoux… In addition to the optimised components, the Calibre A11C-H1 is finely decorated by hand. The bridges are finished with circular brushing and bevelled edges, while the mainplate is decorated with perlage. Blued screws and gilded components add a lively touch of colour to the scenery. The same attention to detail has been applied to the parts composing the chronograph mechanism. For instance, the cam is heat blued, and most of the levers are straight grained with polished bevels.”
The 28,800 vph movement features an anti-magnetic escapement with a chronometer-quality Carl Haas hairspring and KIF shock protection, and has a power reserve of 48 hours when fully wound. The overall result is irrefutably attractive, both mechanically and aesthetically. Richard and Maria have taken a movement largely known for its industrial finish and function and refined it in a manner that all of us gear heads can admire.
All cards on the table, had I not recently depleted my watch funds with a deposit on another watch (which hopefully I will be able to share with you all soon) I would totally chase this piece down. The fact I am coming down with a serious case of FOMO is a testament to what the Habring2 x Monochrome Montre de Souscription 1 collaboration delivers. It is the best of both worlds, nailing vintage design cues and blending them with a modern and heavily refined, well-finished caliber. For those fishing for salmon, this limited edition is a great option to add to your collection. Bravo Frank and the Monochrome team, for your first collaboration watch – you are certainly kicking things off with a bang and I am excited to see what future designs you cook up in the future.
Habring2 x MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1 pricing and availability:
The MONOCHROME Montre de Souscription 1 is limited to 33 pieces and will be available via a subscription campaign at shop.monochrome-watches.com. The campaign starts on 24 June 2021 (at 3 p.m. Central European Time / 9 a.m. New York time / 9 p.m. Singapore time) and ends on 8 July 2021.
Price: EUR 5,950 (excluding taxes) and includes free insured international shipping and a 3-year warranty by Habring2.
When ordering the watch, there will be a non-refundable deposit of EUR 2,000 (excl. taxes). The remaining amount will be charged when the watch is ready to be shipped.
First deliveries are scheduled for September 2021.