5 watches that use the Sellita SW510 chronograph movement, from $2000 – $4000USDThor Svaboe
Modern life is increasingly stressful. The incessant buzz of notifications from your mobile and laptop can make one yearn for simpler times. Amid such craziness, one way to restore a vague sense of calm is by handwinding your watch. There is something strangely reassuring about twiddling the crown and feeling the gears engage and the resistance of the spring slowly tighten. Indeed, this small act of winding your watch can help nudge you into a more tranquil frame of mind. When it comes to hand-wound and automatic chronographs, one notable movement is the Sellita SW510, a great value Swiss bi-compax calibre. Here are just a few of its recent iterations.
Hanhart 417 ES
With two strong reissues this year, Hanhart has raised the game for vintage pilot’s watches. The tough-as-nails, battle-ready 417 ES was known for being standard equipment for German military pilots in the 1950s. In fact, the name for the German forces, “Bundeswehr”, served to christen the comfortable cuff-like “Bund” strap. We first saw the 417 ES in this bronze version for Revolution, on the wrist of our own writer Zach, and then the picture-perfect steel version. With its history infused with aerial adventures and, unexpectedly, off-road motorcycle racing on the wrist of Steve McQueen, its provenance is imperious.
The 417 ES is a classic tool designed for pure function resulting in its minimalist execution. The matte black dial is pared down to the vital necessities of a pilot’s chronograph with the purity of a clean matte black dial heightened by the sharp application of traditional fonts. The mid-size 42mm case is slightly larger but still balanced with its sharp angled lugs and coin-edge rounded bezel guaranteeing wrist presence.
Price: EUR 1,744
Motor racing in the ’60s is the inspiration for the Moritz chronograph from British manufacturer Farer with its cushion case and fixed tachymeter bezel. The tool-like matte black dial is freshened up by the light green tinge of Super-LumiNova and minty details; its muscular case architecture setting a tone of racy intent. The size is 41mm in diameter, with a comfortably short lug to lug of 44mm. The box sapphire crystal underlines the vintage air, and legibility is ensured by the large blocky lumed indices and Arabic numerals at 12 and 6. Favourite details? The sharp polished dauphine hands and polished crown, with an inset gold logo, deliver a well-judged design language, while the green seconds hand and dial details are delicious. Farer are one of the considerate brands that lets you choose straps, and here I’d go for the racy red-lined black Barenia Sports, a classy rally style strap.
Christopher Ward C65 “Wild Thing” Chronograph
The barrage of colours here will leave you smiling. We all love the bold Lemania and Valjoux 7750-powered chronographs of the ’60s and ’70s, but they are frail, and here is a way of having your horological cake and eating it, albeit in a larger and more colourful portion. With a 41mm case that’s 15mm thick, this watch isn’t exactly slim, but CW does curved, ergonomic lugs better than most small brands, so it’ll no doubt sit well on the wrist. The busy dial comes in a fetching bright shade of azure blue with a silver minute track and a matching blue bezel. The flashy red numeral date window brings balance to the dial at 6, and two large chronograph registers sit centrally opposed. I love the pops of colour that jump out at you from every corner of the dial in a delightful cheer-me-up confetti of hues. For extra peace of mind, thiw Christopher Ward has the automatic version of the Sellita SW 510 under the hood.
Price: $1,935 USD
Oris Divers Sixty-Five
While the Oris Divers Sixty-Five has clocked up numerous references, the chronograph version tends to slip under the radar. My favourite would be this stainless-steel version. The combination of the bronze bezel and the rose gold on the dial turn the black dial a chocolate brown in a certain light, enhancing the dressy look. This is not your usually svelte Divers 65, but a substantial 43mm, as this automatic version of the Sellita SW510 movement does require more space than some other chronograph movements. But Oris are well versed in Swiss comfort, and it sits sleekly on the wrist thanks to the slender riveted bracelet. Vintage detailing is strong with little touches like the domed sapphire crystal while large applied gold indices with cream lume mark out a legible diver’s dial. The sub registers are quietly recessed into the dial with no frame, their distinct small gold lumed pointers making it feel more elegant than functional. It’s a design that is as cohesive as it is balanced with the same golden touch that makes the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight such a sought-after diver’s watch. So yes, boxes ticked!
Price: $4250 USD
Massena LAB Uni-Racer
This is a faithful and honest re-creation of the mythical Uni-Compax Big Eye from Universal and the result is super sharp. Within a Goldilocks 39mm case sits the manual-wind Sellita SW510 M, a no-date caliber with a solid 58 hours of power reserve. Despite its 50m water resistance, this is no diver; the new Uni-Racer is all about motor racing and urban style with an oh-so perfect vintage air. In either a crisp white or a monochrome black reverse panda, the strong Universal inspiration is clear, and that’s all good. As with the other watches in this story, this plays to the vintage ’60s look and feel without the frailty and, more importantly, with a fraction of the cost of the inspirational Universal.
Price: $3495 USD